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6 Easy-to-Grow Indoor Succulents

Succulents are a trendy decorative addition to any home. This diverse group of plants offers endless color variations, as well as low maintenance options for your indoor space. Most plants need a wet environment to survive, but succulents are able to store water for longer periods of time. This ability makes succulents practical to grow in the dry and warmer conditions typically found in the home.

Succulents are perfect plants for beginners. Coming in a variety of shapes, sizes and textures, succulents have an enticing quality. Here are six succulents that are easy to grow indoors year-round.

6 Succulents to Add to Your Home

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Jade Plant. Native to South Africa, the jade plant has thick stems and glossy green leaves. Keep jade in bright light and water when the soil feels dry. Be cautious, as jade is commonly killed by over watering.

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Aloe Vera. This prickly plant has been used for medicinal purposes for centuries. The sap found on the inner leaves is used to heal wounds and soothe burns. Aloe Vera should be kept in full sunlight and should be watered when the leaves feel dry or brittle. Keep this medicinal plant by a bright kitchen window to enjoy its beauty every day.

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Echeveria. This desert native comes in a variety of colors and does best in dry conditions. Echeveria should be watered only once it has dried out. Unglazed clay pots are the ideal growing condition for this succulent, as the clay allows water to evaporate. For optimal results, place echeveria in full sun and ensure the soil is well drained.

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Zebra Plant. This striking succulent gets its name from the horizontal stripes covering its leaves. Growing about 5” tall and 6”wide, the zebra plant is tidy, contained and a perfect addition to any small space. Zebra plant requires a moderate amount of sunlight and water.

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Panda Plant. This plant is characterized by little white hairs, giving it a fuzzy texture. A Madagascar native, panda plant loves the dry, winter air in heated homes. Water as necessary, but just enough to keep the leaves from shriveling.

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Crown of Thorns. Add a splash of color to your room with this beautiful plant. With enough sunlight, it can bloom year-round producing red or yellow bracts surrounding its tiny flowers. Crown of Thorns has low to moderate watering needs and should be placed in direct sun for best bloom results.

Ready to start your own succulent collection? Watch this video on growing succulents!

 

5 Reasons to Give Orchids This Valentine’s Day

There is more to a beautiful bouquet of flowers than what meets the eye. For centuries, flowers have been used as a means of expressing romantic sentiments and are symbolic of a beautiful, lasting relationship between two people.

Luckily, for this day dedicated to expressing your devotion and admiration there is a better option than cut flowers, choose orchids that will last all year! Delicate and graceful, orchids are a symbol of luxury, love, strength and beauty. Here are 5 reasons you should give orchids a chance this Valentines’ Day.

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Five Reasons Orchids are The Best

  1. They’re Long-Lasting: An orchid’s blooms serve as a daily reminder that someone is thinking of you long past February 14th. When cared for properly, this exotic flower can last for several months and will continue to bloom year after year.
  2. Orchids are Easy to Care For: Your valentine does not need to be an expert gardener to keep an orchid alive. Even in the winter months, orchids are low-maintenance. For more blooms and better health, you can your plant feed bi-weekly with our liquid orchid fertilizer. Your orchid will need to be repotted each year after flowering, and Espoma’s Organic Orchid Mix will give them the nutrients they need to grow. Who knows, your gift of an orchid could inspire someone to take up gardening as a hobby!
  3. The colors are stunning: Orchids come in a variety of spectacular colors and unique shapes. They have a dramatic presence whether they are a solid color, or have splashes and speckles. Coming in everything from white and light pink, to vibrant reds, oranges, and purples, you will be able to find the perfect orchid to match your valentine’s personality.
  4. Orchids have exotic flair: Coming from far off places such as Hawaii and South America, orchids are said to be reminiscent of the tropics. Their exotic nature sets them apart from the traditional rose and will send a special message to your significant other.
  5. They perk up your home: An orchid’s lifespan combined with its beauty makes it a great way to add an affordable splash of color to any room without spending significant time and money on redecorating efforts

This Valentine’s Day, tell your significant other how valued they are by giving the gift of an orchid.

Help orchids stay beautiful year-round. Watch this video to find out how!

How to propagate succulents from individual leaf cuttings

Why have just one succulent when you can have many? Luckily, it’s easy to grow an entire garden of these hardy plants when you propagate them from leaf cuttings.

All you need are a few simple materials and a single succulent. Get started now!

