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!

Autumn Houseplants for Any Home

Autumn is a wonderful (some might say the best) time of the year for color. Trees and landscapes turn into amazing shades of reds, golds, and oranges. Everything in the yard makes us want to bring those same colors indoors.

While a cutting arrangement full of autumn flowers is wonderful, they won’t last all season. That’s why we have autumn houseplants. Indoor plants bring a welcoming burst of color during the dark winter evenings and keep homes feeling cheerful.

Keep plants happy during colder months by following directions for your houseplant’s light and water requirements. Feed regularly with Espoma’s Indoor! liquid fertilizer to keep those amazing colors vibrant all season long.

8 Houseplants You Need This Autumn

  1. Crotons

Invite this bold houseplant to your space this season. The foliage comes in incredible colors of red, green, orange, yellow and even black! You will not be disappointed. Crotons like bright areas, so place it near a big window.

  1. African Violet

Bring vibrant hues to your home with African violets. They can be grown almost anywhere there is light and a bit of humidity. African violets prefer full sun in the winter to get their gorgeous color. Rotate them regularly to keep growth even. Feed regularly with Espoma’s Violet! liquid fertilizer to ensure sensational blooms.

African Violet for color by Espoma

  1. Dracena

Nicknamed the dragon plant, this houseplant brings great texture to any décor. Choose the variety of dracena that best complements your design styles– such as dark green foliage or red lined foliage. These plants are easily cared for, tolerating low light, but thriving in medium to bright spots, too.

  1. Lemon Cypress

This holiday favorite brings joy to your home all season long. Keep it trimmed into the cone shape to keep it looking like a miniature tree throughout the rest of the year. Keep in direct light and cool temperatures.

  1. Chrysanthemum

Mums are a sure indicator of autumn with their yellow, orange, and red hues. Put them anywhere they can get bright filtered light during the day, but remain in the dark at night. They look great on shelves and desks that have some sunlight hitting it.

  1. Goldfish Plant

A member of the African violet family, the goldfish plant brings a unique orange flower to your home. It’s named for the flower’s fishlike bodies and puckered mouths. Place this plant a few feet away from windows. Its curved stems make this a great choice for hanging.

  1. Oxalis triangularis

Also known as red shamrock plant, oxalis triangularis is a wonderful addition to any houseplant collection. It has big, redish-purple, clover-shaped leaves which give it the nickname shamrock. It blooms little pink or white flowers that contrast with the foliage so well. It is a dream to have. Oxalis triangularis doesn’t like direct sun, so anywhere will work for this plant. It is a bulb, so allow for drying in between waterings to prevent rotting.

  1. Bromeliads

Known for the bright yellow, it may be surprising to some that bromeliads are offered in a sunset of colors. Bromeliads thrive on low light and minimal watering. So those who are looking for hardy plants, this one’s for you!houseplant care, potting soil, indoor plants

Have pets and want houseplants? Here is a list of pet-friendly houseplants to introduce to your home.

DIY Terrariums Ideas

Sprucing up your yard is always so rewarding, but what can you do to add a little fun to your indoor home décor? Make a terrarium!

Terrariums are fun little ecosystems that support themselves and create an eye-inspiring look for any space. They are easy to make, really low maintenance and last a long time. When planting, use Espoma’s indoor liquid plant foods to give your plants the nutrients they need!

Check out our list of ideas to see where to start!

  1. Fun (and cheap) Ideas: Creative fun ideas to display all over the house, or even give as gifts, without breaking the bank!
  2. Effortless Ideas: 8 perfectly simple terrariums for tabletop designs that don’t need any extra work put into them.
  3. Miniature Terrariums: Yes, terrariums can actually be even more miniature. These ideas are perfect for adding a little love just about anywhere.
  4. Quirky Gift Ideas: In need of a cute, quirky gift? These ideas will match anyone’s personality and are perfect even for those friends who are sans green-thumb!
  5. Living Walls: Take your plants to the walls with open containers! These terrariums will add life and color to any plain surface.
  6. Refurbished Terrariums: Give old household items a second chance. They make perfect containers for starting terrariums in.
  7. Creative Succulent Ideas: Succulents are easy! Explore a new look with these terrariums and you can make these succulent terrariums with fit any style and personality by using various containers.
  8. Ideas for Everyone: This list has something for everyone – from Legos to boho – create a terrarium that shows off your personality!

Want to try a miniature garden? Check out our ideas for Fairy Gardens!

How to Care for the Luckiest Houseplant

Instead of carrying around a rabbit’s foot or a four leaf clover, try adding jade plants to your home for good luck! These plants signify wealth and prosperity, so they make the perfect addition to offices and homes. Like most succulents, they’re low-maintenance and easy to care for.

You don’t need to be lucky to find success, just follow these simple care instructions for your jade plant.

Water

Instead of watering your jade plant on a schedule, water as needed. If the top inch of the soil is completely dry, it’s time to water. Depending on the amount of sun and the room temperature, water needs may vary. If your jade plant starts to lose leaves or develop sun spots, it’s trying to tell you it’s thirsty. Water just enough to moisten the soil.

