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Tropical Rainbow House Plants


Why wait for flowering house plants to bloom for indoor color when you can have plants that always look vivid and dramatic? Some have foliage that’s so colorful their leaves look like a Mardi Gras parade. Just a few pots will bring dazzling delight to any room with good light.
These rainbow house plants come from tropical or subtropical regions and grow best in rooms with […]

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Ponytail Palm: Beautiful Flesh Indoors or Out

This ponytail palm at the San Diego Zoo demonstrates how graceful they become.
Many believe Dr. Seuss’ Truffula Tree was inspired by a curious cypress in a San Diego park.  But maybe this isn’t true at all.  Maybe it’s San Diego’s epic ponytail palms that were the real inspiration for the Lorax story.  These are botanically known as Beaucarnea (“beautiful flesh” in Latin), a name that refers […]

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The Best Fragrant House Plants

Orange jasmine (Murraya paniculata)
In the Pacific Northwest, where our winter days are often rainy and overcast, (some would say dark and gloomy), it is a bonus to have an indoor environment where plants grow and thrive. If the plants also have fragrant blooms, it’s even nicer.
The limiting factor for most of these floriferous house plants is the lack of adequate light, so if a spot in […]

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Jade Jewels: Remarkable Jade Plants for Connoisseurs

Golden jade has remarkable sunset-hued leaves. (Image thanks to Mountain Crest Gardens)
A mature, well-formed jade (Crassula ovata) is an arboreal treasure of a house plant worthy of indoor garden ardor. Its thick, trunk-like stems ascend to a rounded top with glistening clusters of fleshy, jade-colored leaves. In winter, happy plants will do double duty by producing a wealth of starry white flowers. But, succulent connoisseurs know […]

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Growing Carrion Flower: Nature’s Flycatcher


Just imagine if you could grow a drought-tolerant plant that may actually reduce fly populations. One group of South African succulents, carrion flowers (Stapelia spp.), does just that. Unique carrion flowers have evolved very exotic starfish-like blossoms that kill the most ubiquitous insect in Africa: the fly. But death does not come until these insects have first pollinated the blooms. Prey are always prevalent […]

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Little Aloe World: Discover Dwarf Aloes

Dense and colorful, Aloe juvenna (foreground) makes a great rockery subject or potted specimen.
While we ogle big fancy aloes blooming in frost-free gardens, their sensitivity to cold winters limits their cultivation elsewhere. The plants in the same genus as Aloe vera, the popular Arabian species used for skin care, rarely survive the winters of sub-tropical zones. For everyone who cannot grow succulents outdoors year round, […]

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Growing Miniature Roses

Pots of miniature roses brighten up a nursery display.
Miniature roses are perfect for small-space gardeners that love the look of classic roses. They come in all colors, and newer varieties are disease resistant and bloom continuously through summer.
There is a cloud of mystery concerning the exact origin of the miniature rose. It is most likely a descendant of the Chinese rose, Rosa chinensis var. minima, and for some unknown reason it made its […]

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Succulent Container Gardening: Potted Xeriscaping

A colorful Aeonium is accented by cascading string of pearls (Senecio rowleyanus). (Robin Plaskoff Horton)
Succulents—a broad group of arid plants that store water in their leaves or stems—are perfect for busy, forgetful, or novice gardeners because they are easy to grow and don’t require much water or maintenance. Some are hardy and others tender, and they come in a myriad of dazzling choices for tough, beautiful container gardens.
So Many Succulents!
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Sanseveria Reconsidered

Pots of Sanseveria planted into pots with annual color bring zest to shade gardens.
Extreme South African drought consumed everything except curious green, sword-like plants rising from barren ground beneath giraffe-pruned trees. They survived because they are succulents. While browsers struggled to find food, they did not touch the swords, which contained unpalatable toxins.
This is Sanseveria trifasciata, the old fashioned mother-in-law’s-tongue or sword plant. Its resilience shows why it is a no-brainer house plant; […]

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Eight Best Flowering House Plants

Moth orchids are one of the easiest to grow! (Image by Jessie Keith)
 
House plants have made a resurgence in popularity over the past several years and the trend shows no signs of diminishing.  On a recent visit to a large Portland garden center that had just finished their annual January house plant sale, the manager told me it was the best one they have ever had. […]

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