May 2008
Home Grown Tomatoes

Homestead Purple Verbena and Home Grown Tomatoes

By Kenn Alan

What do these two things have in common? Me! Indulge me and I’ll explain.

I have been busy this spring with taking cuttings from plants and making babies. Wait! That didn’t sound quite right! I mean taking cuttings and making baby plants!

My neighbors, "The Doctors Across the Street," have the most beautiful Homestead Purple Verbena growing around their mailbox. This verbena (Verbena Canadensis x Homestead Purple) is a trailing variety that grows well in hanging baskets or as a ground cover. It is the only true perennial trailing verbena I know of. It grows best in well drained soil, but is drought tolerant. One other feature and benefit of this plant is it is humidity tolerant.

Homestead Purple is best propagated by cuttings. Recently, I took some cuttings from across the street and stuck them in 36-01 flats (36-01 flats have 36 individual cells per flat). Now I have 72 new plants to use in my landscape and to share with my friends.

When taking cuttings, remove blooms to make the plant put its energy into creating roots instead of looking pretty. I prefer 2½" to 3" cuttings. Remove two leaves from the basal end, but leave two leaves at the top of the cutting. Remember the rule of thumb for simple cuttings – two nodes down and two leaves up. Though it isn’t necessary to use a rooting hormone for this plant, I prefer to use one.

Rootone® contains a fungicide which is helpful in the rooting process since the cuttings are placed in moist soil to finish out.

Cut some Homestead Purple Verbena and make some babies of your own!

Finally, Home Grown Tomatoes has returned to the airwaves and to the Internet! On April 19th, 2008 Home Grown Tomatoes (HGT) began broadcasting again on 90.7 WVAS-FM in Montgomery. The 70,000 watt signal reaches 17 Alabama Counties from the campus of

Alabama State University. Get ready! WVAS-FM is going High Definition later this year.

HGT has the same great gardening information as before plus some new show segments. Each Saturday you will hear a different show segment at half past the hour. "In the Field" features the Commissioner of Agriculture and Industries, Ron Sparks. Doctor Dave Han is the star of "Turf Talk." "The Extension Landscape" with Sallie Lee is back with more information from the Alabama Cooperative Extension System. "The Doctors Across the Street" features professors Malia Fincher, PhD, and Grant Gentry, PhD.

Kenn Alan offers gardening tips on 90.7 WVAS-FM radio in Montgomery at noon on Saturdays and at http://HGTradio.net. Log on and follow the links to listen live. If you have a gardening question you would like to have answered, email him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.?subject=From%20alafarmnews.com">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..