Succulent Pot in a Pot

Social media is blowing up with a new trend – the Succulent Pot in a Pot. It is a fun way to make a succulent arrangement that is a little out of the norm.

Basically, it is creating a potted succulent “floral” arrangement inside another pot. You use a small container for the base of your arrangement and place it on its side in the larger container. You fill in the area above the small pot with succulents so, when you look down into the larger pot, you’ll see a beautiful “floral” arrangement made out of succulents.

It might seem a bit complicated in the explanation, but this project is simple, fun and adorable to look at all year long.

Step 1 – Fill Your Large Container

Grab a container that has proper drainage as succulents don’t like to be in too much water. Use an aerating soil, like Espoma’s Organic Cactus Mix to fill your container one inch from the brim. This will allow room for you to sink in the smaller container and plant your succulents.

Step 2 – Lay in Your Small Container

Gently sink your smaller container into the soil. You want the bottom half of it to be buried, so the finished product will look right.

Step 3 – Place Your Plants

Starting towards the opening of the smaller pot, place your succulents the same way you would make an upright arrangement. Get creative with the plant use and layout. Go with contrasting colors or various shades of the same. Laura wanted this to be an ode to Valentine’s Day and went with shades of pinks, yellows and light greens.

*Expert Tip: Dress up your soil with pebbles, mulch or even miniature succulents to disguise the soil and give it a more polished look.

Care Instructions

Take care of this arrangement the same way you would any other arrangement. If you used any cuttings, give it a week to allow them to heal before watering it in. When watering try to avoid watering the tops of the succulents – get as close to the soil as possible. Be mindful that in the winter, you may only need to water it every 10 to 14 days. While in the summer, you will be watering it once a week.

 

How to Care for Your Monstera

Monstera is commonly called Swiss cheese plant or split-leaf philodendron referring to the beautifully cut leaves. It’s a must have for its Caribbean feel. The foliage is deep green, lush and tropical. With time the foliage can become quite large and exotic looking. There is also a rare white variegated form that is slower growing. They generally don’t bloom indoors but in its natural environment they will produce edible fruit that is said to taste like fruit salad.

Light and Placement

As a tropical plant it’s no surprise that your Monstera likes warm indoor temperatures between 68 and 86 degrees Fahrenheit. A little humidity makes them feel right at home, too. Bathrooms and kitchens can often supply a touch of humidity or you can simply mist your plant now and then. These plants grow naturally in the dappled light of the forest floor. To mimic that, place your Monstera in bright or filtered, indirect light. They can actually grow in deep shade, but may not exhibit as much of the cut leaf foliage. If you live in zones 10 or 11, you can grow it outdoors in a shady spot.

Photo courtesy of Costa Farms

Food and Water

Monstera likes moist soil, but not one that stays soggy or overly wet. Make sure the pot has good drainage. Water weekly, when the top inch of the soil is dry. Make sure any excess water drains away. In spring and summer, when the plants are actively growing, it’s a good idea to feed them once a month with a liquid fertilizer like Espoma’s Organic Indoor!  plant food.

Repotting

Repot young plants every year to encourage growth and add soil nutrients. Gradually go up in pot size by 2 inches per year.  Once your plant has reached its optimal height for your space, you can give it a top dressing of new soil once a year and only repot it about every 3 years. Always use a quality potting soil to help keep the soil moist but free-draining. These are natural climbers that use their aerial roots to hold on to trees. When you do repot your plant, be sure to add a trellis or moss covered plant stake for support.

Photo courtesy of Costa Farms

Pruning

Young plants often have compact, bushy habits. As they grow, they will begin to show their vining nature. You can either give them support to climb and become a tall and dramatic or if you prefer, you can pinch them to rein in the lankiness. Pinch off the new growth tip with your finger at the height you’d like it to stay at. Feel free to prune out stems that are producing few or no leaves. If you can’t tuck the aerial roots back into the pot, you may remove them as well.

