Valentine’s Day Alternatives

No doubt there are certain reported health benefits to a little dark chocolate now and then, but maybe this year, an alternative is in order for your loved one.   Here’s a short list of good ones:   *A potted plant – pots of Boston fern, rosemary, African violets, orchids and sweet bay can last…

The Amaryllis

Of all the holiday plants, the amaryllis boasts some of the largest flowers and can be one of the easiest to grow for next year’s re-bloom. Bulbs received as gifts can be planted right away and their fast growth will amaze everyone, even those with brown thumbs. Hybridization has greatly expanded the red-flowered offerings of…

National Poinsettia Day

Today, December 12th, is National Poinsettia Day in the United States.  Today we celebrate this durable and highly attractive plant for the indoor landscape.  Some quick tidbits about poinsettias:   *Contrary to popular belief, they are not poisonous.  Oh sure, if you ate a whole plant, it’s likely that it would result in a stomachache,…

All That Glitters

Trendy or not painting plants is a surefire way to kill them. Plants have pores (stomatal pore) that are located mostly on the surface of leaves. These pores are how plants gain access to carbon dioxide to carry out the process of photosynthesis. They are tiny and typically not visible with the use of a…

Taking Care of Poinsettias

I had a client call me one September day and asked if it was time to bring her poinsettia into the light. Oh yes and by the way, she mentioned the plant had been stored in the closet for the past nine months. Hmmm… On the positive side of things, I thought it was great…

When Salt Attack

As a gardener I am sure you have experienced first hand the accumulation of salts on when using clay pots.  Clay pots or a staple in the garden industry and to the home gardener.  They are inexpensive and easy to use.  In my family we have terracotta pots that have been passed down from our…

Poinsettias on Your Desktop

There is no plant more associated with Christmas than the poinsettia.  The good news is that the number of cultivars keeps expanding each year.  Colors and shapes are available to fit any situation or décor.  Big ones are great for church or bank lobbies…but small ones make a big difference in the enjoyment of the…

Powdery Mildew

Powdery mildew is an obligate parasite.  Huh?  In short, powdery mildew doesn’t want to kill your plants – but it sometimes happens, by accident of course.  We most often see this disease on plants outdoors where there is poor air circulation.  You probably have seen peony bushes around town or even your own that ended…

Sunset Bells

Sometimes I struggle grasping the diversity of the Gesneriaceae family.  With over 130 genera and an untold (well not untold but greatly disputed) number of species I am always amazed by this family of plants.  One thing that I do find fascinating is: there are no native Gesneriads to the United States and Canada and…

Streptocarpus

If you have ever grown an African violet you are may want to try your hand at growing Cape Primrose AKA Streptocarpus (strep-to-car’pus).  Streptocarpus are in the Gesneriaceae family which includes the florist gloxinia, lipstick plant, guppy plant, flame violet, African violet, and many more.  Recent genetic studies have determined that both the African violet…