Coastal and Tropical South

November, 2004
Regional Report

Caring for Christmas Cactus

Buy these beauties while at least some of the buds are still tightly closed to get the longest bloom time. If last year\'s cactus has formed buds outside, bring it in, too. Water regularly but sparingly, and put the pots in a brightly lit area but not in full sun.

Encouraging Amaryllis to Rebloom

The big bulbs of Dutch amaryllis can be counted on to sprout, grow rapidly, and bloom abundantly in the house. Then you can plant them outside, or rebloom them in the pots. After flowering, let the bulbs dry out, look for new growth in a month, then resume watering again in two months.

Choosing the Freshest Tree

Don't speed through the tree search this year; take time to pick a keeper. Shake it as you look for good green color in the needles. If lots of needles fall off, move on. Once you get your tree home, make a fresh cut through the trunk, then soak the base in a bucket of water overnight. Place the tree in the stand and add water daily.

Sizing Up Citrus

What better holiday gift than a citrus tree? But it doesn't have to be a 10-foot monster to provide stunning fragrance and tasty fruit. Go for dwarf varieties of favorites, like orange and lemon, or grow the smaller satsuma. To save even more space, go for a sweet-flavored kumquat.

Revitalizing Mustard

Even properly thinned, fertilized, and watered mustard and turnip greens can develop leaf spots due to fungus infections. The leaves look bad and don't taste good, either. Drench the whole bunch with a non-toxic fungicide, pluck off the damaged leaves, wait about a week for new growth, and enjoy the rest.

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