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The Greener View: New Plants on the Horizon

Jeff Rugg on

Unfortunately, this year, the Tropical Plant International Expo was held online instead of in person. There are many wonderful producers of houseplants and their accessories that really need to be seen in person to really see what the plants look like, how big they are, how healthy they are, etc. Fortunately, a lot of plants and accessories were visible online, and there were 14 winners of the Cool New Products awards. These plants will start showing up in your local garden centers this spring. I have already seen the first one in my local nursery.

One of the ways you can get kids involved in horticulture and gardening is to give in to their mischievous side. What better way to do that than with plants that eat bugs? Flori-Design has come up with This Little Pot of Horrors. It is a carnivorous garden in a 6-inch pot, each containing three bug-eating plants of Venus fly traps and pitcher plants.

Aglaonemas are colorful houseplants of green, silver and red that are easy to grow and almost indestructible. Costa Farms introduced Ultra Pink with bold red and pink leaves that are edged in a band of green. They also introduced Mellow Yellow, which has dark-green leaves with splashes of creamy yellow.

Cannas are an easy-to-grow perennial that attract hummingbirds and pollinating insects. They occasionally get one of several viruses that kill the plants. Starting with virus-free plants is a big help, and Abbott-Ipco now has eight varieties of cannas that are virus-free.

I love Rex begonias for the crazy color combinations on their heavily textured leaves. They provide color all year long, in addition to pretty flowers. The Ball Seed Co. has introduced three new size groups to their Jurassic series of begonias.

Botanics Wholesale has created a collection of specimen-sized beaked yuccas. Some of these specimens are upward of 15 to 30 years old and max out at 15 feet tall. They are extremely drought-tolerant and can even tolerate temperatures as low as 0 degrees.

Cornelis Bak started selling bromeliads in 1958. His family is still growing them and has a new patent on the Vriesea Happy Yellow, which is an easy-to-grow plant that has a striking 2-foot-tall flower cluster.


Speaking of striking, Hibiscus Earth Angel from J. Berry Nursery has brilliantly bright white blooms that shine against leathery, dark-green leaves. This is the perfect plant for a moon garden where white flowers shine in the light of the full moon.

Fragrance is also important in the moon garden and Suntory's Brindabella Crimson Knight rose has plenty to spare. It is a full thick rose with a high petal count. It is disease-resistant, too. Suntory also won with a yellow mandevilla, a nice contrast to the typical pink flower.

Deroose Plants' peperomia Frost has a unique silvery finish on its rippled leaves. Loving low light and 65-75 F conditions, peperomia is perfect for first-time houseplant shoppers.

Finally, LiveTrends Design Group has created several new series of flower pots. These are not your grandma's clay pot. There are pots to fit every style of house from sleek modern to a rustic cabin. New and unique plants need a new and unique flowerpot that shows them off at their prettiest.


Email questions to Jeff Rugg at To find out more about Jeff Rugg and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at




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