When Life Gives You Lemons – Grow Them Indoors!

Everyone loves houseplants – they provide greenery and pops of color to your home. Sometimes it’s fun to switch things up a little bit. Growing citrus indoors is actually easier than you think!

Unless you live in a warm climate year round, growing citrus outside can be tough. Bringing it indoors will keep it at the temperature it needs and gives it a chance to thrive.

Just imagine seasoning your salmon on a chilly night, adding fresh lemon to your water, or making a natural cleaner and being able to grab citrus right out of your living room to do it! And Meyer lemon trees smell so good too!

How to Grow a Citrus Tree Indoors:

1. Choose your container

If allowed, citrus trees will grow incredibly tall. Keep citrus trees from hitting the ceiling by choosing a container that is deeper than it is wide. This will help roots to grow down and not out, keeping the tree balanced as it grows.

If the tree will stay in one well-lit area year-round, any container will do. If you are moving it from room to room to follow the sunlight per season, a thinner plastic container is lighter and easier to transport. Make sure your container has adequate drainage holes.

2.The right soil

Citrus trees don’t like wet feet. A light well-drained soil mix, such as Espoma’s Cactus Potting Soil, works best to grow your tree in. It provides the tree with enough water to keep it happy and allows the excess to drain quickly.

Fill your container with just enough soil so your root ball is just under the lip of the container. This helps your tree to get the right nutrients and drain correctly.

3. Plant your tree

Before placing the root ball in the container, be sure to sprinkle Espoma’s Citrus-Tone on your soil as directed.

Center your tree’s root ball and fil the sides in with soil. Tuck the soil in the sides, so the tree doesn’t lean. Feed your tree regularly to ensure successful and juicy citrus.

4. Choose your location

Citrus trees require 8-12 hours of sunlight a day. Be sure to choose a south-facing window with good airflow. In the winter months, you may need to supplement with a grow light if there isn’t enough daylight.

5. Give it a drink

While citrus trees don’t like their feet wet, they also don’t like to dry out. If the first inch of the soil dries out, be sure to water your tree. If you water about once a week, you should be using around ¼ of a gallon. If the tree is standing in drainage overflow, be sure to allow it to dry before watering again.

Do you have outdoor trees that need to be fertilized? Watch this video to learn how!

 

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.

 

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

Keeping Things Simple- Propagating African Violets

African Violets are one of the most loveable houseplants — packing lots of beauty in such a small plant. Gardeners love having them as a reminder of spring or summer indoors, while the seasons outside might be a little dreary. They seem to want more and more of them every year.

Save money and take your gardening skills to the next level by propagating them? It may sound intimidating to propagate an African Violet in the first place, but it is actually really simple – even beginning gardeners can do it.

Propagating African Violets from leaves

1. Choose a Leaf

Look for a leaf that is healthy and fresh, but has been established on the plant. You want to be sure the leaf is still full of life and not old and tough. Keep the petiole attached to the leaf.

Optional Step: With a sharp knife or razor, trim off the top of the leaf blade. This will encourage faster production of roots by sending all of the energy back into the soil and not into leaf growth.

2. Cut Leaf Petiole

Trim the petiole (the stem) to about ½ to 1 inch in length for best results. When trimming, be sure to cut it at a 45 degree angle to encourage root and plant growth.

3. Plant your Cutting

Find a small container and fill it with Espoma’s Organic African Violet Potting Mix. Make a shallow hole, using your finger or pencil. Place your leaf cutting in, stem side down, and firm the soil around it. Moisten the soil to lock in the cutting.

4. Give it Sunshine

Your cutting needs humidity and sunshine in order to grow. Place it in a clear covered container or put a clear plastic bag over it to provide humidity. Place this in a bright place without being in direct sun. Try to find a window that provides moderate temperature.

5. Plantlets Sprout

Patience is key here. At about 3-4 weeks, roots should begin forming on the petiole. 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.

 

Keep maintaining your sprouts and plantlets to nurse them into full grown African Violets. Keep your fully grown African Violets happy and healthy with Espoma’s Violet! liquid fertilizer.

Boost African Violets by Repotting

African violets need to be repotted about once a year to keep them growing big and beautiful. It is best to inspect them first to see if their leaves and roots are healthy.

If your African violet is happy and healthy, but needs room to grow or is fresh from the garden center and needs to come out of the plastic pot, transferring it, adding fresh soil and Espoma’s Violet! liquid fertilizer will keep it healthy and prevent it from getting leggy. Plus it will give you an opportunity to really interact with your new (or old) plants and give them some love.

houseplant care, potting soil, indoor plants

Steps to Repotting Your African Violets:

  1. Find the right container for your African violet. Keep in mind that the roots grow more out, not down – a shallow wide container will work better than a narrow tall container. Also, you want to find a slightly bigger container than the one it is now – never smaller.
  2. Fill the new pot with enough of Espoma’s Organic African Violet Potting Mix so the root ball will sit just under the lip. This will allow your plant to have the correct drainage, pH level and nutrients that it needs. African violets don’t like sitting in water, so keeping them in well drained soils will prevent root-rot.
  3. Take your African violet out of the previous pot by gently wrapping your hand around the plant and slowly removing it. Give the pot a squeeze or a small shake if the plant needs help coming out.
  4. Place your African violet centered in the new container. You want the root ball to be below the top of the container.
  5. Fill the container the rest of the way with soil and tuck it in the sides as needed. Be gentle as the leaves will break off if they are handled roughly.
  6. Water to settle the plant. The best way to do that is to soak the bottom of the pot in two inches of water and allow the roots to soak it up. Empty any remaining water after 5 minutes. African violets don’t like water to touch their leaves, so if you can’t soak it, be sure to water under their leaves and only the soil. Remember, the recommended amount  of our Violet! liquid fertilizer to the water to give it a boost.

