This page contains a list of the best vegetables to grow in South Florida, along with key information like germination rates and what varieties will perform best in our environment. Register for an account to get planting time recommendations by month.
The Best Vegetables to Grow in South Florida
Plant at 2–3 week intervals from fall through spring for a continual harvest. The dark green, spicy leaves can be steamed, pureed, or used raw in salads and sandwiches. Harvest individual leaves as needed or the entire plant when it is 8–10 inches tall. High temperatures cause arugula to flower and become bitter.
South Florida is perfect for this culinary herb that can thrive in containers or in the ground. To ensure that basils thrive, they must be pruned. After a shoot has 4 leaves on it, each at least an inch long, gently pluck off the two largest leaves. Basil love hanging out with tomatoes.
Bush beans mature early and do not need staking. Fertilize at 1/2 the rate used for other vegetables; too much nitrogen limits production. Flowers self-pollinate. Plant rust-resistant varieties.
Pole and bush-types exist; provide trellis support for pole-type varieties. Control stinkbugs that injure pods. Fertilize at 1/2 the rate used for other vegetables; too much nitrogen limits production. Slightly more heat tolerant than bush or pole beans. Plant rust-resistant varieties.
Fertilize at 1/2 the rate used for other vegetables; too much nitrogen limits production. Support vines. May be grown with corn for vine support. Plant rust resistant varieties.
Beets require ample moisture at seeding or poor germination will result. Leaves are edible. Thin early to so beet roots have room to enlarge. Very cold tolerant. High in vitamins and iron.
Harvest heads before flowers open. Many small side shoots develop after main head is cut. Very cold hardy and nutritious. Broccoli Raab is not related to broccoli.
Cool weather (58°F–60°F) is required or sprouts will open and not be solid. Sprouts are picked when they are walnut-sized and firm. The first sprouts near the bottom of the plant will be ready first. Pull off the leaves below the mature sprouts, then remove the sprouts by twisting them from the stem. Pick the sprouts at about 2-week intervals and keep refrigerated.
High in vitamins, especially vitamin C. Long fall/winter planting season. Buy clean plants to avoid cabbage black-rot disease. Needs ample moisture and fertilizer. Frost tolerant. Watch for caterpillars. Plant with ample amounts of dill to help ward of pests.
Bees needed for pollination. Disease prone. Mulch to reduce fruit-rot and salmonella. Overwatering or heavy rainfall reduces sugar content of maturing fruit. Harvest when the fruit cleanly separates from the vine with light pressure
Grow carrots on a raised bed for best results. Sow seeds shallowly. They are slow to germinate. Keep soil consistently moist throughout the germination and growing periods. Thin seedlings to recommended spacing when they are an inch tall. Excellent source of vitamin A.
Can be difficult to grow. Plants are cold hardy; heads are not. Tie leaves around the head (called blanching) when it is 2–3 inches to prevent discoloration or plant self-blanching varieties.
Can be a difficult crop in the home garden. Requires very high soil moisture during seeding/seedling stage. Needs 3 months or longer to mature. Look for early-maturing varieties.
Easy to grow. Two types exist: Heading (Pekinensis) or Open-leaf (Chinensis). Bok Choy is open-leaf type, while Michihili and Napa form tighter heads.
For best results, plant in a sunny spot in well-drained soil that contains some sand. Divide chives in the spring every three years, as the plants increase each year by bulb division.
This wonderful herb is a slam dunk in South Florida if planted at the right time.
Folks use the words cilantro and coriander interchangeably, but they refer to the herb and the spice, respectively, that come from the same plant. Cilantro is the leafy part of the plant, harvested at the peak of its growing season. Coriander is the small, round seed that emerges when the plant dies back, and is used whole in pickling, or ground in baking and roasts.
Cilantro is one of the herbs that should not be dried after harvesting, as it loses most of its flavor. The better option is to blend it with an oil base and then pour into an ice cube tray and freeze.
Cold and heat tolerant. Cool-season greens are more flavorful. Greens are ready for use 2 months after planting. Harvest lower leaves; never remove more than 1/3 of the plant at one time. Respond, well to nitrogen fertilizer
Requires space; plant in blocks of at least 3 rows for good pollination. Isolate different varieties by cross-pollination. Plant where it will not shade other vegetables. Sucker removal not beneficial. Harvesting in early morning maintains sugar content. Scout for corn earworm.
Two types: slicers and picklers. Pickling types can also be used fresh. Burpless varieties exist. Many hybrids are gynoecious (female flowering; only female flowers set fruit). Bees are required for pollination.
Dill grows well on an organic soil such as muck and on any other soil suitable for growing vegetables. Normally, the same cultural practices used for a vegetable garden should be used for dill. Dill is a great defense against pests in the garden and should be included in every bed if possible. At the end of the season, harvest dill seeds is very easy after it has begun to flower.
Requires warm soil and weather. Harvest into summer. May need staking. Bitter fruit caused by high temperatures or drought conditions.
Excellent ingredient in tossed salads or can be cooked as greens. Bitterness can be reduced by blanching 2–3 weeks before harvest. Escarole (Batavian endive) is a broad-leaved selection.
Good source of greens late fall through early spring in north and central Florida. Harvest outer leaves, but no more than 1/3 of the plant at one time. Ornamental types are edible, but not very tasty.
Easy to grow. Red and green varieties exist. Use fresh or cooked. Leaves are edible. Harvest stems when 1 ½ to 3 inches in diameter.
Leaf types grows well in Florida; grow crisphead type only in coolest months. Damaged by freezing temperatures. Warm temperatures cause bitterness. Sow seeds very shallow as they need light to germinate. Intercrop lettuce with longseason and/or taller vegetables.
