November 20, 2016
The Southern Gardening crew likes to highlight curious plants for our Mississippi landscapes. Today we’re at the South Mississippi Branch Station in Poplarville with some unusual options. King Tut papyrus will easily grow to 6 feet tall and features triangular green stems. Each stem is topped by an umbellate inflorescence with 100’s of thread-like rays. The flower clusters appear at the ends of the rays. King Tut isn’t hardy below Zone 9, but when grown as an annual, it will reach impressive size. Another interesting specimen is the root beer plant, known botanically as Piper auritum. This is a shrubby perennial that can grow to 6 foot or more. The huge leaves fee soft velvety to the touch. It has unusual flowers are long and skinny with a fuzzy white appearance. Root beer plant grows best in part to full shade. Other than consistent watering, little other care is required. Keeping with the beer reference let’s take a look at this unusual trellis plant, hops. Hops are a vigorous growing bine. That’s right I said bine, not vine. The hops bines climb with the help of microscopic stiff hairs along the stems and can grow up to 25 feet or more. Hops cones are richly scented and used as a main ingredient in brewing beer and impart desirable flavors, aromas, and bittering qualities. Now this is what I call a REAL beer garden for both the adventurous gardener…. and home brewer. I’m horticulturist Gary Bachman and I’ll see you next time on Southern Gardening.