Mukdenia, Mukdenia rossi

Grown for its showy foliage and airy flowers, mukdenia is an uncommon herbaceous perennial for the shade garden. The glossy green, fan-shaped leaves are attractive throughout summer, but when they transform to bright red starting at the tips they become a stunning statement in the garden. Learn more about this introduced ornamental plant in this article…

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Leaf Cactus, Pereskia spp.

A cactus with leaves? The genus Pereskia is one of the most interesting and unusual genera of cacti, unlike all other members of the family with broad, bright green leaves on thin stems. However these plants do have the same kind of spines and flowers of their typical cactus cousins hidden under all that foliage. Learn more about this unique group of plants in this article…

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Croton, Codiaeum variegatum

One of the boldest houseplants around, croton offers fabulous foliage marked with bright yellow, orange, red, and even near black. These eye-catching plants add a tropical touch to indoor décor or make a dramatic focal point as a seasonal plant outdoors during the growing season. Learn more about this Asian plant distantly related to poinsettia in this article…

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Sea thrift, Armeria maritima

Sea thrift is a profuse spring and early summer bloomer, with pink or white flowers on low mounds of dense foliage. Coming from mountainous and coastal areas, it needs excellent drainage and lean soils to thrive so can be a challenge to grow in wet Midwestern climates. Learn more about this clump-forming evergreen perennial in this article…

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Datura

With coarse foliage and big, dramatic funnel-shaped flowers on large, mound-shaped plants, datura makes a bold statement in the garden. These fast-growing annual or tender perennial herbaceous plants are easily grown as seasonal plants in colder climates. Learn more about these plants that are not only ornamental, but have been used for medicinal, religious, and cultural purposes for millennia in this article…

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Staghorn Fern, Platycerium bifurcatum

With “leaves” shaped like deer antlers arching out from a brown and green shield-shaped base, staghorn fern can be a dramatic decorative accent and conversation starter.  Naturally growing on trees for support and protection, these plants can be a bit challenging to grow indoors, but make fine houseplants with a little effort. Learn about these unique tropical ferns and how to grow them in this article…

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Shooting star, Dodecatheon meadia

With delicate, nodding purple, pink or white flowers that resemble tiny “shooting stars”, Dodecatheon meadia is a charming spring wildflower of moist prairies and open woodlands that adapts well to home gardens. Learn more about this perennial native to the central and eastern US in this article…

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Flora in San Diego

Most people’s image of San Diego is white beaches, palm trees, lush greenery and flowers blooming throughout the year. However beautiful this may be, it isn’t really true California flora. Learn about the native plants of this area and where you can see these as well as the diversity of exotic plants that are grown in San Diego County in this virtual tour of some public gardens and other places in the area.

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Articles on Flavors & Scents

Many plants or their parts smell or taste really good. Some are used commercially in flavorings or perfumes, while others just make an interesting addition to our gardens. Read about some of these plants — plus an article on scent in the garden — in these archived articles…

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Twospotted Spider Mite, Tetranychus urticae

From apples to zucchini – no matter what types of plants you grow – it’s likely something spider mites will attack. The most common spider mite, the twospotted spider mite (Tetranychus urticae), is a general feeder that attacks a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, and ornamentals. Learn about this the biology of this tiny pest, the type of damage it causes and how to manage it in this article…

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