Gainesville Landscape Plant of the Month: Viola

The Viola is a beautiful cool-season annual. It offers amazing uniformity across a wide range of dazzling colors for Gainesville Landscaping with more blooms on every plant than most other flowers. It is also more tolerant of Florida's warm days in the middle of the winter well, too. It's excellent for massing, edging, rock gardens and in hanging baskets and other containers.

These little beauties were imported from Europe in the 18th century.  Viola flowers are smaller than their Pansy cousins – about the size of a nickel – but much more abundant. Violas also tend to be more heat and cold tolerant so that means an extended blooming season.

Viola cornuta looks like a Pansy. They actually belong to the same family, but the viola is much more hardy than the pansy is. The petals are how you can distinguish pansies from viola cornuta. Voila cornuta numbers 2 petals facing upwards,...

The 2 Most Common Gainesville Landscaping Mistakes & How to Avoid Them

The 2  two biggest mistakes I see when homeowners (and even a few Gainesville landscape companies) plant trees and shrubs are planting them too low, and applying too much mulch. In today’s quick tip, I’ll give you my secrets to planting a healthy tree in your Gainesville lawn.

Mistake 1: Planting Plants/Tree Too Low

This simple mistake is the most common one we see and does major damage to the plant. It also is the main reason that we see trees and shrubs planted for a while and not actively growing. Most people think a tree is supposed to be planted with the root ball flush with the soil level, but that is incorrect. This results in people planting their trees too deep which makes it hard for your newly planted tree to thrive, as the base of the plant cannot breathe.

What should be done is to install the tree so the root flare is flush with the soil level, which looks like the tree is planted too high to the untrained eye, like the...

October's To-Do List for Your Gainesville Lawn

October is always that in-between month that feels like one foot is still in summer while the other foot steps toward fall. It’s a great month to add new landscaping such as sod, trees, and shrubs and to start planning for your fall / winter annuals.

It’s finally officially fall, and there are several things you want to be aware of in this transitional season as the owner of a Gainesville landscape. 

While we’re still getting some leftover summer afternoon rains, it is typical that we experience a little dry spell between now and winter. It can be a tricky time of year irrigation-wise. If you don't have a smart controller that knows to increase the settings to account for dry weather patterns, watch your turf closely. When you see grass blades folded in half and the overall turf color turning bluish-gray, run the sprinklers and add...

Is Fall a Great Season to Re-landscape my Gainesville Yard?

Plants, shrubs and flowers thrive when the weather isn't extreme – not too hot and not too cold, not too wet and not too dry. It is important to understand the best seasons for landscaping in Gainesville, because although we do plant landscapes year-round, there are seasons when it is better than others, and fall is certainly one of those seasons. 

For many novice landscapers, selecting the right type of plants and the right time to install them can be confusing. Whether your objective is to improve curb appeal, create a space for entertaining, or minimize your maintenance, your effort and investment needs to thrive in order to succeed.  To make sure it's the most successful, it is important you know all the facts and particulars about your soil conditions, desired plants, irrigation needs, sun/shade needs, and fertilization / pest control requirements.

Factors also include the amount of sunlight that will be projected in the morning or the afternoon? Or do your...

Gainesville Landscape Plant of the Month: Bulbine

This is the perfect perennial for Gainesville lawns because of it's tolerance for hot temperatures, dry, and sandy soils, and it provides color throughout the warm months in our area.

It blooms repeatedly with cheerful flowers that are yellow or orange, depending on the variety. It makes a great ground cover since each plant will grow over time to form a clump that can reach up to four feet wide. This clumping habit also makes bulbine a great passalong plant for other Gainesville gardeners, as well.

The succulent, grass-like foliage grows to about a foot tall, while the flower stalks typically reach two feet, dancing above the leaves throughout the summer months.

Bulbine was named a 2006 Plant of the Year by the Florida Nursery Growers and Landscape Association and has continued to increase in popularity since.

Bulbine will grow best if it is planted in a spot that receives full sun and has well-drained soil, though it can be grown in a site that gets...

