Container gardening, or minigardening, is a popular choice for those who do not have a large yard space. Many different types of plants can be successfully grown in a minigarden however it is important that gardeners choose plants adapted to life in a container and suitable to the hot summers. Choose varieties and types of vegetables, flowers or ornamental plants suited to planting zones eight through 10, which covers the state of Florida.
According to the University of Florida's website, there are types of tomatoes that have been specially bred to flourish in a Florida container garden. The Sunshine State's climate features hot summer, which may be challenging when growing vegetables. It is important to select a variety of tomato that is meant for a mini-garden and adapted to withstand a Floridian summer. Planting Florida Basket, Floragold Basket, Tiny Tim, Micro Tom and Sweet 100 varieties of tomatoes improves a home gardener's chances for an abundant container crop. The Florida Basket tomato is a dwarf plant adapted to life in a hanging basket and produces one inch wide tomatoes on a 6-inch plant. Floragold Basket tomatoes are yellow in color and similar in size to common cherry tomatoes. Tiny Tim tomatoes are aptly named because the tomatoes only reach about 3/4 inches in diameter and grow on an 18-inch vine. Micro Tom tomatoes will grow in a container as small as 4 inches wide. Sweet 100s are the largest variety of Florida's recommended container tomatoes. The plant produces small tomatoes that grow in clusters.
Small palm trees often thrive in container gardens and several varieties are suited well to Florida's climate. According to the Florida Plants website, the Silver Saw Palmetto and the Malayan Coconut Palm are well suited for mini-garden life. The Silver Saw Palmetto is often found growing the wilds of coastal Florida and South Carolina. It typically reaches a height of about 6 feet and will grow both indoors and outdoors. Plant in a container suited for a 1- to 5-foot-wide root system. Bringing a Silver Saw Palmetto indoors may be beneficial to the air quality because the plant has the ability to act as a natural humidifier and removes carbon monoxide from the air. The Malayan Coconut Palm can reach heights of more than 30 feet, but remains dwarfed when grown in a container. Its origin is mysterious, though many gardeners believe it originated in Southeast Asia. Like the Silver Saw Palmetto, the Malayan Coconut Palm is suited to the climate of southern Florida and grows well indoors and outdoors.
In addition to tomatoes and palm trees, there are several types of herbs well suited to growing in container gardens throughout Florida. According to the University of Florida’s website, basil, catnip, dill and mint grow well throughout Florida. Growing herbs benefits those who enjoy a cooking by providing fresh herbs throughout the growing season. Basil comes in many varieties and thrives in Florida. It should be planted in the spring or early fall. Leaves may be used fresh or can be dried for later use. Though catnip is not commonly used in cooking, it is a pretty, ornamental plant. Fresh leaves may be given to cats as a special treat. Dill is an annual plant which may reach heights up to four feet. Dill is typically planted in November or December and is also commercially grown in Florida. Mint is one of Florida’s best-adapted herbs and may take over a garden. Planting it in pots helps keep it contained and is perfect for flavoring everything from sweet to savory dishes.
- Photo Credit container garden image by andreaschneider from Fotolia.com
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