Coastal and Tropical South

January, 2006
Regional Report

Create a Houseplant Spa

Turn your bathroom into a soothing retreat for tired, dried-out houseplants. Turn on the shower so humidity and mist builds up. Then put the plants, minus their saucers, into the bathtub, shower, and sink, and water them individually. Use a soft cloth to wipe off each leaf and the pots, too.

Clean Houseplants of Insects

While tending houseplants, watch for signs of spidery webs or cottony masses. Either are significant signs of insect infestation. Use a paintbrush dipped in alcohol to clean off the mess, painting each stem of any affected plant. Discard badly damaged leaves and repeat weekly if problem persists.

Grow Your Own Easter Basket Grass

If you want living "grass" for Easter baskets, start now. Use perennial ryegrass or alfalfa seed to sow a "lawn" in pots. Where tulips are already potted up, sow a natural mulch. To grow "grass" to create centerpieces later, sow in shallow pots or flats filled with potting soil.

Reduce Water and Fertilizer on Cacti

In winter, cacti and succulents only need water every three weeks and fertilizer every other month. With this simple regime and plenty of light, many will bloom and/or send up babies (called offsets or pups) in the cool weather.

Get Started Composting

Start compost piles now for a plentiful supply of the perfect soil amendment in 8 to 12 weeks. Pile up a 3-foot dome of brown leaves and green grass clippings, add kitchen trimmings, coffee grounds, and eggshells. Turn with a pitchfork every week, and water lightly if the weather is dry.

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