Create a Spa in Your Bathroom

Every room in your house looks cozier and more beautiful filled with houseplants. It’s especially true of your bathroom. Who wouldn’t want a lush, tropical, spa feel at home? In fact, your bathroom is perfect for tropical plants because they love a humid environment.

Research shows that having plants around makes people feel calm, happy, and relaxed. Making them perfect for some spa time. And some houseplants actually purify the air. Ivy can remove 75% of mold spores in a room, which is important if you have allergies. Plants can pull dust from the air to help you breathe easier.

Not sure about the bathroom spa? Find out which plants thrive in your bedroom, living room and kitchen.

Here are our plant picks for your bathroom –

Photo courtesy of Costa Farms

Nerve Plants – Small Plant for Low Light

Nerve plants have colorful foliage that’s so attractive they don’t need flowers. Try adding one to a shelf, the corner of the counter or even hanging from a hook. Nerve plants grow best in medium to low light. If you have sheer curtains you could even grow them in full sun. Water when the surface of the soil is just starting to dry out. They like moist soil but not too wet. Feed them on a monthly basis with Indoor! liquid plant food to keep them healthy.

Photo courtesy of Costa Farms

Peace Lily – Medium-Large Plant for Low Light

If you are lucky enough to have a lot of space in your bathroom but not a lot of light, you can go large and tropical. Try this easy to grow Jungle Queen. The more it grows, the more spectacular it becomes. It tolerates low light but will grow faster and larger with more direct sunlight. Water regularly to keep the soil evenly moist and feed once a month with Indoor! liquid plant food.

Moth Orchid – Small Plant for Bright Light

Moth orchids have long, thin stems and large flowers that create a big impact in small places. They flower for an incredibly long time.  If you have the room, arrange a small group of them for a sophisticated look. These are the easiest orchids to grow, even if you are a beginner. Water well once a week, then let them drain completely. Feed regularly with Orchid! liquid plant food.

Photo courtesy of Costa Farms

Majesty Palm– Big Plants for Bright Light

Majesty palms are the quintessential tropical plant.  If you have room for one of these, it will transform your bathroom into an oasis.  They thrive in the humidity and like to be kept evenly moist.  Fertilize regularly with Indoor! Liquid plant food for faster growth. These are easy palms to grow and don’t require any pruning except for an occasional old frond.

 

Is there low light in your home? Laura from Garden Answer tells us about low light houseplants that you need to bring home.

Create the Perfect Centerpiece for Fall Gatherings

Between the excitement of Halloween and the wonder of winter, fall can sometimes be pushed to the wayside. Not anymore.

 

While your fall decorating usually may be limited to a few gourds, this season, deck out your tablescape and call on family, friends and neighbors to come to your place. The table will make any meal special, especially when created with items from your home and garden.

 

Ways to build your centerpiece:

  1. Use your harvest. Build your own kind of cornucopia full of your hard work of the summer. Take a look at the items you grew in your garden and bring them to the table.

  1. Bring in the pumpkins. Whether you grew them in your garden or brought them in from the pumpkin patch, pumpkins aren’t finished after Halloween. Since they come in different shapes and sizes, you can have fun making a beautiful tablescape. Don’t like orange? Paint them in any color you desire!
  2. Make a flower arrangement. Your fall cutting garden is finally ready to shine. Make a wild flower centerpiece by mixing dahlias, golden rod, sneezeweed, coneflowers and more. Add branches and berries, too.
  3. Fall foliage. The trees in and around your home are putting on a show. Why not bring that inside? Grab colorful leaves, branches with leaves or even boughs of an evergreen shrub and bring inside to add texture.

    Photo courtesy of Costa Farms

  4. Don’t forget houseplants. Used on their own or with a mixture of other items, houseplants can steal the show. Take a houseplant you already own and repot it in a festive container. Refresh the soil with potting mix, first! Find a houseplant with fall colors, such as croton or aglaonema. Give them a bit of Indoor! liquid plant food a few days before the gathering to help perk them up.

 

Need some inspiration? Laura from Garden Answer creates a succulent arrangement that would be perfect for any table.

