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.

 

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.

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Poinsettia Care Guide from Garden Answer

Showcasing poinsettias at Christmas time has long been an American tradition, even though the plants are native to Mexico. What we think of as the large petaled, red flowers are actually modified leaves called bracts.  The true flowers are the tiny ones in the middle. Today they come in a wide array of colors from shades of red, orange, pink, yellow and white. Some varieties even have cream and green variegated leaves.

Choose Healthy Plants from the Start

When you shop for a poinsettia plant, make sure they aren’t situated too close to the door of the store, where they are repeatedly exposed to warm and cold air. Cold temperatures can easily harm these tropical plants. Check the foliage to see that it looks healthy and the inner bracts are a solid color, not showing any green. That would mean that they are nearly finished flowering. Lastly, before leaving the store make sure it’s in a sleeve or put another bag over the top of it so that it won’t freeze on the way to the car.

Give Poinsettias Proper Care at Home

As you can imagine, these tropical plants like lots of sunshine. Put them in your brightest window but not touching the glass, as it can be quite cold.  Keep them away from drafts both warm and cold. Water your poinsettia when the soil feels dry on the surface. Check the soil regularly, as the indoor air can be warm and dry in the winter. Natives of a humid climate, they will definitely appreciate being misted now and then. Like most house plants, they don’t like to be in standing water. Check to see if the foil liner allows water to drain freely and cut it open if not.

Stay Safe Around Poinsettias

Poinsettias are known for being toxic to pets and humans. However, in reality you would have to ingest a very, large amount to become ill. The white sap can be a skin irritant. Wash your hand well if you get any sap on them. It’s always best to set them up high away from kids and pets and that’s probably where you’d put them anyway so, they don’t get knocked over.

Buy A New One For Next Year

One last thought, think of your poinsettia as an annual plant and plan on buying a new one next year. It’s a tricky business to get them to bloom again that involves a strict light and dark regime. Even very short periods of light at night for instance, from a street lamp can prevent them from blooming.

 

Can’t get enough holiday plants? Check out this video on caring for your Christmas Cactus.

 

How to Care and Propagate Pilea Peperomiodies

Pilea peperomiodies is becoming a more popular plant by the day. With the unique shape of its leaves, waxy stems and ease of propagation, it’s no surprise this houseplant is popping up everywhere.

Before they were popular in the U.S., Summer Rayne from Homestead Brooklyn brought home a pilea peperomiodies plant back from the Netherlands. She has been caring for hers for a few years and it is as happy as can be. If you aren’t sure what plant we are talking about, the more common names are Chinese money plant, UFO plant or friendship plant.

Here are a few tips to keeping your plant happy, healthy and ready to be shared.

Water and Sun Care:

Natively grown in a forest, the pilea peperomiodies doesn’t need a lot of water. It is best to let it dry out in between waterings. The waxy sheen on the leaves indicates that it actually holds its water well and prevents the water from transpiring too much. Summer usually checks to see if it needs water every 3-4 days so it doesn’t go too long without water.

It likes to be in indirect, bright light and will climb towards it. Summer has had success growing it in Northeast facing windows and a few feet from a southwest facing window. To even out your plant within the container, be sure to rotate the container evenly to allow the light to reach all parts of the plant.

Fertilizing Care:

Summer fertilizes her houseplants about once a month with Indoor! liquid plant food. But, now that autumn has arrived, she will stop for the colder months. Now is the time to feed your houseplants once last time to set them up for success for the upcoming months. Mix Indoor! with water in your watering can and use normally.

Soil Care:

Since the pilea peperomiodies likes to dry out in between waterings, the right kind of soil is important to keep it healthy. A typical potting mix, such as Espoma Organic Potting Mix would work well. Summer also includes perlite, which is a puffed volcanic stone, which is lightweight and helps regulate the water in the soil.

Propagation Tips:

Pilea peperomiodies are self- propagating plants, so you can cut off a small piece of the plant and grow another. They are rhizomatous, which means they will have little offshoots that grow under the soil. It basically clones itself in case it cannot find a partner.

You can take the little pups at the base of the stem and replant them elsewhere to create a new pilea peperomiodies. To do so without harming the plant, take a sharp blade and slice off the pup from the mother plant. Try to do it when they are still little, so you aren’t disrupting a fully grown pup. Then add Espoma’s Organic Potting Mix and Bio-tone Starter Plus fertilizer to a small pot. Put a little hole in the middle, insert your cutting and water well.

 

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Bringing Plants Indoors for the Winter

How to Overwinter Your Plants

Laura with Garden Answer is answering some commonly asked questions on how to get your plants and containers prepared to bring inside for the winter. She lays out her step-by-step instructions on how to keep your plants happy and healthy, even when they are inside.

Step 1 – Figure Out What You Want to Bring Inside

Walk around your garden and gather what you want to save. Think about your succulents, perennials and herbs out in the garden. Even, window boxes, displays and smaller containers can survive indoors with a little bit of help.

Once you have gathered everything you want to bring inside, think about the containers they are currently in. Will they work for inside your home? Will you dig something out of your garden that needs a new container? These questions will lead you to gather the right supplies.

