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Easy Succulent House Plants

Echeverias, with their pretty rosettes of foliage, are easy and a visual treat.

Succulent plants are riding a wave of popularity right now.  Striking, easy to care for, and available in a variety of shapes and colors, they make perfect house plants.  Some indoor gardeners amass a collection of specimen plants, while others combine different species or varieties into indoor gardens, arrangements, or even wreathes.  The […]

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Gesneriads for Bountiful Indoor Blooms

Streptocarpus ‘Polka Dot Purple’ is one of many colorful cultivars available.

Showy, funnel-shaped flowers; attractive, rounded, or lance-shaped leaves; and an overall velvety to fuzzy texture characterize members of the family Gesneriaceae, home to many popular flowering house plants including gloxinias (Sinningia speciosa), African violets (Saintpaulia spp.), and others. Collectively known as gesneriads, they have a dubious reputation for being fussy in cultivation. In fact, many […]

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Eight Must-Have Philodendrons For House Plant Lovers

The coppery red, yellow, orange, and green leaves of ‘McColley’s Finale’ make it a much sought-after Philodendron.

Specialty house plant vendors are popping up nationwide because house plants are so popular. That means cooler, more wonderful hybrids and species are available as growers compete to provide more and more enticing plants. This trend has been good for the Philodendron. Some of the specimens available now are […]

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Celebrate the Wintery Beauty of Florist’s Cyclamen

Even when not in bloom, cyclamen leaves continue to look lovely.

Florists’ cyclamen (Cyclamen persicum hybrids) is a great imposter.  Despite the Latin name persicum, they are not from Persia (modern-day Iran) but hailed from nearby countries, including Syria, Turkey, Lebanon, Israel, Jordan, Algeria, and Tunisia. Though the graceful flowers might make you think of orchids, cyclamens actually reside in the primrose family, Primulaceae.  The leaves […]

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How To Force Spring Bulbs In Water

Flower bulbs, water, and a vase (or two) are all you need to bring a splash of spring to your windowsill this winter. It’s as simple as plant-growing gets. The water provides moisture for the bulbs’ roots. The vase provides a container for the water and support for the bulbs’ stems and leaves. And the bulbs take it from there. Everything’s inside these miraculous little […]

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Tips For Growing Tropical Maidenhair Ferns

Distinctive delicate black stems and small fan-like fronds make maidenhair fern a much-sought-after house plant.

The South American Delta maidenhair fern (Adiantum raddianum, 18-24 inches, Zones 10-11) is arguably one of the loveliest, most delicate house plants you can grow. Its onyx wire-thin stems hold dainty, drooping fronds that tremble at a touch. A few varieties are available–all equally delicate and lovely. One caveat: The plants themselves are on the fragile side, so one […]

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Holly Olive and Its Virtues

Fortune’s Holly Olive is an appealing evergreen with highly fragrant spring flowers.

You might call osmanthus a great imposter, because shrubs and trees in the genus go by so many names.  At various times and places, osmanthus species have been tagged with common names like “false holly”, “tea olive”, “wild olive’ and even the scary-sounding “devilwood”. 

It takes some doing to get a handle on this group […]

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Well-Mannered Groundcovers for Shade

Foamflower is a highly desirable native flowering groundcover for shade.

Back when one-size-fits-all gardening was a thing, ground covers for shade were seemingly as easy as one-two-three: creeping myrtle (Vinca minor), English ivy (Hedera helix), and Japanese spurge (Pachysandra terminalis). That is before they all began invading wildlands. All were neatly arrayed under an equally ubiquitous Norway maple or Bradford pear– both equally invasive and troublesome.

It […]

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Persimmons and Paw Paws: Fall Fruits of the Forest

So you want to plant a fruit tree? Something that will fill that blank space in the back yard while supplying your family (and impressing your neighbors) with a bumper crop of juicy, scrumptious munchies? Great idea! Of course, you could always opt for a perfunctory apple or peach (which could all too easily develop into a horticultural and aesthetic nightmare). On the other hand, […]

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Fall Fruits for Decorating

Orange, red, and gold, are the most identifiable colors of fall, so seasonal decorating commands them if you prefer traditional color themes. Creating harvest hues is easiest when you have a good palette of garden material to gather. Here are several bright, festive fruits that no garden should be without. All can be used to create a warm, homey indoor and outdoor decor.

Festive, Decorative […]

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