Coastal and Tropical South

October, 2006
Regional Report

Keep Cats Away From Plants

A teething kitten doesn't always discriminate between her toys and your plants. Keep a water pistol handy to surprise the new pet when she begins to gnaw on your ivy and geraniums. Or sprinkle a little red pepper onto the soil if she tries to dig. It's annoying but not harmful.

Rejuvenate Philodendrons

These most popular of vining houseplants seldom need more than minimal care, but leaf spots, bare stems, and top-heavy plants should be addressed. Prune to remove damaged areas, repot to reduce the load, and use a fungicide spray on new growth if old leaves were badly spotted.

Protect Plants From Bleach

The worst can happen to plant leaves and flowers if bleach and other cleaning materials splash onto them. If you're using a pressure sprayer to clean the outside of the house, cover outdoor plants and close the windows beforehand.

Add the Right Type of Sand for Potting Mixes

Lots of potting mix recipes call for sand, but the type of sand makes a big difference. Mason's sand is good, sharp sand. Playground sand, which often contains particles of many sizes, also works well. Beach or sandbar sand, on the other hand, is usually washed too smooth for potting mixes.

Make a Moss Basket

Got an old wire basket sitting around going rusty? Soak a bale of sphagnum peat moss in a bucket while you clean the basket with a wire brush and spray paint it. Begin wringing out fistfuls of moss into 1-inch-thick coils. Start at the bottom and press wet coils into the wire. Let dry, then fill and plant.

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