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Managing the Worst House Plant Pests

Growing house plants all together in a dense tangle encourages pests to spread and multiply!
When garden plants are outdoors, pest populations are generally lower or more diffuse due to natural predators, harsher weather, and more host plants. But, once you bring plants indoors, all of that changes. Predators are gone, climate conditions are good, and the pests that enter your home have just a few plants […]

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Should I Fertilize My Vegetable Garden in Winter?


“What is the best nutrient to use when preparing for a vegetable garden in the winter months?” Question from Denise of Clemmons, North Carolina
Answer: Vegetable fertilization regimes always depend on the plants you are growing. Winter crops for cold frames or hoop gardens tend to consist of cold-tolerant greens, herbs, and root crops. Nitrogen is the best fertilizer for growing leafy crops, while phosphorus and […]

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What are the Best Edibles for Sunny Patio Containers?


“What is the best produce to plant in containers on a large patio that gets a lot of sun?” Question from Jennifer of Telford, Pennsylvania.
Answer: The key to choosing great vegetables, herbs, and fruits for container gardening is selecting compact varieties and/or planting in containers that are large enough to support your vegetables through the season. Then it’s all about getting your potting soil, fertilizer […]

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How Do I Make My Rose Fuller?


“I had a question about roses. I have a rose bush that blooms by itself every year. I was wondering if there is a way to make it more full or expand it. Thanks!” Question from Lisa of New York, New York
Answer: The best way to encourage a bushier rose is by pruning. Cutting your rose back in later winter to spring will give your […]

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What is the Best Soil for Growing Tomatoes?


“What’s the best soil when planting tomatoes?” Question from Jonathon of Centreville, Alabama.
Answer: Getting your soil and feeding regime right is so important for growing great tomatoes. In general, tomatoes like fertile, well-drained soil that is high in organic matter and has a relatively neutral soil pH of around 6.0 to 6.8. If you are growing plants in the ground, amend your soil well with […]

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Captivating Cape Primroses for Indoor Color


After the holiday season is over and the poinsettias have been discarded, the home can seem to be rather bleak with no color from blooming plants. Having indoor color to brighten some of the dark and gloomy days we get in the winter months can give our spirits a boost while we wait for spring. In the time between now and the arrival of spring, […]

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Western Invasive Plants: Battling Ultimate Survivors

Star thistle is one of the worst of all western weeds.
The empire of plants is expansionist and certainly colonial. Immigrant plants are designed by nature to be incredibly self-sustaining through droughts, floods, and wildfires in their place of nativity, and beyond.  They must be able to survive Earth-shattering asteroids and volcanoes without becoming extinct.  The most competitive immigrants are from droughty climates where it takes hardcore […]

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Dwarf Conifers for All-Season Beauty

A dwarf white spruce shows off its winter cones.
Dwarf conifers are often overlooked as both landscape or container plants.  In recent years there have been many new cultivars of dwarf conifers that have been developed to be super compact and slow growing. These make superb garden specimens that will shine all year long, especially in the winter months.
Dwarf Conifers Defined
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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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