Florida rain and sun burning

surf1August 29, 2014

Is it me or is it impossible to grow anything decent in South FL lol. I'm having a lot of trouble with plants, obviously FL is hot and we get a lot of rain. So the plants are out in the sun, it rains, sun comes back out and burns the plants as the water droplets act like magnifying glass. I've gone through countless countless basil plants large and small (some started as seedlings, some from seed) and they all suffer the same fate, tomato plants too gave up on even strains for high heat, after spending months and months growing pepper plants, they all started budding and peppers started growing. Then it rains and with the sun 95% of the peppers have sun scalding or whatever its called (as if I just stood there with a magnifying glass and burned spots on them).

I just grabbed more plants, from mint to tyme to italian and thai basil etc. And then it hit me, still going to have this issue. So how do people grow anything in FL?

I read some people just move their plants in doors, well that's just a pain in the a$$ lol and who has the time for that unless you don't work. I've done that sometimes into my FL room if I'm at the home office but it's a flat out pain. And with all the plants now no way am I going to bother doing that even at night.

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balloonflower(5b Denver CO, HZ 5-6, Sunset 2b)

Shade cloth?

    Bookmark   August 29, 2014 at 4:40PM
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fatamorgana2121(Zone 5/6)

Be sure to check out the Florida Gardening or other Southern gardening forums. I live in the frozen north and have a completely different set of issues. :)


    Bookmark   August 31, 2014 at 11:31AM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Water droplets cannot act like a magnifying lens; they lay flat against the surface of the leaf. Right? To focus sunlight into a beam requires that the droplet would face the sun with the flat side. It's just simple physics at work.

If sunlight were such a problem, millions and millions of us would have the same problems as you. Basil is a sun loving herb, basking in the full sun and loving a good rain shower. Even in Florida.

I've not lived in Florida but spent over 20 years in subtropical coastal S. Carolina. No problems with the sun for my herbs and garden plants.
I have family in Ponte Vedra who grow container herbs and tomatoes on their sunny patio.

I'm thinking that something else is going on. The first thing that crossed my find regarding the burn spots is the Blotch Leafminer, a pest that has cropped up very frequently this year.

The heat can be an issue, however. And so can sun scald on the tender skin of certain fruits.....though not from water droplets. If you want to try something that really, really helps to ease the stress of excess heat and sun, investigate 'Surround', a kaolin clay product manufactured to be appled as a spray to leaves and such fruit as tomatoes, squash, peppers, apples, etc. It is a white film that simply reflects the sun! Works as a great repellent for insect pests, too.

I use it on my tomatoes and summer squash plants most years....hasn't been that hot of a summer here this year.....and not particularly buggy. Wait, I did apply it to my squash vines to protect against SVB.

    Bookmark   August 31, 2014 at 5:42PM
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I'll have to look that stuff up. Yeh my pepper plants were killed by the sun, everyone said just leave them in sun all day and they'll be fine, almost all the peppers got sun scalding burns and threw a bunch out other day (have 2 peppers that are OK and one starting to bud) after months and months of growing, too much work for that lol. Maybe the basil was the blotch miner? Hmmmm

And just picked a bunch of hornworm off the Pepper plant and eggs. Is the kaolin spray good to repel them (moths etc) and others like whiteflies?

Thanks for the help guys, didn't realize there was a FL board.

This post was edited by surf1 on Wed, Sep 3, 14 at 9:28

    Bookmark   September 3, 2014 at 9:27AM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

About the 'Surround'....I have found it to be a deterrent against egg laying.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2014 at 12:09PM
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Hi! I was about to post something similar. I live in FL too and face the same issue, after numerous tries of growing basil, oregano, cilantro etc, and then burning, I found the ONLY way to grow herbs without killing them by the time they come out and start growing is plating them in pots outside but under a roof to protect them from our crazy unexpected rain and then sudden FL sun and water them by hand.

    Bookmark   October 3, 2014 at 10:51AM
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rhizo: to prove simple physics at work all you have to do is water any plant in the full sun during the warmer time of day.

    Bookmark   October 6, 2014 at 11:25AM
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nomen_nudum: and when scientists did exactly that, they found that yes, indeed, waterdrops on plant leaf surfaces CAN cause sunburn to varying degrees.

Oddly, the above research paper has been widely referenced in articles claiming that water on plant leaves = burnt foliage has been entirely debunked. When that is exactly NOT what the researchers said, LOL!

Here in the hot arid desert, if I water and get water drops on the leaves, it does - sometimes - damage the leaves. But not always, or even as often as I sometimes fear. And the damage is generally slight when it does occur.

And no, it is not leafminers or some other pest.

Fortunately (and I never thought I would use the word "fortunately" in this context) since it IS a desert, it rarely rains. I can see where even small amounts of damage could accumulate to lots of damage in an area where it rains nearly every day, followed by hours of fierce sunshine.

Sadly I have no solution - except maybe to run out after it rains and try to knock some of the excess water off the leaves. The use of shade cloth might be worth trying however.

When I lived in Puerto Rico, I never had a problem with sunscald. I grew peas and lettuce under shade cloth. Peppers, eggplant, tomatoes, all grew like mad things. We would get torrential downpours several times a week, but they didn't generally last long. I don't know why this would be a problem in FL but not in PR - maybe something about the different varieties being grown? I have NO IDEA any more what exact varieties I was growing there, but I really regret not being there long enough to establish a good plot of pineapple!

I did have a couple of orange trees in the yard that grew the most hideous, scabrous, scary-looking, juicy, delicious oranges I have ever tasted.

This post was edited by zensojourner on Wed, Oct 8, 14 at 15:51

    Bookmark   October 8, 2014 at 3:44PM
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surf1, I see you posted the end of August. If you were trying to grow the plants mentioned in the three months prior to that, that is your problem. Now is the beginning of gardening season for most veggies. As for basil, I planted some lots of years ago. I forget if it was Mexican or Thai. Whatever it is, I haven't had to plant it again. It self-seeds so much that it is almost a pest. The attached photo is of one that decided to invade a container of parsley. Check out the link for planting times for your area.

Here is a link that might be useful: Florida Vegetable Gardening Guide

    Bookmark   October 9, 2014 at 10:01AM
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That looks like Thai basil from what I can see. Though I suppose it may have hybridized in the course of self-seeding.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2014 at 1:13PM
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