 

 

 

Plant Now, Harvest Early

Crisp fall days are perfect for planting garlic, onions and shallots. Fall planting gives them a big jump-start. The rule of thumb is to plant the sets (individual bulbs) after the fall equinox. They’ll thrive in a sunny location with well-drained soil, rich in organic matter.  Apply Espoma’s Bio-tone Starter Plus, an organic fertilizer that contains beneficial bacteria and mycorrhizae to encourage strong root development. Your plants will put on roots in the fall but little or no top growth to survive the winter. Mulch the beds with a 4-6” layer of seedless straw, or leaves for winter protection and weed control. Plant additional bulbs in the spring for a double harvest.

Garlic

Garlic grows best in full sun with loose, fertile soil that is moist but well-drained. Mix Espoma Organic Potting Soil  into the planting bed to promote soil health. Plant your garlic cloves root side down, about 2” deep and 4-6” apart. Space the rows about 12” apart.  Apply Espoma’s Bio-tone Starter Plus and water deeply before applying a thick layer of mulch. Young garlic shoots will appear in early spring and be ready for harvest by mid-summer. Garlic comes in all shapes and sizes. Their flower stems can also be picked and used in cooking.

Onions

Onions prefer the same sort of soil as garlic, loose and fertile. It’s easiest to dig a trench 2-4” deep and set bulbs pointy side up, every 6” or so. Apply Espoma’s Organic Garden-tone to promote rooting and over all good health for the plants and soil. Water well if there is no rain in the forecast and apply a thick layer of mulch. Mulch will help keep the weeds down and the moisture in. The shoots will pop up in early spring. They are remarkably tolerant of frost.

Shallots

Plant shallots in full sun in loose, rich soil that is moist but well-drained. Plant the bulbs 1-2” deep and spaced about 6-8” apart. Like garlic, each shallot bulb will yield a cluster of new bulbs. Use Espoma’s Bio-tone Starter Plus, an organic fertilizer to feed the soil and the bulbs. Shallots are shallow rooted. Mulching will help maintain an evenly moist soil.

Products to Buy:

 

Succulents with Flowers – Beauty Meets Simplicity

Succulents can be the most intricate houseplants out there. They are available in a variety of colors, styles, shapes and sizes, perfect to match any houseplant lover’s wants and needs.

It is a common misconception that only cacti can flower. But that’s not true! There are succulents with beautiful flowers. We have picked out some amazing and unusual flowering succulents to showcase for  your collection.

If you are just getting started with succulents, check out our tips for beginners. An important tip to remember is succulents need well-draining, dry soil to thrive. Espoma’s Cactus Mix will help keep your plants healthy and happy.

4 Flowering Succulents You Need for Your Home:

Kalanchoes

This stunning succulent comes in a variety of vibrant and cheerful colors that will brighten up any home. The blooms on this succulent last almost all year long. Kalanchoes prefer bright indirect light, with only being in direct light about 2 hours a day. Water every two weeks when the top inch has dried out. Trim off the dead flowers where it meets the foliage to keep it looking its best.

Jade

Also known as the luckiest houseplant, this succulent will bloom tiny white flowers, though it doesn’t happen very often. Jade needs to be in an environment similar to its native growing habits in order to bloom – cool nights, bright days, and lack of water. Don’t give up on this plant so quickly, as it needs to be fully matured before it will flower.

Euphorbia Milii

Commonly known as Crown of Thorns for the thick base and long thorns, the Euphorbia Milii’s flowers come in small clusters. The blooms are usually a light red, but can be found in vibrant yellows and deep reds as well. It is a common houseplant, preferring bright light and dry soil.

Donkey Tail Plant

These trailing succulents cascade over their containers. With their grey-green tear-drop shaped leaves, the “donkey tails” can grow up to two feet long. Flowers with small blossoms in red, yellow or white will emerge in late summer. Place these sun-loving succulents near a sunny window and water weekly during spring and summer.

Watch as Laura gives a few tips to get you started on succulent care.

 

Espoma products for flowering succulents:

 

5 Deliciously Unique Fall Vegetables

Most avid gardeners have planted the veggie essentials in abundance, but what about the forgotten veggies and those varieties that look a little different from the usual choices?

There is a surprisingly long list of what are considered “unusual” veggies, but below are five of the strangest, most delicious ones that you’ll want in your garden.

