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The Gift That Keeps on Growing: Why Green Gifting is the Way to Go

The holidays are right around the corner, and gift shopping is in full swing. Not sure what to get the gardener in your life? We’ve got you covered. Even for those less horticulturally inclined, a low-maintenance plant can be a welcome addition to their home or office. Plant presents are going to be all the rage this year, and when you pair them with a bottle of Espoma Organic Liquid Fertilizer, they’ll only continue to grow for holiday seasons to come. Here’s our guide to meaningful plant presents and why green giving is a great option for the holidays!

 

5 Recommendations for a Meaningful Plant Present

     1. Aloe Vera

Health is wealth, and just one aloe vera plant can bring significant medicinal benefits! Aloe can be used to treat burns, improve digestion, nourish skin, and more. These super air-purifying succulents are also easy to care for, and they only need bright natural light and infrequent watering (typically every 3 weeks, but longer in the winter). Gift aloe vera with good wishes for your recipient’s health, and pair your present with Espoma Organic Cactus! Liquid Fertilizer to keep the love growing. 

 

     2. Christmas Cactus

If the name isn’t enough of an indicator, Christmas cactus plants make great holiday gifts! They’re low-maintenance like aloe vera, thriving in bright sunlight and with spaced-out watering. Christmas cacti are known to bloom red, pink, orange, or cream flowers right around the end of December, year after year. With a bottle of Espoma Organic Cactus! Liquid Fertilizer and care instructions, a Christmas cactus is a living, reblooming reminder of love. That’s a gift that truly keeps on giving!

 

3. Peace Lily

The peace lily is an oh-so aesthetically pleasing present to put on your shopping list. With dark green foliage and elegant white flowers, the peace lily is a visually striking addition to any space. It symbolizes purity, rebirth, and tranquility and is a great way to express your genuine support for someone. The peace lily is also easy to care for because the flowers will droop as a signal that the plant needs more water. With visual beauty and simple maintenance, the air-purifying peace lily is a lovely gift that will last beyond the holiday season.

   

 4. Philodendron

Looking for something with more of an artsy touch? Philodendrons are a frequent feature in modern art, making them perfect for a creative plant lover. The plant symbolizes health, growth, and beauty, so they make ideal gifts for someone entering a new phase in life. Philodendrons vary in appearance, but their low-maintenance nature makes them a common pick for plant parents. Amp up the love by gifting a heart-leaf philodendron variation and include a bottle of Espoma Organic Indoor! Liquid Fertilizer to keep the plant thriving for years to come! 

 

5. Poinsettia

This wouldn’t be a proper plant-centric gift guide without mentioning the poinsettia. More than 100 varieties of poinsettias are available today in a wide range of colors, but you can’t go wrong with classic red and green. Poinsettias are easy to find around the holidays and not too difficult to care for—just be sure to limit their exposure to the cold, as cool temperatures can cause the leaves to drop prematurely. To make this festive plant present extra special, repot it in a decorative container!

 

Why Gift a Plant Present?

Sustainable gifts have been on the rise for years now, and what better way to go green than by supporting a local gardening store and gifting a thoughtfully picked plant? Plants make beautiful decor items, functional air purifiers, and unique reminders of love. With a symbolic selection, care instructions, decorative repotting, and a boost from an Espoma Organic Liquid Fertilizer, a plant present will leave a lasting impact on your recipient’s health and happiness… even if they are a bit difficult to wrap.

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We hope this plant-centric gift guide helps you incorporate a little fun and foliage into your holiday shopping this season. Have a plant present idea we missed? 

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Video: Overwintering Tips With Kaleb Wyse!

Ever wonder how to save your favorite outdoor plants from the winter cold? ❄🌨 @Wyse Guide demonstrates how he overwinters his plants.

Kaleb demonstrates how to use our Espoma Organic Bio-tone Starter Plus and Espoma Organic Potting Soil Mix to re-pot your outdoor container plants and bring them inside for the coming winter months.

Learn more about Wyse Guide here:

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/TheGrayBoxwood 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/WyseGuide/ 

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VIDEO: Tree Planting Tips with Kaleb Wyse!

Thinking about adding trees 🌳 to your landscape?  @Wyse Guide shares some useful tips on how he plants trees at home! When using the right products like our Espoma Organic Bio-tone Starter Plus! and Espoma Organic Land & Sea Compost you can rest assured you are setting your plants up for success!

Learn more about Wyse Guide here:

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/TheGrayBoxwood 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/WyseGuide/ 

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/WyseGuide/ 

Website: https://www.wyseguide.com/ 

 

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VIDEO: Kaleb Wyse Answers Prayers With New Church Planter!

