Ginger, Zingiber officinale

Many species of tropical gingers are grown for their flashy blooms, but the plants of culinary ginger aren’t particularly ornamental. Instead, culinary ginger is grown for the aromatic rhizomes which are the source of the hot, pungent flavor enjoyed in ginger ale, gingerbread and many Asian foods. Learn more about this tropical plant which is surprisingly easy to grow in containers…

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Plumeria

Plumeria are small tropical trees with fragrant flowers, commonly used to make wonderfully scented leis in Hawaii. Several types are easily grown in containers in colder climates to enjoy a touch of the tropics in summer. Learn more about this group of plants native to tropical America in this article…

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String of Pearls, Senecio rowleyanus

String of pearls is an interesting succulent grown for its unusual, bead-like leaves. Small, fragrant brush-like white flowers are produced in summer. Learn more about this vigorous growing, low maintenance, tender evergreen perennial grown as a novelty houseplant …

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Gloriosa lily, Gloriosa superba

The exotic flowers of gloriosa lily, with their amazing color and an unusual shape, make a flamboyant statement in the garden or in a container on a patio.  This twining perennial vine with tendrils coming from the tips of the leaves grows from a tuberous rhizome to produce the striking flowers in summer and fall. Learn more about this climber native to Africa and Asia in this article…

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Heliconias

For most Midwesterners, if they recognize a heliconia at all, it’s as a brightly colored, long-lasting component of a bouquet of tropical flowers. The genus Heliconia is a large group of plants native to tropical areas of the Americas with banana-like leaves and conspicuous inflorescences. Learn more about these showy, interesting plants in this article…

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Amazing Flowers

Everyone has a vision of what a “flower” looks like, but plant flowers are extremely variable and come in all shapes, sizes, colors, and configurations. Take a virtual tour of a dozen weird and wonderful flowers, each from a different plant family, and learn about some of their interesting characteristics, pollinators, or uses. No daisies here…

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Fat Plants: Living Sculptures from the World’s Deserts

Succulent plants are appealing to many people with horticultural interests, in part because of their great diversity. One noteworthy subgroup of succulents are affectionately referred to as “fat plants”. Fat plants are generally leafy succulents with an enlarged trunk or base that give rise to stems and branches. They vary in size from tiny miniatures to the largest of all succulents. Their appeal is in their weird shapes and many also have colorful flowers. Get an overview of these plants and the basics of cultivation in this article…

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Living Stones: Lithops

Plants that look like rocks? Those would be living stones, in the genus Lithops. These are small succulent plants that survive in their harsh environment by having much of the plant body below ground, and only the wide leaf end visible above the rocky ground. To learn more about these fascinating plants that make good houseplants, read this article…

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Burro’s Tail, Sedum morganianum

Burro’s tail is a low maintenance houseplant best grown in hanging containers that will showcase its fleshy, bluish green leaves covering the long, drooping stems. This succulent tender perennial does best in bright light and can be moved outdoors during the growing season. To learn more about Sedum morganianum, read this article…

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Capers, Capparis spinosa

Most of us have eaten capers at one time or another – those salty, slightly astringent and pungent, pea-sized, dark green things used as a seasoning or garnish in Mediterranean dishes or with lox. But do you know what the plant is that you’re eating? Learn all about what capers are in this article…

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