Coastal and Tropical South

October, 2012
Regional Report

Favorite or New Plant

Yellow Cestrum
Sunny sites with well-drained soil make a perfect spot for this plant, favored by gardeners for its dozens of tubular flowers that end in sweet stars. Sturdy stems with sprightly pointed leaves resemble tall lilies, but when the flower clusters open, there is no doubt this is a relative of both red cestrum and night blooming jasmine. The structures are the same, but their effect in the garden is wildly different. Yellow cestrum thrives in well-drained soil that has organic matter in it but is also capable of drying out in a few hours after a thunderstorm. In areas where it does not die back, it is wise to clip out some aging stems. The clumps may be ready to dig and divide every other year, but will usually bloom dependably in the third year before becoming too crowded.

Clever Gardening Technique

Divide and Amend
Classic garden advice says to amend beds before planting which works well for new beds. Other tips include working in decomposing mulch, a good practice in maintaining perennial and shrub beds. But while shrubs do just fine with that plus annual fertilizer applications, perennials need more to be truly spectacular. Dividing perennials offers best time to rework portions of the bed without disturbing the rest.

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