Coastal and Tropical South

March, 2006
Regional Report

Soak New Clay Pots

Soak new clay strawberry pots overnight before planting to prevent excessive drying. Succulents such as hen and chicks do well in these pots, and so do herbs, especially small ones like creeping thyme, chives, and sages. Fill with soil up to the first holes, plant in those holes, then layer up.

Prevent Camellia Bud Drop

Most camellias that drop their buds but otherwise seem healthy have one of two problems: either an untimely freeze caught the buds and simply killed them, or (and more likely) there was a lack of deep watering during hot spells when the buds were developing, so pay attention this summer.

Control Scale

When houseplants get sticky leaves or hard spots under the leaves, take action to control scale insects, which secret a honeydew from their armor-like shells. Isolate the sick plants immediately. If the problem isn't severe, you may be able to wash off the scales. If you need an insecticide, choose the least toxic option.

Consider Native Fringe Trees

Looking to replant? Check out a fine native tree called Grancy Greybeard or white fringe tree or old man's beard (Chionanthus virginicus). The spring show will stop traffic, and this tree is good-looking all year long. It's as large as a Bradford pear and not as likely to blow over in a storm.

Watch for Signs of Slugs and Snails

Slugs and snails, who feast while you sleep and hide from the light of day, can be a nuisance to bougainvillea. Keeping the plant pruned is a good idea so air can circulate around the plant and reduce the places the pests can hide, but a dose of slug control might help.

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