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Put Amsonia On Spring Wish List

On a cold gray winter day, if you find yourself dreaming of spring, you are not alone. I have already begun planning for the coming spring. One perennial I definitely recommend this year for your garden is Amsonia hubrichtii, or Arkansas amsonia.

THIS AMAZING PERENNIAL takes up quite a bit of space in the garden or perennial border. It grows 2 to 3 feet tall and 2 to 3 feet wide. One is indeed beautiful, but if you have the space, consider planting several for the most amazing fall display you can imagine.

PLANT IT IN FULL SUN for best results, but part shade is not a problem. The foliage appears soft and ferny from spring to fall. The slender leaves are a beautiful grassy green in summer and turn a stunning yellow for fall. The foliage will turn from brilliant yellow to brown and will fall slowly, but the stems remain and do provide some winter interest.

GROWN MAINLY FOR ITS FOLIAGE, it does, however, flower in the spring. A small, light blue, star-shaped flower emerges but is quite subtle in contrast to the foliage.

A VERY LOW MAINTENANCE PERENNIAL, its characteristics are suitable for many styles of gardens. I am surprised not to see it in more of the gardens I visit. The only thing you need to do is cut it back in either early winter or early spring. Once hard to find, it is now widely available and is an excellent choice to put on your must-have shopping list for spring.

Shelly Nold is a horticulturist and owner of The Plant Kingdom. Send stories and ideas to her at The Plant Kingdom, 4101 Westport Road, Louisville, KY 40207.


ASK THE GARDENER
by Angie McManus

Can I take broken branches from a boxwood bush and put them in a bucket of sand to produce roots?

Some plants are more difficult to propagate than others, but boxwoods are quite easy, with a good success rate. These evergreens generally root anytime of the year.

There are softwood cuttings that are taken from new growth, and hardwood cuttings taken from older woodier growth. Use your pruners or gardening scissors to take cuttings between 4-6 inches long.

Remove all the foliage except from the top couple inches. Prepare your containers before taking cuttings. Dip the end of the cutting in a rooting hormone from your local garden center, then plant the cutting about 1 inch deep into a small container no bigger than 4 inches. Make sure the container has plenty of drainage holes. Use a mixture of half sand and half peat or Perlite.

Water the pots well and cover them with a clear plastic bag to create a mini greenhouse. Use a bamboo stake or a stick to make sure the bag does not touch the cutting. Place in an area with filtered light, avoiding direct sun. Do not let the soil completely dry out, yet not overly wet. If there is condensation inside the bag, do not water. The cutting should root gradually and then you can plant it in a larger container or directly into the garden.


HAVE A GARDENING QUESTION?
Go to www.KentuckyLiving.com, click on Home & Garden, then “Ask The Gardener.”

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