Lower South

May, 2012
Regional Report

Favorite or New Plant

'Little Gem' Magnolia
Southern magnolias (Magnolia grandiflora) are an icon in southeastern part of the country. Their large stature, evergreen foliage, and huge white blooms command attention. However these towering trees are too large for many landscapes. The cultivar 'Little Gem' is more compact, making it more suitable for many landscapes. While often listed as reaching 20 feet tall and 10 feet wide, this cultivar will grow taller and wider in time and in good growing conditions, although it grows quite slowly. The foliage is smaller than the standard of the species but the blooms are up to 8 inches across and pleasantly fragrant, like the original. 'Little Gem' works well as a specimen plant or when planted closely to form a solid hedgerow to block a view.

Clever Gardening Technique

Start Your Own Sweet Potato Slips
You can grow your own sweet potato slips by laying a sweet potato in a bed of sandy soil, covering it about an inch or two deep, and keeping it moist. Soon shoots will begin to grow from the buried sweet potato. When these shoots, known as "slips", have reached about 6 to 8 inches in length break them off where they attach to the potato or cut them off at the soil line. Keep them moist and plant them out into the garden. As an alternative you can pot them up to get them started while you prepare their garden spot.

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