When there’s an important gardening project to be done… you call Kaleb Wyse. 🦸 And he always brings his trusty Espoma Organic products to make sure it’s a job well done! This time he’s tackling a tricky planter in front of his grandparents’ church that gets a lot of sun, a lot of wind, and a lot of eyes on it. Fortunately with our Espoma Organic Potting Soil Mix and Plant-tone, those plants will stay looking heavenly! Check out the full video below to watch Wyse Guide work his magic. 

Learn more about Wyse Guide here:

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/TheGrayBoxwood 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/WyseGuide/ 

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/WyseGuide/ 

Website: https://www.wyseguide.com/ 

 

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BAGR Blog 159: Houseplants that Bloom

This blog is inspired by Episode 159 of Bloom and Grow Radio Podcast, where host Maria Failla interviewed Lisa Eldred Steinkopf of The Houseplant Guru.

Houseplants are celebrated for their amazing foliage, but are often overlooked for another ability—the ability to bloom! To give us a better grasp of this beautiful subcategory, let’s dive into the must-knows of houseplants that bloom. 

How to Care for Blooming Houseplants

The main difference between blooming houseplants and normal foliage houseplants is light requirements. If you want to start caring for blooming houseplants, you need to have a good light setup.

Blooming houseplants require a bit more light. That can look like a Southern-, Western-, or an Eastern-facing window for natural light. If you have Northern-facing windows, you will need to supplement with grow lights.

The type of grow light you have will determine the amount of hours needed, but at most your blooming houseplants will need 12 hours of direct light. Inadequate lighting is often the culprit if your blooming houseplants don’t bloom. 

What Does a Houseplant Bloom Cycle Look Like?

Across blooming houseplants, there are long-day, short-day, and day-neutral plants that affect the bloom cycle. A day-neutral plant like the African violet (Saintpaulia) can bloom year round, as it’s not sensitive to day length. A short-day plant, however, will start blooming when the nights get longer, focusing on how much darkness they need.

Houseplants like poinsettias, kalanchoe, and cyclamen are all short-day plants, blooming in the Fall when nights are longer. Most of the annual flowers outdoors like snapdragons and marigolds need light for as long as possible to bloom, so they are categorized as long-day plants. These long-day flowers bloom best in Summer when day length is greatest.

If your plant is not blooming within a year, it may need something different. Often the key can be more light, but it could also be that it’s simply not mature enough yet to produce blooms. If you grow a citrus from seed, it won’t flower for six to seven years—but if you grow a cutting from a mature plant, it could bloom within a year. Consider a plant’s maturity for each variety before you write off your plant parent skills. 

Fertilizing Requirements for Blooming Houseplants

While sun and photosynthesis tend to be the most important factors in getting your plants to bloom, fertilizers can certainly help. An all-purpose fertilizer like Espoma’s Organic Indoor Houseplant Food is a great overall fertilizer. To help your blooms last longer, Espoma’s Super Bloom Booster that’s high in phosphorus will give your plants strong, healthy blooms. Opt for every two to four weeks if you choose a liquid fertilizer. 

How to Make Blooms Last Longer

To get your houseplant blooms to last as long as possible, focus on consistency. Blooming plants want consistent moisture, so do not let them dry out. Keep your plants in a well-lit spot, but not so hot that they become stressed. Be consistent with moisture and temperature during blooming and your plants will be happy. 

Now that we’ve covered some basic care for blooming houseplants, let’s go into some great starter plants for beginners. 

The 6 Best Blooming Houseplants for Beginners

The crown of thorns (Euphorbia milii) is a wonderful blooming houseplant if you have high light. It can even bloom year round with enough light. They come in many colors ranging from white. red, yellow, pink, and orange. 

Hoyas (Hoya carnosa) are another blooming houseplant that are great for beginners. The key with hoyas is to know they won’t bloom until they’re mature enough. It can take anywhere from three to seven years for hoya plants to reach maturity.

Air plants (Tillandsias) are next for beginners. While they need lots of light, they almost constantly bloom and grow. They will send out new pups, because once they bloom, they slowly die off. 

The holiday cactus (Schlumbergera spp.) is another great beginner blooming houseplant, and an often underrated one. Holiday cacti include Christmas, Easter, and Thanksgiving varieties, each slightly different in the shape of their stem segments. Their blooms also come in a range of colors including pink, orange, salmon, and white. 

