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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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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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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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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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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If you enjoy a fresh evergreen in your home for the holiday season, there are a few things you can do to keep your tree beautiful longer. According to the Minnesota Christmas Tree Association, several types of trees are grown here, including firs, pines and spruce trees. Tree care basically involves preventing the tree from…

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At this time of year, many hosts and hostesses are given a poinsettia. With its bright red brachts (the flowers are the tiny yellow growths inside the brachts) and green leaves, it seems to shout Happy Holidays. A native of Mexico and Central America, the poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima) was named for Joel Roberts Poinsett, the…

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