Coastal and Tropical South
Favorite or New Plant
Called the "spring debutante" by Steve Bender of Southern Living magazine, flowering almond (Prunus triloba) leads the pack for early spring-flowering shrubs and trees. Sometimes sold as double-flowering plum, its pink flowers choke each stem for its length before the leaves unfurl. Rather nondescript the rest of the year, flowering almond is not a specimen plant but an essential addition to cottage-style designs and beds featuring the first of spring's blossoms.
Clever Gardening Technique
With a technique too seldom used and yet so impressive to watch, you can make new plants from leaves of African violets, gloxinias (and most other gesneriads), and succulents like the old favorite hen and chicks. Cut off a leaf with some stem attached. Plunge the stem into a small container of potting soil right up to the leaf. Keep it just moist (not wet or dry), and watch for new sprouts to appear at the top of the stem section, right where the leaf meets the soil surface. Amaze yourself as you observe the power of cells to adapt with just a bit of encouragement. The leaf will grow roots, sprout a new plant, and give you a strong feeling of self satisfaction.