African violets (Streptocarpus sect. Saintpaulia) are another beautifully blooming houseplant that would be a great fit for a mindful plant parent. African violets prefer to never dry out and to be repotted about every 6 months. Their leaves and stems are easy to propagate, making them a fun houseplant to share with other plant lovers. Try feeding your violets with Espoma Organic Violet! African violet liquid plant food.

The goldfish plant (Columnea nematanthus) is another fantastic blooming houseplant that doesn’t need much light to bloom. Their blooms are orange and shaped like goldfish, looking like a sea of goldfish swimming when in full bloom.

Intermediate Level Blooming Houseplants

If you’re ready to move up to the intermediate level, here are three blooming houseplants to get you started. 

Orchid cacti (Epiphyllums) are a type of climbing cacti with flat, leaflike stems. Despite being a tropical succulent, they actually need stretches of cold before they will bloom again. Give them enough light and enough of a cold period, and you’ll be wowing everyone with these stunning blooms.  

Bromeliads (Bromeliaceae) are another long-blooming houseplant that are typically bought in their blooming stage. Their blooms eventually die back, but not before they send out new babies at the bottom.

While there are beginner orchids, there are plenty of interesting varieties for an intermediate plant parent to try. Dendrobiums, Cattleyas, and Miltonias tend to be a bit more care intensive. To troubleshoot why your orchid isn’t blooming, it can often be a lack of light. Orchids also need to be repotted at least every two years to ensure adequate air for their roots. Try Espoma’s Organic Orchid Mix potting soil to help with drainage and aeration. Apply Espoma Organic Orchid! liquid plant food to make sure your plant has the essential nutrients needed for successful growth. 

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For an in-depth look into blooming houseplants, make sure to read Lisa’s new book Bloom: The Secrets of Growing Flowering Houseplants Year-Round

About Bloom & Grow Radio Podcast

 Bloom & Grow Radio Podcast helps people care for plants successfully and cultivate more joy in their lives. Host Maria Failla, a former plant killer turned happy plant lady, interviews experts on various aspects of plant care, and encourages listeners to not only care for plants, but learn to care for themselves along the way.

About Our Interviewee

Lisa Eldred Steinkopf is The Houseplant Guru. She’s a blogger, freelance writer, and houseplant enthusiast who loves taking care of her own plants and teaching others to take care of theirs. If you love plants, want to know more, or are just looking to keep your houseplant plant alive, you’re in the right place!

Lisa’s new book Bloom: The Secrets of Growing Flowering Houseplants Year-Round celebrates the beloved houseplants we can grow for blooms in addition to foliage. It focuses on how to get many houseplants to bloom and how to keep them in bloom. 

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BAGR 154: How to Build a Terrarium

This blog is inspired by Episode 154 of Bloom and Grow Radio Podcast, where host Maria Failla interviewed Patricia Buzo of Doodle Bird Terrariums.

Terrariums do so much more than encapsulate our plants within the confines of a vessel. They capture a feeling. They capture a sense of wonder that a simple potted plant just can’t do. We can create entire worlds within a terrarium, and even ecosystems. They become a place that we can escape into for a mindful moment and use to amplify our passion for playing.

In this blog, terrarium guru Patricia of Doodle Bird Terrariums and Maria from Bloom & Grow Radio break down the differences and similarities of terrariums, paludariums, and vivariums to equip you with the knowledge you need to set your first one up!

What’s the Difference Between Terrariums, Vivariums, and Paludariums?

In the plant community, a terrarium usually refers to a small glass jar or fishbowl that has only plants inside. It’s not going to house any type of pet. 

A vivarium, on the other hand, contains pets like frogs or lizards, but has plants too. It’s also typically much bigger than a terrarium.

A paludarium is a type of vivarium that’s usually an even larger enclosure. It incorporates both terrestrial and aquatic elements into it, so it’s like having an aquarium and a terrarium in one. It often houses animals like fish, lizards, or frogs in the top portion.

Benefits and Common Problems of Growing in a Terrarium

One of the benefits to a terrarium is being able to grow diverse plants that you might not have otherwise been able to, as they create a microclimate of higher humidity. Most miniature terrarium plants need very high humidity, which likely doesn’t exist in your home or garden! 

Another benefit of terrariums is that they can be portable. If you’re traveling a lot and miss your plants, you can simply place them in a jar and take them with you.

A common problem in terrariums though, is mold growth. The warm, humid environment creates perfect conditions for mold to take over and eat away at your plants. You can prevent mold growth by avoiding biodegradable items in your terrarium like sticks, leaves, and pine cones. Adding little creatures like springtails and isopods (aka rolly pollies) that feed on decomposing materials can also significantly reduce mold growth. 

