Best Indoor and Outdoor Plants for Halloween Decor

Halloween is on our heels and we can’t wait! The spooky season is a great time to go all out decorating your home, and here at Espoma, we believe in adding so much more to your decor than just pumpkins. Get in the holiday spirit by throwing these plants into the mix!

 

1. Red Spider Lily

 

Red in color with spider-like flowers, this plant is perfect for your spooky yard! One of the best parts of it is that it’s virtually pest and disease-free. It’s great for late summer and early fall and needs well-draining soil to grow.

2. Bat Flower

This flower personifies the spookiness of Halloween perfectly and will make your house one to look out for! While the flower barely resembles a bat, the black color makes it look like it belongs to the Addams family. Keep this flower indoors to match your outside decor — and make sure to keep it in indirect sunlight or partial shade.

3. Indian Pipe/Ghost Plant

This plant grows white instead of green because it has no chlorophyll and is a parasite that takes from nearby trees. (Anyone else spooked just from that description?) From afar it looks like melting candles or finger bones sticking out from the ground — it doesn’t get scarier than that! As if it knows where it belongs, the plant prefers dark, damp places to grow, so make sure you plant it accordingly. Even though it doesn’t require sunlight, it’s best to plant it outside. But don’t forget to give nearby plants lots of nutrients so the ghost plant can take from them without depleting their food!

4. Corpse Flower

The corpse flower can take years or even decades before it blooms for the first time. This flower earned its name from the odorous smell it emits that has been compared to body odor or sweaty socks. This smell is meant to attract insects to spread the flower’s pollen to start new blooms. If the smell doesn’t scare you, maybe the size will. The corpse flower can grow to a height of 8 feet!

5. Devil’s Claw

This plant grows out curved with pointed ends, making it look like the devil’s claw, hence the name. You might think it’s another poisonous plant that you have to stay away from, but on the contrary, this plant is a popular medicine for back pain arthritis. 

Mixing and matching these plants with your other Halloween decorations is sure to make your house look like the most haunted on the block. Which ones made it onto your shopping list? Don’t forget, as many of these plants are quite uncommon, they may require some extra upkeep. So be sure to take care of them accordingly!

 

Unusual Houseplants to Add Life to Your Home This Fall

With fall underway and winter on our heels, you’re probably putting away your gardening tools for the season and taking the last bits of veggies and fruits you can harvest before the ground freezes over. And if you’re anything like us, you’re probably sad to see all the greenery and colors go. But don’t let that crush your spirits! While you’re waiting for spring to arrive, you can stay busy raising colorful houseplants.

This plant has green leaves with red, yellow, and orange hues in them, so you get the greenery and some beautiful colors all in one! Direct sunlight may burn their leaves, but bright light will produce the beautiful red and pink colors — so be sure they’re receiving bright indirect light. But don’t fret if your home is low light! Your Aglaonema can still grow, it will just be less colorful.

1. Colorful Aglaonema

 

2. Prayer Plant

Don’t have space on the windowsill to put the plants? Try hanging them up! Prayer plant is a favorite of ours because it has the habit of sprawling out. It can make any room you put it up in look cozy! It has dark green leaves and purple-mauve stems and veins that give your space a classy look.

3. Neon Pothos

If you’re someone who’s going to get the blues in winter from the lack of color outside, this plant is just what you need! Neon pothos adds a pop of color to your living space and will brighten up your day every time you look at it. This will also present a good contrast to any darker colored plants like the prayer plant or calathea. It’s an easy to grow plant that you can hang up or put it on your coffee table and let the vines take over. It needs direct sunlight to grow, but you can swap that out with fluorescent lights if your house isn’t very sunlight-heavy.

4. Anthurium

Want a plant that’ll bloom every season? If you take care of this plant right, you can have shades of pink and red residing in your house all year long! All you need to do is keep it in a well-lit place and water it regularly. This valentine’s day favorite will definitely give your house a more quirky look.

5. Monstera

You might’ve seen this one on aesthetic Instagram accounts or have it pinned on one of your “dream room” Pinterest boards. This plant has been a popular go-to for a lot of people in recent years, and we totally get why. It’s a plant with big green leaves that can be placed anywhere without taking up too much space! They can also grow in almost any atmosphere. If you’re looking to add some simple green to your room, monstera is the way to go.

Ready to head to your local plant shop yet? Stock up now so you can sit back and relax with your indoor green space this fall and winter. They’re sure to bring colorful life to your home and remind you of the upcoming spring and all of the beautiful outdoor blooms that are yet to come!

 

 

How to Prepare Your Garden for the Winter Season

Winter is afoot! With the nights becoming chilly, now is the time to start thinking about what to do with your garden until springtime. Soon enough soil will freeze and many plants will stop growing or die. But there are steps you can take to preserve what you have! Read on to find out how to prepare your garden and save any vegetables you might’ve been growing.