Pest and Disease

Monstera is rarely bothered by pest or disease. Wipe off the leaves with a damp cloth from time to time or give it a shower to remove dust. Check for spider mites when you do. This is a long-lived house plant that will give you years of pleasure with little care.

Ready for more houseplants? Check out Garden Answer’s Top 5 Low Light House Plants.

 

Best products for Monstera

 

Webinar: Powerhouse Perennials That Work Overtime… So You Don’t

The Espoma Company is excited to sponsor an exciting new webinar – Powerhouse Perennials That Work Overtime… So You Don’t  — on Saturday, January 26, 2019 at 11 AM EST.

Kerry Ann Mendez, author of The Right Size Flower Garden, will share tips to help all levels of gardeners make gardening a little bit easier. Mendez is an expert in all things gardening, a nationally renowned speaker and an acclaimed author of three popular gardening books. She also hosts in-person lectures nationwide.

The webinar features superhero perennials for sun and shade, ranging in hardiness from Zones 3 – 9.  Many natives (and nativars) as well as new introductions are included. Attendees will learn about top-rated sources for these plants, including local garden centers.

In addition, the webinar offers detailed lecture notes and a free replay. Master Gardeners and Landscape Architects can also fill out and submit a form for continuing education credit hour approval.

Included with the webinar are detailed lecture notes that complement the presentation.

You do not need to be present for the live webinar on January 26 at 11 AM. All participants will receive a download link for the lecture following the presentation. That way you can watch and listen to it at your convenience and replay all or parts of it on demand.

The registration fee for this webinar lecture is $12.

For more about Kerry Ann and her business Perennially Yours, visit www.pyours.com.

Plant parenthood: Top 5 plants to start your houseplant family with

Welcome to Plant Parenthood, a reoccurring series helping you with all things houseplant! As plant people ourselves, we are so happy to see you here. This will be your resource to get you started, to teach you how to care, when to fertilize and much more.

 

Some of you may already have a houseplant or two, which is wonderful. If you are starting from scratch, below are some great houseplants to get you started. They are easy-to-grow and require little maintenance.

Before getting started think about your lifestyle and what chores you want your houseplant to do. Do you want them to clean the air, just sit around and look pretty or maybe both! Also, think about how much light your space gets, as some houseplants love bright light while others thrive in little to low light.

Top Five Plants to Start Your Houseplant Family:

 

Peperomia

This tried and true classic is getting more and more popular. Peperomia is compact, so you don’t need a lot of space for it. But don’t let the size fool you, it’s variegated and colorful foliage can pack a punch. Keep your plant near a window, as it likes medium to bright light. Water it when the top two inches of soil are dry, though it can go a bit without water and still be fine. It will not grow quickly, however use Espoma’s Indoor! liquid plant food to give it the nutrients it needs to thrive.

Photo Courtesy of Costa Farms

Dracaena

Dracaena will need  a new home as it ages. When it is young, it is perfect for a tabletop or desk, as it is a little bushy plant. Though, it can grow 5 to 6 feet tall as an adult. Depending on the variety you choose, its foliage can look like little bursts of stars or fireworks on the tips. It adds dramatic texture to any room. Place it where it looks best in your home – it is not picky about how much light it gets. Water it when the top of the soil dries out.

Photo courtesy of Costa Farms

ZZ Plant

This tough houseplant can survive even with the brownest of thumbs. You can put it anywhere in your home or office and it will be happy to see you. It can even survive with only florescent lights and no natural light.  Water when the top two inches of soil are dry. Don’t worry if you forget, it may start to drop some of its leaflets to conserve the water left and will rebloom after a good drink.

Photo courtesy of Costa Farms

Aglaonema

Also known as the Chinese evergreen, this houseplant is stunning. It can come in colors from deep green to silver to red. It is slow growing, with large, narrow and glossy oval foliage. When deciding where to put Aglaonema, keep in mind the lighter the variegation, the more light it needs. So if you opt out for dark green foliage, it can thrive in low light. Water when the top two inches of soil is dry and add humidity around the plant in the summertime. Use Espoma’s indoor! liquid plant food during the growing season to give it the nutrients it needs.

