February 2011

Denny Schrock

in the pink

Valentine aglaonema

Pink Thai aglaonemas aren’t entirely new. But they certainly haven’t hit mainstream just yet. That may be about to change, if what I saw at the Tropical Plant Industry Expo last month is any indication. At least half a dozen vendors featured these glorious beauties in their booths. They definitely made me lust after them!

These showy cousins of the more common Chinese evergreen make sturdy, dependable houseplants, but are  slower growing, and require a bit more light to maintain their colorful foliage. Slower growth and relative rarity means they are more expensive, if you’re lucky enough to find them.

Some are almost gaudy, like the hot pink ‘Valentine’ pictured at left. (I think that it would make a great Valentine’s Day gift, don’t you?) If you prefer a more subtle effect, perhaps one of the other varieties pictured below would be a better choice.

Look for these colorful foliage plants to make a splash soon in garden centers!

Etta Rose aglaonema

Siam Aurora aglaonema

Aun Ya Manee aglaonema

Sparkling Sarah aglaonema


Justin W. Hancock

It’s Cold Outside!

Here’s a snapshot I just took of the Better Homes and Gardens Test Garden. We’re having a bit of a snowstorm (it’s tough to catch it with my camera) — the windchill is below zero and the winds are gusting at more than 30 miles per hour.

That’s colder than I want it to be if I’m going to be outside..but what about plants? Happily, they can take it for the most part. If you’re growing plants that are reliably hardy for your area (see the Zone map) and your weather conditions aren’t too far from normal, you shouldn’t need to do anything special to protect them.

If you have special evergreens, though, some gardeners like to give them an extra layer of safety by wrapping them in burlap. This can help in a couple of ways: First, it gives the evergreen leaves or needles some shield from fierce winter winds. They lose less moisture and stand up better to winter. The second wrapping evergreen plants can help is that it protects them from the sun. On warm, sunny days the leaves may start to thaw — and if the temperature suddenly drops at night, they freeze again and can be damaged. Wrapping helps keep them cool all winter long.