Posts

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!

How to Care for a Fiddle Leaf Fig

Laura from Garden Answer shares her tips for caring for Fiddle Leaf Figs. This “it” plant is loved by designers and decorators for it’s large, violin-shaped leaves. Give fiddle leaf figs everything they need to continue growing healthy and strong year-round.

Visit our YouTube Channel for more gardening videos.

 

Indoor Planter Inspiration with Garden Answer

The Espoma Company brought Laura from Garden Answer to visit Primex Garden Center near Philadelphia for a container challenge. Watch as Laura picks out plants for easy succulent and fairy gardening containers. Follow along with her how-to instructions as she brings together two lovely containers for indoor gardening. Plus, you’ll learn how to care for and fertilize these indoor gardens.

Want more inspiration? Watch the miniature gnome garden come together in no time at all!

Spring Houseplant Care Tips

After months spent overwintering or dormant, your houseplants are ready to welcome spring with open arms and begin their active growing period. Houseplants are easy to care for but they still need some TLC.

The warmer weather calls for some extra attention! Gear up for repotting, feeding, sunning and scheduling.

Make a happy home for plants with the following tips. Here’s how you do it!

cyclamen-11290_1920

Four Tips for Spring Houseplant Care

  1. Rehome and Repot: When repotting plants, we recommend using a new container that’s a little bigger than your plant’s current home. If you choose to use a previously used container, clean it with soap and water first to rid of any diseases or houseplant pests that could be hiding inside. Once your container is ready, fill it about halfway with Espoma’s potting mix or appropriate soil for your plant type. If any of the roots have grown tightly bound in a circular pattern, gently loosen them to stimulate new growth. Then, place the plant in the center of the new pot and fill with soil to within 1-3” of the rim. Water well and allow the soil to settle. Add more potting soil if necessary.
  2. Give Houseplants a Spring feeding: There’s no doubt that your plants are hungry after a long winter nap! Feed bi-weekly with Espoma’s indoor liquid houseplant food. This gives plants the natural proteins and beneficial microbes they need to provide beautiful results.
  3. Bring Plants Outside: Give plants some fresh air once in a while. As it warms up, set your plants outside during the day to soak up some rays. When the temperatures begin to drop in the evening, it’s time to bring them back inside.
  4. Create a schedule: Houseplants thrive with regular care. Add water if the soil is dry to the touch. But be careful not to water too much or too frequently. Overwatering is the number one cause of houseplant death. So if the is not dry to the touch, check it again in a few days. In order to protect your plants from not getting the right about of water, create a schedule of watering times and days to help you remember when your plants need your attention.

Plants need water, light and nutrients to thrive indoors. So, determine what kind of houseplant you have and it’s specific needs. With the proper care, your plant will let you know it’s happy by maintaining healthy leaves.

Ready to learn more? Find out how to Make a Happy Home for Plants!

6 Tips for Stunning Succulent Containers

The options for succulents are endless. You can spend an entire afternoon at your favorite garden center picking out succulents in all shapes, sizes and colors. And once you have one succulent plant, you can grow even more plants from it!

While planting succulents is a pretty straightforward process, there are a few tricks to ensuring they stay healthy in their new homes.

6 Tips for Creating a Succulent Container

  1. Choose a container. Almost any container can be used for succulent gardening if it has proper drainage. Terra cotta, glazed pottery and wooden boxes are some traditional choices. If you’re feeling crafty, check out our Garden Answer tutorial and create your own.
  2. Don’t let water pool. When placing the plant in the container, the succulent needs to sit above the rim of the pot. If your soil is low and your container has poor drainage, water can pool on top and damage the plant. Don’t let your succulent rot! Make sure to use Espoma’s Cactus Mix when filling your container.
  3. Add Plants. It’s up to you to choose how many plants to put in your container. Succulents that are crowded and planted close together often grow more slowly; and these plants are slow growers to begin with! More space between plants means it’s easier to water and there will be better air flow.
  4. Thriller, filler and spiller. This classic gardening concept can be applied to succulents, too. Add some oomph to your container by choosing a “thriller,” a tall plant that will add a vertical element such as aloe. Next, place a medium succulent such as echevarias. For spillers, look for trailing succulents that will “spill” over the edge such as sedum or string of pearls.
  5. The final touch. For a finished look, top off your container with decorative stones or dried moss.
  6. Feed ‘em. Give your succulents a boost by fertilizing as needed with Espoma’s newCactus! Succulent plant food.