Step 2 – Gather All Your Supplies in One Place

It’s easier to have one designated area to work. It will keep you from moving your supplies all over your garden and keep the mess contained.

Tools you might need are a trowel, a shovel, snips, pruners, gloves and containers. If the containers were previously used, be sure to sanitize them with 1-part bleach to 10-parts water to rid of any insects or diseases that may be hiding. The last thing you will need is the right kind of soil.  Succulents and cactus, African violet and orchids and regular everyday plants all have different soil needs to thrive.

Step 3 – Groom and Trim Plants

Trim off any leggy branches or make any aesthetic cuts. Also, trim dead leaves and spent blooms as those are what diseases and insects use to find their way indoors.

Step 4 – Check for Insects

It’s best not to bring insects inside your home. Be sure to check the top of the soil, the top of leaves and the underside of leaves. Anything that is crawling around in there should stay outside. This will guarantee other houseplants will not be infected later on.

Step 5 – Refresh Your Soil

If you aren’t repotting, evenly scrape off the top inch or two, whatever will come up easily, and replace it with fresh soil. This will help ensure all insect eggs are out of the soil.

Step 6 – Repot If Necessary

Now is the time to repot any containers if they need to go up a size or you want to match your interiors. This is also when you should pot anything that you have dug up from the garden. Remember, use the right kind of soil for your plants. Espoma has soil for every kind of plant.

Step 7 – Water with a Deep Soak

While this isn’t required to do before moving your plants into the house, it is highly recommended. While they can still drain outdoors, give your plants a big drink of water. It will help get them established in their new containers and release the nutrients in the fresh top soil.

Step 8 – Bring Your Plants Inside

Think about how much light each of these plants need and find the appropriate place to put them. If they like full light, find a window with bright light they will enjoy living in for a few months. It’s best to place a saucer underneath each of the pots to catch anything that may find its way out.

Espoma Organic Potting Soil Mix

Espoma Organic Orchid Mix

 

 

 

 

 

Autumn Fairy Garden DIY (Extended Cut)

Cooler temperatures, changing leaves, crisp apples and pumpkin picking are all signs that fall is here. Make fall come to life in your very own fairy garden!

 

Fairy gardens do better when in an area protected from the elements. When thinking about where to create or place your fairy garden, think about the environmental factors like wind and rain that can ruin the garden. When Laura is done creating her fairy garden, she will place it on her covered porch where it will be protected!

Before we begin, there are a few things to note:

  • There is no drainage in this miniature garden, so water lightly and only when the plants need it. Laura suggests using a syringe to get the right amount of water exactly where it’s needed.
  • If using shapecrete, it may still be soft after 30 minutes of curing, so don’t put too much weight on it. It will continue to cure for 24 hours.
  • This is a seasonal project, so before winter comes find a new home for the plants, either in a greenhouse or indoors, in order to preserve them.

Watch Laura dive into this fun autumn fairy garden! Here is a list of supplies she uses.

Materials Used:
Old Suitcase
Heavy Black Plastic
Espoma’s Organic Potting Mix
Small Plants
Tree Figurines with LED lights
Shapecrete
Native soil
Putka Pods (Look like Miniature Pumpkins)
Autumn Themed Fairy Figurines and Décor
Mulch
Embellishments

Plants Laura Used:
Tiny Tim Euphorbia
Irish Moss
Straw Flower
Creeping Jenny
Sempervivums

How to Create an Autumn Fairy Garden:

  1. Line an old suitcase with heavy plastic in order to preserve it and keep the soil in one place.
  2. Fill with Espoma’s Organic Potting Mix and trim the excess plastic from the container to make it look clean and precise.
  3. Add plants. Remember to work from back to front adding height and texture to the miniature landscape. Use plants that will stay small, so they don’t outgrow your garden.
  4. Add tree figurines. If they light up, keep them near the sides so the cords don’t get wet.
  5. Create a road or pathway for your fairies. Cut photo paper to make a guide where you want the road to go. Mix water with shapecrete and pour between the photo paper. Let dry 30 minutes before removing the paper. It’ll continue to cure for 24 hours.
  6. Now is the time to set the autumn scene and add in your fairy garden figurines. Laura used putka pods, miniature straw bales, apples in a barrel, a Farmer’s Market stand, a worker and a truck full of pumpkins! Feel free to add some mulch and native soil to give it an authentic field feel.
  7. Decorate the lid of your suitcase with fall themed embellishments. Laura added a bunting banner in fall colors.

Enjoy your new fairy garden!

Use Espoma’s organic potting mix in your fairy garden.

Espoma Organic Potting Soil Mix

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Autumn Fairy Garden DIY

Cooler temperatures, changing leaves, crisp apples and pumpkin picking are all signs that fall is here. Make fall come to life in your very own fairy garden!

 

Fairy gardens do better when in an area protected from the elements. When thinking about where to create or place your fairy garden, think about the environmental factors like wind and rain that can ruin the garden. When Laura is done creating her fairy garden, she will place it on her covered porch where it will be protected!

