Pineapple sage, Salvia elegans

Pineapple sage has been used as both an herb and an ornamental.  Most people are attracted to it for the pineapple scent of the leaves when crushed, but it is a good addition to the ornamental garden for its attractive foliage, and if frost holds off until late in the fall, the spectacular red flowers. To learn more about Salvia elegans read this article…

Popcorn Cassia, Senna (=Cassia) didymobotrya

Popcorn cassia is an unusual accent plant with bright yellow showy flowers contrasting with its striking black buds. This tender plant can provide seasonal vertical interest with its tall flower spikes and a tropical effect with its attractive foliage. To learn more about this small tree native to eastern Africa, read this article…

Stromanthe sanguinea “Tricolor”

Tricolor is a stunning plant with dramatic variegated foliage with different colors on the upper and lower leaf surfaces. Although it is a tender tropical, it can be grown in the Midwest as a seasonal annual to add interest in beds or containers, or year-round as a houseplant. To learn more about Stromanthe sanguinea, read this article…

Variegated Shell Ginger, Alpinia zerumbet ‘Variegata’

Vareigated leaves and large, tropical foliage adds drama to any garden. Variegated shell ginger combines these characteristics or striking color and bold texture in one plant. Try using this tender perennial as an annual or grow it as a houseplant. To learn more about Alpinia zerumbet ‘Variegata’, read this article…

Four O’Clocks, Mirabilis jalapa

Most flowers open early in the day, but one species from the tropical Andes opens late in the day since its pollinators are evening-flying sphinx moths. With flowers in a variety of bright and pastel shades, this fast-growing tender perennial is grown as an annual in cool climates. To learn more about the plant commonly called four o’clocks, read this article…

Flapjacks, Kalanchoe spp.

Tender succulent plants can provide architectural interest as temporary elements in the landscape outdoors in the summer and moved indoors for the winter. Flapjacks offers bold texture in its paddle-shaped leaves and often dramatic colors of the fleshy foliage. Learn more about the species of Kalanchoe commonly called flapjacks in this article…

Ruby grass, Melinus nerviglumis

Late in the season grasses become an important element in many landscapes as they begin to bloom. Ruby grass is a tender perennial grass grown as an annual in temperate areas with attractive blue green foliage and fluffy pink flower heads. To learn more about this interesting African grass, read this article…

Moss Rose, Portulaca grandiflora

In the heat of summer many flowering plants struggle, but Portulaca grandiflora loves those conditions. This semi-succulent annual native to South America has showy flowers that bloom all summer long. To learn more about this relative of the weedy purslane and its many cultivars and hybrids, read this article…

Flowering Tobacco, Nicotiana sylvestris

Looking to add fragrance to the garden? Flowering tobacco offers dramatic foliage and sweet-scented flowers in late summer. This annual plant with clusters of tubular white flowers atop huge, chartreuse to green leaves is easy to grow and combines well with many other annuals. To learn more about Nicotiana sylvestris, read this article…

Gomphrena ‘Fireworks’

Looking for a different annual to add some zing to your garden? ‘Fireworks’ gomphrena is a tough, low-maintenance plant with long-lasting, intense hot iridescent pink blossoms with tiny yellow flowers that together resemble exploding fireworks. To learn more about this relatively new cultivar that works well in masses or in containers, read this article…

Caladiums

In the middle of summer some plants start to look stressed, but not caladiums – they thrive on heat and humidity. These tropical perennials have been cultivated as ornamentals for centuries, grown for their dramatic, brightly colored foliage. To learn more about these shade-loving “summer bulbs” read this article…

Sage, Salvia officinalis

Sage may be best known as a flavoring for stuffing at Thanksgiving, but there’s much more to this aromatic plant. With attractive foliage and interesting flowers, this short lived perennial is a great addition to herb gardens, perennial borders or containers. Read more about this useful culinary, medicinal and ornamental plant in this article…

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