Sweet Alyssum, Lobularia maritima

With billowy white or purple flowers, sweet alyssum is a good addition to annual flower beds or containers. This low-growing plant native to the Mediterranean makes a good ground cover and the sweetly fragrant flowers are attractive to many beneficial insects. To learn more about sweet alyssum, read this article…

Papyrus, Cyperus papyrus

Want an easy-to-grow plant to provide a tropical feel for the growing season? Papyrus is a tropical perennial grown as an annual in the Midwest. It is right at home in shallow water gardens, but can also be  grown in containers or moist ground. To find out more about this interesting plant, read this article…

Dusty Miller, Senecio cineraria

With its soft, silvery leaves, dusty miller is typically grown as an annual foliage plant – despite the fact that it’s actually a perennial that will flower after the first year. The color is an accent to the green of most other plant leaves and complements brightly colored flowers. To learn more about this bedding plant, read this article…

Ornamental Millet, Pennisetum glaucum

The stately purple spires of ‘Purple Majesty’ ornamental millet have been a staple in many gardens for the last several years. Several other cultivars have been developed to add interest in color, texture and form. To learn more about this ancient food crop that’s come into its own as an ornamental, read this article…

Aztec Lily, Sprekelia formosissima

With bold red flowers, Aztec lily is a dramatic “summer bulb” to consider growing this year. This tender perennial can be grown as a houseplant or planted in the ground once the soil has warmed. To learn more about this Mexican native, read this article…

Chenille Plant, Acalypha hispida

Chenille, the French word for caterpillar, refers to a type of yarn with a characteristic texture and appearance that is echoed in the pendulous blossoms of the tropical plant Acalypha hispida, leading to it’s common name of chenille plant. If you want to know more about this exotic species grown as a houseplant or seasonal annual in our part of the world, read this article…

Zinnias

The National Garden Bureau has declared 2011 the “Year of the Zinnia”. Among the easiest flowers to grow, these annuals come in a wide range of colors, heights and flower types. It may be hard to choose from the hundreds of cultivars and hybrids. To learn which ones I particularly like, read this article…

Tradescantia zebrina

Tradescantia zebrina is a popular houseplant grown for its variegated foliage. This tender perennial native to southern Mexico and Guatemala can also be used as a seasonal groundcover or trailing accent in containers. To learn more about this tough plant in the spiderwort family, read this article…

Small Aloes – Interesting, Colorful, and Easy Succulents

Lots of people keep a plant of Aloe vera on hand, but did you know there are many other small species that make great houseplants? These compact succulents from Africa can have very ornamental foliage as well as pretty flowers. To learn more about these tender exotic plants, and how to grow them in a cold climate, read this article…

Dianthus 'Bath's Pink'

Want a sturdy, pink-flowered Dianthus for the border, rock garden or cottage garden for a burst of color this time of year? ‘Bath’s Pink’ is one of the most tolerant of heat, cold, humidity and drought – and is still vigorous enough to form a mat up to 3 feet across. To learn more about this great cultivar, read this article…

Jade Plant, Crassula ovata

Crassula ovata is a tender succulent south African native that is very easy to grow and propagate, making it a very common houseplant. You probably know it by its common name of jade plant. To learn more about jade plant read this article…

Fiber Optic Grass, Isolepis cernua

Want a fun plant for the water garden, containers or garden bed? Give fiber optic grass a try! Not really a grass, but a sedge, this low maintenance plant has small flower spikes at the tips of the grass-like stems reminiscent of those fiber optic lamps, hence the common name. Although it’s not hardy here and is frequently used as an annual, you can overwinter it in the house. Read this article on fiber optic grass…

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