All About Gardening and Gardening Q & A
by Pernell Gerver

Bookmark this page or add it to your favorites now!
(Reload or refresh each time you visit to get the current week's columns.)

 Tell a friend about Pernell Gerver's Official Web Site 

"These House Plants Bloom All Year Long!"

It's always nice to enjoy flowers indoors, especially during the long winter months when outdoor flowers are but a memory. There are many different everblooming house plants that provide year 'round color indoors. They're always in bloom. Click on a plant name below to order it from Pernell Gerver's Online Store.

African GardeniaOf all of the everblooming house plants I grow, I think African gardenia is one of the best for many reasons. First, it's easy to grow, unlike its relative, the common gardenia. African gardenia blooms reliably indoors all year long. Its small, star-shaped flowers are pink in bud and open creamy white. The flowers are held in clusters all along its stems and even the smallest stems will have a few flowers. There are dozens and dozens of flowers in bloom at any one time and, most importantly, their fragrance is wonderful!

Fragrant OliveFragrant olive bears clusters of small, star-shaped flowers. Each flower is only about a quarter of an inch wide. The flowers are creamy white. It bears flowers all up and down its stems in the leaf axils and even along its bare stems where there are no leaves. Fragrant olive is constantly in bloom during all the seasons. The flowers have a sweet, fruity fragrance similar to apricots that really perfumes the air. It's not an overpowering fragrance, but it's quite enjoyable to smell it on the breeze and even just a couple of flowers are enough to perfume a room.

Strawberry firetailsStrawberry 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.

Chenille plantAnother one of my favorites I grow for year 'round bloom is chenille plant. Chenille plant is a shrubby house plant that bears unique flowers unlike any others. It has long, velvety, red tassels that hang down from its branches. The flowers can reach a foot long or more and remain attractive for months. New flowers are always appearing along its stems for year 'round bloom. It has large, pale-green leaves and can grow to three feet tall.

Bougainvillea 'Raspberry Ice'Bougainvillea 'Raspberry Ice' has long, thin stems that form a shrubby, climbing house plant. The stems can be trained up a trellis or be allowed to trail from a hanging basket. It bears large clusters of papery, fuchsia-pink "flowers" (actually bracts) at the tips of its stems. The flowers remain colorful for weeks and bloom almost all year long. In addition to its showy flowers, it has attractive variegated foliage.

Yellow jasmineYellow jasmine is a stiff-stemmed vine that bears bright-golden-yellow flowers. The flowers have a sweet, fruity fragrance and bloom year round. It grows well in a bright window and is a good candidate for a hanging basket or grow it on a trellis.

Orange jasmineOrange jasmine is a shrubby house plant that bears clusters of intensely-fragrant, white, waxy flowers. The flowers have a sweet orange-blossom fragrance and bloom year 'round. Even young plants have buds and blooms. Its olive-green foliage is glossy and quite attractive.

Pernell Gerver's Gardening Q & Aby Pernell Gerver

"African Violets Thrive in the Right Conditions"

Blue-, Purple-, & Violet-Flowered African Violet CollectionQ. My African violets are doing poorly. When I water, I water mostly from the bottom. I'd like to know what to do to make them look better. Thank you.

A. African violets are very attractive houseplants that can produce flowers nearly all year long. They are quite possibly the most popular flowering house plant. There are thousands of varieties with a wide range of leaf shapes and sizes as well as flower colors and forms.

African violet grows and blooms best when given adequate light, although it will produce flowers with lower levels of light than most other plants. Plants that look healthy and green but fail to bloom are probably not getting enough light. Also, if the stems of the leaves are reaching upward, that's another sign the plant needs more light. It does best in bright, indirect or curtain-filtered light. An east or west windowsill is a good spot to grow them. To develop a round, symmetrical plant, give the pot a quarter turn every week. This will keep the plant from stretching toward the light.

African violet also grows very well under artificial light. If grown under fluorescent lights, provide 12 to 14 hours a day of light, keeping the top of the plant about 10 inches away from the tubes.

African violets love warmth, in fact they do poorly when temperatures fall much below 65 degrees. Day temperatures above 75 degrees and night temperatures of 65 to 70 degrees are ideal. Do not expose them to cold drafts. If they are growing on a windowsill, it may be necessary to move them to a warmer location during winter.

Bottom watering African