Give Some Green for the Holidays

This holiday season choose gifts that help the earth and are sure to impress friends and family. I’ll give you a hint: Think green!

Whomever you are shopping for, green is sure to please. It doesn’t matter if it is someone new to gardening or the expert gardener in your family, there is something for everyone.

Providing “green” gifts allows loved ones to decorate their homes and enjoy the benefits of a healthy life.

Here are some great ideas for gardening gifts:

With just a little care, holiday houseplants can continue to thrive throughout the year. Knowing how to care for them helps to keep them beautiful.

Holiday Houseplants

Poinsettias, Christmas cactus, amaryllis, and cyclamen are just a handful of holiday houseplants that will wow any recipient. These everlasting gifts that will bloom again and again for years to come. Pick up houseplants at your local garden center. Don’t forget to pair your new houseplants with Espoma’s Indoor! liquid fertilizer.

Garden Starter Kit

This is one you can have fun with. Grab a few garden essentials and your recipient will be set and ready to get their hands in the dirt. Grab a bag of Espoma’s potting mix, a hand trowel, gardener gloves, various vegetable seeds, seed trays, and a few flower seed packets for the perfect starter kit for any gardener. Personalize it by adding their favorite flower seeds or including their favorite colored items.

Go Local

Are too many choices making the gift giving process overwhelming? Is that loveable gardener on the list too picky? Take the hassle out of shopping and buy a gift certificate to a local garden center. It’s an easy and thoughtful gift and also supports a local business.

Get Outdoors

What better way to enjoy gardening than to spend time in one? Give the gift of forest bathing this year and purchase a day pass or membership to a local arboretum or public garden. Spending time in nature reduces stress and improves concentration.

Get Creative

Be crafty and make these DIY succulent snow globes with Garden Answer’s tutorial. These little planters are sure to please even the toughest gift recipients. And you get bonus points for making them yourself.

 

Christmas Cactus Care

Laura from Garden Answer gives her best tips for caring for everyone’s favorite holiday plant – the Christmas cactus. These plants can live for year’s with the right care. Learn how to keep your Christmas Cactus blooming!

 

African Violet FAQs

We are big fans of African violets and know many of you are, too! These houseplants add color to any space in winter and their cheerful flowers make us smile.

Since African violets can be picky about where they want to be and how they want to be watered, we created a go-to guide for you.

Keep your plant happy and healthy with these African violet frequently asked questions.

The Basics

  • How do I pick the perfect plant?
    • Select a healthy African violet in your choice of color that has dark green, spot-free leaves.
    • Look for a plant with one growing center, known as a single crown, to get the most blooms.
  • What container should I use?
    • Keep in mind that the roots grow out, not down, so a shallow wide container works better than a narrow tall container.
  • What potting soil should I use?
  • How much light should my African violet get?
    • African violets need indirect sunlight, as direct sun can burn the leaves.
    • Choose a north- or east-facing window and keep plants away from cold glass.
    • Rotate the pot once a week so all leaves receive light.
    • Extend daylight by placing African violets under a grow light during winter months.
  • Do my African violets need to stay warm?
    • African violets prefer the same temperatures most people find comfortable: between 70-80°F during the day, and around 65–70°F at night.
  • How do I water my plant so it is happy?
    • Only water your violet when the soil is dry to the touch.
    • Fill the pot’s saucer, and allow the roots absorb the amount of water they need. After an hour, dump any remaining water to avoid over watering.
  • When Should I fertilize?

Getting Leggy

  • What causes my African violet to get leggy?
    • Leggy is when new growth forms on a plant tip. This new growth takes most of the energy away from the bottom of the plant.
    • The three main reasons on why your plant is getting leggy are age, water and light. For more information on this, visit this blog.
  • What can I do to help my leggy plant?
    • The best (and easiest) way to help it is to repot your African violet. Allowing more room for roots and a better growing atmosphere, will help your plant succeed.

Repotting Plants

  • How often should I repot my African violet?
    • Once a year should be enough to keep your plant happy. It will provide new space for root growth and also prevent it from getting leggy.
  • Can I use the same size container?
    • You want to find a slightly bigger container than the one it is in now – never smaller. While African violets like to be root bound to bloom, you want to provide space for it to breathe and grow.
  • Can I reuse the soil?
    • It’s best to start fresh with an organic potting soil made specifically for African violets such as Espoma Organic African Violet Mix. Using the same soil can bring new infestations to your plant that may not be prevalent now.
  • How close to the top of the pot should the root ball be?
    • You want the root ball to be below the top of the container. Don’t forget to center your plant!
  • Do I need to compact the plant in the new pot?
    • It is best to tuck your plant in to the new pot gently. Pressing too hard can harm the leaves, but not tucking it can cause problems in growing.
    • Settle the plant by watering it from the saucer.

 

Start Propagating

  • Is it difficult to propagate African violets?
    • Not at all! It’s one of the easiest plants to propagate.
  • Where do I start?
    • Find a healthy leaf on one of your current plants. Be sure to have a clean cut on it before planting it in your soil. For full directions, see here.
  • How long does it take?
    • At about 3-4 weeks, roots should begin forming on the leaf.
    • In another 3-4 weeks, your new leaves will start to sprout.
    • When the sprouts get 2-3 leaves on them, which is around the 2-6 month mark, you will need to repot.

Have any more questions? Reach out to us on Facebook!

Big-Leaf Drama – Indoor plants with oversized foliage

There’s no such thing as too many houseplants – nor is there such a thing as too big of a houseplant. Dramatic leaves, oversized foliage and overhanging limbs make houseplants the center of attention in any household.