Photo courtesy of Costa Farms

Pothos

Have fun with pothos as you can grow it in a hanging basket to allow the foliage to trail down, trellis it up or allow it to grow horizontally across a shelf or on a cabinet. It has a beautiful green foliage with specks of white, yellow or cream mixed in. It can grow in any kind of light, with low humidity. Keep the soil moist, so water it when the top inch of the soil is dry.

Laura from Garden Answer shows off some low light houseplants that are perfect for anyone looking to get started.

 

Happy Houseplants Need Food:

 

What to Do with Leggy Succulents

Succulents love the sun and thrive when grown in proper light conditions. But you’ve probably seen or grown a succulent that gets leggy and stretched out. These leggy – or etiolated – succulents aren’t getting the light they should in the space you have it.

 

This phenomenon happens with all indoor plants, not just succulents. You may notice how your plant bends toward the sunlight, stretching to get as close as it can. Succulents continue to grow taller as they stretch toward the sun, leaving more space between each leaf.

While etiolated succulents won’t go back to their prior compact shape, you can give them a haircut and propagate the cuttings to get even more succulents.

In this video, Laura from Garden Answer shows you how to deconstruct the plant and start propagating to try again.

  1. Remove leaves. Use pruners or snap off roots and healthy leaves from the bottom half of the succulent. Get as clean of a break as possible to encourage new growth. If your leaf tears, get rid of it. Remove leaves until you’re a little more than half way to the top. See step three to learn how you can snip and replant the stem and the remaining rosette at the top.
  2. Let leaves dry. Allow leaves to dry for a few days after removal, until the raw ends have calloused.
  3. Repot the stem. Planting the stem deeper, where the leaves were removed, will allow to grow new roots. If your stem is too long for your pot, simply trim it 1-2 inches from the base of the plant. If you have no stem at all, it’s ok. Just nest the rosette in the soil so it doesn’t fall out.
  4. Get ready to grow. Place dried leaves on top of a tray, saucer or container filled with Espoma’s Organic Cactus mix. Do not bury leaves in the soil. Place the container in a spot where it will be protected from full sun exposure.
  5. Spray soil until it’s moist, without being drenched. Water again when soil is dry to the touch.
  6. Wait. In about a month or so new baby roots will appear
  7. Replant. Once your propagated succulents have taken root, they can be replanted. Show them off in a repurposed planter.
  8. Lastly, be sure to check the roots every six months to see if you need to move your plants to a bigger pot. Feed your succulents regularly with Espoma’s Cactus! liquid plant food for best results.

Products:

 

 

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New Year, New Gardening Reads

Spend winter months brushing up on your plant knowledge and cozying up indoors with a book on plants. The options can be endless and there’s certainly something for every level of gardener. Explore a whole new world of plants with our recommendations below.

How Not to Kill Your Houseplant: Survival Tips for the Horticulturally Challenged

By Veronica Peerless

From the basics of horticulture to detailed information about what type of plant will thrive in your living space, How Not To Kill Your Houseplant will be your comprehensive guide. This book covers 50 popular house plants and teaches you how to look for warning signs of sickness, pests and disease. With helpful tips, pictures and informational panels How Not To Kill Your Houseplant will help you create a plant paradise right in your own home.

Homestead Brooklyn shows you how to fertilize your houseplants.

Photo courtesy of Urban Jungle

Urban Jungle: Living and Styling with Plants

By Igor Josifovic and Judith de Graaff

This book will inspire beginners as well as advanced plant parents. It goes beyond the basic of plant care into the art of styling your home with plants. Travel across Europe to 5 different green homes with urban jungle bloggers, Igor and Judith. Along with style tips you’ll find DIY ideas with step-by-step instructions along with beautiful photography. Take your design skills to the next level and create and care for your own urban jungle.

