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Keeping up with cool new variations of your fave house plants

 A green houseplant in a pot on a window sill. Its leaves and stems resemble small green pearls on a string.
carlofranco/Getty Images/iStockphoto
Houseplants add color and life to indoor spaces. Many tried-and-true and easy-care types now come in fun color and shape variations.

Certain common houseplants may be tried-and-true members of your abode. You've come to know and love their appearance and easy-care ways.

But as breeders and plant explorers come up with unusual varieties of this steadfast greenery, some houseplants' appearances may be changing, giving your even more choices.

Favorite houseplants, like philodendron and snake plants have long been invited into homes because they are easy to care for and look great.

This year, look for those same plants but with variations on their colors, shapes and leaf styles.

Philodenron: The philodendron plant is the beloved houseplant that is either climbing or cascading and has heart-shaped, dark green leaves.

Some different varieties to try are the Princess series - white princess, pink princess and variegated. And there's a black philodendron.

Some philodendron varieties are not cascading, like the Prince of Orange. It grows up with longer kind of sword-like orange leaves. It also comes in a caramel version as well as one called tortum, with spiky leaves.

Snake Plants: Dracaena trifasciata or snake plants look great taking up a corner on the floor. They are hard to kill with their sturdy and thick variegated leaves with a points on the end.

Some different snake plant varieties have splotches on the leaves and a different shape, like Whales' Fin. Others are smaller and look like succulents, likeSamurai, with called two, cup-shaped leaves.

Unusual Houseplants: Lithrops or "living stones" look like rocks and stones and make a cool addition to your houseplant crew. Put them in well-drained soil in a sunny area in your house.

String of Pearls are also called or the string of tears or the string of beads. These unusual-looking house plants are succulents that have cascading stems with small, round pea-shaped balls.

Q: I generally have a fairly good crop of potatoes. Unfortunately, there's some underground worm or grub creature that eats a round hole in almost all my potatoes. This makes them so they don't last long in winter storage. I'm wondering if you have a guess as to what they are and how to get rid of them. - Dean, in Jericho

A: This is probably due to wire worms. If you look in your soil in the spring, you'll see bright yellow or orange-colored thin worms creeping around.

Wire worms love potatoes and all kinds of root crops. The best thing to combat them is, in spring, rotate your potato crop.

What this entails is just choosing a different area where you don't see the wire worms. And if you have extra potatoes, cut them in half and place them around in the soil. These will serve as wire worm traps.

A week or so before you're actually going to plant your potatoes, try to trap the wireworms using the halved potato as bait. Then the wire worms won't be around to damage your crops.

All Things Gardening is powered by you, the listener! Send your gardening questions and conundrums and Charlie may answer them in upcoming episodes.

You can also leave a voicemail with your gardening question by calling Vermont Public at 1-800-639-2192.

Hear All Things Gardening during Weekend Edition with Vermont Public host Mary Williams Engisch, Sunday mornings at 9:35.

Have questions, comments or tips? Send us a message or get in touch by tweeting us @vermontpublic. We've closed our comments. Read about ways to get in touch here.

Mary Williams Engisch is a local host on All Things Considered.
Charlie Nardozzi is a nationally recognized garden writer, radio and TV show host, consultant, and speaker. Charlie is the host of All Things Gardening on Sunday mornings at 9:35 during Weekend Edition on Vermont Public. Charlie is a guest on Vermont Public's Vermont Edition during the growing season. He also offers garden tips on local television and is a frequent guest on national programs.