How to Choose the Best Terrarium Plants

When choosing which plants you want in your terrarium, opt for smaller varieties of plants to avoid requiring you to keep sizing up your vessel. 

Take advantage of the high humidity terrarium conditions and choose humidity-loving plants. Look for plants in the terrarium or fairy garden section at your local nursery for options. 

Small and miniature orchids work really well in terrariums, growing only an inch or two high with pretty flowers. Peperomia Ripple (Peperomia caperata) grows well in a bigger jar and loves the terrarium environment. 

Asparagus ferns (Asparagus aethiopicus), the little tree plant (Biophytum sensitivum), jewel orchids (Ludisia discolor), and creeping figs (Ficus pumila) are also great plant options for terrariums.

How to Set Up a Terrarium 

Materials Needed: 

 

Step 1: Make a list of plants you want in your terrarium. Do a quick search of conditions they prefer, including light, temperature, and moisture. 

Step 2: For a humid-loving plant, choose a jar with a lid to maintain humidity. For a plant that needs to dry out a bit, opt for an open jar. You can find great jars secondhand at thrift stores or estate sales, but affordable glass jars are also available at home goods and craft stores.

Step 3: Layer your materials in your glass jar with horticultural charcoal, soil, and plants. Use aquarium tongs to place your plants in the soil and scissors to trim excess plant material. 

Step 4: Water your terrarium using distilled water. Use a spray bottle for moss and if you have rooted plants, pour a small amount of water onto the soil. 

Step 5: Add your bioactive creatures like springtails or isopods and place your lid on top for humidity-loving plants. (This is optional.)

Step 6: Put your completed jar in bright, indirect light and enjoy your new terrarium! 

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For a more in-depth look at building terrariums, vivariums, and paludariums, check out Patricia Buzo’s book, A Family Guide to Terrariums

About Bloom & Grow Radio Podcast

 Bloom & Grow Radio Podcast helps people care for plants successfully and cultivate more joy in their lives. Host Maria Failla, a former plant killer turned happy plant lady, interviews experts on various aspects of plant care, and encourages listeners to not only care for plants, but learn to care for themselves along the way.

About Our Interviewee

Patricia Buzo founded Doodle Bird Terrariums in 2008 out of her love of plants and creating unique works people would treasure. Each terrarium she creates is handcrafted using the highest grade plants and supplies, utilizing special tricks to carefully package these fragile vessels so they arrive safely.

Now, over 10 years later, she has authored the book A Family Guide to Terrariums, inspired many on her Instagram account, and has been featured in The New York Times.

​​Follow Lisa:

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VIDEO: Summer Rayne Oakes’ Festive Fall Urns

When it comes to turning a house into a home, Summer Rayne Oakes knows what she’s doing! With gorgeous urns, pretty patio plants, and a little help from Espoma Organic Potting Soil Mix and Perlite for quick root establishment and big blooms, this cozy meadow house got a welcoming entrance. Watch the full video below!

 

Learn more about Flock Finger Lakes here:

Website: homesteadbrooklyn.com

Instagram – @homesteadbrooklyn

YouTube – Summer Rayne Oakes

Twitter – @sroakes

Facebook – Summer Rayne Oakes

 

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VIDEO: Weedy Bed to Wonderous Garden with Summer Rayne Oakes

This huge, weedy bed next to a lovely meadow home was a welcome challenge for Summer Rayne Oakes. After weeks of hard work and a lot of Espoma Organic Bio-tone and Land & Sea Compost to help kick-start growth in the original soil, this bed has turned a new leaf. Watch the full transformation below!

 

Learn more about Flock Finger Lakes here:

Website: homesteadbrooklyn.com

Instagram – @homesteadbrooklyn

YouTube – Summer Rayne Oakes

Twitter – @sroakes

Facebook – Summer Rayne Oakes

 

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VIDEO: Succulent Success with Garden Answer!

Everyone loves an aesthetically-pleasing succulent arrangement, and with Garden Answer’s guidance, you can create one for your own home. Plus, with Espoma Organic’s Cactus Potting Mix full of the nutrients you need to set your succulents up for success, you can focus on having fun with the colors, shapes, and textures of these special plants! 

 

Learn more about Garden Answer here:

https://www.youtube.com/c/gardenanswer 

https://www.gardenanswer.com/

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https://www.instagram.com/gardenanswer/

 

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Popular Aroids to Add to Your Collection

This blog is inspired by Episode 153 of Bloom and Grow Radio Podcast, where host Maria Failla interviewed Enid Offolter, owner of NSE Tropicals.

