Lower South

July, 2004
Regional Report

Web Finds

How To Compost
When it comes to building great soil, composting is an indispensable trick of the trade. This HowToCompost.org Web site provides a wealth of info on the topic, including directions for making compost tea and vermicomposting (using earthworms to turn kitchen wastes to compost). Check it out and start turning your landscape trash to treasure right away.

Favorite or New Plant

Firecracker Plant or Cigar Flower
Need a plant that will blaze right through a Texas summer like a Fourth of July firecracker? Cuphea ignea goes by the common name Firecracker Plant or Cigar Flower. Its fiery, bright, reddish orange 1-inch tubular blooms are a magnet for hummingbirds and several types of butterflies. Give this Cuphea lots of sun and moderate soil moisture for best results. When the first freeze burns the foliage back, cut the plants down to a couple of inches high and mulch well to protect the base and roots over the winter season. The cultivar 'David Verity' is preferred by many gardeners for its dense habit and prolific blooms on 2- to 3-foot plants. A close cousin, Tall Cigar Plant or Candy Corn Plant (Cuphea micropetala), sports larger, 2-inch, orange and yellow blooms on 3- to 4-foot plants in late summer to fall. It is equally attractive to hummingbirds.

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