Coastal and Tropical South

December, 2009
Regional Report

Root Jasmine

Take cuttings from night-blooming jasmine now, to share or to add its aroma to another part of your garden. Clip 4 to 6 inches off a stem that has flowered and grown one new set of leaves. Pull the leaves off the lower 2 inches and put the cutting in water with a little fertilizer in it. Be patient -- it will root in about a month. When roots are an inch long, pot the jasmine in a 4-inch pot with well-drained potting soil.

Tend to Yellowing Gardenias

Yellow leaves low down on gardenias can indicate a need for fertilizer, but can also direct you to other problems. Gardenia thrives in soil that drains well, but also is rich in organic matter. Try improving the planting space with additions of organic matter, either on the surface or by replanting: dig the gardenia up, amend the soil with organic matter, and replant slightly higher than it was growing before.

Help Decorations Last Longer

Take a tip from my mother, whose Christmas tree lasted until the middle of January. When you get the tree home, make a new cut on the trunk and plunge the tree into a bucket of warm water. Leave it in the garage overnight, then put it in the tree stand for decorating. Hydrate cut greens, too. Make a fresh cut on each stem, wrap with green florist tape, and spray an antidessicant (such as Cloud Cover) on all cut greens to prevent drying out.

Overseed Rye Grass

If you've overseeded with rye but still have bare spots, reseed now. Use a hand-crank seeder for most even coverage. Once the ryegrass reaches 3 to 4 inches, mow half of it off and toss the blades in the compost pile. Or let the clippings stay in the lawn where they will decompose nicely. If the color is less than a perfect green, or if the grass is simply not growing, a light application of nitrogen fertilizer can help green it up.

Amaryllis Tips

Get that gift amaryllis out of the box right now and get it growing! Pot it up, water it once, and put it in a place that is well lit, but not hot. Once the bulb sprouts, turn it daily so the stem grows straight up, not towards the window. If the stem needs staking just to keep it from flopping over, the amaryllis needs more light.

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