Romanesco Broccoli

If you’re going for the “wow” factor in your veggie garden, then Romanesco broccoli is the plant for you. Its intense, bright green fractals of broccoli are stunning. It is similar to cauliflower in terms of care. For best results, be sure to keep the soil moist and plant in a spot with full sun. Keep romanesco broccoli fed with Espoma’s Garden-tone. You can eat this stunning broccoli in a number of ways: raw in a salad, steamed, or grilled. Hardy in Zones 3-10.

Kaleidoscope Carrots

Jewel-toned colors like yellow, purple and red make for a fun pop of color for this classic favorite veggie. Choose rainbow carrots to add a variety of color to salads, sides and stir-fries. Plant seeds in late summer for a harvest that can be enjoyed on autumn days and even for Thanksgiving dinner. Straight roots need light, loose soil so sow carrot seeds in deep, well-worked soil in full sun. Grow in any region.

Black Radishes

Radishes are quick and easy to grow. Heirloom varieties of black radishes take about two to three times long to grow than regular radishes and tend to be spicier. Their crisp black skin and snow white flesh will make them an intriguing addition to any veggie platter. If radishes are too pungent, remove the skin before eating. Black radishes do need plenty of sun, so choose a spot where they can get 6-8 hours of direct sunlight. Feed with Espoma’s liquid Grow! for bigger plants. Grow in any region.

Tree Onions (Egyptian Onions)

These onions set their bulbs at the top of the plants. They taste similar to shallots, but with a more intense flavor. Stalks fall over when they get too heavy, allowing the bulbs to “walk” and plant themselves in a new space. One walking onion can travel as far as 24 inches and create six new onions. Plant bulbs in late summer (before the first frost) to harvest next year. Hardy in Zones 3-10.

Blue Potatoes

The vivid bluish-purple hues of Adirondack potatoes make them a stunner for any dish — especially mashed potatoes. They taste like regular potatoes and get their unique coloring from anthocyanin. There are many varieties including some with a marbled blue and white interior. Plant potatoes in fall to get a head start on a spring harvest. Grow in any region.

Espoma products for Unusual Veggies:

Grow! Plant Food

If you’re looking for the basics, learn how to plant veggies in containers!

 

Bug OFF: Plants to Repel Mosquitoes

It is that time of year again when those tiny whining noises can be heard buzzing by your ear. Mosquitoes are back! You can keep these pests at bay by using nature’s own recipe for effective mosquito repellents.

It is a matter of comfort to keep the mosquitoes away, but it is also a matter of your family’s safety. By keeping the mosquito population around your house to a minimum, you reduce the risk of being exposed to mosquito-borne diseases.

Tell those mosquitoes to bug off by fighting them naturally. Avoid chemicals by planting a mosquito repellent garden. Read about our top choices for mosquito-repelling plants below.

Geraniums

These bright red and pink blooms have a fragrant lemon and citronella-like scent, which is delightful to humans but extremely repugnant to mosquitos. Geraniums prefer a warm, sunny, and dry climate and work in the garden or in pots. Hardy in Zones 3 through 9. Plant with Espoma’s Bio-tone Starter Plus to give plants the nutrients they need.

 

Basil

Basil is one of the handiest plants around. Add it to your favorite meal, drink or simply enjoy its wonderful smell. One of the biggest perks is that it emits a mosquito-repelling aroma without having to crush the leaves. Prevent mosquito bites by rubbing a handful of basil leaves on exposed areas of the skin. Research in the 2011 Malaria Journal found that basil was discovered to be up to 100% effective in preventing mosquito bites. Hardy in Zones 1 through 10.

 

Marigolds

Marigolds have earned the “most pungent” superlative from the plants on this list. Their smell has not only proven to be offensive to mosquitos, but also to rabbits, deer and some people. Despite the smell, their luminous orange and yellow petals brighten up your garden. They enjoy full sun and fertile soil. A major plus is that marigolds make great companion plants for tomatoes, protecting against other insects that eat the plants. Hardy in Zones 2 through 10. Fertilize with Espoma’s Bloom! liquid fertilizer for great looking marigolds.

 

 

Lavender

Add vibrant purple to your garden by planting lavender. Lavender gives off a sweet aroma that is attractive to humans, but most definitely not to mosquitoes. You can rub lavender on your skin to use as a natural mosquito repellent, too. Lavender prefers full sun with well-drained soil. Hardy in Zones 5 through 9. Feed with Espoma’s Plant-tone throughout the growing season.

