This Month's Forecast: Dry and Buggy
Like March, April in Florida tends to be a rather dry and windy month. On average, the daily high temperature rises to about 82º while the daily low does not usually fall below 68º. Wildfires often persist in flaring up during April and will do so until the rainy season begins in May. Strong, steady winds and lack of rain-fall make most of Florida highly susceptible to wildfires. Follow this link to see the current Keetch-Byram Drought Index (KBDI) map for Florida.
If your vegetable and annual plants have survived March, keep an eye on them! Aphids, leafhoppers, grasshoppers and all other sorts of nasties are on the munch and looking for some tasty tid-bits to fill their bellies with. Continue to watch for water distress in your garden. The rains still will not not be enough to sustain your plants. Mulching them is still highly recommended.
April in the Florida Garden is also the time for Frangipanni (Plumeria) to begin blooming and Gardenias to begin budding and possibly blooming. You may have noticed that some of your trees have been dropping leaves. This is quite normal for Oak, Mahogany, Black Olive, Poinciana and a few other species of trees. Many are now or will be covered soon with bright green foliage and some (such as the blue Jacaranda), with an explosion of blooms.
Enjoy April, it is the last month of Florida's cool-season. May's rains begin to usher in Florida's famously hot and humid summer.
As in March, if you insist on starting a traditional "Northern Garden" in April the following plants are recommended for planting this month:
Vegetables: Calabaza, Cantaloupe, Cassava, Chayote, Cherry Tomato, Collard Greens, Cow Peas, Cucumbers, Dasheen, Jerusalem Artichoke, Jicama, Lima Beans, Malabar Spinach, Malanga, Mustard, New Zealand Spinach, Okra, Papayas, Peanuts, Pumpkins, Snap Beans, Squash, Sweet Potatoes, Turnips, Watermelons and Yams.
Herbs: Anise, Basil, Borage, Chives, Dill, Sweet Marjoram, Mint, Oregano, Rosemary, Sage, Savory and Thyme.
Flowers: Ageratum, Aster, Begonia, Balsam (Impatiens), Blue Daze, Celosia, Coleus, Cosmos, Cockscomb, Gaillardias, Globe Amaranth, Marigolds, Morning Glory, Pentas, Periwinkles, Petunias, Portulacas, Salvia, Strawflowers, Torenia, Vincas and Zinnias.
Bulbs: Achimenes, Agapanthus, Amaryllis, Asiatic Lilies, Begonias, Blood Lily, Caladiums, Canna, Crinum, Dahlia, Gladioli, Gloriosa Lily and Zephyranthes.
Sources: Florida Home Grown; Florida Gardening Month by Month