Depending on where big leaf plants are placed, they can help draw attention to a room or hide that patch in the wall that you don’t want anyone to see.

Our Favorite Oversized Foliage Houseplants

  1. Monstera

Known as the split leaf philodendron, the foliage on this plant is striking. Being a tropical variety, this plant can survive low light and higher humidity. It has large, lush, dark green foliage that stands out against a blank wall. Keep it near a window with indirect light and watch it grow. Don’t forget to share it on Instagram using the hashtag #monsteramonday.

  1. Bird of Paradise

This exotic plant draws attention in your home. Not only is the foliage large, it can grow up to 8 feet tall. The leaves are evergreen and arranged in a way that the leaves look like a bird’s head and beak. Keep it in front of a window that gets 4-5 hours of sunlight a day.

  1. Fiddle Leaf Fig

With its height and large leathery foliage, this houseplant can really change up a room. The glossy foliage will add flare wherever you need a little splash of dark color. Inside, it can grow up to 8 feet tall. It is aesthetically pleasing and can complement any room decor. Keep it in a well-lit spot, where it will get indirect sunlight all day long.

 

  1. White Snake Plant

This easy to care for plant will certainly make a statement. While the foliage isn’t as wide as the previously listed plants, it can grow up to three foot tall. A snake plant will survive anything. Low light loving and drought tolerant, so if you accidently forget about it for a few days, it will be just fine. Place in an area you want to add a little height for a dramatic appeal to your home.

 

  1. Rubber Tree

If you’re looking for a tree that gives the best of everything, a rubber tree is for you. It has large evergreen leaves, impressive height and cleans the air around you. It is easy to care for and can survive even after being neglected for a few days. It will eventually reach up to 8 feet tall. Keep it somewhere where you spend a lot of time, especially a home office or a children’s room, in order to really reap the air cleaning benefits.

 

Just because these houseplants are oversized, doesn’t mean they are too big of a job for Espoma’s Indoor liquid fertilizer. By feeding your houseplants as directed, you keep your attention grabbers happy and healthy.

 

Succulent Snow Globe DIY (Full Version)

Laura from Garden Answer shows you how to bring the outdoors in for the winter months. Make this easy potted plant snow globe using succulents and Espoma’s organic cactus mix. Ask kids to help make these tiny globes or make them yourself. They’re perfect for holiday decor or to give as gifts to the plant lover in your life.

 

Here are the basics:

  1. Gather your winter crafting materials, paint, potting soil, globe ornament, fairies, ribbons and succulents. Choose a small container such as a terracotta pot to serve as your base.
  2. Paint container and let dry.
  3. Fill with Espoma’s Cactus Mix
  4. Cut a large opening in clear ornament
  5. Drill a small hole in the ornament for air flow and to water succulents with an eye dropper
  6. Add a miniature toy, fairy and/or succulents
  7. Make it feel like the holidays by adding faux snow
  8. Tie a ribbon or string around the container and finish with a bow.

Looking for more inspiration? Check out our YouTube page!

 

Quick Succulent Snow Globe DIY

Laura from Garden Answer shows you how to bring the outdoors in for the winter months. Make this easy potted plant snow globe using succulents and Espoma’s organic cactus mix. Ask kids to help make these tiny globes or make them yourself. They’re perfect for holiday decor or to give as gifts to the plant lover in your life.

 

Here are the basics:

  1. Gather your winter crafting materials, paint, potting soil, globe ornament, fairies, ribbons and succulents. Choose a small container such as a terracotta pot to serve as your base.
  2. Paint container and let dry.
  3. Fill with Espoma’s Cactus Mix
  4. Cut a large opening in clear ornament
  5. Drill a small hole in the ornament for air flow and to water succulents with an eye dropper
  6. Add a miniature toy, fairy and/or succulents
  7. Make it feel like the holidays by adding faux snow
  8. Tie a ribbon or string around the container and finish with a bow.

Want to see more? Check out our YouTube channel!

Grow Your Own Microgreens

Microgreens add fresh flavor and nutrients to salads, sandwiches, smoothies and stir-fries. These plants are harvested when they’re young, usually about two weeks after planting.

 

Plus, microgreens contain about five times more vitamins than if grown to mature vegetables, according to USDA researchers. Adding microgreens to smoothies will boost the nutritional content without adding strong flavors.

 

While you’re waiting to start seeds for the spring, try growing microgreens for a fun winter project. They’ll also be the perfect complement to your indoor herb garden.

6 Steps to Grow Winter Microgreens:

  1. Soak seeds in room temperature water for no more than eight hours before you plant them.
  2. Select a container that will hold an inch of soil. This can be a seed-starting tray, plastic take-out dish, disposable pie plate or even a clear salad box.
  3. Punch a few drainage holes in the bottom. Set container on a cookie sheet, plastic tray or container to prevent spillage.
  4. Add 1” of Espoma’s Seed Starter and sprinkle with seeds. Lightly cover seeds with soil and water lightly.
  5. Cover container with a damp paper towel or newspaper to keep the seeds from drying out. Lift the cover daily and spray lightly with water until sprouting begins.
  6. Remove the cover when sprouts appear and move microgreens to a sunny windowsill.
  7. Harvest microgreens by cutting the tops with scissors when they are 2” or taller. Rinse sprout tops in a strainer. Microgreens can be stored in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
  8. Continue harvesting microgreens for up to three weeks.

Dreaming of the outdoors? Learn how to plant veggies in containers for next year!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UVVyRRJDfSk&t=67s