by Lindsay McMillan
- Burro’s Tail
Burro’s tail is shown to grow best when planted in a hanging basket, since its overlapping leaves can grow up to three feet long. Being a native to Mexico, it likes medium to high light for optimal growth. Though Burro’s Tail rarely blooms, it may blossom pink or red flowers towards the end of summer.
- Crown of Thorns
Popularly imported from Madagascar, crown of thorns may bloom year-round if given enough sunlight. Its long leaves appear at the ends of spiky branches, along with tiny flowers. Belonging to the Euphorbia genus of flowering plants, it contains a skin-irritating sap, so best to wash your hands after handling.
There are two succulents that share the name hens-and-chicks. Although they look different, both produce “chicks” (which are small, identical plants) that are slightly offset from the mother “hen.” Both should be allowed to dry a little bit between watering, since overwatering causes them to rot.
- Jade Plant
Imported from South Africa, the jade plant grows thick stems with glossy leaves. Overwatering most commonly kills them, so if it adopts a weeping form, then it’s chronically overwatered. Prune jade when necessary to keep it symmetrical, so one side doesn’t cause the entire pot to topple. Just cut off a leaf or branch and replant them to grow new ones.
- Aloe Vera
Also known as the medicine plant, aloe’s sap is known to treat wounds and sunburns. It has long leaves with sharp “teeth” along the edges. It’s best to place in direct sunlight or greatest amount as possible.
- Panda Plant
Another native to Madagascar, the panda plant is typically grown for its foliage. Its thick green leaves are covered with soft silver hairs, giving the plant a fuzzy appearance. Although it can be pruned, the panda plant doesn’t need grooming often, except to remove any wayward stems.
- Pincushion Cactus
Most commonly grown inside, the pincushion is a native to Mexico. Often flowering indoors, it may take the form of a single ball-shaped cactus or in clusters. Provide the highest light possible and allow the soil to dry out almost entirely between watering.