Meet Charles Kemberling and his Top Potted Plant for the Holidays

Charles Kemberling with Shooting Star Hydrangea

by Susan Harris

Charles Kemberling has a history of selling books, and reading them – lots of them.  Enough that he uses one of those e-readers, one I’d never heard of – the Nook.   But outdoor gardening isn’t an option for this apartment-dweller, so he has an indoor garden -  a collection of orchids.

So it fits that at Homestead his domain is the Houseplants Department (also known as the “Greenhouse”), where he loves to highlight some of the lesser known plants that bloom over the holidays, ones that give the traditional pointsettias a little competition.  And here  he is s howing off one that he adores – the ‘Shooting Star’ Hydrangea.  It comes in 4- or 6-inch pots and can be planted outdoors come spring.   They’re only hardy to  Zone 8, though (slightly warmer than Maryland) so he suggests wrapping them next winter with burlap, or planting them in a sheltered spot.  Even if you don’t plan to use them outdoors, they’re just a happy plant to have indoors during winter.  Very festive.  Another variety of potted hydrangea we carry is Vintage Harvest, which is also nice but not quite a popular.  Charles says the Shooting Stars are flying off the shelves.

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