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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!

 

 

Summer Care Tips for Your Favorite Orchid

Orchids have become a houseplant fan favorite, and rightfully so. The indoor plants add a touch of the exotic to any home and bloom for weeks at a time. Plus, orchids are typically easy to care for and relatively low-maintenance once they are established.

Here are three ways to keep your orchid happy and healthy this summer.

3 Summer Secrets to Orchid Success

Light

Orchids love light, but direct sun can often burn their delicate leaves and flowers. Avoid damaging orchids, by placing them near a window with a sheer curtain. Sun rays will seep through the curtain, providing your orchid with just the right amount of light. Or, keep your orchid in a well-lit area in your home to completely avoid risk of sun damage.

Temperature

Orchids love warm temperatures during the day; however, they like to keep cool at night. Let your orchid chill at the end of the day in a cooler room. If the heat breaks and temperatures drop below 65 degrees Fahrenheit at night, you can place your orchid outside to cool. Just be sure to remove it from direct sunlight before morning.

Proper Potting

You won’t need to repot your orchid very often, typically once a year. Start with Espoma’s Organic Orchid Mix and then plant your orchid in plastic growing pots. These containers have great drainage, avoiding problems related to overwatering.

If you’d like a more stylish pot to add to your décor, simply place the plastic container inside the decorative one.

Follow these simple tips and your orchid will produce beautiful flowers you’ll be enjoying for years to come!

Three Secrets to Cactus Success

Cacti make the perfect houseplant. Their water-saving properties make them very low-maintenance. They’re trending in the design world, too, making them very stylish additions to any interior.

Growing cacti indoors adds a beautiful touch to any home. And although they can survive with very little care, they won’t necessarily thrive. In order to keep your cacti alive and well, follow these simple care instructions.

Soil

As you probably already know, cacti love desert-like conditions. Think dry, well-drained soil. When planting cacti indoors, be sure to use Espoma’s Organic Cactus Mix. The all natural potting soil provides optimum aeration and drainage to create the best growing conditions. Choose a stylish pot with a drainage hole to match your décor.

Water

One of the biggest causes of death to houseplants is over-watering. When it comes to watering your cactus, less is more. Water sparingly when soil is dry and let the water trickle through. Don’t allow cacti to sit in a pool of water, as this will lead to rotting roots and other complications.

Use your best judgement to decide whether or not your cactus needs some water. Hint – if it looks shriveled, it might mean that it’s dipping into its water reserves. This is when you should give your cactus a little bit of water to replenish it.

Light & Temperature

Keep your cacti happy by placing it on a windowsill or another sunny spot. About 3-4 hours of sunlight every day is ideal for cacti, but they will survive with indirect sunlight, too. We suggest a south or east facing window.

Cacti are also great houseplants because they can tolerate a wide range of temperatures. They can survive in temperatures as low as 50°F and as high as 85°F, making the temperate in your home the perfect environment.

Nutrients

Give your plant a boost by fertilizing as needed with Espoma’s new Cactus! Succulent plant food. This provides plants with the nutrients they need instantly.

Ready to try more desert-like plants? Learn how to care and create a succulent planter.

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!

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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.

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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.