All About Gardening and Gardening Q & A by Pernell Gerver

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"Easy House Plants Anyone Can Grow"

In winter, it's always nice to grow house plants to help brighten the home or office with colorful flowers or foliage or both. There are many different house plants that are very easy to grow, even if you don't happen to have a green thumb! Click on a plant name below to order it from Pernell Gerver's Online Store.

Watermelon peperomiaWatermelon peperomia is a striking house plant with interesting foliage. The rounded leaves have a pointed tip and are striped with shimmering silver and green bands, reminiscent of a watermelon rind. The leaves are four inches long and up to three inches wide. Slender white flower wands stand above the foliage.

Kalanchoe pumilaCacti and succulents are also easy house plants. They tolerate dry air and soil and do well even with neglect. Kalanchoe pumila is a succulent with attractive foliage and flowers. It has thick, silvery-white leaves on trailing stems. It bears clusters of silvery-pink flowers that are carried on thin stems that rise above the foliage. The flowers appear in mid winter and bloom for months.

Strawberry firetails is a trailing house plant with small, deep-green leaves on semi-woody long stems. Flowers are fuzzy "tails" that appear in the axils of its leaves near the ends of its stems. It's an everblooming house plant that is always in bloom. It's a good plant to grow in a hanging basket where its trailing stems can dangle downward.

Plantlet atop leaf of piggyback plant

Piggyback plant is a fun, unusual plant. It has medium- to dark-green, hairy leaves that are roughly heart shaped with deeply-lobed edges. The leaves are also deeply veined, giving them a quilted appearance. The leaves are two to three inches across and are borne on four-inch-long leaf stems. What is so unusual about this plant is that each leaf bears a live, young plant. This method of reproduction is called viviparous, meaning bearing live young. The small plantlet appears to sit atop the leaf, but it is actually borne in the axil where the leaf meets the short leaf stem. The little plantlet is an exact replica of the mature plant, but in miniature. The plantlets are bright green that matures to deep green. In addition to bearing plantlets atop its leaves, piggyback plant also produces plantlets along runners, similar to the way a strawberry plant grows.

White heliotrope is an easy-to-grow house plant that bears large umbels of fragrant, pure-white flowers atop medium green foliage. The fragrance resembles baby powder. It blooms all year long and is a wonderful, fragrant addition to any house plant collection.


Pernell Gerver's Gardening Q & Aby Pernell Gerver

"The Right Pollinator is Key to Berries on Winterberry"

Q. I recently bought an Ilex verticillata 'Red Sprite' (female) plant. It is suggested that an Ilex 'Jim Dandy' (male) plant be used to pollinate the 'Red Sprite.' I already have an Ilex x meserveae 'Blue Prince' (male) plant and as they are in the same genus, I would like to know if the 'Blue Prince' is sufficient to pollinate the 'Red Sprite.' Thank you.

A. Thanks for your question regarding winterberry 'Red Sprite.' Because I want the best results, I've become sort of an expert on the subject of pollinators for these plants.

It is important to get the correct male pollinator for the best pollination. With the correct male pollinator you're guaranteed to get those beautiful red berries and the best-possible display and berry set. I sell 'Red Sprite' with the correct male pollinator which is 'Jim Dandy.' It blooms at exactly the same time so you'll get the best pollination, biggest berries, and most berries.

Click here to read more about Winterberrry 'Red Sprite' and order it from Pernell Gerver's Online Store.

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