Before we begin, there are a few things to note:

  • There is no drainage in this miniature garden, so water lightly and only when the plants need it. Laura suggests using a syringe to get the right amount of water exactly where it’s needed.
  • If using shapecrete, it may still be soft after 30 minutes of curing, so don’t put too much weight on it. It will continue to cure for 24 hours.
  • This is a seasonal project, so before winter comes find a new home for the plants, either in a greenhouse or indoors, in order to preserve them.

Watch Laura dive into this fun autumn fairy garden! Here is a list of supplies she uses.

Materials Used:
Old Suitcase
Heavy Black Plastic
Espoma’s Organic Potting Mix
Small Plants
Tree Figurines with LED lights
Shapecrete
Native soil
Putka Pods (Look like Miniature Pumpkins)
Autumn Themed Fairy Figurines and Décor
Mulch
Embellishments

Plants Laura Used:
Tiny Tim Euphorbia
Irish Moss
Straw Flower
Creeping Jenny
Sempervivums

How to Create an Autumn Fairy Garden:

  1. Line an old suitcase with heavy plastic in order to preserve it and keep the soil in one place.
  2. Fill with Espoma’s Organic Potting Mix and trim the excess plastic from the container to make it look clean and precise.
  3. Add plants. Remember to work from back to front adding height and texture to the miniature landscape. Use plants that will stay small, so they don’t outgrow your garden.
  4. Add tree figurines. If they light up, keep them near the sides so the cords don’t get wet.
  5. Create a road or pathway for your fairies. Cut photo paper to make a guide where you want the road to go. Mix water with shapecrete and pour between the photo paper. Let dry 30 minutes before removing the paper. It’ll continue to cure for 24 hours.
  6. Now is the time to set the autumn scene and add in your fairy garden figurines. Laura used putka pods, miniature straw bales, apples in a barrel, a Farmer’s Market stand, a worker and a truck full of pumpkins! Feel free to add some mulch and native soil to give it an authentic field feel.
  7. Decorate the lid of your suitcase with fall themed embellishments. Laura added a bunting banner in fall colors.

Enjoy your new fairy garden!

Use Espoma’s organic potting mix in your fairy garden.

Espoma Organic Potting Soil Mix

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to Feed Acid-Loving Plants with Holly-Tone

Holly-tone is an organic & natural fertilizer that’s not just for Hollies. It can be used for any acid-loving plants, such as blueberries, camellias, rhododendrons, evergreens, hydrangeas and more.

You will want to fertilize your plants twice a year – In early spring and late fall. When you apply the fertilizer in late fall, only use half of the recommended dosage.

How to Apply Holly-tone:

Before fertilizing your acid-loving trees, shrubs and plants with Holly-tone, be sure to take a look at the back of the bag. It lays out instructions for each type of plant to give it the best chance to grow.

Trees:

When fertilizing trees, first figure out the diameter of the tree trunk. This will help you determine how much fertilizer to use. Use one pound of fertilizer for each inch of your tree.

Drill holes every 2-3 feet around the drip line of the tree, in the video Laura demonstrates using a drill and hole auger. The drip line is basically where the canopy of the tree ends. Distribute the fertilizer evenly in each hole, backfill and water in.

Note: Arborvitae and boxwoods are not acid-loving evergreens, so use Plant-tone instead.

Shrubs:

Shrubs are a bit easier to fertilize than trees, since there is no digging required. Similar to trees, the amount of fertilizer used is based on how big the shrub is. Use one cup of fertilizer for every foot of branch diameter. Sprinkle it around the drip line of the plant, work it into the soil and water it in well.

Garden Beds:

Established garden beds are the simplest of the three to fertilize. Again, it’s all about the size of the beds you have in your garden. For every 100 square feet of your garden bed, use 5 pounds of fertilizer. Sprinkle it as evenly as possible where the plants are and water it in.

For new garden beds, use twice as much fertilizer to prepare the soil for new plants. For a 100 square foot garden bed, use 10 pounds of fertilizer. Sprinkle it on top of the soil and work it in the top 4 inches, to get it nice and prepped for the new plants.

Containers:

If you have plants like blueberries, in containers, you will want to use 1 teaspoon for every 3 inches of your pot diameter. Sprinkle it around the inside edge of the pot and water in.

Have non-acid-loving trees ready to be fertilized? Laura from Garden Answer shows how to fertilize with Tree-tone.

Product Featured in this Video

 

 

How to Plant Hydrangeas

In the video below, Laura from Garden Answer demonstrates how to plant hydrangeas using Espoma’s Bio-tone Starter Plus and Holly-tone.

Can’t wait to learn more about hydrangeas?
Check out our Hydrangea Growing Guide

HYDRANGEA
Growing Guide

 


 

Garden Answer’s Top 5 Low Light Houseplants (Extended Version)

Sometimes the perfect place for a houseplant has little to no light. But that won’t  stop these low light houseplants from growing big and healthy. Laura from Garden Answer shows off her favorites and gives tips to keep them healthy.

Watch the quick version and see instructions here.

 

Products:

Espoma Organic Potting Soil Mix