Coastal and Tropical South

October, 2006
Regional Report

Use Vines in Small Spaces

Even small spaces benefit from tall greenery, so if you have a narrow entrance to a courtyard or side garden, try extending the height of the side posts and growing morning glories or other vines on them. If the vines need more to grab onto, use hardware cloth as a support.

Transition Mail-Order Plants

A happy gift or a disaster? Plants sent from faraway places to our challenging climates may do well but should be transitioned carefully. Always remove all packaging immediately, and put the pots in the shade outside for a month before planting. Read labels carefully: Full sun may mean part shade here.

Make Pepper Vinegar

Take advantage of plentiful fresh peppers and put up some holiday gifts. Assemble tabascos alone or a combination of your favorite peppers, cider vinegar, and clean bottles with tight tops. Wash everything thoroughly, and cut the stems off peppers. Fill bottles with peppers, cover with hot vinegar, and let rest. Use within a year.

Making More Plants

Dig up volunteers, take cuttings, and collect seeds to make more of your favorite plants. Glorybower trees and other Clerodendrums sprout at random; control them by digging them up to share. Vines with bare areas on the stems? Root tips when you cut them back. Let seed dry on the plants before harvest.

Caring for Cast Iron Plant

No plant suits hot, dry shade better than Aspidistra. But even this stalwart can look raggedy. Stands grow thick over the years, and few gardeners ever dig and divide this plant. Avoid that daunting task by cutting the worst-looking leaves down to the ground and trimming the edges of others.

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