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Holiday plants

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Poinsettias are one of my favorite plants in the wintertime, but there are a lot of other choices, too.

For the holidays it is nice to have color inside, and you can have some different choices with these different kinds of house plants.

The first is a bromeliad called "Blue Tango." It's got blue flowers and pink stems. And it's all natural. Bromeliads are actually fun because they're epiphytes, or air plants. So you don't really need to water the plant, but you do need to water the inside cup. Just leave the water there and you'll grow it as long as it has medium light and moderate temperatures. The blooms will last for maybe a month or so. When the mother plant dies, it will send up little babies and then you can keep propagating the plant from those.

Something a little more familiar looks like cherry tomato, but it's not! It is related to the tomato. It's called a Jerusalem cherry. It's in that same pepper, tomato, eggplant family. It produces beautiful orange-red berries, but unfortunately, they're toxic. So make sure you don't have this plant around kids or animals. It provides some nice color for the holidays. It will grow in a sunny window all winter and if it survives the winter, you can plant it outside in spring and it will turn into a 2-to-3-foot-tall bush. But eventually it will die with the frost in fall because it's not hardy here, but it's a fun one for color.

This one looks like snowflakes. It's a campanula. It's got double flowers, and this is a plant that will survive here, so if this one lasts indoors through the winter, you can plant it out in the spring, you can have it in your garden.

And the same with this last one here. This is a creeping winterberry. You'll see it in the forest, at the forest edge, and under shady, moist conditions. It grows really nicely indoors, too, and has some nice red berry color. This one has that winter green flavor to the leaves and the berries. It is edible. So this is a nice one to have indoors and just kind of eat once in a while. It's a little breath freshener. In the spring you can plant it outside and it's a beautiful ground cover.

~By Charlie Nardozzi

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