growing brugs in ground, sw Florida

marcia_m(5 and 9)November 6, 2011

I'm a snowbird, living in western PA in summer, SW Florida in winter (inland and south of Sarasota). I have tried rooted brugs cuttings in the ground in Florida. They either are killed by the freezes we've had the last two winters, or never survive over the summer when we're not here to water (no auto watering system).

I brought some more cuttings with me to root and try one more time, Frosty Pink and Charles Grimaldi. Any hints for getting them to grow for me in the ground? Siting--sun, partial shade--or starting with larger plants, etc. Or should I just give up on them here, or grow them in pots here, too. I overwinter my two plants in the basement in PA but was hoping I could grow them in the ground here without lugging pots.

Thanks for any suggestions.


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mnwsgal 4 MN(4)

Since you are there over the winter you can cover them when frost is expected. Once they are well established they may die back to the ground after a frost but the roots should survive and the plants regrow.

I doubt any newly planted brugs are going to survive the summer if you don't have someone watering them or an automatic watering system.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2011 at 12:14PM
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Hi Marcia-
Brugs need a lot of nurturing- ie- they have a high water and fertilizer need once established, if you want them to thrive and bloom. You can leave them in pots on a patio or porch for the summer, and bring them in over the winter, or they will die. They won't live in ground through your PA winters so you'll have to dig them up and bring them in. You can store them in a cool basement or garage so long as they don't freeze. Only water enough to keep them from shriveling. Lots of great info on this site if you do searches. Good luck!

    Bookmark   November 7, 2011 at 10:47AM
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marcia_m(5 and 9)

Hi, Kathy,
I know I can't leave the plants outside in PA winters--I grow them in pots and bring them in to overwinter in the basement. I was just wondering how to grow them in the ground in Florida.

As snowbirds, we're not in Florida in the summers, but we usually get lots of rain in the summertime. I have cuttings from my PA plants, so I'm going to start them in pots and plant them in the ground in the spring. It will be an experiment. If they don't survive the summer, that will be that!

Thanks for your response.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2011 at 8:13PM
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Marcia if you could get them established in FL while you are there they might be able to withstand neglect over the summer. Bring some rooted cuttings down with you and get them right in the ground. When do you head down and when do you come back? I'm surprised you aren't already there.

Unfortunately FL has experienced some unusually cold temps over the past few years, even in So. FL. I spend time in West Palm and Boca every winter and recall several nights with temps at or near freezing. I remember a couple years ago weeks and weeks with way below normal temps. Everything looked like %$#@ down there and a lot was lost. Normally you get a day or two of cold temps in So FL but that was something like a month straight of cold. I couldn't believe I had to shop for winter cloths down there.

Could you try a layer of mulch during the cold? Something thick but with a lot of air pockets, like crushed leaves? You could circle the brug with some chicken wire and fill in the space between the stem and wire with the leaves. It would also prevent the soil from drying out too quickly and break down and enrich the soil. Are there any year round residents near your house that you could pay to water the brugs once a week over the summer? Good luck.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2011 at 6:17PM
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marcia_m(5 and 9)

Thank you for the suggestions, Karyn. We are in Florida now but my cuttings are sitting in water to root. I will try to pot them up but plant them in the ground in the spring, February here. I can then mulch and water through the beginning of May.

I think the brug I had planted this past spring got weedwacked by our terrible lawn service over the summer. They also weedwacked and damaged the bark on 4 or 5 small trees, leaving two citrus trees dead and the others declining. I'd like to weedwack those guys!

    Bookmark   November 11, 2011 at 4:41PM
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sultry_jasmine_nights (Florida 9a)

Another problem I have found out myself and from others in different parts of FL is nematodes. They are hell on brugs, roses, and tomatoes and lots of other stuff. Make sure to add lots of compost and organic matter to your beds it will help with nematodes and to hold the water in our naturally sand soils. I only have a few beds that are good enough to keep my brugs in so far since I moved here. The very first year I didn't know better and when I dug up my brugs to overwinter some that had seed pods on them, I found very horrible root damage from nematodes. I had to reroot those brugs and start over. I keep many of mine in pots still because of them.

    Bookmark   November 28, 2011 at 4:49PM
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