Florida is a very large and diverse state for plant life of almost every variety. Florida’s size and diversity are spread throughout four distinct growing zones. North, South, Central, and Tropical Florida make up these zones. The different challenges these zones experience in growing plants varies widely from north to tropical Florida. Here we will go over some of the key points of interest in each of these growing zones.
Although light and in-frequent, northern Florida does experience winter-like conditions related to frosting and freezes in some areas. Much like the rest of Florida, the spring and summer months still experience high heat and humidity as well. Seasonal changes in this area are much more pronounced than in the other zones. Because of this, you’ll want to be especially prudent about defensive measures for frost and freezes on your more delicate plant life like potted flowers or shrubs. Temperatures in northern Florida can drop to around 40* and so growing tropical plants in these zones must be planned more tightly around the warmer months. Apples, grapes, peaches, and pecans are all excellent varietals for northern Florida. Finally, the soil of North Florida is still sandy but with a mixture of clays as well.
The climate of central Florida tends to be the mildest of the four. Frost freezes are even less common but can still occur. Seasonal changes here start to get less noticeable. The vast majority of central Florida is an excellent breeding ground for citrus bearing trees and plants, producing abundant harvest due to the even weather. The Soils here are a mixture of three elements sand, clay, and peat. This mixture also helps in growing temperate zone vegetables, peaches, limes, and pineapples.
As we move further south, we start to get into the tropical climates. Traditional symptoms of winter are near non-existent. Seasonal changes are all related to heat and rain. The northern plant varieties will have a much tougher time with the extreme heat here during some summers. Also, you’ll want to consider that some plants will not fruit or flower unless they experience some period of cold to indicate the season to them. Soils here are mostly sand with some peat and will require substantial soil amendments and intelligent placement.
The last stop south is the paradise-like tropical Florida region consisting of mainly Key West. This tropical climate year-round will only grow plants that do well in high heat and humidity. Here your soil is entirely sand and limestone. Growing here is a very specialized endeavor compared with the rest of the greater Florida areas.
Florida’s rich diversity is astounding. Although there are some soil concerns, tending a garden and landscape can be truly rewarding. Remember in areas where with mostly sand for soil rely more heavily on soil amendments. The heat and humidity are generally considered high for most of Florida, so watering is often essential for more vibrant results. Choosing plants based on zonal characteristics will lead to the best success in your garden so understanding your zone is recommended.