 

 

 

1. Take care of your root crops

 

If you have root crops like carrots, beets, or turnips in your garden, you’re in luck! These require less maintenance because they are able to stay inside the ground after a frost. However, make sure you’re taking them out before the ground freezes over or they may die. Some root crops like parsnips even taste better when kept buried in near freezing weather for 2 to 4 weeks!

 

 

2. What to do with your leafy greens

 

If you’ve been following us for a while and took our advice in August to plant these leafy vegetables, you now get to reap the rewards! It’s time to harvest those sweet greens for some fresh homemade salads and dishes. If you’re willing to wait a little bit, veggies like kale and collards get sweeter with a little light frost. Cabbages and Swiss chard can handle the frost, if you want to harvest them all at once, but their outer covering may get a little damaged. Lettuces, however, cannot withstand the cold. Take them out before the frost hits.

 

 

3. Reduce irrigation

 

If you’re someone who has their sprinklers on overnight or all hours of the day, we have some good news! You can lower the use of sprinklers if you’re in a warmer weather and stop it altogether if you’re in a cooler weather. Now you can save your water usage and lower your water bill without compromising the quality of your lawn. Win-win!

 

 

4. Herbs for winter

 

Herbs may seem like very delicate plants that would be unlikely to survive winter, but that’s not true! Herbs like sage, thyme and chives are hardy perennials that will survive the harsh weather with no problem. Some other herbs like rosemary and basil need to be dug up and brought inside where they will happily continue to grow.

 

 

5. Preparing the soil for spring

 

Preparing your soil in advance will make your work much easier come spring. Adding things like compost, manure, bone meal, and kelp will add nutrients to your soil and keep it healthy until spring. You can start working on it right as spring comes instead of having to fill it up with nutrients and wait for them to get incorporated! Add a layer of organic mulch for extra protection from winter rains and keeping your enriched soil safe.

Winter doesn’t have to mean everything dies until the spring! Taking the proper precautions and using the right products can help keep your favorite herbs and veggies growing throughout the colder months. Get started on these steps while the weather is still mild — and if you haven’t already, make sure you’re also caring for your tools and keeping them safe from the icy cold.

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Anthurium – commonly known as flamingo flower – is a super common and super beloved houseplant. Learn everything you need to know about caring for them with this ultimate guide from Summer Rayne Oakes.

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Video: Planting a Super Tall Rose of Sharon with Garden Answer

Espoma Organic Bio-tone, Soil Acidifier, and Land & Sea compost are all keys to success in Garden Answer latest project. Follow along and see why!

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How Espoma Can Help Your Garden Club Grow

Garden clubs are a great way to share your horticulture hobby with other like-minded individuals. It’s a space where you can learn all about plant life and share your gardening ideas. They can be as small as a group of friends or as large as a neighborhood! Many of them take an interest in preservation of local natural habitats and general community service.

Members of garden clubs come in all shapes and sizes. Anyone can start or join one! You don’t even have to be experienced because the clubs provide a safe space for novices to learn and grow their own hobby.

Still, it’s understandable if you’re on the fence about joining one. Or maybe you are a part of a garden club, but you don’t know about the full benefits you can be taking advantage of. Luckily for us, we were able to sit down with Gay Austin, the 46th president of the National Garden Clubs (NGC), to get all the details!

“Our partnership with Espoma has been great since the start,” Gay says. “We both had a goal in mind for garden clubs. Espoma had the products, and the NGC had the programs. So we just meshed together.” One great outcome of this partnership has been our grant program. Every year we select 20 clubs to give $250 grants to, and then we get to watch their ideas flourish!

These grants help your club receive funding to complete different types of projects. Whether it’s needed for tools, disaster relief management, or education—your chosen project can be almost anything. “It can be as simple as a flowerbed in a public space,” Gay tells us, “as long as it’s providing knowledge for what plants are needed.”

Want to show hospital patients how colorful flowers can brighten their rooms? How about beautifying a local school? Whether you’re focusing on wildlife conservation or want to give back to your community with a public garden renovation, the possibilities of eligible projects are endless! Gay told us she hopes to see future projects where clubs get together to replant native plants that were destroyed from natural disasters.

If you’re interested in becoming one of our grant winners, all you need to do is complete the application. Attach some photos and explain your project. Then, wait and see if you’ve been selected. If you have, be sure you send us photos of your completed project and local press information so we can spread the word about your great work! Don’t forget to check out our recent grant winners above the application.

Gay looks back fondly on past winners who have brought wonderful projects to life using the grants. “Many clubs focus on beautifying their cities,” She says. “Some clubs bring projects to senior citizens in assisted living facilities. Those citizens go from living in a home with a garden to only being able to have potted plants. So bringing the joy of horticulture back to them is really beneficial.” These projects can affect people as old as these senior citizens to children in school.

Whether or not you’re interested in an Espoma grant, we still want to hear about your garden club! Tell us via Twitter using the hashtag #EspomaGardenClub for a chance to be featured on our social media. We’ll be spreading the word about other garden clubs in the meantime, so stay tuned for some inspiration.

