GARDENING GUIDE FOR HARDINESS ZONE 9B

My NC family has, in large part, moved to Florida. I am now on the Atlantic side and pondering how to enhance the garden that will be established by our builder. Knowing little about Florida gardening, I am almost starting from scratch. My first thought was "plunge right in" with what I know already, but even the seasons baffle me here. When to plant an annual? How will roses grow here? Flowering bushes? Hydrangeas? So many questions. So, here I am making a plan by month to guide me, and others, down the garden path.

Melbourne, Florida is in Zone 9B. My brother-in-law jokes that the B is for "barren" to the novice gardener! Coming from Zone 7, this WILL obviously be a new endeavor for me.

Zone 9 has a hardiness rating of -3.9 to -6.6 C or 25 to 30 F. The summer heat will be a problem too; the heat zone for our area is measured by the number of days over 86 degrees, or in our case this approximates 121 - 150. This figure must be important to me as I do not want my garden too crispy!

This heat index leads me to desiring plants that use less water but can tolerate those common thunderstorm bursts and gushes of water, less pesticides (I am not good about using them in any zone!) and I need to acquire knowledge of the timing and use of fertilizers. Two of our future neighbors told us even palm trees do best with fertilizing. I thought Mother Nature took care of the carefree palms. Hummmp.

For sun and shade patterns our new home is being constructed to face North from the front door (our front yard) and South from the screened back porch, overlooking the "lake" (a large name given to Florida's numerous small retention ponds). The sides of the house are alleyways to me (having come from 3 acres in NC) and will definitely have limited sun and a lot of shade from the closely neighboring homes on both sides. This will be an interesting area to plant.

So, now I have discovered our hardiness and heat zone properties. In my next hub I think I will start learning about what to do in a garden in March, as that is the month we move into our new home with its construction landscape of Floritam grass, sprinklers, some shrubs, 3 palms, and 1 non-palm tree. Stay in touch. Be one of my first FOLLOWERS. Accompany me on my garden path. I look forward to hearing and learning from you. Donna.

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Becky Puetz profile image

Becky Puetz 5 years ago from Oklahoma

I stayed in Florida one Summer. The weather was very tropical, it rained most of the time which is great for many plants. It was humid, even when it wasn't raining and the sun was shining bright. Good luck to you with your gardening in the new zone :)


msresearch profile image

msresearch 5 years ago from The Space Coast of Florida Author

Thanks. I am sure I will need it. I lived in Ft. Laud. as a teen and endured the heat just fine, but I am older now and remember when I visited Melbourne as a younger woman that my parents disliked air conditioning. They reluctantly would turn it on when the day was hottest. My mother grew plants in a Lanai which was small but lovely. I can do this!! Thanks.

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