Paul's New Plant Picks

Master gardener Paul James shows off some new plants for his containers.

Master gardener Paul James shows off a few of his plant picks for containers.


Kangaroo paw

Anigozanthus 'Big Roo Orange' is an unusual plant that hails from Australia. An annual throughout much of the U.S., kangaroo paw needs full sun and prefers acidic soil. Its sword-like leaves and curiously fuzzy flowers make it a real standout in any setting.


Crocodile fern

Crocodile fern (Microsorum) gets its name from the look and texture of its leaves, and its scaly, strap-like foliage is unlike many other ferns. It prefers acidic soil that never dries out and does best in shade, although it can take a little morning sun. It's hardy in USDA Zone 9 and warmer.


Golden dracaena

This tropical beauty lightens up shady spots like no other plants can. Because it's tender to frost, golden dracaena needs to go inside when temperatures drop into the 50s, but it also makes a great houseplant. Outdoors, it needs light shade and regular watering.


Thread agave

Thread agave (Agave filifera) is aptly named for the way the leaf margins break away, leaving long, white fibers. It grows in full sun to partial shade. Hardy in USDA Zones 8b to 11.



Waxflower (Chamelaucium) is a warm-climate evergreen shrub that needs full sun and well-drained soil in its native habitat. But in a container, make sure to water it sparingly. Once it's finished blooming, cut it back by about half and it may bloom again. Its pink blooms make excellent cutflowers. Hardy in USDA Zones 9 to 11.



Valued for their colorful foliage, calatheas are evergreen in their native habitat. This variegated form needs shade and constant moisture, but beyond that it's easy to grow. Hardy in USDA Zones 10 to 11.



Osteospermum 'Soprano' blooms nearly nonstop throughout the summer, and it needs little more than full sun and well-drained soil. Flower colors range from pink and purple to white and orange. Treat it as an annual.


'Rudolph' euphorbia

This wood spurge (Euphorbia x martinii 'Rudolph') has evergreen foliage, but the new growth at the plant tips are bright red, hence the name. It grows best in part shade and moist, well-draining soil. Plant size is 18 to 24 inches tall. Hardy in USDA Zones (6)7 to 10. Note: Plant sap may cause skin irritation.


'Bonfire' euphorbia

The spring "flowers" (bracts) are an intense golden-yellow. After emerging green, the foliage turns maroon and holds until fall. These plants do best in partial shade and moist but well-drained soil. Hardy in USDA Zones (6)7 to 10. Note: Plant sap may cause skin irritation.


Variegated false holly

Osmanthus heterophyllus 'Goshiki' is an evergreen member of the olive family. The leaves of this plant look like those of many hollies, and their variegation is stunning in their detail. 'Goshiki' will grow to eight feet, but in a pot it will get only half that tall. Grow it in partial shade to full sun and a moist, well-draining soil. Hardy in USDA Zones 6 to 9.


'Prairie Dusk' penstemon

Penstemon barbatus 'Prairie Dusk' has pink flower spikes and evergreen foliage. Its tubular flowers attract hummingbirds. Grow it in full sun to light shade and a moist, well-draining soil. Once established, this plant is drought tolerant. Hardy in USDA Zones 4 to 9.


'Passionate Rainbow' gaura

This drought-tolerant perennial has airy pink flowers and grows best in full sun and well-draining soil. Hardy in USDA Zone 7 and warmer.


'Goblin' gaillardia

Despite its scary name, this blanket flower has bright orange-red flowers that attract wildlife, such as bees and butterflies, to the garden. Plant it in full sun in a waterwise garden, which means that it tolerates dry growing conditions. Hardy in USDA Zones (3)4 to 11.


Dwarf bald cypress

Unlike its full-sized cousin, which can grow to well over `00 feet, this dwarf bald cypress (Taxodium distichum 'Peve Minaret') tops out at a mere eight to 10 feet tall and therefore makes a great specimen in a pot. Hardy to USDA Zone 4.


Golden Leyland cypress

Golden Leyland cypress holds its gold color year-round, unlike many gold-colored plants whose color tends to fade in summer. Hardy in USDA Zones 5 and warmer.

Next Up

Growing Asparagus Ferns

Grow airy, feathery asparagus ferns as houseplants or garden ornamentals. Indoors or out, asparagus fern care is easy.

Growing Christmas Ferns

Staying green deep into winter's chill, these evergreen ferns bring color to your garden when every other living thing has turned brown.

Planting and Growing Garden Phlox

Learn how to plant, grow and care for this perennial charmer in your garden.

How to Grow and Care for Calibrachoas

Whether you call them million bells or baby petunias, easy-to-grow calibrachoas may be small, but they pack a big punch of color in the garden.

How to Grow Creeping Jenny

Plant a creeping jenny groundcover or let its green stems tumble from containers. Lysimachia is fast-growing and versatile.

How to Grow Ponytail Palm (Beaucarnea recurvata)

Easy-to-grow ponytail palm needs very little care. Use this leafy beauty, also called elephant foot plant, as a houseplant or in a sunny landscape.

Growing Monarda: When to Plant and How to Grow Bee Balm

Your garden will be buzzing—with helpful bees and compliments—when you plant colorful monarda, or bee balm.

21 Plants to Add Instant Curb Appeal When Selling Your Home

Before you plant that "For Sale" sign in your yard, plant shrubs and flowers to boost your curb appeal.

How to Plant and Grow Chinese Evergreen

Caring for Chinese evergreens is easy, and these pretty houseplants brighten rooms with low light, or even no natural light, with their leaves of pink, green, creamy white and red.

What’s the Difference Between an Annual and a Perennial?

Should you pick annuals or perennials when planting your garden? Here's a rundown on the differences between these two types of plants and the pros and cons of each.

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