 

Video: Time for Fall Wall Planters with Garden Answer

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5 Ways to Get Your Children Involved in Gardening

It’s never too early to teach your children about gardening! From learning about nature to developing patience, horticulture can benefit everyone, no matter their age. But it can be difficult to decide what your little gardener is capable of doing. We pulled together a list to help you get your whole family involved — just in time before the colder months take over.

1. Decorate flower pots

A great place to start is with potted plants. A benefit of this activity is that it works year-round — even when it’s too cold to be out in the garden. Let them express their creative side with a little acrylic paint on some clay pots. The acrylic will last long and hold up in harsh weather if you plan to keep them outside. With the upcoming holidays, you can encourage them to get festive with their designs and colors!

2. Grow some easy fall vegetables

Do your children know where the food they eat comes from? Use these last few months of warm weather to show them how their favorite veggies are grown. Fall plants like arugula, spinach, and kale can grow from a seed within a month! Your little one will be able to see for themselves how food makes its way to their plate, and they’ll feel super proud that their hard work helped it get there.

3. Plant future spring blooms

Ready to teach your little one about patience? Right now is the best time to plant spring perennials. Be sure to give your future flowers enough time to establish roots in warm enough soil before it gets too cold out. We recommend tulips and hyacinths since they actually need a period of cold weather in order to bloom later! Just don’t forget to help them along with some bulb-specific fertilizer. Your child will soon understand how hard work and patience pays off when your garden turns into a wonderland of flowers in the spring.

 

4. Carve pumpkins

It doesn’t feel like fall until you break out the pumpkins! But instead of carving them out as porch decorations, try to add a gardening twist this year. You can actually hollow them out and use them as biodegradable flower pots! This is a great time to teach your children about resourcefulness and composting. When you’re done with them, throw them into your fertilizer mix for your soil.

5. Let them decide

Gardening can be a very creative and personal hobby, so let your child have the freedom to explore and choose how they want the garden to look. Teach them what kinds of flowers and vegetables are able to grow at certain times of the year, but let them have the final say. It can also be helpful for you to have a second opinion when you get in your own habits. You’d be surprised to see how it turns out! 

The only thing that can make your gardening hobby better is to get your loved ones involved — no matter how young they are. And it’s never too late in the season for them to jump in and help out! All you need is some patience and quality products to help you along the way. Even in the midst of winter, there are plenty of indoor plants that they can learn from in the meantime. Before you know it, they’ll be counting down the days until they can get outside and start gardening once spring comes around!

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A Checklist for Fall Garden Maintenance

Summer is coming to an end — but that doesn’t mean you should give up and let your garden go for the year! The colder season signals that it’s time to prepare your green space for winter and find alternative ways to keep your favorite plants in your life. Keep reading to ensure you’ll be ready when the temperatures drop.

Plant perennials for spring

Don’t dig up your perennials just yet! While it’s true that they’re prone to being taken by frost, if you take enough precautions, you should be able to conserve them and plant seeds for a beautiful spring bloom. Be sure to tackle weeds to preserve the soil and add mulch to protect them from the harsh winter wind. Six months later, you’ll be glad you took these extra steps! For fall-planted bulbs such as tulips, daffodils, and hyacinths, be sure to fertilize with Espoma Organic Bulb-tone.

Care for your lawn

Raking those autumn leaves can sometimes feel like a never-ending chore. But it doesn’t have to be that way. In fact, you should start to look at them as a benefit. You can actually mow the dead leaves and create a makeshift fertilizer for your soil. This will lessen the burden of cleaning up every time there’s a strong wind that knocks a pile of leaves loose and benefit your soil. To show your lawn a little extra love, check out these premium organic lawn fertilizers.

Fluff up your garden with trees and shrubs

Colder weather doesn’t have to mean barren backyards. Fall is actually a great time to plant trees and shrubs! While the weather is cooling off, the soil is still warm enough for the roots to develop in them, which is where Bio-tone Starter Plus might come in handy. After planting, they will go dormant as the soil cools. Just be sure to water them beforehand so they’re ready to jump back to life in the spring.

Bloom your flowers indoors

Contrary to popular belief, the vibrant flower garden of your dreams can still be a reality even during the harshest winter months. A technique that forces bulbs to bloom indoors can help you bring it indoors! So while it may be a pure white winterland outdoors, your windowsill can still brighten up your day.

Take care of your equipment

Before you pack everything up for the season, be sure to give your tools a good cleaning. Wash off any excess dirt to avoid returning to rusty tools in the spring. You can also coat your metal tools in vegetable oil to avoid cracking from the harsh, cold weather. Lastly, sharpening your pruners and loppers so that when you’re ready to use them again, you’ll be pleased to find tools that feel like they’re brand new! 

Do you feel ready to face the coolers months yet? All it takes is some diligence and Espoma knowledge to be prepared for the winter and ready for a strong comeback in the spring. So grab those gardening tools and start today. 

For more about creating leaf mulch, watch this video from Laura at Garden Answer!

 

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Starting a fun new succulent project? Take a tip from Garden Answer and kick things off with Espoma Organic Cactus Mix, which is made specifically for cactuses and succulents.

 

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