Rosemary 

Rosemary, a member of the mint family, will most definitely keep the mosquitoes away. This Mediterranean favorite is one of the most aromatic herbs you can grow. Grow in full sun and water when dry. Although you don’t need to prune, you can cut back branches to help your rosemary bush stay in shape. Both fresh cuts and dry cuts are effective in repelling mosquitoes. Add rosemary to your summer fire pit so when it burns it gives off incense that is offensive to mosquitoes. You can also make rosemary into oils, add it to meals, or even make natural repellents. Hardy in Zones 6 through 9.

 

 

Espoma Products for Plants that Help Repel Mosquitoes:

Bloom! Plant Food

 

Plants Only a Mother Would Love

From crayon stick figures to loud burps, Moms are notorious for thinking anything their kids do is cute.

This Mother’s Day, brighten mom’s day by giving her a plant that’s just as unique as you. And if you choose the right plant, it will last for years to come. From succulents and cacti to brilliant foliage plants, there is a plant that will bring some extra sunshine to her life every day. She knows you better than anyone else, so remind mom just how awkward and quirky you were as a child.

Baseball Plant

The low-maintenance, euphorbia obesa, comes in a baseball-like shape. Perhaps it’ll remind mom of your little league days. This is a cactus, so it simply needs a warm climate, light and a well-draining soil such as Espoma’s Cactus and Succulent mix.

‘Wine Cup’

Crassula umbella is perfect for the mom who loves taking trips to the vineyard, with her children of course. When it flowers, this plant can grow up to six inches tall. This succulent likes well-drained soil and dry roots, so don’t overwater.

Donkey tails

Remind mom of your playful nature with a donkey tail plant. These succulents drape over containers in a trailing way. With their grey-green tear-drop shaped leaves, the “donkey tails” can grow up to two feet long. Flowers with small blossoms in red, yellow or white will emerge in late summer. Place these sun-loving succulents near a sunny window and water weekly during spring and summer.

Nerve Plant

If mom’s always saying you’re getting on her nerves, try getting her an actual nerve plant! Also known as Fittonia, the name ‘nerve plant’ comes from the attractive pink, red or white veins that run throughout the plant’s rich green leaves. Their bright coloring and great patterns will surely ease mom’s nerves every time she looks at it. This plant also makes a great addition to a terrarium. Place it in a space where it’ll receive medium to low light. Too much sun can cause leaves to crisp. Water the plant weekly, when the soil starts to dry. Nerve plants need regular fertilizing, use Espoma’s Indoor! Liquid fertilizer to encourage new growth.

Yes, more traditional moms might prefer something like an exotic orchid or a lovely pink succulent, but the above are sure to make her smile. Visit your local garden center to find the right plant.

Want to do something different from mom? Try this hand print planter from Garden Answer.

Get Easy Blooms with Spring Planted Bulbs

Spring-planted bulbs will burst with beautiful blooms that are perfect for bouquets and make a statement with little effort. For the best flower show, we recommend planting plenty of bulbs.

If it’s about 60°F and you’re ready to plant your tomatoes outside, then it’s warm enough to plant summer bulbs. If your days are still cold, start your bulbs indoors in pots. Then, move them to the garden when the weather improves. Or, leave them in the pots to liven up porches and patios.

Dahlias, canna lilies, begonias and gladiolus all make great additions to yards. Head to your local garden center to find out which spring flowering bulbs are best for your region.

Plant Summer Bulbs in 6 Simple Steps:

1. Visit your local garden center to choose your bulbs.

2. Select where you want to plant your bulbs so they’ll get the right amount of sun. Choose a place where they won’t be accidentally dug up, such as under a tree, in a lawn or in a perennial bed.

3. Plant bulbs using a spade or bulb planter in well-drained soil to the depth indicated on the package. Some bulbs, like dahlias, need to be planted deeper.

4. Sprinkle Espoma Organic’s Bulb-tone in the hole and place your bulb.

5. Replace the soil, gently pressing it down and water your newly planted bulbs.

6. Cover bulbs with a layer of mulch to keep moisture in and weeds out.

Once your bulbs have bloomed, remove the faded flowers but leave the foliage. They bulbs will use it to store energy for next year.

