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.

Garden Answer’s Favorite Low-Light Plants

Peace Lily

Not many plants that tolerate low light areas have blooms, but this one does! It has interesting green or white flowers that are the same texture as the foliage, which is dark and glossy. The flowers bloom for long periods of time. Peace lilies can grow 18 to 36 inches tall and wide, depending on the container you have them in. Water every week or so, be sure not to overwater, and as a friendly reminder the foliage will droop if it needs more water.

Pothos

This houseplant thrives in places out of direct sunlight and is super low maintenance, so place them wherever you want to enjoy them. They can be planted in hanging baskets or on ledges to allow the foliage to drape over and trail down. Water every 10 to 14 days.

Sansevieria

Also known as a Mother-in-law’s tongue or a snake plant, this houseplant has striking foliage that grows upward. It is a very modern plant that comes in different shapes, sizes and colors, so it will truly work with any decor. It is very low maintenance — just keep an eye on the foliage for wilting and water about every two weeks when the soil is completely dry. In the winter, you may go a month between waterings. Add water away from the plant – never pour over the leaves.

Spider Plant

This is another interesting plant to add to any space. It is multigenerational, meaning it is easy to propagate and pass on to others (even kids and grandkids) to start their own. The name Spider Plant comes from the off shoots on the foliage. They look like little spiders hanging from a web. Pinch an off shoot (or spider) and plant it in a pot with fresh Espoma Potting Soil to start a new plant. Water once a week to keep them happy.

ZZ Plant

The dark green healthy foliage on this plant is worth noting, though it isn’t always that way. The foliage starts off bright green when it is freshly planted and will darken as time goes on. While other plants can get little burns from being indoors, the ZZ plant is hardy enough to withstand anything, even the darkest of corners. This is probably the toughest plant of this list.

Remember, low-light houseplants need time to absorb water, so allow them to dry out in between watering. The peace lily is the only exception, as they prefer it a bit moist. Use a damp cloth to wipe down the leaves every month or so. This will help keep your plants looking better as dust settles on them. Be sure to keep the cloth damp as they need humidity to survive too. In addition to the cloth, spray a mist over the foliage with distilled water to amp up the humidity around the plant.

Feed your houseplants regularly with Espoma’s Indoor! liquid plant food. It is an all-purpose houseplant food to help give them the nutrients they need. Lastly, be sure to check the roots every six months to see if you need to move your plants to a bigger pot.

 

Products:

Espoma Organic Potting Soil Mix

 

 

 

 

Top 5 Low Light Houseplants

Houseplants are great for adding color, décor, texture or even a little bit of health to any space in your home. Sometimes the best place to put a houseplant isn’t the most ideal for the plant, but with these low light houseplants, they will thrive in even the darkest corners. Don’t forget, these plants can go anywhere indoors, like an office space that can use a little life.

Garden Answer’s Favorite Low-Light Plants

Peace Lily

Not many plants that tolerate low light areas have blooms, but this one does! It has interesting green or white flowers that are the same texture as the foliage, which is dark and glossy. The flowers bloom for long periods of time. Peace lilies can grow 18 to 36 inches tall and wide, depending on the container you have them in. Water every week or so, be sure not to overwater, and as a friendly reminder the foliage will droop if it needs more water.

Pothos

This houseplant thrives in places out of direct sunlight and is super low maintenance, so place them wherever you want to enjoy them. They can be planted in hanging baskets or on ledges to allow the foliage to drape over and trail down. Water every 10 to 14 days.

Sansevieria

Also known as a Mother-in-law’s tongue or a snake plant, this houseplant has striking foliage that grows upward. It is a very modern plant that comes in different shapes, sizes and colors, so it will truly work with any decor. It is very low maintenance — just keep an eye on the foliage for wilting and water about every two weeks when the soil is completely dry. In the winter, you may go a month between waterings. Add water away from the plant – never pour over the leaves.

Spider Plant

This is another interesting plant to add to any space. It is multigenerational, meaning it is easy to propagate and pass on to others (even kids and grandkids) to start their own. The name Spider Plant comes from the off shoots on the foliage. They look like little spiders hanging from a web. Pinch an off shoot (or spider) and plant it in a pot with fresh Espoma Potting Soil to start a new plant. Water once a week to keep them happy.

ZZ Plant

The dark green healthy foliage on this plant is worth noting, though it isn’t always that way. The foliage starts off bright green when it is freshly planted and will darken as time goes on. While other plants can get little burns from being indoors, the ZZ plant is hardy enough to withstand anything, even the darkest of corners. This is probably the toughest plant of this list.