Repotting or freshly potting your African violets will increase growth and beauty!

To see this done in action, watch Laura replant her African violets!

 

 

Why Do African Violets Get Leggy?

African violets are gorgeous flowering houseplants. They bring bright colors and joy indoors. Beginning and advanced gardeners can be successful at growing one.

They can be a little needy, as they have specific watering and light requirements. Because of this, African violets can sometimes 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.

 Reasons African Violets Get Leggy

Light

African violets require bright, indirect light, which can be achieved through grow lights or placing it near a thin curtained window. Gardeners sometimes think that indirect light means low light. Depriving your plant from light will cause longer stems as they reach for light to grow.

Water

Leaves of African violets don’t like to be wet.  The soil in your pot should be a well-draining soil to allow it to dry in between waterings. Be sure to water the soil, not the plant, in order to keep it happy. If leaves stay wet, they are more susceptible to mold, rot, and fungus growth. The flowers will try to get away from the mold or fungus and become leggy.

Age

African violets’ bottom leaves will turn yellow and eventually fall off the plant, leaving other stems bare.  This is a natural part of plant aging, plants lose the rosette of leaves at the base. This too can give the plant a leggy look.

The best way to combat leggy African violets is to repot to give it a fresh space and fertilize with Espoma’s Violet! liquid plant food. This will help keep your plant growing new leaves to help keep it from becoming leggy and will enhance the colors of your flowers.

 

Get six quick tips for caring for African violets from Garden Answer.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9VCudo90K5I

 

Bring the Outside In – Best Indoor Plants

Having a beautiful garden is what we all dream about, but in the cases we don’t have the space or we want to have more greenery inside, indoor plants come to the rescue.

Some indoor plants come with the added benefit of not only giving color to a blank space, but also cleaning the air you breathe every day. Some plants are better for an office space while others are great as a centerpiece.

Not sure what plants will work for your space or how to care of them so you can enjoy them for a long time? We have you covered! We’ve rounded up the best indoor plants to introduce to your office or home this week and offer some tips on how to keep them happy and healthy. Be sure to monitor the light and water requirements and feed regularly with Espoma’s Indoor! liquid plant food for superior results.

7 Best Indoor Plants

  1. Ficus

Arguably the most popular indoor plant for homes and offices, the ficus’ simplicity in looks makes it well known and well liked. They are great for purifying the air — making the air better and cleaner to breathe. Ficus trees love indirect light, so place plants in a naturally bright room where it will thrive. Keep your ficus away from any drafts as they prefer more heat. This plant is perfect for the home or office; it is both beautiful and sophisticated.

  1. Peace Lily

The peace lily is a hardy, forgiving plant that will let you know when it needs water. It has a telltale droop to signal it’s thirsty. It will pop back up as soon as it gets the water it desires. Peace Lilies prefer bright indirect light, but will be happy with medium light, as well. Place it somewhere light comes through for a few hours of the day.

  1. African Violets

With a little bit of learning, you can introduce brilliant, cheerful blooms to your home easily. They don’t need a lot of room, so any small pot or a group of them in a bigger pot works well. African violets need bright to medium indirect light. Place them 3 feet from a west or south facing window and turn them regularly to ensure proper growth. Feed regularly with Espoma’s Violet! liquid plant food for plenty of blooms. Bring this plant to the table during dinner or hosting a party to make a beautiful and colorful centerpiece.

  1. Golden Pothos

Due to its attractiveness and simplicity to grow, golden pothos is one of the most common houseplants. Golden pothos’ trailing vines love to fall over the sides of the container, making it fun to decorate with. Those who have a “black thumb,” welcome this plant into their homes. It needs low light and minimal watering, so placing it in a bathroom would be perfect.

  1. Rubber Plant

This indoor plant may seem intimidating, being able to grow 10 feet tall, but they are simple to care for. Rubber plants love being the focal point for any home. Place your plant somewhere with bright, indirect light and water with room temperature water. These are great in sunny spots when protected by a sheer curtain.

  1. Kalanchoe

Add a pop of color with this beautiful flowering plant. While it has a reputation for being a disposable plant, with a little care they may rebloom next season. It is easy to propagate a new plant quickly from the cuttings. Place your kalanchoe in a place with bright light, such as a windowsill.houseplant care, potting soil, indoor plants

  1. English Ivy

This gorgeous plant will take over wherever it is stationed. You can train it to grow around an item to make it into a decorative sculpture or allow it to spread freely. English Ivy needs bright indirect sunlight and steady moisture. This would look great on a desk or mantel where the sun hits.

 

Keep the foliage on your houseplants’ foliage looking great with Espoma’s new leaf polish Shine!