Are your spring bulbs spent? Watch how Garden Answer cares for tulips after they’ve bloomed.

https://youtu.be/K0FMDf96ak4

 

Rain, Rain, Come My Way

April showers bring May flowers. The old saying is true. April is full of rain, but there’s no reason you can’t have flowers before May.

During rainstorms, water gushes out of downspouts, across lawns and gardens. It has a tendency to accumulate in one place and can overwater or even flood a garden. Excessive rain saturates soil, suffocates roots, breaks plants and attracts pests.

However, when you’ve strategically planted for rain, gushing downspouts are no longer a problem. A rain garden is a garden that uses water-loving plants, with strong roots. It helps use rain where it lands instead of letting it run-off into streams, lakes and rivers.

How to Build a Rain Garden:

1. Choose your location

Measure out at least 10 feet from your home. Keep your new garden away from septic systems. Find somewhere with a natural downgrade, away from the house, if possible. If your garden is level, then find a place where soil is already absorbing water easily. Stay away from soil that holds moisture for an extended period of time.

2. Create a design

Measure the size and shape of the area. Once you determine what you are working with, you can begin planning what to plant. Plan out what looks best to the eye first, while keeping in mind the plants that do best with wet feet should be in the middle.

3. Choose your plants

Since each region gets a different amount of rainfall, native plants tend to do best. You will want plants that do well in wet and dry conditions. Rainfall will add up occasionally over the year, but the soil can dry out in the warmer months. Choose plants that don’t mind having wet roots for extended periods of time such as blue fescue grass, daylilies, elderberry and tupelo trees. Look for water-resistant natives such as black chokeberry, meadowsweet shrubs, Joe-Pye weed, Colorado blue spruce, bayberry, ferns and winterberry. Check out your local garden center for tips on the best plants for your region.

4. Prepare the soil

As all gardeners know, it starts with the soil. Good drainage is key to prevent water from sitting. If your soil needs a fresh start, or to be amended, add Espoma’s Garden Soil to help set your rain garden up for success. Further improve drainage by using pervious surfaces, edging puddles and creating paths through low-lying areas with sand or stones.

5. Get ready for rain

It’s time to plant! Get your plants in the ground and watered in to stabilize them. Water every other day for two weeks to get it ready for a heavy rainfall and watch your garden grow!

Planning your garden will keep your garden running smoothly.

Prefer a vegetable garden? Here’s how to plan.

 

Spring Cleaning for Your Garden

Spring has arrived! Nothing beats walking outdoors to the sunshine and a beautiful landscape. Now is the time to give your lawn and landscape the TLC it needs. After winter, plants might be in rough shape. Don’t worry, your garden will be back up and running in no time!

From weeding to fertilizing, there’s always something to do when spring rolls around.

When updating your landscape, there may be a few things you need to pick up. Head to your local garden center to find everything you need.

5 Ways to Spruce Up Your Spring Landscape:

Prune

Trim back trees or shrubs that need a little push. It’s best to do this early, before new shoots start to come in. Be sure to carefully remove branches and flowers that have been damaged by the winter storms. You don’t want the branch doing more damage later on.

Soil

Prepare your soil for new growth and new plantings. Sometimes that means getting all new soil like Espoma’s Organic Garden Soil or it could mean freshening up the soil you have by adding Espoma’s Organic Bio-Tone Starter Plus.

Plan

Evaluate your garden. Take the mature size of your plants into account. What holes do you have? If any of your plants need to be caged or staked, planning now will allow you to plant around it without disturbing your growing seedlings later on. Plus it will set top heavy plants up for success, especially tomatoes, which bend easily.

Fix Uneven Ground

Rain, wind and snow can wreak havoc on your landscape. When the ground is wet and people walk through it can even cause compaction, which makes for poor growing conditions. But with a little love it will be ready to host your gorgeous garden once again.

Mulch

After planting, provide beds with a fresh layer of mulch. Mulching is the perfect way to get your garden off to a great start. Not only does it help settle in the roots, but it will provide warmth, hold in moisture, suppress weeds, encourage growth, and make your beds look all around beautiful.

 

Not quite ready to get in the garden? Learn how to fertilize Houseplants with Homestead Brooklyn!