Lower South

June, 2010
Regional Report

Favorite or New Plant

Firecracker Plant or Cigar Flower (Cuphea 'David Verity')
Need a plant that will blaze right through a southern 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" 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 plant down to a couple of inches high and mulch it well to protect the base and roots over the winter season. The hybrid cultivar 'David Verity' is preferred by many gardeners for its dense habit and prolific blooms on 2-3 foot tall plants.

Clever Gardening Technique

Summer Soil Preparation Tip
Garden soil can be difficult to work in the summer heat, especially if it is getting dry and hard. Clay soils are especially difficult when dry. Water the area 2 days before rototilling or turning the soil with a garden fork. The soil will be softer and much easier to work, and the results will be dramatically better. The same is true for weeding. It is much easier to hoe or hand pull weeds when the soil is moist and soft. But if your neighbors see you watering your weeds you might want to explain!

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