Indoor gardens

Happy Poinsettia Day! (Care Tips Included)

Today (December 12) is Poinsettia Day! Who knew this favorite holiday plant even had a day of its own. But, today is the anniversary of the death of Joel Roberts Poinsett, the first United States ambassador to Mexico and an amateur botanist (among many other things), who took a cutting of Euphorbia pulcherrima and eventually…

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Houseplant Care Tips for Spring

With the sun higher in the sky and the days a bit longer, I’ve noticed my houseplants are starting to put on some new growth. It seems they are waking up from their winter slumber. Now is the time for some houseplant care before the outdoor garden starts calling. Here are a few tips from…

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Book Review: Succulents

Succulents have been having a vogue for the past several years, as everything from bridal bouquets to interior walls have been covered with these water-wise, geometric plants. Succulents include all plants that have a fleshy appearance and conserve water, including such northern favorites as hens-and-chicks and sedum. But many of us think of succulents as…

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Art in Bloom: Macy's Flower Show

Whether you are an art lover or a plant aficionado, the Macy’s Flower Show this year is well worth a visit. I am both a plant and art lover, so it was extra fun to see how the designers from Macy’s and Bachman’s (a partner in the event) matched the paintings chosen with plants. By…

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The Essential Guide to Cultivating Mushrooms

This review originally appeared in the January/February 2015 issue of Northern Gardener The Essential Guide to Cultivating Mushrooms (Storey Publishing, 2014) By Stephen Russell Are you looking for a way to broaden your gardening portfolio? Are you happiest when meticulously following instructions and then using the experience you gain to develop shortcuts or personal specialties?…

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Plant Profile: Thanksgiving and Christmas Cactus

Schlumbergera is a houseplant that cheers up many a holiday home. Common names for members of this genus of cactus include Christmas cactus, Thanksgiving cactus, holiday cactus (which actually blooms in spring) or crab cactus. They bloom in pink, white, yellow, orange and red, and are a relatively easy-care houseplant. Schlumbergera is a form of…

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Minnesota State Fair Potted Plant Show

The annual MSHS Minnesota State Fair Cacti, Succulent and Potted Plant Show is underway through tomorrow (Friday, Aug. 22) in the Agriculture/Horticulture Building at the fair. In addition to the folks competing for ribbons, several plant societies have displays worth a visit. The  Minnesota Hosta Society, the Upper Midwest Carnivorous Plant Society and the Minnesota…

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Growing Patchouli in Your Herb Garden

One of the more unusual herbs shown at the MSHS Educational Display at the Minnesota State Fair is patchouli, a tender perennial that is often used in perfumes and is grown for its fragrant leaves. It is often associated with incenses of the 1960s and its hippie roots. Patchouli (Pogostemon heyneanus) is a member of the…

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Do You Grow Aloe?

The MSHS Educational Display at the Minnesota State Fair is particularly interesting this year for herb gardeners. We have about 30 different herbs growing in pots, from garden regulars like sage to unusual options, such as patchouli or coffee plants. One favorite indoor herb is aloe. Many indoor gardeners grow aloe for its striking form,…

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Growing Coffee in Minnesota?

The MSHS Educational Display on herbs at the Minnesota State Fair has some great plants that can be grown indoors, outdoors or, as Nancy Leasman says, as commuters, who spend summer outside and winter inside. One interesting commuter is the coffee plant (Coffea arabica), which has attractive, shiny evergreen leaves. Mature plants will produce white,…

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