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Tales from a Plant Addict

Fun (& a few serious) facts, tips and tricks for every gardener, new and old.


Most people think of poinsettias when holiday plants are mentioned. One that is often overlooked but provides years of bang for the buck is the amaryllis. These bulbs will reliably produce gorgeous large blooms year after year with a little basic care. The two most important factors to consider are light and water. Adequate light is needed for the foliage that emerges after the flower stalk to...

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Sage (Salvia)

The holidays would not be the same without sage. Many people use the herb sage, Salvia officinalis as a seasoning for poultry, a common dish on holiday tables. But there is a lot more to sage than the culinary herb. The name sage encompasses a large group of ornamental and medicinal plants in the mint family. There are three different genera all considered to be types of sages:...

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Overwintering Tropical Plants

Tropical plants have grown in popularity for use in outdoor landscaping. Some have been a garden staple for years, like cannas, elephant ears, and dahlias. Others are less familiar, like banana, mandevilla, and bougainvillea. Most will not survive the cold temperatures of an Illinois winter without being moved indoors. It's not an impossible task, but will require some planning and preparation....

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American Bittersweet

A plant to consider for a colorful fall display is American Bittersweet. But like a lot of plants, there are pluses and minuses to its use in the landscape. American Bittersweet, Celastrus scandens , is native to North America. It is a vigorously growing woody vine that may reach a height and width of twenty feet or more. All parts of this plant are considered poisonous, but it...

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