Now that your container is complete, find out what succulents need to keep growing!

Give Succulents Some Light

Succulents make the perfect houseplants. They come in a variety of sizes and styles ranging from leafy to spiky and even fuzzy. They’re pretty low-maintenance, and only need sunlight, water and nutrients from time to time. Somehow, things can still go wrong.

The number one sign your succulent isn’t growing as well as it should? It’s looking stretched. While you might think your succulents are growing, they’re actually stretching out for more light.

Succulents stretch when they aren’t getting enough sunlight, which actually causes the plant to grow faster. First, the plant will bend toward the sunlight it is receiving, and then you’ll notice it continuing to grow taller, leaving more space between the leaves.

If your succulents are stretched, they won’t go back to the way they were before. You can continue to grow them as is, just move them to a spot where they’ll get more indirect light. You can also start propagating to grow new succulents. Unless plants are placed where they will get enough  light, the new cuttings will eventually stretch out, too.

4Tips to Make Sure Succulents are getting the right light

  1. Succulents love sun. These desert plants thrive in hot climates with plenty of sunlight. A dimly lit apartment or shady part of your home just isn’t going to cut it. Place succulents near windows that let in lots of natural light throughout the day.
  2. Keep succulents close to windows. They’ll soak up the sun for hours when given indirect light. Don’t lean succulents right up against the window or they may get sunburned.
  3. Add a grow light. If you can’t count on natural light to keep plants healthy, consider investing in a grow light. This will keep your plants happy and give you the option of moving them to dimmer areas in your home.
  4. Try out different kinds of succulents. They’re not all alike. Some will thrive in indoor conditions that others might not like.

Next time you notice your succulents leaning or stretching, go ahead and start some new ones and try again with better lighting.

Now that you know how to give succulents the best light, learn how to have success with succulents

Your Orchid is Just Resting

Orchids bloom in spectacular colors and unique shapes. Depending on the orchid you’ve chosen, blooms come in every color from white and light pink, to vibrant reds, oranges and purples.

When taken care of properly, the striking blooms can last for several months and will continue to flower year after year.

Don’t panic. Orchid blooms last for one to three months and then they wilt. Even though your beautiful orchid loses all of its blooms, don’t give up on it, it still has a lot of life left. Trust us!

Phalaenopsis, also known as moth orchids need rest periods to rebloom. While the orchid is dormant, you can expect the stem to shrivel up and for leaves to dull and flatten out.

Just give your orchid some extra care during this period and you’ll be rewarded with even more blooms next time. Orchids can bloom for years to come.

orchid-1677518_1920

Five tips to care for resting orchids.

1. The best time to repot orchids is during their resting stage. Use Espoma’s orchid mix to give plants the foundation they need to grow bigger and stronger next season.

2. Water orchids weekly. Unlike many houseplants, orchids should only be watered when they begin to dry out. Watering when they’re almost dry mimics their natural environment.

3. Feed orchids bi-weekly using Espoma’s Orchid! Fertilizer. Nutrients are extra important during this resting period.

4. Let the light in. Make sure orchids are still receiving plenty of indirect sunlight. Too little light will keep the orchid from reblooming.

5. Chill out. Help trigger blooming by moving the orchid to a cooler room. Orchids thrive in temperatures that are between 75 and 80 during the day, but they prefer cooler temperatures during dormancy.

Orchids make beautiful houseplants. Learn more about caring for orchids here.

Five Ways to Celebrate Houseplant Appreciation Day

The winter season can seem to drag on forever with its harsh weather, short days and dreary landscapes. Which means now is the perfect time to bring the memory of the warm spring weather indoors with houseplants.

January 10 is Houseplant Appreciation Day, and there’s no better way to celebrate than to acknowledge all the things they do for you. They’re decorative, boost well-being and purify indoor air.

kitchen-sink-212854_1920

Here are 5 simple tips to celebrate the day:

  1. Recognize houseplants for all they do

Many houseplants do double duty by looking good and cleaning the air, absorbing up to 87 percent of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that hide in ordinary household products such as paints, carpets and ink. Studies from the US Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) have found that levels of indoor air pollution can be two to five times higher — and in some cases 10 times more polluted than outdoor air.

  1. Add a Plant

You can never have too many houseplants, right? According to the EPA, most people spend 90 percent of their time indoors; a houseplant is the perfect way to be reminded of the beauty the world has to offer outside. Houseplants bring a breath of fresh air to a room when placed in colorful pots and made into a focal point. Succulents, orchids and African violets all make good additions.