Gardening Under Lights: The Complete Guide for Indoor Growers

By Leslie F. Halleck

Growing under indoor lights opens up a whole new world of possibilities for home growers. Gardening Under lights is a complete guide to high tech growing. It explains the basics and gives an overview of the most up-to-date tools and gear available. It also offers tips and techniques for growing ornamentals like orchids and bonsai, to growing a whole range of edibles from arugula to zucchini. There is also a complete guide to starting seed indoors.

New to seed starting? Watch this video to get up to speed.

Root, Nurture, Grow: The Essential Guide to Propagating and Sharing Houseplants

By Caro Langton and Rose Ray

A follow up to their successful debut book House of Plants, Caro and Rose show how easy it is to propagate house plants at home in their stylish new book. Beginner friendly techniques such as stem cutting, rooting in water, runners, offsets, grafting, and division are all covered. It also includes DIY projects like seed-bombs and how to make self-watering plant pots. Find out how fun and easy it is to create new plants for meaningful gifts and displays.

Here’s how to propagate the hottest houseplant.

The Savage Garden, Revised: Cultivating Carnivorous Plants 

By Peter D’Amato

While this might not be new, The Savage Garden is still the best-selling book for anyone interested in carnivorous plants. The new edition is fully revised to include the latest developments and discoveries in the carnivorous plant world, making it the most accurate and up-to-date book of its kind. Beautifully illustrated with over 200 color photographs, let this be your guide to the beautiful, unusual world of easy to grow savage plants.

Bonus: Houseplant Masterclass

The Houseplant Masterclass is the first comprehensive online audiovisual course on houseplant cultivation, care and maintenance taught by Summer Rayne Oakes, founder of the blog, HomesteadBrooklyn.com, the weekly web series Plant One On Me, and author of the forthcoming book, How to Make a Plant Love You (Optimism Press, July 2019).

The course was fully funded on Kickstarter in April 2018 and went on sale in December 2018. The Masterclass features five sections and 100+ sub-sections on houseplant growing, care and cultivation; over 4 hours of audiovisual recordings; 300 full-color images and charts; a comprehensive care spreadsheet of 300+ common houseplants; 100+ botanical terms and 350+ botanical Latin names; product and book recommendations; access to a private Facebook community; and more. Participants will get houseplant badges as they complete sections and a certificate of completion at the end of the course.

Want to learn the basics of one of the most common houseplants? Summer Rayne teaches us all about Pilea Peperomioides.

 

 

Products to Buy

 

 

Not your average houseplant – Bromeliads

Growing bromeliads indoors is a wonderful way to welcome vibrant colors and live foliage into your space. While they have a reputation for being difficult to grow, they are just different than the average houseplant. They are adaptable to their surroundings, low maintenance and offer long-lasting blooms.

Bromeliads that grow in soil are best to use as houseplants. There are four varieties that are best for bringing indoors: Billbergia, Cryptanthus, Guzmania, and Neoregelia. These are most recognizable for their spikey blooms and can be solid in color or have a variegated stripe to them.

Photo courtesy of Costa Farms

How to Grow Basics:

  1. Light

Each variety grown indoors likes their light a bit different. Generally placing them in bright, indirect light is fine, but be sure to check plant tags as some prefer shaded areas.

  1. Potting

Bromeliads should be potted at the base of leaves to give the roots enough to secure it to the soil. A 4-6 inch pot is a great starter, but keep an eye on your plant and place it in a bigger container if it begins to lean or fall over. Use a barky, airy, well-draining soil, such as Espoma’s Orchid Mix for orchids and bromeliads.

  1. Temperature and Humidity

Potted bromeliads adjust to the temperature around them. They are happy in the temperature you keep your home – anywhere from 35 degrees to 95 degrees. When the temperature increases, increase the humidity around your plant by misting water or using a pebble plant tray. Like most plants, you should keep them away from heating and air vents so they don’t dry out.

  1. Fertilizer

Use a slow release fertilizer, such as Espoma’s Indoor! liquid fertilizer once a month. Simply mix it in with your watering can and follow the instructions on the bottle.

Already have a bromeliad that needs more room? Watch Summer Rayne repot her bromeliad.

 

Products Needed:

Espoma Organic Orchid Mix