As with all houseplants, avoid over watering as it can lead to root rot and other diseases.

Sunlight

Jade plants love sunlight. Just four to six hours of direct sun a dat promotes healthy growth also protects against diseases. Place your jade plant on a sunny windowsill at work or at home.

Certain varieties of jade, typically ones with variegated leaves, don’t need as much sun. Look for a variety than can thrive in indirect sunlight to place on your desk or coffee table. Jade plants love mild temperatures, anywhere from 50 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit will do.

Soil

Jade prefers a well-draining soil to avoid becoming water logged. Espoma’s Organic Cactus Mix is specialized for succulents. It promotes healthy root growth with its optimum aeration and drainage. Clay pots are great for jade plants because they wick away any excess water and help protect the plant from over watering damage.

Fertilize

Fertilize your jade plant regularly to keep it healthy and growing, try Espoma’s Cactus! Liquid plant food for succulents.

With just a little care, your new jade plant will bring you plenty of luck and prosperity!

Want to be creative with succulents? Try this DIY paint can planter for succulents.

Hanging Plants: Make Your Own Kokedama

Houseplants that you don’t have to think about are the best. And extremely low maintenance ones that look great are even better. Enter Kokedama. This traditional Japanese art form encloses a plant’s roots in moss to retain moisture.

Kokedama literally mean “moss ball.” The style originated from the Nearai and Kusamono bonsai styles and today, this design goes one step further when the moss balls are suspended with string.

You can use almost any small indoor plant for this project. When choosing your plant, think about where you will display your Kokedama and keep lighting needs in mind for your plant.

It’s not hard to make your own. Follow along with these instructions.

For this project, you will need:

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6 Steps to making a Kokedama

  1. Mix it. Kokedama uses heavier soil and we recommend using a ratio of 70 percent indoor potting soil with 30 percent garden soil. In a bucket, mix soil well. Add a small amount of water to bond the soil together so it has a clay-like feel. Soil should be sticky and pliable once all ingredients have been mixed.
  2. Ball it. Depending on the size of your plant, form a ball ranging in size from a plum to a grapefruit. Gently insert your thumbs into the middle of the ball, keeping the sphere intact. This is where your plant roots will go.
  3. Plant it. Remove plant from container, gently shaking off excess soil. Dunk roots in water. Place your plant’s roots into the soil ball, gently forming the soil around roots and adding more soil if necessary.
  4. Cover it. Dip moss in water, then squeeze out excess water. Place and press the damp moss around the soil ball. Leave enough space around the plant for breathing room.
  5. String it. Once your ball has taken shape, securely wrap and tie it with twine. Now, add a piece or wire or twine at your desired length for hanging.
  6. Soak it. Place the Kokedama in a bucket and cover the moss ball with water without submerging the plant. Let it soak for 10-15 minutes then you’re ready to go! Do not let the Kokedama dry out completely before soaking again. Depending on the plant and environment, soak Kokedama about once a week.

Once you’re done with your Kokedama, try your hand at this succulent planter DIY!

Succulent Success – What’s the secret?

You’ve probably heard the words cacti and succulents thrown around interchangeably. However, this is a common misconception. Technically, all cacti are succulents, but not all succulents are cacti. Cacti are simply one of the many types of succulents.

Succulents are defined by their water retaining cells. Which is one of our favorite things about them because it’s what makes them so low maintenance and drought tolerant.

Another common misconception is that cacti are defined by their prickly needles. Many succulents have spikes similar to cacti, and not all cacti are prickly.

If you’re looking specifically for a cactus, the determining factor is called an areole. They are small, cotton-like lumps on a cactus where the spines grow out of. All cacti have areoles, making it easy to distinguish them from other prickly succulents.

Now that you know the difference, let’s talk about care. Although they’re different plants, cacti and succulents have similar needs. When caring for cacti or succulents, remember they love everything in moderation – not too much, and not too little.

Photo courtesy of Garden Answer

Photo courtesy of Garden Answer

Light

Cacti and succulents thrive in a spot by the window or outdoors in the garden. Too little sunlight will cause loss of color or strange growth patterns. Lack of sun can lead to root rot as the soil may stay  moist for too long.

On the other hand, too much direct sunlight and heat can cause succulents and cacti to sunburn! These burns can change the color and texture of the plant. While most succulents can handle direct sunlight, it takes time for them to become accustomed to a new environment. Don’t move them from a windowsill to full sun in the garden without conditioning them. Gradually place your plant in brighter locations and allow it some time to adjust to its new surroundings.

Water

The same Goldilocks rule goes for watering – not too much, but not too little.

While succulents and cacti are drought tolerant and can survive without water, that doesn’t mean they’ll thrive. They will do best when watered in moderation.

It’s safer to stay on the lighter side of watering rather than giving too much. If you notice the succulent starting to shrivel, its most likely because they are using up the water reserved in their cells. Add a small amount of water to the soil to help them replenish.

