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Springtime means new leaves, soft rains, and beautiful flowers. But it all starts with picking the right blooms to plant. You want color and blossoms all summer long and into the fall. Your planting choices will decide all of that. The South has hot, humid days and often gets inundated with rainfall. This means choosing plants that can stand up to the heat and humidity. Here are some flowering plants that work well in the South.

Easy To Grow Color

If you want color and you want something easy then the Mandevilla Vogue is perfect. These are tall, beautiful plants that grow 18″ – 24″. They are loaded with brilliant pink or red. They do well in a flower garden and they do well in a hanging basket or container on the porch.

Butterfly Beauties

If you want not only a lovely garden but beautiful butterflies, then plant ‘Stars and Stripes’ pentas. Their deep scarlet blooms attract not only butterflies but hummingbirds as well. Their foliage is variegated, and they blend well with other deep colored plants.

Red Beacons

Another fun red flower is the ‘Ragin’ Cajun’ ruellia. It draws bees and butterflies like a beacon. If you want to make a statement with this delicate looking plant them in bunches in containers or big groupings I the garden. They are very hardy even though they look delicate.

Nice Ground Cover

If you have an area that needs some colorful ground cover, ‘Blue Sue’ setcreasea is an excellent choice. The flowers are a delicate pink and the leaves have purple edges with a hint of blue. Plant these on a hillside or under flowering bushes for a lovely show of color.

Container Planting

Begonias can’t be beat for breathtaking container plants. The ‘Bonita Shea’ begonia is an excellent choice for down South. The flowers are white, and the leaves curl, displaying a lovely red color. The flowers and leaves complement each other delightfully.

Made For The Heat

The South is known for its heat, so planting flowers that are heat resistant is a must. When you plant the ‘Azure Skies’ variety of heliotrope you can’t go wrong. The lavender flowers seem to never stop blooming. If you live where the winters are very mild you can grow it as a perennial.

Dainty Miss

If you are looking for something dainty and delightful, the Plum Mist cuphea will bring you great pleasure. Its flowers are lavender, both light and dark blooms which are perfect together and so lovely. They bloom all summer and into the fall. Plant them on the edges of your gardens, or in containers, as they love to grow up and over and trail delicately down the edge.

Great Companion Plants

Scaevola and verbenas are wonderful companion plants. They are fun to blend in with all kinds of flowers for impact and color. Cajun Blue is a very compact scaevola, and can be tucked in easily with other flowers. Verbenas are nice as they continually flower, are hardy and you can use them in the garden, in containers, hanging baskets or any other way you can think of. Princess Blush is another good variety of verbena.

There are many varieties of flowers which can easily be planted in the South but these are all varieties known to do well. Easy choices, especially for beginner gardeners, you can’t go wrong choosing from this list.

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How To Start Growing With Hydroponics

If you’re looking to start growing without soil, then hydroponics is for you. While some people prefer to grow their seedlings in soil before transferring them to a hydroponics medium, I feel that starting seeds in hydroponics system itself is a cleaner way to go about it, since soil isn’t introduced to the set up at all. Also, seeds that germinate in a hydroponic cloner from the start will grow faster because they won’t have experienced a change of medium.

The Materials Needed

You’ll need a hydroponic cloner, to begin with. This is a piece of equipment that can increase the cost of getting started with hydroponics but it ensures quality. Other things required are:

Set Up Your Cloner and Air Pump

Start by filling your hydroponic cloner with water. Fill it to the point where the bottoms of your net pots reach. Next, place the air stone in the water and connect it to the tubing. Attach the other side of the tubing to the air pump. Plug in the air pump to an electrical outlet and you’ll begin to see some bubbles in the tank.

Planting Your Seeds

Take out your natural plant starters and soak each one with water before adding it to a net pot. The moist bubbles coming out through the air stone will keep the starters wet and help seeds germinate.

Each starter will have a hole in it; add around 3 seeds to it. You can start with lettuce seeds because these are easier to grow for beginners. Don’t plant less than three because it’s likely that some seeds won’t germinate, and you need to make sure that there are seedlings sprouting from each starter.

Maintaining Your Seeds

Keeping your seeds in good condition is important so that they sprout and it’s easy to do as well. Until your seedlings sprout, use a spray bottle or dropper to keep the starters moist. Repeat this every day until you begin to see some growth. After your seedlings have sprouted, look for the weaker seedlings in every starter and clip them.

After you’ve prepared the ideal environment for your seeds to germinate, you’ll need to begin prepping the water so they can grow better. Using a pH pen, find out whether the water in the reservoir is currently acidic or basic.

Then, based on what you find out, you’ll have to lower or raise the pH. If you used regular tap water at first, it’s likely that the water is a bit basic and you’ll need a pH down solution so you can make it a little acidic.

You can easily purchase a pH up and down pack from any gardening store, or just order some. After that, you can add some hydroponic nutrient solution that provides your seedlings with essential minerals so they have better growth. Now, your hydroponic setup is ready to grow you some great veggies! Happy Farming!

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