Lower South

December, 2007
Regional Report

Extend the Life of Holiday Plants

To keep poinsettias and holiday cactus beautiful, keep soil moist and provide them with bright light. Remove the plastic or foil pot wrap, drench the soil, allow it to drain well, and then replace the wrapping. Keep them out of warm drafts and they should provide more than a month or two of beauty.

Bring In the Berries

Cut branches of berry plants to brighten an indoor arrangement. Yaupon and possumhaw hollies are great native choices. Keep in mind that yaupon holly berries are poisonous. They should be avoided if small children are around. Other berry good choices for brightening a winter day in the lower south include standard nandina, pyracantha, and several other species of landscape hollies.

Recycle the Christmas Tree

If you have a fresh cut tree for Christmas decorating, don't throw it away when the holiday is over. Check with your local municipality for times and locations of any tree recycling centers in your area. That old tree can become valuable mulch for a community park or nature path.

Complete Tulip and Hyacinth Planting

Don't forget those tulip and hyacinth bulbs you've stored in the refrigerator. They should be planted by early January for best results. These are usually one-season performers in the south, so plan on reworking the beds in spring to plant summer color.

Cover Plants Properly

When covering plants before a freeze, drape the blanket or other covering over the plant and weight it down to the soil. This will allow soil warmth to rise and help warm the plant's branches and leaves. Wrapping the top and tying the cover to the trunk creates "landscape lollipops" that won't benefit from this natural protective heat source.

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