Propagate Succulents in 7 Steps

  1. Select healthy leaves. Pick a leaf from your succulent that has no rips or blemishes and looks healthy. It’s best to choose larger, mature leaves rather than under-developed ones.
  2. Make the cut. Remove the leaf using a razor blade or craft knife. Sterilize the blade beforehand with rubbing alcohol to prevent the spread of any disease that could harm the plant. You can also use “volunteers” from plants that occasionally drop their leaves like Jade does. The entire succulent leaf must be cleanly broken off the plant or it won’t root. If the part that was attached to the stem is broken off, discard the leaf and try again.
  3. Let leaves dry. Allow leaves to dry on a baking sheet for 1-3 days after removal, until the raw ends have calloused.
  4. Get ready to grow. Place dried leaves on top of a container filled with Espoma’s Organic Cactus mix. Do not bury in the soil. Place the container in a spot where it will be protected from full sun exposure.
  5. Keep soil moist, without being watered too much. Water leaves when the soil is dry to the touch.
  6. Wait. In about a month or so new roots will appear and the parent leaf will wither. Remove the parent leaf carefully, avoiding damage to the new roots.
  7. Replant. Once your propagated succulents have taken root, they can be replanted. Show them off in a repurposed planter. Feed regularly with our Cactus! Succulent Plant Food for best results.

And just like that you’ll have plenty of succulents. Grow enough to decorate your home and garden and give a few away as gifts.

The growing doesn’t stop here! Learn how to care for succulents here.

Orchid Care 101

Laura from Garden Answer demonstrates how to care for moth orchids, also known as Phalaenopsis orchids. Repot, fertilize and give orchids exactly what they need to help them thrive.

For this project, you will need:

Moth orchid

Organic orchid mix

Orchid pot with holes

Watering can

Orchid! Bloom Booster

Your Orchid is Just Resting

Orchids bloom in spectacular colors and unique shapes. Depending on the orchid you’ve chosen, blooms come in every color from white and light pink, to vibrant reds, oranges and purples.

When taken care of properly, the striking blooms can last for several months and will continue to flower year after year.

Don’t panic. Orchid blooms last for one to three months and then they wilt. Even though your beautiful orchid loses all of its blooms, don’t give up on it, it still has a lot of life left. Trust us!

Phalaenopsis, also known as moth orchids need rest periods to rebloom. While the orchid is dormant, you can expect the stem to shrivel up and for leaves to dull and flatten out.

Just give your orchid some extra care during this period and you’ll be rewarded with even more blooms next time. Orchids can bloom for years to come.

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Five tips to care for resting orchids.

1. The best time to repot orchids is during their resting stage. Use Espoma’s orchid mix to give plants the foundation they need to grow bigger and stronger next season.

2. Water orchids weekly. Unlike many houseplants, orchids should only be watered when they begin to dry out. Watering when they’re almost dry mimics their natural environment.

3. Feed orchids bi-weekly using Espoma’s Orchid! Fertilizer. Nutrients are extra important during this resting period.

4. Let the light in. Make sure orchids are still receiving plenty of indirect sunlight. Too little light will keep the orchid from reblooming.

5. Chill out. Help trigger blooming by moving the orchid to a cooler room. Orchids thrive in temperatures that are between 75 and 80 during the day, but they prefer cooler temperatures during dormancy.

Orchids make beautiful houseplants. Learn more about caring for orchids here.

Planting Succulents for Beginners

In this video, Laura from Garden Answer shares her personal tips for success with succulents. Check out these 10 tips to care for succulents and then try them out yourself. The options for planting are endless!

Want to grow more? Learn more about caring for succulents.

Beginner Tips for Succulents

It’s easy to see why succulents are one of the trendiest plant groups right now. Their unique shapes, colors, textures and sizes add drama and interest to the décor of any room. They also look great on their own or paired with other succulents. Not to mention, they’re so easy to grow and can handle drought.

 

You have to start somewhere, though. With the right growing conditions and care, your succulents can survive year-round. Follow these beginner tips to get started.

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  1. Pick a healthy succulent – Look for succulents with full shapes, good color and with healthy foliage. Avoid plants with insects or signs of damage.
  2. Choose the right soil – Succulents like to be dry and need a well-draining soil. Use Espoma’s Cactus Mix to keep plants healthy.
  3. Select containers – Succulents can be planted in almost anything that allows for proper drainage. Make sure containers have a drainage hole for water to flow through.
  4. Give enough water– Succulents with leaves that pucker aren’t getting enough water and ones with soggy leaves are holding onto too much water. Get into a regular watering schedule to help plants thrive. Water succulents when the top inch of soil feels dry by pour water into the pot until it flows through the drainage hole. Remove all excess water.
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  5. Soak up the sun – Most succulents love light. Place them in spaces where they’ll receive four to six hours of sun.
  6. Feed them – Give succulents a boost by fertilizing as needed with Espoma’s new Cactus! Succulent plant food.
  7. Keep plants looking good – Remove dead or decaying leaves to keep plants looking nice and insects at bay.

Want to know more? Learn how to care for succulents in winter.

Picking and Caring for Orchids

With showy flowers that stay in bloom for months, orchids have a flair for the dramatic.

While these plants are show-stoppers with blooms that last for months, orchids are surprisingly easy.

There are so many benefits to having houseplants, why not add an orchid to your collection?

The hardest part of orchids is choosing which type since they are available in a wide range of spectacular colors and exotic shapes. Choose an orchid in a single color such as white, pink, fuchsia or yellow for a pop of color. Or for a more captivating look, choose one with expressive splashes of color.