If watered at least every other day, and kept sheltered for limited sun, mint will live all year round in South Florida. It’s best to grow in a container, as mint will quickly spread out and take all of the room it can get. Once mature, if not over harvested, mint will just keep delivering.
Good cooking green fall through spring; harvest outer leaves. Broadleaf types require more space. Damaged by freezing temperatures. Warm temperatures create bitter flavor.
Soak seeds in water for 6 hours for better germination. Requires warm soils and temperatures. Very heat tolerant. Highly susceptible to root-knot nematodes. Harvest pods a few days after flower petals have fallen or pods become tough and stringy.
Depending on type, onions may be grown from seed, sets, transplants, or division. Bulbing onions must be planted in fall and be short-day varieties.
Depending on type, onions may be grown from seed, sets, transplants, or division. Green/ bunching onions may be grown fall through spring. Plant close and harvest (thin) as needed. Insert sets upright for straight stems. Divide and reset multiplier types every year.
Oregano does great in the South Florida heat. This herb is best grown in a container as it will spread out and take all of the room it can get. Oregano should be dried after harvest.
Fertilize at 1/2 rate used for other vegetables; too much nitrogen limits production (as does warm temperatures). May need support depending on type. Consume soon after harvest for best quality.
Highly nutritious. Fertilize at 1/2 rate used for other vegetables; too much nitrogen limits production. Good summer cover crop. Cowpea curculio is a common pest. Maintain consistent soil moisture.
Transplants often more successful than seeds. Mulching especially beneficial. Will often produce into summer. Pepper “heat” depends on variety and is measured in Scoville units.
Transplants often more successful than seeds. Mulching especially beneficial. Will often produce into summer.
Pineapples are generally planted by cutting off the top of an organic pineapple and placing on top of the garden soil. With daily watering, the top will take root and the plant will grow. It can take a year or two for the plant to grow its first fruit, and then one pineapple fruit will grow a year. The fruit is ready to harvest when most of the outside is yellow. It’s best to grow pineapple away from your other plants because their leaves grow very long and a very very sharp. The key to pineapple is patience.
Plant 2-ounce certified seed pieces with at least one eye. Each will produce 6–8 potatoes. Do not start with “store bought.” Require cool temperatures, moisture, and large amounts of fertilizer.
Start with certified-free transplants (slips). Use vine tip cuttings for a second crop and prolonged harvest season. Types: moist-flesh (yams) and dry-flesh (e.g., boniata). Bush types conserve garden space. Sweet potato weevils are a serious problem; rotate the planting site.
Requires a lot of space but can be grown under taller vegetables. Bees required for pollination. Foliage diseases and fruit-rot are common.
Easy and fast-growing; thin early and inter-crop with slow-growing vegetables to save space. Plant every two weeks during the growing season for a continuous supply. Spicy, bitter flavor caused by hot weather and over-maturity. Winter/ Oriental radishes (such as Daikon) also grow well in Florida.
A mature rosemary plant is very hardy and drought tolerant and can be kept all year long in South Florida. It loves to keep its roots dry, so our sandy soil is perfect. If cared for, a rosemary plant can live for 20 years! Rosemary is very hard to start from seed, so it best to start from a cutting or just buy one at the store. Rosemary is great fresh or dried.
Sage does very well in South Florida with full sun. Once mature, it can live through the summer. Young plants are very delicate, and most be protected. Sage works well at warding off pests. Sage should be dried after harvest.
Grows best only during the coolest months. Quick maturing. Harvest entire plant or by removing outer leaves. New Zealand spinach and Malabar spinach, although not true spinach, grow well during warm months in Florida. Plant New Zealand spinach or Swiss Chard for summer greens.
Summer squash and zucchini are usually bush types. Calabaza is similar, but is a heat-and disease-resistant hard-shelled squash, similar to a butternut or acorn in taste. Chayote is a vine that needs support. All cucurbits have male and and female flowers separated on the plant and pollination by insects is required for fruit set. Crossing between types occurs, but is only evident when seeds are saved. Leaf and fruit diseases are fairly common.
Grown as an annual crop in Florida starting with disease-free plants in the fall. Plant only varieties adapted to Florida.
Seeds can be sown in the fall as well as in late winter/early spring. An excellent alternative green for warm weather. Harvest outer leaves when 8-10 inches long. Very susceptible to root-knot nematodes.
Thyme is hard to grow in South Florida, unless you are starting with a well cared for, mature plant. Mature plants, if not over harvested or over watered can live most of the year, but will die off in summer generally. Starting from seed is almost impossible as germination rates are low, and even after germinating, the plant must not be over or under watered, and must be protected from too much sun. Your best bet with thyme is to start from a cutting or just buy a mature plant. Thyme is best fresh after harvest. It should be grown in a container as it will spread out and take all of the room that it can get.
Staking/supporting and mulching are beneficial. Flowers self-pollinate. Blossom drop is usually due to too high or too low temperatures and/or excessive nitrogen fertilization. Serious problems include blossom-end rot, wilts, whitefly, and leafminers. Cherry types are heat resistant.
Quick-growing, cool weather crop. Grow for roots and tops (greens). Broadcast seed in a wide-row or single file. Thin early to allow for root expansion. Smaller roots (2”) are milder in flavor.
Vines require lots of space. Smaller “ice-box” types exist. Plant disease resistant varieties. Bees required for pollination. “Seedless” types must be interplanted with regular types to dependably bear fruit. Harvest when melon underside begins to turn yellow or when fruit tendril shrivels.
Winter squash have a spreading, vining habit. All cucurbits have male and and female flowers separated on the plant and pollination by insects is required for fruit set. Crossing between types occurs, but is only evident when seeds are saved. Leaf and fruit diseases are fairly common. Winter types store well.