March 2012 Newsletter

Issue No. 10
March 2012

Welcome to Amelia's SmartyPlants
Monthly Newsletter

Inside This Issue
Spring, Bugs, and Great Items
SmartyTips for March
March Specials
New at SmartyPlants

Spring, Bugs, and Great Items   

Spring has sprung, and it is time to think about fertilizing. Typically more fertilizer is needed in Florida's warm wet season and less in the cool dry winter. Although May through October is the official wet season, the recent spate of days in the eighties has kick-started new plant growth earlier than normal. And since gardening is often best approached by reading what is happening on the ground, this year we have already begun to feed our gardens. Food is crucial to plants as they sprout new growth. Proper nourishment affects the overall health and look of a garden. Furthermore, healthy plants are more able to defend themselves from insects and disease. See SmartyTips below for fertilizing advice.
Unfortunately, the nice warmer weather also means an increase in the development of whitefly, a tiny white-winged, sap-sucking insect, with which many of you have become intimately familiar. Ficus whitefly can cause severe damage and death to many varieties of ficus. A newer species, spiraling whitefly, is also invading many areas of south Florida. This species is capable of infesting a wide range of landscape plants including: gumbo limbo, banana, black olive, mango, palms, live oak, copperleaf, cocoplum, wax myrtle and others. To date, this whitefly is not causing as severe damage as the ficus variety.

What to look for: Adult whiteflies can be seen flying from foliage if disturbed. They resemble very small moths with yellow bodies and white wings. White waxy buildup and/or white spirals on the underside of leaves indicate eggs. Furthermore, the unsightly black sooty mold may results from the insects' activity.

What to do:  See SmartyTips below. 

We wanted to share with you our excitement about the innovative growing system in the Lechuza line of planters. They are quickly gaining popularity because of their fail-safe watering method. These smart planters combine function with beautiful design. Their simple striking shapes are an asset to your house and garden, while guaranteeing you more efficient plant care. Your plants will flourish naturally with integrated sub-irrigation that enables water to circulate just like in nature. The plant's roots will not rot in standing water and will have the necessary amount to uptake as much or as little as they need to thrive. Stop by to see the complete line of Lechuza planters as well as the other sub-irrigation systems that can be purchased separately to fit a wide selection of planters.

Finally, we have received a new shipment of Campo de' Fiori. Loved by garden aficionados everywhere, this exquisite line of aged, naturally mossed terra cotta planters and urns is one of our most popular and requested lines. Once these terra cotta pots are planted, the natural aging process will continue to evolve, creating a varied surface texture of vibrant mosses along with naturally occurring colors that evoke the classic look of antiquity. We now have a very large selection with new styles from which to choose.

SmartyTips for March:
Fertilize Now - Since most beds in Florida have a mix of palms, trees, shrubs and ground cover, we recommend using a slow-release granular mix that will meet the needs of the most nutrition-demanding plants in the bed, which are usually the palm trees. This way you meet or exceed the requirements of all the plants in a mixed bed. If you have further questions don't hesitate to come in and speak to one of our experts. We are fully stocked and ready to help you with all your fertilizer needs.

Whitefly Control - In our own yard we have had success keeping whitefly from multiplying exponentially with the use of water. With a strong jet, we spray the underside of leaves of our infected Gumbo Limbo. As adult flies disperse, we drown them with water. The process needs to be repeated often (twice per week). Although far from a scientific pest-control method, it's helping us keep the number of whitefly at bay without the use of chemicals. 

If infestation is severe, there are insecticides, most notably systemic ones, that can be used. However, we recommend using these as a last resort. They damage the environment, kill off desirable insects and birds, and studies have found that overuse of insecticides leads to resistant strains of whiteflies. 

Good time to plant - Spring is certainly the best time for new plants to acclimate slowly to their new environment before the summer heat arrives.  So, happy planting!! 

New at SmartyPlants 
  • Dancing Birds - These replicas of Florida birds are almost real. They bob and twist in a bed of native grasses and look like the real thing. And, they are made in the USA!
  • Sub-Irrigation Systems - Sub-irrigation systems that can be used with any planter are here.  
  • Glass Art - Although we've had glass art before, we just received a new shipment of it.  Customers have been asking for it, so come and get it!!   
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