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How to care for your plants during Yucatecan fall

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Veronica Garibayhttp://yucatanmagazine.com
Verónica Garibay Saldaña is a Mexican columnist, communications major, and poetry enthusiast. Sign up for the Yucatán Roundup, a free newsletter, which delivers the week's top headlines every Monday.

Although seasonal change is almost imperceptible in the Peninsula, our plants are affected by slight changes in weather conditions. As we enter the fall, it’s a good idea to revisit our plant’s needs.

“In other parts of the world, people brace themselves for colder months, which usually begin around October,” says Liz, from the plant nursery El Jardín del Mono. “In Yucatán, we only experience that at the very end of the year.”

Leafier trees like this ceiba would likely keep the lawn covered in leaves. Photo: Verónica Garibay

Except for the scarce days of “heladez” — a Yucatecan term to describe the cold, the state is constantly hot and humid. Yet as the year moves on, plants begin to shed their leaves, which can be a problem for the plants located underneath them.

El Jardín del mono has implemented a net to shield part of their plant nursery from the constant falling of leaves. Photo: Verónica Garibay

“During the fall we won’t really notice a big difference in the climate, perhaps only higher humidity,” says Liz. “But plants outside will notice a difference. During the fall trees begin dropping their leaves, which means the roots and stems of plants underneath them might be constantly covered in fallen leaves. This can add lots of moisture to plants, and might even rot their roots.”

Although the team’s cleaning is constant, leaves do pile up around the roots of plants underneath the tree, which can cause high humidity. Photo: Verónica Garibay

Liz notes that owners of large trees such as ceibas, maculis and flamboyanes might need to clear fallen leaves daily, although checking on your outdoor plants once every couple of days should be enough.

Apart from foliage change, we will also begin to experience a change in the sunlight, not only in the winter timetable but in the amount of sun our plants receive. 

Humidity also increases during this season, which means we might need to consider the amount of water we provide to our plants. Photo: Verónica Garibay

“It’s a good idea to consider if their location is right. We can collect clues through their leaves: if they are turning brown or dropping they might require more light, specially leafier plants like fiddle-leaf figs.”

Liz notes that while the change of seasons might not be drastic, it is a good opportunity to prepare our gardens for the winter. 

Liz from el Jardín del mono comments that this is a great season for flowering varieties since the colder months are their favorite for blooming. Photo: Verónica Garibay

“Flowering plants enjoy colder months,” says Liz. “Which is great news for us. We don’t really need to change their care, and we’ll get to enjoy their blooms.”

Delicate, colorful varieties are found all over the plant nursery. Photo: Verónica Garibay

For plants year-round plants, native varieties are your best bet. Liz notes that there are many popular species, such as noche buenas — a Christmas poinsettia to many of us — which are mostly grown in other states but are sold in local garden centers. 

They usually appear in the market around November, and if we transplant them in our garden, we’re giving them the biggest chance of adapting to our climate and surviving the full year.

Contact el Jardín del mono on their Instagram profile.

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