Coastal and Tropical South

April, 2010
Regional Report

Container gardens

Daffodils and daylilies, as well as many other bulbs and perennials, can be grown in pots year round. Their care is only slightly different and the gardener gains control over weedy and very wet or dry conditions. Modify potting mix for the long term by adding compost or compost/manure and ground bark to the basic mix, plus sand until it feels quite gritty to the touch. Fertilize daffodils in pots in fall and spring, daylilies in spring and summer.

Changing conditions

If an area of your yard is wet from fall to spring, but dries out in summer, plant for the changes. Consider creating a swale or wide shallow ditch in the area and perhaps line it with rocks. Direct the water flow through the area and line its edges with suitable plants called "marginals." Flag and LA iris, canna lilies and others, like the native buttonbush, will thrive in changing conditions.

Honeysuckle invasion

Japanese honeysuckle is a notorious garden invader and should be removed wherever it is found. When the vines crawl over an azalea or other shrub, its leaves can actually shade those of the host plant and cause it to decline. When its sunlight, water and nutrients are getting gobbled up by the honeysuckle, you must take action. Follow the vines back to ground level and cut them there. As soon as the vines sprout again, spray or paint with a control product and do it again when they re-sprout. The vines on the shrub will wither and you can remove them to free the shrub.

Shady porch pots

Big pots flanking the front door make a strong statement of welcome, unless they are full of sad looking plants. Often the problem is simply wrong plant choices for the shady, dry conditions under the front porch roof. Choose dwarf shrubs for these pots such as sasanqua, barberry or nandina that can be maintained at less than 3 feet tall and have minimal watering needs.

Indoor plant sanctuary

Many gardeners like to give their houseplants a "summer vacation" outdoors. If your outdoor space is full sun all day, however, the leaves of popular houseplants like dumbcane and philodendron can scorch. Instead, take advantage of the bright, diffused light that reaches far into indoor spaces in the summer. The plants that leaned toward the winter light coming through the windows can stay on the sill. Those that need less light can occupy tables in the center of a sunny room in summer. The plants will continue to clean the air indoors and you won't have to worry about sunburned leaves.

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