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How to Create a Mini Gnome Garden with Garden Answer

Laura from Garden Answer designs a tiny gnome garden that is sure to delight and inspire. While fairy gardens get all the glory, gnomes also enjoy living in mini villages filled with plants and whimsy.

Want to see more from Garden Answer’s trip to Philadelphia? Check out this video from The Philadelphia Flower Show.

6 Tips for Stunning Succulent Containers

The options for succulents are endless. You can spend an entire afternoon at your favorite garden center picking out succulents in all shapes, sizes and colors. And once you have one succulent plant, you can grow even more plants from it!

While planting succulents is a pretty straightforward process, there are a few tricks to ensuring they stay healthy in their new homes.

6 Tips for Creating a Succulent Container

  1. Choose a container. Almost any container can be used for succulent gardening if it has proper drainage. Terra cotta, glazed pottery and wooden boxes are some traditional choices. If you’re feeling crafty, check out our Garden Answer tutorial and create your own.
  2. Don’t let water pool. When placing the plant in the container, the succulent needs to sit above the rim of the pot. If your soil is low and your container has poor drainage, water can pool on top and damage the plant. Don’t let your succulent rot! Make sure to use Espoma’s Cactus Mix when filling your container.
  3. Add Plants. It’s up to you to choose how many plants to put in your container. Succulents that are crowded and planted close together often grow more slowly; and these plants are slow growers to begin with! More space between plants means it’s easier to water and there will be better air flow.
  4. Thriller, filler and spiller. This classic gardening concept can be applied to succulents, too. Add some oomph to your container by choosing a “thriller,” a tall plant that will add a vertical element such as aloe. Next, place a medium succulent such as echevarias. For spillers, look for trailing succulents that will “spill” over the edge such as sedum or string of pearls.
  5. The final touch. For a finished look, top off your container with decorative stones or dried moss.
  6. Feed ‘em. Give your succulents a boost by fertilizing as needed with Espoma’s newCactus! Succulent plant food.

Now that your container is complete, find out what succulents need to keep growing!

Give Succulents Some Light

Succulents make the perfect houseplants. They come in a variety of sizes and styles ranging from leafy to spiky and even fuzzy. They’re pretty low-maintenance, and only need sunlight, water and nutrients from time to time. Somehow, things can still go wrong.

The number one sign your succulent isn’t growing as well as it should? It’s looking stretched. While you might think your succulents are growing, they’re actually stretching out for more light.

Succulents stretch when they aren’t getting enough sunlight, which actually causes the plant to grow faster. First, the plant will bend toward the sunlight it is receiving, and then you’ll notice it continuing to grow taller, leaving more space between the leaves.

If your succulents are stretched, they won’t go back to the way they were before. You can continue to grow them as is, just move them to a spot where they’ll get more indirect light. You can also start propagating to grow new succulents. Unless plants are placed where they will get enough  light, the new cuttings will eventually stretch out, too.

4Tips to Make Sure Succulents are getting the right light

  1. Succulents love sun. These desert plants thrive in hot climates with plenty of sunlight. A dimly lit apartment or shady part of your home just isn’t going to cut it. Place succulents near windows that let in lots of natural light throughout the day.
  2. Keep succulents close to windows. They’ll soak up the sun for hours when given indirect light. Don’t lean succulents right up against the window or they may get sunburned.
  3. Add a grow light. If you can’t count on natural light to keep plants healthy, consider investing in a grow light. This will keep your plants happy and give you the option of moving them to dimmer areas in your home.
  4. Try out different kinds of succulents. They’re not all alike. Some will thrive in indoor conditions that others might not like.

Next time you notice your succulents leaning or stretching, go ahead and start some new ones and try again with better lighting.

Now that you know how to give succulents the best light, learn how to have success with succulents

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.

7 Beginner Tips for Growing Succulentssucculent-echeveria-ciliata-1789883_1920

  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.