Another Holiday Worthy Plant

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This stunner unfortunately doesn’t have one good common name. Its botanical is stromanthe sanguinea ‘Triostar’ (or sometimes variegata). I have seen it called Persian Shield, but not often, and I have also seen it called Tricolor Prayer Plant, which is even more misleading, because it does not belong to the calathea/maranta genus which are usually called “prayer plants.” So feel free to come up with some good common name yourself.

I say it’s “holiday worthy” of course because of the colorations in the leaves. I suppose it could easily be be gifted around Valentine’s Day as well for the same reason. This photo shows the nice maroon stems fairly well. I didn’t capture the maroon undersides of the leaves though. It really is a stunner of a plant!

For me, I grow it in an east or west exposure–where ever I have more room in a given season. I have had this plant for several years and it hasn’t grown very much (and I like that in a plant sometimes)–many of my plants are outgrowing my house!

In the summer, I put it outside under a dogwood that throws fairly dense shade. Despite the outside/inside routine for at least 3 or 4 years, it has never had an insect problem.

In my cooler house, it only needs water once a week. Outside, it might get watered every day, depending on temperatures.

I definitely can recommend this as a plant. As I often say–what’s not to like?

With Zygocacti, What You See Might Not Be What You Get

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This is my oldest holiday or zygo cactus, also known as a schlumbergera. It’s probably at least 20 years old. And despite the post headline, if you look at the bud and bloom shown together in this photo, you’ll notice that they are the same color.

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The other two plants on this windowsill, not so much. The pale pink one that you see in this joint photo? Its early buds are white. It currently has no buds so I can’t show you that.

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And these attractive pink buds look like they belong to my ancient 20 year old zygocactus, don’t they?

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This is how they open.

So the moral of this story is to try to ensure that the plant you acquire has an open flower so that you know what you’re getting–unless you like surprises!

Holiday Greenery

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It’s that time of year–I start “decking the halls” (or walls, in this case) with all sorts of live greens. And no, I don’t make them myself.

I may go cut some fresh holly from my backyard, but for the most part, my holly grows in too much shade to make abundant berries–and I would much prefer to leave the berries outside for the birds to enjoy anyway.

So I splurge on these purchased things–and for the most part, I leave them up until well into Lent!

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I used to get kissing balls but the last few years I’ve gotten these baskets. They seem to last a little better, and depending on what they’re grown in, I may get a bonus container at the end. The last couple of years when I had gotten “kissing balls” they seemed to disintegrate in January or February–well before I was ready to recycle them. These last better.

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And I brought this home and set it in its usual spot and realized it was next to 2 pots of succulents which were frozen in place–so I had to re-think that placement in a hurry! As it turns out, I like this placement better–until our next snow, at least, when the Spoiler will blast it with the snowblower! I’ll have to hope my succulents thaw so that I can move them!

The Anti-Poinsettias

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Every year about this time I post about these pretty red and green plants, calling them “anti-poinsettias.”

These are aglaonemas, otherwise known as Chinese Evergreens. You often see them sold in pretty green and white varieties. I almost brought one of those home the other day, but it was so cold that I wasn’t sure that I could safely transport it from the store to my car so I will wait until warmer temperatures–in other words, July, in my part of the world!

Poinsettias don’t do well in my house. Like many New Englanders, we keep our house too cold for the heat loving plant from Mexico. So I have learned to stop killing them, and I grow these, which will tolerate my chilly low 60s.

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Here’s another variety, a pinker version, that’s about to bloom as well.

And the best part about these plants? Once the holidays are over, they’re still lovely to look at!