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Overwintering Cuphea hyssopifolia/Mexican Heather

Posted by scenter 7 GA (My Page) on
Fri, May 4, 07 at 12:01

Last year, in the Spring, I put in some Mexican Heather (Cuphea hyssopifolia) as an accent around some hollies in my yard. I had heard that they are not hardy here near Atlanta (I'm in 7a or b depending upon whose hardiness map you look at) so last September I dug 3 of them up and potted them to overwinter them in the house. Seeing that they had a woody stem, I wondered if they would make a decent bonsai-esque plant. I pruned them back, and about 3 weeks later brought them indoors before frost. At first they were fine indoors, but then the leaves started drying out even though the soil was moist. Not a one made it through the winter. They were in a sunroom that has south and east exposure, near the east windows.

Any hints as to how to overwinter the new ones I bought this spring? Any thoughts on bonsaiing this?


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RE: Overwintering Cuphea hyssopifolia/Mexican Heather

They're used all the time for bonsai. The drying out you saw could have been due to many things, not the least of which might have been lack of humidity (a couple of sprays a day won't touch that... you need a real humidity tray), and/or to lack of natural light from dawn to dusk (14-16 hrs/day under full spectrum fluorescents 5" away is average), and/or did you check for spider mites (they love dryness!)? Also, what did you pot them into? Did you add lots of grit for fast drainage? Did you water well from above whenever it was needed, but refrain when it wasn't? Right now forget bonsaiing them, just keep them alive for a year, then consider it.

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