Growing Lettuce


Lettuce growing in a garden

Winter is the perfect time to grow lettuce in Florida.

Lettuce comes in four major types: crisphead, butterhead, leaf and romaine. All can be grown in Florida, but leaf lettuce often works best since it’s more suited to our mild climate and can be harvested throughout the season.

Good leaf lettuce selections for Florida include ‘Black-seeded Simpson’, ‘Red Sails’ and many Salad Bowl varieties.

You can start yours from seed or purchase transplants. Try planting in the ground, in containers, or even in a floating hydroponic garden. When you should plant depends on where you live, so check with your local Extension office for exact planting dates.

With proper watering and care, your lettuce should be ready to harvest within a few months of planting.

Fire Bush -Hamelia patens

Hummingbirds and butterflies enjoy the nectar in the flowers.

There is a continuous crop of these seedy fruits and birds are quite fond of them.

The sap has been used to treat skin rashes.

The firebush can be used as a foundation plant for large buildings and is superb when placed in the background of a mass of shrubs in a border. It is excellent in a mass planting and functions well as a screen or border. A hedge of firebush will need regular clipping. Flowers are often removed during this process.

Hamelia patens can be found growing naturally in a variety of situations in Florida from Sumter County southward. However, it grows best when well supplied with moisture and prefers a full sun to partial shade location in the landscape.

This plant can take heat and drought, but a strong wind can cause some leaf browning.

Though native, it is quite tender and can be killed to the ground during a freeze. Regrowth from the roots is rapid and rampant, and it has proven to be root hardy through zone 9.

It functions very well as an annual in more northerly zones. The firebush is known to be tolerant of the lime bearing (high soil pH) soils of southern Florida.

Fertilize this plant sparingly to bring out its best characteristics, and do not allow lawn grasses to invade its root zone.

Propagate Hamelia patens by seed (which must be fresh), cuttings, or air-layers.

Pest and Diseases

Occasional attacks of scales or mites may require control measures. New growth may be attacked by aphids in early spring, but natural predators often rapidly check the invasion. In south Florida, larvae of a moth species sometimes partially defoliates the stems, but they are easily controlled if you wish.

Scientific name: Hamelia patens

Pronunciation: huh-MEE-lee-uh PAY-tenz

Common name(s): firebush, scarlet bush

Family: Rubiaceae

Plant type: shrub

USDA hardiness zones: 9 through 11 (Fig. 2)

Planting month for zone 9: Apr; May; Jun; Jul; Aug; Sep

Planting month for zone 10 and 11: Feb; Mar; Apr; May; Jun; Jul; Aug; Sep; Oct; Nov; Dec

Origin: native to Florida

Uses: specimen; accent; screen; border; mass planting; attracts butterflies; attracts hummingbirds


Height: 6 to 12 feet

Spread: 5 to 8 feet

Plant habit: spreading

Plant density: dense

Growth rate: fast

Texture: medium


Leaf arrangement: whorled

Leaf type: simple

Leaf margin: undulate

Leaf shape: ovate

Leaf venation: brachidodrome; pinnate

Leaf type and persistence: evergreen

Leaf blade length: 4 to 8 inches

Leaf color: green

Fall color: red

Fall characteristic: showy

Prune it as needed to keep it to a reasonable size but avoid over-pruning. This will limit the production of flowers. You can propagate firebush by seed or by cuttings.

The small, black, glossy fruits are rounded and can be eaten.

For southern gardeners, growing a firebush is a great way to add color and density to a space. With the right conditions of sun, heat, and moderately dry soil, you can easily keep this pretty bush happy and thriving in your garden.

Deltona Gardens Contest

The Deltona Garden Club is sponsoring students from first through fifth grade to participate in the 2020 National Garden Clubs, Inc. Poster Contest!

The U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service and the National Garden Clubs, Inc. are giving students the opportunity to demon- strate through original drawings of Smokey Bear or Woodsy Owl their understanding of wildfire prevention and basic environmental conservation principles.

Any child/group of children may participate. Scout troops, after school programs, and the like are perfectly appropriate. Children must be Florida residents.

See Smokey Bear and Woodsy Owl Contest Poster Rules for details:

The child’s grade must be included on the poster so that the participant can compete in the correct grade category.

Children must be Florida residents and ‚Äúsponsored by a garden club‚ÄĚ.
Contact Jill Anderson, FFGC State Chairman or Anna Sarich

Local winning posters must be received by the Smokey Bear & Woodsy Owl State Chairmen by January 20, 2021.

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