Coastal and Tropical South

December, 2010
Regional Report

Propagate Night-Blooming Jasmine

Take cuttings from night blooming jasmine. Clip 4-6 inches off a stem that has flowered and grown one new set of leaves. New roots form fastest on slightly woody stems that are maturing from this year's growth. You'll find that kind of wood on stems that have just flowered. Pull the leaves off the lower two inches and put the cutting in a small pot of well-drained potting mix. Water once with a half dose of soluble fertilizer or use a root stimulator formula. Be patient-- it will root in about a month.

Keep Your Gardenia Thriving

Yellow leaves on the lower branches of both old-fashioned gardenias and newer varieties can indicate a need for fertilizer. But the yellowing can also direct you to other problems. Gardenia, or cape jasmine, thrives in soil that drains well, but also is rich in organic matter. Try improving the planting space with additions of organic matter such as working in mulch or compost around the plant. If conditions are very dry or dusty, dig up the plant, amend the soil, and replant.

Keep Holiday Trees and Greens Fresh

Everyone knows to make a new cut on that Christmas tree's trunk before setting it up in the house. But for best hydration, cut and then soak the tree in a bucket of warm water outside overnight before putting it into the tree stand. This process will keep the tree's water pipes open and can provide extra branches for decorating. Make a fresh cut on each of these smaller stems, wrap with green florist tape, and spray an antidessicant (such as Cloud Cover) on all cut greens to prevent drying out.

Overseed with Ryegrass

Sometimes rye grass makes a lovely carpet, sometimes not. If you've over-seeded with rye but still have bare spots, or if that team logo you tried to sow in the front yard didn't quite work, relax and reseed now. Once the ryegrass reaches 3-4 inches, set your mower blade at its highest setting and mow the lawn once, collecting the trimmings. Toss the cut grass blades in the compost pile or scatter them in the leaf pile to aid decomposition. If the color is less than a perfect green, a light application of fertilizer can help green it up at that point.

Care for Amaryllis Gifts

Every gardener receives a boxed amaryllis eventually, sometimes as a "punt" gift but always welcome. Don't let it sit around or it will sprout in the box, so eager is that bulb to sprout. Get that gift amaryllis out of the box right now and get it growing! Pot it up with the mix included in the kit, 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. Stake if absolutely necessary indoors. After blooming, let the leaves die down on their own and plant the amaryllis in the garden when it starts to grow again.

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Special Report - Garden to Table

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