Remember, low-light houseplants need time to absorb water, so allow them to dry out in between watering. The peace lily is the only exception, as they prefer it a bit moist. Use a damp cloth to wipe down the leaves every month or so. This will help keep your plants looking better as dust settles on them. Be sure to keep the cloth damp as they need humidity to survive too. In addition to the cloth, spray a mist over the foliage with distilled water to amp up the humidity around the plant.

Feed your houseplants regularly with Espoma’s Indoor! liquid plant food. It is an all-purpose houseplant food to help give them the nutrients they need. Lastly, be sure to check the roots every six months to see if you need to move your plants to a bigger pot.

 

Products:

Espoma Organic Potting Soil Mix

 

 

 

 

How to Re-Pot Houseplants (quick cut)

Your houseplant’s health is extremely important. Laura from Garden Answer clears the air when it comes to re-potting in this step by step tutorial.

This is the safest and best way to re-pot your plants to enjoy them in your home for years.

There are a few tell-tale signs a plant is outgrowing its container. Pick the plant up out of its container. If you see a jumbled mess of roots, it is time to re-pot. Another sign of needing to re-pot is if you are able to see roots coming out of the drain hole. Matted roots near the surface are another sign it is definitely time for a bigger container.

The new container will need to be one to two inches larger in diameter than the original. Be sure your new container has holes for drainage in the bottom. This is important because if the plant roots are sitting in water, they can rot. Laura from Garden Answer typically uses terracotta pots because they are porous and oxygen can flow in and out, which is good for your houseplant’s health. Plants in terra cotta pots tend to dry out faster so be sure to adjust your watering schedule accordingly.

When transferring your plant, you will want to use a good quality potting mix, such as Espoma’s Organic Potting Mix. This mix works for most plants, but there are some such as succulents, African Violets, and orchids that require a specific potting mix. For these plants try Espoma’s Organic Cactus Mix, Organic African Violet Mix, or Organic Orchid Mix.

Now you’re ready to re-pot. It’s really simple. First, take your plant out of its original container. You will need to gently break up the tangled roots at the bottom. Next, place the plant in its new container. Fill in around your plant with soil and pack in tightly. Avoid burying your plant too deep by only filling in soil to the level at which the old soil is packed. To finish it off, water it lightly and, voila! You have a re-potted houseplant.

When fertilizing your newly re-potted houseplant, use a liquid fertilizer such as Espoma’s Indoor! Liquid fertilizer. However, plants such as succulents, African Violets, and Orchid require specific fertilizers. For these plants try Espoma’s Liquid Cactus!, Violet!, and Orchid! liquid fertilizers.

Products:

Espoma Organic Potting Soil MixEspoma Organic Orchid Mix

 

How to Re-Pot Houseplants

Plants can outgrow their homes. And by homes, we mean containers. Here are quick tips on how to re-pot houseplants.

Usually, there are two reasons to re-pot houseplants. The first is that you just bought a plant from a garden center and would like to put it in a more decorative pot. The second is that your houseplant has outgrown its current pot. Either way, the same re-potting rules apply.

There are a few tell-tale signs a plant is outgrowing its container. Pick the plant up out of its container. If you see a jumbled mess of roots, it is time to re-pot. Another sign of needing to re-pot is if you are able to see roots coming out of the drain hole. Matted roots near the surface are another sign it is definitely time for a bigger container.

The new container will need to be one to two inches larger in diameter than the original. Be sure your new container has holes for drainage in the bottom. This is important because if the plant roots are sitting in water, they can rot. Laura from Garden Answer typically uses terracotta pots because they are porous and oxygen can flow in and out, which is good for your houseplant’s health. Plants in terra cotta pots tend to dry out faster so be sure to adjust your watering schedule accordingly.

When transferring your plant, you will want to use a good quality potting mix, such as Espoma’s Organic Potting Mix. This mix works for most plants, but there are some such as succulents, African Violets, and orchids that require a specific potting mix. For these plants try Espoma’s Organic Cactus Mix, Organic African Violet Mix, or Organic Orchid Mix.

Now you’re ready to re-pot. It’s really simple. First, take your plant out of its original container. You will need to gently break up the tangled roots at the bottom. Next, place the plant in its new container. Fill in around your plant with soil and pack in tightly. Avoid burying your plant too deep by only filling in soil to the level at which the old soil is packed. To finish it off, water it lightly and, voila! You have a re-potted houseplant.

When fertilizing your newly re-potted houseplant, use a liquid fertilizer such as Espoma’s Indoor! Liquid fertilizer. However, plants such as succulents, African Violets, and Orchid require specific fertilizers. For these plants try Espoma’s Liquid Cactus!, Violet!, and Orchid! liquid fertilizers.

Products:

Espoma Organic Potting Soil MixEspoma Organic Orchid Mix