Lower South

May, 2007
Regional Report

Favorite or New Plant

Duranta 'Sapphire Showers'
Duranta, also known as golden dew drops, forms a tall, mounding shrub reaching 6 feet or more in our climate. Weeping branches bear clusters of flowers in shades of purple/blue or white. These are followed by bright yellow berries. It can be trimmed to a shrub form or trained into a single-trunked patio tree for a large container. Duranta prefers partial to full sun and good drainage. It's hardy to only the upper 20s. A thick mulch in the fall can help preserve the plant crown over winter. Butterflies love its blooms. The variety 'Sapphire Showers' bears deep purple/blue blossoms with white edges.

Clever Gardening Technique

Pop Bottle Propagator
Starting plants from cuttings is fun and addictive! Once you learn to propagate plants you'll soon be setting up a propagation box at home to house your ongoing hobby and feed the neverending search for new plants to add to your landscape and garden. I use a special portable pop bottle propagator to start cuttings in a fast, easy, yet simple way.

Cut a clear pop bottle in two about a third of the way up from the base. Punch holes in the base for drainage. Cut four vertical slits about 3 inches long into the top piece to act as flaps to slip down over the base and secure the top. Fill the base with a 50:50 mix of perlite and sphagnum peat. Moisten the mix and add cuttings. This portable propagator can go with you on an extended trip so you can take cuttings and have them stuck and on their way to rooting no matter how long you are away. Place the rooting chamber in a bright area away from direct sunlight. Use a rooting hormone on cuttings prior to sticking them in the chamber.

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