Articles on Some Flowering Tropical Plants

It’s pretty cold outside in our area, and most plants here have stopped growing for the season. But plants from tropical climates never have to deal with winter, and generally don’t drop their leaves and go dormant — making them ideal candidates to join us indoors for the winter (or to be grown as seasonal outdoor plants during the summer). Read about a few tropical plants grown for their flowers in these archived articles…

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American hog-peanut, Amphicarpaea bracteata

With attractive trifoliate leaves and the ability to fix nitrogen, American hog-peanut is a vigorous annual vine that twines around neighboring plants – making it welcome in some places, but usually considered a weed in ornamental landscapes. It is a somewhat unusual plant because it produces two types of flowers and seeds. Learn more about this North American native in the pea family in this article…

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Dodder, Cuscuta spp.

Tangles of pale yellow or bright orange strings running amok over other plants may remind you of science fiction tales, but there are actually real plants that grow like this. The nearly leafless, stringlike stems of dodder can be seen occasionally on a wide variety of plants in different habitats. Learn more about the biology of these parasitic plants that depend on their host plants for nutrition in this article…

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Articles on Non-hardy Plants with Interesting Foliage

Many of our ornamental plants are grown primarily for their attractive foliage, rather than their flowers. Among the vast array of plants that won’t survive our winters, here are a few that you might want to consider growing as houseplants or seasonally outdoors. Read about six different frost-tender plants with pretty leaves in these archived articles:

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Scale Insects

Scale insects feed on many plants, but are often overlooked because they are immobile and many types look like small bumps that just might be plant parts blending in with the leaves, twigs and branches. These insects secrete a waxy covering – that gives them their common name – to protect them from the environment and predators. Learn more about this group of inconspicuous and atypical insects in this article…

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Articles on Succulents

Succulent plants come a wide variety of shapes and sizes, with some grown for their flowers, but most appreciated for their unusual or architectural shapes. Most are not hardy and are grown as seasonal accents or houseplants. Read about some interesting and easy-to-grow succulents …

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Take a Virtual European Vacation

The gardens of Europe range from plant collections to lavishly landscaped historic estates. Many combine history, art, and architecture, Take a virtual tour of three renowned English gardens, one Italian garden, and a Moorish garden in Spain, plus a discussion of the characteristics of Italian gardens in these archived articles:

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Kiwifruit, Actinidia spp.

What’s brown and fuzzy all over and green inside? Well, the kiwifruit, of course. This Chinese fruit was popularized when it was imported into New Zealand, renamed kiwifruit instead of Chinese gooseberry, and developed as an export crop. Today this fruit crop is grown in many places worldwide, but there is more than just the kind found at the grocery store. To learn more about kiwifruit, read this article…

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Annatto or Achiote, Bixa orellana

If you’ve ever eaten American cheese, it’s likely you’ve had annatto, a natural orange-red colorant that comes from the waxy covering of the seeds of Bixa orellana.  This small tree or shrub native to tropical America has beautiful pink flowers and interesting spiny fruits. Learn more about the plant and its uses in this article…

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Great Grasses

Ornamental grasses offer contrast in texture and form in most gardens, and are often and easy, low-maintenance way to provide multi-season interest. Read about some annual and perennial ornamental grasses in these archived articles:

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