Coastal and Tropical South

August, 2011
Regional Report

Plant Now

The vegetable and flower gardens begin anew now with a list of seeds and seedlings to plant right now. There are plenty of flowers and vegetables to enjoy and harvest this fall. Parsley, cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower may need shade for their first weeks in the vegetable garden, but will soon settle in and grow well. Start parsley from seed if you are patient, but transplants of the cole crops will take off faster. Zinnias, especially the long stemmed types, African marigolds, and celosia will start easily from seed in a moist bed outdoors.

Watch for Brown Leaf Tips

When the symptom is browning on leaf tips, suspect a root issue. Potting soil or garden beds that stay too wet for their plants to tolerate can bring on root problems. Browning begins at the leaf tip and proceeds towards the inside of the plant. The situation may require a fungicide drench to get it under control, but first clip off the damaged part of the leaves so you will know if the problem is controlled or not. If soils are simply too dense to dry out, repot container plants or ditch around the beds to facilitate drainage.

Restart Fall Flowers

You may not need to start new plants or seeds to get plenty of fall flowers if you take the pruners to annuals and some perennials. Even if you have been deadheading regularly, stems can be leggy, and trailing plants like petunias can have small leaves and few flowers. Do not give up on them until you cut them back, severely if need be. This haircut should be followed by fertilizer to get them blooming again. Impatiens, angelonia, and many types of salvia recover rapidly from summer pruning. If caladiums send up flower spikes, they will go dormant. Keep their spikes cut off as you do with coleus and basil. Ferns that look dry or browned do not have to go dormant now, either. Cut back, water and fertilize to restart them.

Care for Citrus Trees

Do not neglect watering citrus trees that are filling their fruit, such as satsuma and kumquat. Irrigate them regularly until time for harvest and if it does not rain, rinse the leaves weekly to deter insects. If potted citrus dry out daily, put a big saucer underneath, fill it with water and let the plant take up what it needs so it will not dry out so quickly. Or leave a drip nozzle going for several hours until the root ball is saturated. Fertilize lightly only if the leaves are pale green or yellow. Otherwise, avoid fertilizers when fruit is on the tree.

Prune Night Blooming Cereus

Once the night blooming cereus plants have finished blooming, it is tempting to just let them go on growing, but there are good reasons not to do so. Pruning after flowering stimulates new stems and leaves to grow, and that is where the next round of flower buds comes from. If you let them grow endlessly, the flowers will be limited to only the far ends of its expanse. Instead, cut the plants back enough to keep them in their space outside or as much as is needed to get container specimens through the door when fall arrives. Root cuttings in damp sand.

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