Gardener's Corner

Join us for tips, helps, questions and answers about the gardening world. Monitored by a Certified Master Gardener but wisdom is shared by ALL.

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Latest Activity: Apr 11

Gardener's Corner

Chief Walks In Shadows is a Florida State Master Gardener.
He will post information that he feels will benefit everyone as a whole. But basically this will be a question and answer group.
Chief Walks will answer all questions asked to him directly. He has over 40 years of experience. And a sizable personal research library.

We are here to meet ALL of your gardening questions and/or related subjects.



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The USDA Hardiness Zone Map divides North America into 11 separate zones; each zone is 10°F warmer (or colder) in an average winter than the adjacent zone. If you see a hardiness zone in a catalog or plant description, chances are it refers to the USDA map. To find your USDA Hardiness Zone or use the map below. 



Join the campaign to reach 1 million food and habitat sites for pollinators. Anyone can help.

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Comment by Chief Walks on March 30, 2018 at 8:14pm
Comment by Chief Walks on March 9, 2018 at 8:51am

Beneficial Insects: Lacewings and Ladybugs

Green flying insect with lacy see-through wings and long antennae

An adult green lacewing. 

Beneficial insects are an important part of integrated pest management (IPM) in your Florida-Friendly landscape.

Beneficials pollinate plants, contribute to the decay of organic matter, and attack other insects and mites that are considered to be pests. They can do a lot for a garden, and attracting and safeguarding them will help your landscape thrive.

The best thing you can do for beneficial insects is learn to recognize them. Adult lacewings and ladybug beetles are easy to identify, but their immature forms look entirely different.


Lacewings are considered beneficial insects because they eat aphids and other pests, and they don’t bite or sting. The green lacewing is proficient—in the larval form—at attacking pests like aphids, scale insects, whiteflies, and others. There are actually 22 species of green lacewings found in Florida and they belong to the Chrysopidae family. Lacewings can be ordered from beneficial insect providers for gardeners to use in their own landscape.

Female lacewings carefully choose the spots where they will lay their eggs; they pick a place close to an aphid colony. Each egg is laid on the tip of a hair-like stalk. This helps prevent the newly hatched larvae from eating their siblings. Once hatched, the larvae feed voraciously on pests. Lacewing larvae resemble small caterpillars, but move more quickly and have longer legs and mouthparts.

Adult lacewings are less than an inch long and light green, with two pairs wings that have a netted appearance. They have chewing mouthparts and feed on insects, nectar, pollen, and honeydew (a secretion that comes from aphids and some scale insects). These beneficial insects aren’t particularly great fliers and are commonly found near colonies of aphids.

Less commonly seen is the brown lacewing. Brown lacewings prey on pests during larval and adult stages of their lives. Brown lacewings eat soft-bodied insects, like aphids, mealybugs, as well as insect eggs.


Six-legged black insect with orange markings on its segmented back

The larval form of a multicolored Asian lady beetle (Harmonia axyridis). Photo by Gerald J. Lenhard, Louisiana State University,

Ladybugs, or ladybird beetles, are a family of insects often considered beneficial to humans, because most of them eat other insects that feed on our plants.

In Florida, there are about a hundred known species of ladybugs. The adults and larvae of most of them feed on soft-bodied insects like scales, aphids, whiteflies, and mites. Ladybug adults are distinctive, round, flying beetles that come in many colors. But the larvae look very different, and are often mistaken for pests.

Remember that many pesticides kill not only pest insects but also beneficials. If you do use a pesticide, choose one that targets only the pests you’re having trouble with. Finally, provide the pollen and nectar sources that beneficial insects like. Try selecting a wide variety of plants with many small flowers that bloom at different times of the year.

Comment by Chief Walks on March 8, 2018 at 7:28am

Planting and Care for Million Bells Calibrachoa

Comment by Chief Walks on February 21, 2018 at 9:59am

Comment by Chief Walks on February 17, 2018 at 2:39pm

What About DIY Self-Watering Plant Containers?

If you are handy, you can certainly make your own. There are lots of easy and popular concepts you can find online.

Among them are ideas for using a five gallon bucket, innovative ways of using a soda bottle as a reservoir and many more. Here are a couple of good videos that clearly show how to make a bucket-style SIP and a model similar to the popular Earth Box.

Here’s a clever idea using a large planter without drainage holes. USe the idea and adapt it for use with a 5-gallon bucket.

5 minute DIY Self Watering Container Garden

Here’s an interesting video showing how to make your own “earth-box” and provides information on planting.

Making An Earthbox

Comment by Chief Walks on February 8, 2018 at 9:44am

Comment by Chief Walks on February 2, 2018 at 4:57pm
Comment by Cherub Nation on January 27, 2018 at 5:53pm

nice Im learning

Comment by Chief Walks on January 27, 2018 at 5:39pm

Comment by Chief Walks on January 27, 2018 at 5:39pm


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