  1. Learn how to care for your plant

Plants need water, light and nutrients to thrive indoors. Step one; determine what kind of houseplant you have. This can be as simple as checking the plant tag. Your plant will let you know it’s happy by maintaining healthy leaves.

  1. Create a schedule

Houseplants do best with regular care, trust us. Now is the time to create a watering schedule if you don’t already have one. Add water if the soil is dry about an inch below the surface. Overwatering is the number one cause of houseplant death. So if the plant does not seem too dry, check it again in a few days.

  1. Feed them

Fertilizing is easy with Espoma’s indoor liquid plant foods. Give plants the natural proteins and beneficial microbes they need to provide beautiful results.

Show gratitude for your favorite plants by giving them proper care. Learn how here.

A Healthy and Happy New Year with Plants

With the start of a new year, we’ve got resolutions on our mind. Eat right, exercise more and add houseplants.

Yep, you read that right. Houseplants actually boost your wellbeing. In addition to bringing the outdoors in, some houseplants are proven to provide both physical and psychological benefits.

You know that plants produce the oxygen we breathe, but did you know that houseplants are also powerful natural air filters. Common products such as household cleaners, carpets, furniture and nail polish release volatile organic compounds (VOCs) into the air.

Add just few plants to your home to improve air quality. Adding houseplants is one of the easiest and least expensive ways to make your home healthier for the New Year.

Winter houseplants aren’t just limited to holiday plants like poinsettias. The options are endless.

orchid-1594602_1920

The Best Plants for Your Home

  • African violets
  • Orchids
  • Peace lily
  • Chinese evergreen
  • Philodendron
  • ZZ plant
  • Dieffenbachia

he colorful blooms of African violets are extra special. They’ll instantly add color to any room.

Some houseplants even remove common toxins from indoor air, surely shooing away the winter blues.

Other scientific studies show houseplants can help us stay healthier in other ways, including reducing frequency of headaches, sore throats and stress levels.

Especially after spending so much time indoors for the winter, it’s nice to have a pop of nature. Dry skin and chapped lips are uncomfortable side effects of forced-air heating. A natural remedy is to add houseplants that act as humidifiers, releasing moisture as a part of their natural breathing.

Being around plants, especially in indoor environments, improves creativity, problem-solving skills, memory, and cognitive skills.

While you’re at it, don’t forget to keep houseplants healthy! The cold season can be challenging for houseplants, too. Help houseplants thrive by creating a happy home and they’ll continue brightening winter days. Feed with Espoma’s indoor liquid plant foods to give plants the natural proteins and beneficial microbes they need. And the innovative Easy Dose cap pours the perfect amount without any measuring or mess.

Houseplants give back year-round. Learn more about caring for houseplants here.

Help Houseplants Weather the Winter

Lush green plants filled with blooms aren’t only found in the garden. Even though you’ve put your outdoor garden to bed for the winter, you can still grow thriving houseplants inside.

Winter houseplants aren’t just limited to holiday plants like poinsettias. The options are endless — ranging from African violets to orchids. Some houseplants even remove common toxins from indoor air, surely shooing away the winter blues.

The cold season can be challenging for houseplants, however. Light is low, days are short and indoor humidity is terrible. Help houseplants thrive by creating a happy home and they’ll continue brightening winter days.

african-violet-290097_1920

Four tips to help houseplants thrive over winter:

  1. Keep leaves green. If leaf tips are brown, it means your houseplant isn’t getting enough moisture. The remedy is simple. Place a humidifier near multiple plants or place the plant on a tray of pebbles and water. But don’t let the roots sit in standing water.
  2. Don’t forget to water. This is a common issue for the forgetful gardener. Set up a watering schedule and give plants a drink when soil is dry to the touch, about every seven to 10 days.
  3. Let in the light. A houseplant will tell you it’s happy by maintaining healthy leaves. If there’s enough light for you to read by, there’s probably enough for a low-light houseplant. Don’t put plants near heat or air conditioning ducts, on TVs, or between curtains and chilly windows.
  4. Feed Organically. Fertilizing is easy with Espoma’s indoor liquid plant foods. Give plants the natural proteins and beneficial microbes they need to provide beautiful results. And the innovative Easy Dose cap pours the perfect amount without any measuring or mess.

Brown thumbs can easily turn green. Learn more about caring for houseplants here.