​​Aroids have always been fascinating with their different leaf shapes, structures, and textures, so it’s no surprise that this set of plants are blooming into popularity. In this blog we discuss five popular and unique aroids to add to your collection. This blog is definitely geared towards you curious-collector plant parent types out there, so let’s dive in!

What Are Aroids? 

Aroids are in the family Araceae, which includes many common houseplants like philodendrons, anthuriums, monsteras, ZZ plants, and pothos. Many of these are “moderate light” plants indoors, mimicking their natural growing conditions as understory plants outdoors. To learn more about aroids check out our blog, “What’s An Aroid?

Why Are Aroids So Popular? 

Aroids grow well indoors, which helps their popularity because plant parents can grow them easily. They are surprisingly hardy and difficult to kill. Most aroids are also easy to propagate and share with other plant lovers. They come in many different forms too: big round leaves that give you a tropical look, skinny leaves, and three-inch tall all the way up to three-feet tall aroids. 

Now that you’ve learned a bit about aroids, let’s jump into 5 unique aroids that would be great additions to any plant collection. 

5 Popular & Unique Aroids

Unique Aroid #1: Philodendron tortum 

Philodendron tortum has long, skinny leaflets that look similar to a fern and prefers to climb. New growth emerges like a corkscrew and plants can grow about 18 inches to two-feet tall. It’s a fascinating philodendron that adds interesting textures to your collection. 

Being pretty easy to care for, Philodendron tortum doesn’t create much drama or stress. It prefers indoor light conditions at mid-range to bright light with well-draining soil. 

 

Unique Aroid #2: Philodendron bernardopazzii

Next up is Philodendron bernardopazzii with its glossy green leaves and lighter veins down the center. Long, narrow leaves can grow up to three feet in a large enough environment, and form a slender heart shape. The stems also have a bit of red in them. 

Philodendron bernardopazzii is another aroid that’s easy to care for. Give it something to climb for support and it will be even happier. It prefers mid-range to bright light and well-draining soil. 

 

Unique Aroid #3: Anthurium veitchii

Anthurium veitchii has a long leaf that’s corrugated with ribs all the way down its heart shape. Leaves are about eight-inches wide and can grow up to five-feet long in a beautiful shade of green.

Its care can be slightly more difficult than the previous two aroids. It needs more humidity than philodendrons and better placement. Because it can grow long, try growing Anthurium veitchii in a hanging basket or on top of a pedestal. It can get by on a little less light than the above philodendrons, but still prefers medium light. Make sure you plant it in well draining soil. 

 

Unique Aroid #4: Anthurium ‘Selby’s Silver’

Anthurium ‘Selby’s Silver’ is named in honor of Selby Botanical Gardens in Sarasota, Florida. This aroid can grow in much smaller pots with its small, clumping leaves. It stays relatively normal in size with leaves about three-inches long. Its new leaves are reddish, so you’re likely to have all different color leaves growing at the same time.

Anthurium ‘Selby’s Silver’ is another that’s a bit more delicate than a philodendron. Opt for a well-draining soil like our Organic Potting Soil Mix combined with our Organic Charcoal to add even better drainage. These aroids prefer a decent amount of humidity and medium light as well. 

 

Unique Aroid #5: Philodendron distantilobum

And finally we have Philodendron distantilobum. This climbing aroid has a similar leaf shape to  Philodendron tortum, but much wider. New growth also has the corkscrew curl as well. Provide some extra support for this climber, since it attaches to structures as it grows. 

Similar to the other philodendrons, medium to bright light and well draining soil is preferred. 

 

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Want to know more about aroids and unique houseplants? Check out Enid Offolter’s new book, Welcome to the Jungle: Rare Tropical Houseplants to Collect, Grow, and Love

 

About Bloom & Grow Radio Podcast

 

Bloom & Grow Radio Podcast helps people care for plants successfully and cultivate more joy in their lives. Host Maria Failla, a former plant killer turned happy plant lady, interviews experts on various aspects of plant care, and encourages listeners to not only care for plants, but learn to care for themselves along the way.

 

About Our Interviewee

 

NSE Tropicals is well known for its large selection of hard-to-find anthuriums, philodendrons, and other unusual plants. Their online store is dedicated to bringing the odd, unusual, rare, exotic or seemingly unattainable to fellow collectors. 

 

Enid Offolter of NSE Tropicals just released her new book, Welcome to the Jungle: Rare Tropical Houseplants to Collect, Grow, and Love. This book is all about unusual aroids and how to care for them. It profiles 50 plants that aren’t so common in the plant trade and you certainly won’t find at big box stores. 

​​Follow Enid & NSE Tropicals:

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