Coastal and Tropical South

December, 2006
Regional Report

Caring for Poinsettias

Don't be tempted to water potted poinsettias often. After a week in the house, take all the wrapping off and water that plant in the sink. Pour the water in, let it drain out, then repeat. If any leaves have dropped, remove them, then redecorate and return to center stage.

Resist Topping That Plant

Sadly, a gardener can be too successful, such as when your Norfolk pine gets taller than the ceiling. Resist the idea of "topping" any plant with such strong upright form, unless you're prepared to let it slowly die. Consider installing a skylight or giving the giant to someone with an atrium.

Take Advantage of Bulb Sales

Late-season deals can be yours now at garden centers eager for space to display new goods for spring. The calendar may say it's too late for daffodils or lycoris, but plant them anyway to get these perennials into the garden. Tulips, though, are best planted this month in our region.

Mow Now

If you sowed perennial ryegrass earlier this year, mow it now, but cut off no more than half its height. Collect the trimmings for the compost heap to add some needed green to the brown leaves. Or let the cut blades drop to the soil surface to nourish it.

Rejuvenate Staghorn Ferns

Overgrown staghorn ferns can easily be handled now. It's a case for sharp shears, scissors, or a knife. Lay the entire mass on a table and carefully cut each crown apart from the mother plant. Pot or install each on a board, water, then spray with fertilizer solution to stimulate new growth.

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