Controlling Common Insect Pests in Your Garden

Spring means new life and new beginnings, not only for plants but also for the insects that have evolved to eat them. Dealing with insect pests is best done when populations are small and before infestations get out of hand. As we here at the William T. Kemper Home Gardening Center look ahead to a busy growing season, we…

Starting Seeds Inside in Winter

As cold temperatures and snow and ice persist, late winter has many gardeners missing their time planting outdoors. But this period is the perfect time to start planting certain vegetable seeds indoors. The William T. Kemper Center for Home Gardening shares the following advice on seeding indoors in late winter. Seeds to start Cool season…

Winter is for Witch Hazel

Winter can be a bleak time for your landscape, with leafless trees and few flowers in sight. To add a pop of color to a dreary winter yard, consider a Missouri native: witch hazel.  About the plant: Hamamelis vernalis is commonly called Ozark witch hazel or vernal witch hazel. Its specific epithet vernalis means “spring…

Kid-safe Houseplants

The plants recommended in this blog are known to be non-toxic to children, but not necessarily pets. If you suspect a child has ingested part of a plant and are unsure of its toxicity or if they are experiencing symptoms of poisoning, call the Poison Control Center right away. Houseplants can boost our moods and…

Caring for Cyclamen Beyond the Holidays

Persian cyclamen, also known as florist’s cyclamen, is a common gift plant seen in grocery stores and garden centers around the holidays. These plants make lovely gifts as they are eye-catching. Their glossy, heart-shaped leaves are dark green with contrasting silver markings. Flowers, in shades of red, purple, pink, white, magenta, and salmon, rise above…

Botanical Books for your Holiday Shopping List

Looking for a perfect gift for the green thumb on your gift list? Or how about a foodie, Garden enthusiast, or nature lover? Check out these book recommendations from the Missouri Botanical Garden’s Horticulture Department, which might be just what you’re looking for. Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer Highly recommended by multiple members of…

Finding the Perfect Christmas Tree

When the holiday season is here, nothing quite says ‘Christmas’ like trimming the tree. The fresh smell of pine needles, the twinkle of lights, and the sound of Christmas carols in the background, are enough to make anyone feel jolly.  But how do you find the perfect tree to bring home? With several options of…

Opting for Ornamental Grasses

Autumn weather is the perfect time to add to your garden. It is a great time to plant new trees, shrubs and perennials. If you’re looking to improve the year-round appearance of your garden with some new plantings, consider adding ornamental grasses to your yard. Ornamental grasses come in a wide range of sizes to…

Pumpkin Spice Plants

Autumn has become synonymous with “pumpkin spice.” You can find pumpkin spice lattes, breakfast cereal, cookies, candies, and seemingly every other type of pre-packaged food available. But what exactly is pumpkin spice, botanically speaking?  The flavors most associated with “sweater weather” are actually a blend of spices from tropical plants.  The five most common spices…

Plants of Japan

Japan has a rich cultural tradition of gardening, and the country is considered a global biodiversity hotspot. But you do not need to build an entire Japanese garden or start planning a trip to Japan to enjoy its diverse flora. Many thrive in our climate and make excellent additions to a St. Louis backyard. The…

Heat Up Your Landscape with Hibiscus

In the heat of the summer, hibiscus are popular ornamental plants that can add a touch of tropical flare to any landscape. The genus Hibiscus includes more than 300 species, including two that are native to Missouri.  Hibiscus History These plants have a long history of cultivation, beginning in the 17th century when hibiscus from…

All About Galls

During the spring and summer, the Kemper Center for Home Gardening often get questions about galls, or growths found on trees and other plants. People want to know what they are, and what to do about them. The following information will tell you all you need to know about galls. What are galls?  Galls are…