Coastal and Tropical South

January, 2012
Regional Report

Favorite or New Plant

Anthurium
Also called flamingo flower, anthurium is known for its flowers. Slicker than patent leather, the heart shaped spathes may be red, white, pink, or salmon and appear off and on through the year. Their presence in the tropical shade garden ensures long blooming flowers and rich clumps of leaves. As container plants, they can be brought into nearly continuous flowering when grown with supplemental lighting, like African violets. The true flowers line long tails that spring from the spathes, creating a three dimensional valentine heart that touches the human heart as well as attracting pollinators. Grow it in richly organic soil that drains well, and water regularly because anthurium is not drought tolerant.

Clever Gardening Technique

Create New Space
If you are planting a new raised bed for vegetables or flowers, it is tempting and sometimes advised to simply turn under whatever is currently growing there. The theory is that it will rot and release its nutrients into the soil, and it works in some environments. In our humid soils, however, many common weeds and lawn grasses resurface in the bed as weeds. To avoid starting your own problems, use a sharpened flat head shovel known as a spade first. Wiggle the edge of the blade at the soil surface to get under the grass or weeds and scrape the plants off the site. Think of slicing, rather than digging the weeds and grass. Then turn the soil, till it, or begin a no-till process and worry less about future weed problems.

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