Too much water will cause your plant to become mushy and potentially develop root rot. Your succulent or cactus can fall apart right in front of your eyes!

Avoid these problems by using very little water and determining later whether they need more. If you have your plant in a double pot, water it and after a few minutes empty all excess water. Over-watering is just as common of a cause of plant death as under-watering. Use Espoma’s Organic Cactus Mix potting soil to keep roots healthy and to reduce drought-stress in between watering.

Temperature

Succulents and cacti are very flexible when it comes to temperatures. Just be sure to adjust your watering schedule accordingly.

When plants are in cool temps, soil won’t dry as fast. Remember root rot can occur if the soil is too wet for too long. If succulents or cacti are planted outdoors in the hot summer sun, you may need to water more often.

Now that you know the difference between succulents and cacti and the proper care, add some to your garden today!

Feed plants with Espoma’s Cactus! Succulent Plant Food for best results and let us know how your succulent garden turns out!

6 Easy-to-Grow Indoor Succulents

Succulents are a trendy decorative addition to any home. This diverse group of plants offers endless color variations, as well as low maintenance options for your indoor space. Most plants need a wet environment to survive, but succulents are able to store water for longer periods of time. This ability makes succulents practical to grow in the dry and warmer conditions typically found in the home.

Succulents are perfect plants for beginners. Coming in a variety of shapes, sizes and textures, succulents have an enticing quality. Here are six succulents that are easy to grow indoors year-round.

6 Succulents to Add to Your Home

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Jade Plant. Native to South Africa, the jade plant has thick stems and glossy green leaves. Keep jade in bright light and water when the soil feels dry. Be cautious, as jade is commonly killed by over watering.

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Aloe Vera. This prickly plant has been used for medicinal purposes for centuries. The sap found on the inner leaves is used to heal wounds and soothe burns. Aloe Vera should be kept in full sunlight and should be watered when the leaves feel dry or brittle. Keep this medicinal plant by a bright kitchen window to enjoy its beauty every day.

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Echeveria. This desert native comes in a variety of colors and does best in dry conditions. Echeveria should be watered only once it has dried out. Unglazed clay pots are the ideal growing condition for this succulent, as the clay allows water to evaporate. For optimal results, place echeveria in full sun and ensure the soil is well drained.

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Zebra Plant. This striking succulent gets its name from the horizontal stripes covering its leaves. Growing about 5” tall and 6”wide, the zebra plant is tidy, contained and a perfect addition to any small space. Zebra plant requires a moderate amount of sunlight and water.

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Panda Plant. This plant is characterized by little white hairs, giving it a fuzzy texture. A Madagascar native, panda plant loves the dry, winter air in heated homes. Water as necessary, but just enough to keep the leaves from shriveling.

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Crown of Thorns. Add a splash of color to your room with this beautiful plant. With enough sunlight, it can bloom year-round producing red or yellow bracts surrounding its tiny flowers. Crown of Thorns has low to moderate watering needs and should be placed in direct sun for best bloom results.

Ready to start your own succulent collection? Watch this video on growing succulents!

 

5 Reasons to Give Orchids This Valentine’s Day

There is more to a beautiful bouquet of flowers than what meets the eye. For centuries, flowers have been used as a means of expressing romantic sentiments and are symbolic of a beautiful, lasting relationship between two people.

Luckily, for this day dedicated to expressing your devotion and admiration there is a better option than cut flowers, choose orchids that will last all year! Delicate and graceful, orchids are a symbol of luxury, love, strength and beauty. Here are 5 reasons you should give orchids a chance this Valentines’ Day.

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Five Reasons Orchids are The Best

  1. They’re Long-Lasting: An orchid’s blooms serve as a daily reminder that someone is thinking of you long past February 14th. When cared for properly, this exotic flower can last for several months and will continue to bloom year after year.
  2. Orchids are Easy to Care For: Your valentine does not need to be an expert gardener to keep an orchid alive. Even in the winter months, orchids are low-maintenance. For more blooms and better health, you can your plant feed bi-weekly with our liquid orchid fertilizer. Your orchid will need to be repotted each year after flowering, and Espoma’s Organic Orchid Mix will give them the nutrients they need to grow. Who knows, your gift of an orchid could inspire someone to take up gardening as a hobby!
  3. The colors are stunning: Orchids come in a variety of spectacular colors and unique shapes. They have a dramatic presence whether they are a solid color, or have splashes and speckles. Coming in everything from white and light pink, to vibrant reds, oranges, and purples, you will be able to find the perfect orchid to match your valentine’s personality.
  4. Orchids have exotic flair: Coming from far off places such as Hawaii and South America, orchids are said to be reminiscent of the tropics. Their exotic nature sets them apart from the traditional rose and will send a special message to your significant other.
  5. They perk up your home: An orchid’s lifespan combined with its beauty makes it a great way to add an affordable splash of color to any room without spending significant time and money on redecorating efforts

This Valentine’s Day, tell your significant other how valued they are by giving the gift of an orchid.

Help orchids stay beautiful year-round. Watch this video to find out how!