Coastal and Tropical South

May, 2011
Regional Report

Favorite or New Plant

Limelight Dracaena
If you like the classic 'Janet Craig' dracaena, take a look at her cousin, 'Limelight'. Delicious lime green leaves burst off the main cane in whorls. The leaves arch gracefully and drape downward to pointed tips. They are lightly ribbed, adding pleasing texture to striking color on the list of reasons to grow 'Limelight'. This is a plant that's been around since the 90's, but seemed a bit pricey because demand outpaced supply. Now it is widely available and less of a slap to the wallet. Grow it for years in pots along the Southern Coasts and in pots or shady beds in the Tropics zone.

Clever Gardening Technique

Build a Fertile Reservoir
The surest way to slow down annual flowers and vegetables is to starve them to death. It's a good idea to provide "insurance" so these fast growers can keep up the pace that brings on flowers and edibles. Some gardeners use a combination of slow release fertilizer beads and regular additions of faster acting products. Organic gardeners like me make a reservoir in the soil, ready and waiting when the roots reach it. To seed zinnias this way, use a hoe to cut a trench 4 inches deep. Put in 1 inch of composted manure and cover it with 2 inches of soil. Sow seeds 1 inch deep and cover them. To put a reservoir under a young vegetable transplant, dig the hole 2 inches deeper than the container the plant is growing in and put in 1/4 to 1/2 cup of composted manure in the hole. Cover with an inch of soil and plant. Take care to put the young transplant at the same level it was growing in the pot.

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