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Best Houseplants to grow outdoors

With all of my favorite garden centers operating on a limited basis, my favorite springtime activities have been curtailed. My partner in all things plant-related and I won't be getting in the same car together, let alone traveling to find our plant treasures. So it's a good thing I have a variety of houseplants that can summer on the patio. I also have several plants in hand that I recently ordered online, as well as bulbs that I will plant within the next few weeks.


Corkscrew rush (Juncus effusus) grew well in a sunny room all winter long, and will be accompanying others in outdoor planters.


Bad Hair Bob, or corkscrew rush (Juncus effusus)

Most of the plants that have kept me company throughout the winter months favor low light, so I'll be putting most of them on the north side of the house. Both Chlorophytum 'Mandarin' and Cordyline 'LemonSurprise' will be brightening up containers near my front porch.


Chlorophytum 'Mandarin' and Cordyline 'LemonSurprise' are colorful shade-lovers.

You know the saying, "my eyes were bigger than my stomach," said when putting too much food on your plate? Unlike the limitations of a stomach, my garden always has room for more. I might have over-ordered a few tropical bulbs, but I'll find room for all of them. Starting with Eucomis, or pineapple lily, here are a few.

Planting these ginormous Eucomis (pineapple lily) was easy.

Bulbs require a leap of faith, but when they are large, firm and healthy, you know you won't have to wait long when the weather warms up. The Eucomis I held over in the garage workroom have a head start over the new bulbs.

I planted three bulbs in one large pot, covering the bulb's growth tips with about an inch of soil.

Each year I try to add several thing I haven't grown before. This year, one of them is called ×Amarine tubergenii. This is a type of bulb called intergeneric--engineered by hybridizers who crossed two South African genera belonging to the same family: Amaryllis belladonna & Nerine bowdenii. I planted the Amarines close together with their tips sticking above the soil line and placed the pot on a heat mat. I'll keep you posted.

xAmarine tubergenii bulbs. The "x" designates an intergeneric hybrid.

When I finally did get to a local nursery, I half-filled my cart with eye-candy--a Dahlia in full bloom, and accent plants like Cordyline australis


I have a combination of locally purchased plants, houseplants and bulbs ordered online to play with.

Some of the plants I'll be using in outdoor planters have successfully wintered over inside.

Agapanthus 'Ever White' is a gorgeous, compact grower that lights up the garden.

I was so excited when I received this blooming Agapanthus I immediately planted it in a large planter with some Pelargoniums. All plants have survived nighttime temps in the mid-30s, protected a bit under the eaves on the south side of the house.

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