Upper South

October, 2012
Regional Report

Web Finds

Storing Tender Bulbs and Bulblike Structures
Whether they're truly bulbs or actually corms, rhizomes, tubers, or roots, there are plants with fleshy roots that make our gardens beautiful but are not hardy, such as caladium, canna, dahlia, and tuberous begonia. To save these from year to year, dig and store during the winter, then plant again outdoors next year. Unfortunately, there are no one set of guidelines for all of these different plants. Storing Tender Bulbs and Bulb-like Structures from University of Minnesota Extension has individualized instructions on storing many of the different tender "bulbs." Written for Minnesota residents, some of the "bulbs" listed are hardy in our region, but the guidelines will help you with ones that are not.

Favorite or New Plant

Autumn is such a bittersweet time. Granted, I am grateful that the sweltering days of summer are past, but winter's bone-chilling days are not far away. What always cheers me are the clouds of multi-hued lavenders, purples, and pinks throughout the garden, provided quite generously by an array of asters. There are hundreds of species and cultivars from which to choose, growing from less that a foot tall to 5 feet or more. The genus is now called Symphyotrichum, but they're still asters to me. 'Vibrant Dome' is a popular variety with bright pink flowers on plants 18 to 24 inches tall. 'Bluebird', a selection of the native smooth aster, grows to about 3 feet tall. Don't overlook other widely available varieties, such as 'Professor Kippenburg', 'Alma Potschke', and 'urple Dome'. Although asters will grow and bloom in light shade, they are at their most glorious in full sun, and all tolerate any well-drained soil.

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