Keep orchids happy and blooming for months with these simple tips.

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Picking Your Orchid:

  1. Bloom power. A plant loaded with flower buds with only a few flowers fully opened will provide the most reward. The rest of the buds will open at home.
  2. Healthy glow. Look for a plant with firm, bright green leaves. Check that roots that are not brown or shriveled.
  3. The right temperature. A few minutes of too hot or too cold temperatures can impact new blooms. Help your new orchid to transition easily by not leaving it in the car for too long.

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Caring for Your New Orchid:

  1. A New Home. Orchids like bright light, but not direct sun. Avoid cold, drafty spots.
  2. Water right. Allow water to flow through drainage holes then drain excess water completely. This is best done in the sink. Water again only when soil is completely dry or the pot feels light.
  3. Just right nutrients. Feed with our liquid orchid fertilizer for more blooms and a healthy plant.
  4. Wait for more blooms. Once all the orchid flowers have withered, cut back stem halfway. If the stem has turned brown or died, cut back to the base of the plant.
  5. Repot when needed. Orchids generally need to be re-potted once a year. It’s time to re-pot when you see: yellow foliage, lack of growth or dead or damage roots, or the plant starts growing over the edge of the pot. The best time to re-pot is just after flowering, or when new growth appears. Use Espoma’s Organic Orchid Mix for best results.

Brown thumbs can easily turn green. Learn more about caring for houseplants here.

Five Reasons to be Thankful for Houseplants

While you’re counting your blessings and listing those things you’re grateful for this Thanksgiving, don’t forget to include houseplants. Indoor plants provide a pop of color and interesting texture to any space.

Houseplants are more than just a pretty face, though. They impact our everyday lives by cleaning the air and reducing stress. Give houseplants everything they need to grow and they’ll pay you back.

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Here are the Top Five Reasons to Be Thankful for Houseplants

1. Indoor Plants Purify the Air

Studies from the US Environmental Protection Agency have found that levels of indoor air pollution can be two to five times higher — and in some cases 10 times more polluted — than outdoor air. Houseplants such as bromeliads, spider plants and dracaena, remove the harmful compounds frequently found in homes and offices, produced by cleaning supplies, paint, furniture glue and nail polish remover.

2. Houseplants help us relax

Researchers have found that being around plants—especially indoors, can reduce stress and help us feel happier and more relaxed. You can never have too many houseplants so choose one, or 10 that work for you.

3. Plants Make Us Smarter

Having a plant around can enhance learning abilities by improving our concentration, focus and problem-solving skills. Make sure to place houseplant in home offices, studying spaces and at work.

4. They Improve Our Physical Health

Plants offer physical benefits, too. One study found that adding plants to office spaces reduces headaches, coughs and sore throats. And employees typically use fewer sick days.

Know someone in the hospital? Bring them a plant. A Kansas State University studied found that patients in rooms with plants request less pain medication, have lower heart rates and blood pressure, experience less fatigue and anxiety and are discharged sooner.

5. They’re easy to care for

Seniors feel better and more fulfilled when they take care of houseplants (or pets). Keeping plants healthy, helps make us more socially connected and happy. There’s a perfect plant out there for anyone, and certain plants, such as sansevieria and zz plant, are surprisingly low maintenance .

Show gratitude for your favorite plants by giving them proper care. Learn how here.

How to Care for Succulents and Cacti in Winter

Succulents and cacti are great low-maintenance plants that brighten up the indoors, even during winter’s darkest days. Their unusual shapes and textures add visual interest to any table or windowsill, and with the right care, they’ll stay just fine throughout the long, cold season.

Succulents and cacti make for good houseplants year-round. In winter, plants only need a little light and occasional watering to keep them going. Most cacti and succulents go dormant by the time fall comes around, meaning they will stop growing when temperatures and daylight drop.

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5 Ways to Care for Cacti and Succulents during Winter:

1. Make your cacti or succulent happy by placing the dormant plant in an area where it will thrive. Succulents need less light during the winter and will survive when given indirect light, too. For the best results, make sure your plant receives at least three to four hours of bright light a day. Place are happiest near a south or east facing window.

2. Succulents typically grow in sandy, well-drained soil. Use Espoma’s cacti and succulent mix to give your plant what it needs. Succulents can’t stand overly moist soil, so make sure containers have drainage holes to allow excess water to exit.

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3. Control the temperature. Succulents won’t mind temperatures as low as 50 to 55 degrees, but few will tolerate colder.

4. Succulents need deep watering, but will not use as much water as when they’re experiencing active growth. Water sparingly and from the top, allowing water to trickle through to the bottom. Do not let plants sit in water for a long time. Make sure to keep water off the body of the cactus, it can contribute to rot.

5. Check for pests. Look at leaves monthly for aphids and mealy bugs. If found, move the infested plant away from others and mist with a mixture of 3 parts rubbing alcohol to 1 part water.

No green thumb? No worries? Learn more about caring for cacti and succulents.