Coastal and Tropical South

May, 2013
Regional Report

Favorite or New Plant

Earth Star
This plant's name sounds like it should be given to a ship built for exploration of the deepest parts of the ocean or the planet's core. But this earth star or more properly, Cryptanthus hybrid, is not uncommon at all. These small, wildly patterned plants do best as potted plants and make unusual patio plants or houseplants, where they relish the humidity of a kitchen or bathroom. Keep the soil evenly moist for best growth. They are also called starfish plants as they form rosettes with wavy, pointed leaves radiating out in all directions like arms. But these are striped deep red, pink, green, and cream, with little white flowers in warm weather and hug the soil surface in shade with an almost mosaic look.

Tool or Gardening Product

Dutch Hoe
This is a tool of many names. It's also known as a shuffle, scuffle or swivel hoe, and it is often sold as a Hula-Ho or Hula Hoe. The action used to propel this tool is push and pull to slice off little weeds just under the soil with its loop of sharp, flat metal. It's not very useful for deep rooted weeds like dandelion or nut grass, but it's great when it comes to shallow-rooted weeds like henbit, chickweed, and little bermudagrass sprouts.

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