Southwest Florida is lush with greenery and flowers. Apartment living in Fort Myers or Estero needn't be devoid of this beauty, especially if you have a balcony or a sunny window. Local garden shops aren't just for people with backyards.
If your preference is an indoor garden, you'll discover that flower shops as well as garden centers offer houseplants. Florists sell more than bouquets, but those are also a colorful option for making apartment life bloom.
Depending on the plants you select, balcony gardens may thrive in conditions ranging from full sunlight to deep shade and from low water to a plenitude.
Other growth factors to consider for container gardens include types of potting soil, soil amendments such as fertilizers and compost, the relative heat or cold of the season in which you garden and sizing a plant up to larger containers as it grows.
Indoor gardening generally focuses on houseplants -- the kinds with such beautiful foliage that you don't mind too much if they never bloom.
However, houseplant gardens may also include edibles, such as herbs and greens including lettuce and sorrel. Basil, chives, green onions, oregano and rosemary are some herbs that do well when placed near a sunny window.
Whether gardening outside or indoors, research makes efforts more successful. If you are new to gardening in Florida, it helps to become acquainted with one of the state's greatest resources -- the IFAS (Institute of Food and Agricultural Services) Extension of the University of Florida.
Here are some topics IFAS covers online:
Here is a partial list of garden centers and florists to visit in Estero and Fort Myers.
All Native Garden Center, 300 Center Road, Fort Myers
Visit this nursery if you are interested in learning more about local native plants, which ones work in containers and creating pollinator habitat on your balcony.
Driftwood Garden Center, 20071 Tamiami Trail, Estero
Driftwood's website provides helpful blog articles, including ones on seed starting and pouch planting -- a small-space gardening technique.
Lowe's Estero, Fort Myers and Northeast Fort Myers
Home improvement stores -- especially giants such as Lowe's -- offer many annuals, perennials and edible plants.
10070 Estero Town Commons Place, Estero
14960 South Tamiami Trail, Fort Myers
8040 Dani Drive, Northeast Fort Myers
Riverland Nursery, 13005 Palm Beach Boulevard, Fort Myers
Gardener education is one of the services at Riverland, which offers free classes throughout the year.
Sundance Orchids & Bromeliads, 16095 South Pebble Lane, Fort Myers
Sundance is an online nursery, but delivers orchids and bromeliads for a small fee throughout the Fort Myers metro area.
Flower Angels Florist, 16171 San Carlos Boulevard, Unit 3, Fort Myers
From boutonnieres to birthday arrangements, Flower Angels is a full-service florist. Walk in or order online.
Petals & Presents, 8121 Rosies Court, Suite 23, Estero
European dish gardens are among the tempting specialties here. Petals & Presents is also a full-service florist featuring walk-in and online service.
Many people who live in apartment communities, such as Fort Myers' Springs at Six Mile Cypress and Estero's Springs at Gulf Coast, enjoy balcony gardening and tending to houseplants. Don't be shy about asking neighbors for information if you admire their gardening success.
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