Landscape Plant of the Month: Pineapple Guava

Pineapple guava plants, also called feijoa plants, are large shrubs or shaped ornamental trees that add interest to Gainesville, Florida landscapes in more ways than one. Their visual appeal created by this plant's grey-green foliage and showy warm-season flowers make it a wonderful specimen plant in any landscape Design. Additionally, the pineapple guavas produce delicious and edible fruit with a flavor similar to a pineapple. With a dense habit and a height and spread of 8 to 15 feet, these landscape pest- and disease-resistant evergreens are suitable for several uses within your lawn. 

Pineapple guava was named a Florida Garden Select plant in 2009 by the Florida Nursery Growers and Landscape Association. It can be grown anywhere in Florida and is even able to handle the salty soils near the coast and sandy soils in Alachua County.

The plants are versatile and easy to grow...

Gainesville Landscape Plant of the Month: Supertunias

The three big keys for successful Supertunias are: Sun, Water, and Fertilizers. These are the three things you must keep in mind to have the best performance from your Supertunias in your Gainesville, Florida yard.

All petunias want a full day of sun because the more shade they are planted in, the fewer flowers they can produce. Think of it this way, for Supertunias sun = energy – they need this energy to keep producing more flowers, because flowers require energy to produce. The more energy the plant has the better the flowering. We recommend AT LEAST 6 hours of full, hot sun a day for best results. So from 10:00am – 4:00 pm minimum for best results. With sun and Supertunias, more is almost always better!

The plants like consistent water. They can tolerate a little more or a little less, but the key is to be consistent. The more they receive their needed water on a regular basis the more reliable they are in producing new flowers. This is why things get dicey when...

Gainesville Landscape Plant of the Month: Mexican Heather

Cuphea Allyson, or "Mexican Heather" is desired for its delicate, ever-blooming purple blossoms, glossy green foliage, heat tolerance, drought resistance, low maintenance and mounding, semi-trailing growth habit for Gainesville Landscape designs.

Allyson Mexican Heather is a multi-stemmed annual with an upright spreading habit of growth with dainty purple-pink tubular flowers. Its medium texture blends into the garden, but can always be balanced by a couple of finer or coarser plants for an effective composition. Heather is a relatively low maintenance plant, and is best cleaned up in early spring before it resumes active growth for the season. It is a good choice for attracting butterflies to your yard, and it has no significant negative characteristics.

Allyson Mexican Heather will grow to be about 24 inches tall at maturity, with a spread of 24 inches. Its foliage tends to remain dense right to the ground, not requiring facer plants in front.

This plant does...

QuickTip: What should I do about that shady part of my Gainesville yard?

Today I want to discuss a problem many Gainesville homeowners face in their lawn.

As we've brought up in several blogs, all you need for a fundamentally healthy lawn is the proper amount of the lawn's 3 basic needs: sun, water, and food (fertilizer.) If you have those three things, your grass will fill in by itself in time. If you don’t, it doesn’t matter how much time, effort, or money you throw at the problem, you will end up with that same bare spot under the tree.

Consider how much sun you need for grasses in Gainesville lawns:

  • St. Augustine needs about 5-6 hours to establish itself. Once established, the St. Augustine will gradually acclimate to less light (which
  • ...

Protect These Gainesville Landscape Plants from Freezing Temperatures

There is a Freeze Warning coming up in Northern Florida for this weekend. The current forecast is predicting overnight freezing temperatures for both Saturday and Sunday nights, which could result damage or Gainesville sprinkler systems and tender landscape plants. Here are some tips that will help minimize the harmful effects of low temperatures:

  • Cover your sprinkler system's backflow preventer with protective covering and change settings like this. Upgrading your weather sensor to a rain/freeze sensor also protects your irrigation from running and leaving moisture to cause freeze damage on plants. 
  • Cover your cold-sensitive plants (see list below) with sheets or blankets, but not plastic.
  • Don't mow or use heavy equipment on your lawn if it is frozen or if there is frost present the following morning.

Most Common Cold-sensitive Gainesville...