Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association

Lower South

May, 2001
Regional Report

Clean Out Cool-Season Annuals

In cooler areas of our region, annuals such as pansies, snapdragons, stock, and calendulas can be revived for another bloom cycle if you cut off old blossoms. However, for most of the lower South these annuals are fading fast with the arrival of hot weather. Pull them out and replace them with warm-season annuals.

Propagate Chrysanthemums

Now is the time to propagate chrysanthemums from cuttings. Take 4-inch cuttings and remove the leaves on the lower half of the stem. Dip the cutting in rooting hormone and place it in a moistened mixture of half perlite and half peat mixture. Cover with a clear lid and place in a bright area out of direct light.

Cut Back Flowers

Annual and perennial flowers can start to get leggy this time of year. After they\'ve completed a flush of blooms, cut them back by one-third. This will encourage side shoots and result in bushier plants and more flower buds. Repeat through the summer, fertilizing lightly after each shearing.

Plant Heat-Tolerant Veggies

Okra, sweet potatoes, southern peas, Malabar spinach, and vegetable amaranth are some of the hot-weather vegetables that will thrive in our southern summers. Plant them now in a sunny garden spot. Keep the soil moist to help get the seeds off to a good start. Once seedlings are up and growing mulch the garden bed to deter weeds.

Spring Bulb Care

Spring bulbs such as tulips and daffodils have completed their period of replenishing their food reserves, and their foliage is turning yellow. Remove the foliage and clean up the bed. If you want to move the bulbs, dig them up now and allow them to dry for a week or so in a shady location. Cut away any roots or foliage and store bulbs in a cool, dry place for fall planting.


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