Your Monthly Grow-zine

July 2020

Things to do in the garden this month...


There's still time to plant summer annuals - like the zinnias pictured above. Yes, annuals are fairly short-lived, but what a fun (and inexpensive) way to spice things up with bright colors in your garden!

Shop for new plants at your locally-owned nursery. Planting new things now - during Rainy Season - helps get things established with usually less watering work on our part.

Run irrigation twice weekly if there's been no rain.

Check your mulch. Heavy rains can move it around (especially true of pine bark nuggets) leaving some plants over-mulched and other areas somewhat bare.

Watch out for bugs. Take bagged cuttings of any damaged or unhappy plants to your local nursery for diagnosis and treatment advice.

Create a tropical canopy

A web visitor recently wrote to ask for suggestions: His aim is to create a lush, tropical garden but he needed ideas for...

..."large plants that have dense, big foliage and give shade to plants that can grow underneath it. My goal is to create a canopy to allow shade plants to grow underneath the larger sun plants."

To do this, two kinds of sun protection are necessary - overhead shade and side shade.

Side shade involves placing taller plants on the west side to block the afternoon sun. This may also be necessary to do on the east side to keep out morning sun.

Overhead shade comes from plants with wide, broad-spreading tops to protect plants directly below from midday sun.

The combination of both strategies creates an ideal canopy for shade-loving plants.

Most shade plants can take a bit of morning sun or dappled sunlight - though there are a few that can't handle sun at all. In many cases, it will take some time for larger plants to give enough shade for some plants.

For an overhead tropical canopy, palms are best.

Palms like Adonidia have wide leaves, so using one with at least 3 trunks will provide shade for a while - until they grow tall.

Pygmy Date Palms (especially multi-trunk ones) can be used to create a somewhat wide dappled shade area.

Chinese Fan Palm spreads wide and stays fairly low for some years, though it eventually forms a trunk. Arikury Palm, once mature, can create a canopy if planted in groups.

Pygmy Date Palms

All palms - unless you buy them field-grown and somewhat mature, will take some time to grow enough spread to create a broad area of shade beneath. And eventually some palms will grow tall enough to allow sunlight to shine through from the side, but if you have placed side-shade plants well, your shade garden should be well protected.

Areca Palm

Areca Palm can provide a good side-shade barrier against afternoon sun, and, when mature, will provide overhead shade as well.

Bamboo is another plant you can use for side shade now and overhead later.

You can also use Fishtail Palm, Arenga Palm, white Bird of Paradise.

You could even do a pergola and grow vines over it for shade beneath.

The Plant Pages for each of the plants noted above can be found on our Sitemap for more info.

Need ideas for shade plants for your garden? See our Landscape in a Box section on Shade Landscaping.

What's new at

I've added this picture of Perennial Morning Glory to the page on Flowering Vines.

This vine is one of those featured on the Plant Page on Unusual Vines - and the bloom color is stunning!

My latest ebooks are here!
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All the best info and ideas from past issues of our monthly newsletter - The Grow-zine!

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Are you a Snowbird?

Want to know more about growing a beautiful landscape with only part-time care?

Check out the new, updated edition of my paperback book, Snowbird Gardening.

I've added more plants, more photos and up-to-date info for South Florida Snowbirds.

This new edition features 146 plant varieties - palms, shrubs, trees and flowers - with photos and information about each one.

Now available as an ebook! Find out more...

Thanks for subscribing to the Grow-zine!

If you have any questions, comments or suggestions about what you'd like to see included in the Grow-zine - or the website - please let me know!

Have a great 4th of July!

Chase Landre

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How to soften horizontal lines

Some of us live in long, low ranch houses...visually providing lots of horizontal lines.

The "horizontalness" can make the home look bland and uninteresting, so it helps to add some "roundness" to the equation.

When designing a landscape for this type of home, plant large, canopied trees in the backyard. Their rounded tops break up the long, horizontal roof line when viewed from the street.

Smaller trees or large shrubs near the corners soften the edges and make the house appear less elongated.

The iguana problem

Iguanas are a terrible nuisance in South Florida. People often write to ask about plants that iguanas won't eat.

It's my understanding that there's no plant safe from these awful critters...they eat just about everything.

I've read this online:

"Low fences around gardens can be enough to keep iguanas out. On trees and shrubs, a slick metal collar of 6 to 12 inches can be placed around the trunk of the plant to keep iguanas from climbing the plant and eating the flowers."

If anyone has had any luck with certain plants or repellent methods like the one above, please let me know so I can pass it along.

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Chase Landre

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It's caterpillar season!

These critters seem to thrive on certain plants like the Snowbush pictured, especially during rainy season.

Spray tops and undersides of foliage with Thuricide, a natural bacteria that gets rid of caterpillars.

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ebook cover Design Collection

by Chase Landre, author of