Video: Planting Fall Crops for Harvest with Garden Answer

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Dividing Aloe for Containers

Separating large aloe plants into several smaller ones is a wonderful way to propagate new plants to share with friends and family or to use in other projects. It’s also a great way to save money. The large Gold Tooth Aloe Laura from Garden Answer divides in this video cost $22 and produced over 20 new plants.

Aloes are desert plants that are hardy in zones 9-11, or to about 20 degrees Fahrenheit.  In cooler regions they may be grown in containers and brought indoors for the winter. Aloe is a clump-forming plant meaning they naturally produce many baby plants called offsets. Mature plants flower in late spring and early summer with bright orange-red blossoms that attract pollinators.

Six Steps to Separating the Offsets

  1. Gently slide the plant out of its container
  2. Wear gloves when handling succulents with sharp foliage
  3. Carefully tease the soil away from the roots
  4. Select an offset and follow its stem down to the spot that it’s attached to the main plant
  5. Break it off with gentle pressure, take your time to remove all of the others
  6. Remove dead, damaged or dried up leaves

Replanting the Mother Plant

It is always best to use fresh soil when repotting since the nutrients in the nursery potting soil are likely used up. All succulents and cacti need a free-draining, organic, potting soil like Espoma’s Cactus Mix. Roots will rot in wet soil. The main plant will still have plenty of roots and can be repotted. Wait to water it for about a week to allow the leaf scars to callous over. This helps to prevent disease and infections.

Photo courtesy of Garden Answer

Replanting the Offsets

The offsets all have open wounds where they were broken off from the main plant. The wounds need several days to dry and callus over. One method involves letting them dry on a table in bright, but indirect sunlight for 5-7 days before planting. They may also be planted right away but not watered in for a week.

Care and Feeding

Aloe prefers full sun to light shade. These plants are drought-resistant but container plants benefit from some extra water during the hottest days of summer. Feed regularly with an organic fertilizer like Espoma’s Cactus! Always follow the package directions.

Check out these blogs for more information about growing succulents and the secrets to their care.

Easy, Breeze Houseplants the Cool Your Home

How to Care For Succulents and Cacti in Winter

Succulent Success – What’s the Secret?

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Everything Old Can Be New Again with Terrariums

Terrariums are back in style and they’re a fun, easy way to grow and showoff your plants. Terrariums are made of glass and are generally enclose or have a few holes in the cover to provide fresh air. The glass cover traps humidity and recycles it as water, keeping waterings to a minimum. Air holes allow air to circulate and keep the condensation down so that you can see the plants. If your container’s lid doesn’t have air holes, just take the top off from time to time. This is a great way to grow ferns indoors because they need humidity to thrive.


You may not be familiar with hydrostone, a product used for the base layer. It’s a soilless growing media that feels like pumice. It helps deliver the perfect balance of air and water to your plants. It’s a 100 percent recycled product, made in the United States.

Begin by adding a one inch layer of hydrostone in your glass container. Top that with a solid layer of sphagnum moss. This helps hold the soil in place and keeps the stone layer looking clean. Next, add an inch or so of Espoma’s Potting Mix.

Choose your plants. Laura uses maidenhair ferns because they require a high level of humidity, which work perfectly for this type of container. Birds nest ferns and staghorn ferns also work well and look terrific with the curly foliage of the maidenhair ferns. Fern displays are all about texture. Gently remove the plants from their pots and shake off as much soil as you can before nestling them into the new container. Top with a bit more potting soil if necessary.

Decorate the top layer with more moss, rocks, miniature fairy garden figures or natural products like pinecones. Whatever you think will look beautiful is the best choice. Leave one little spot of the top soil open. This way you can look at it to gauge how wet or dry the soil is. Mist soil lightly.

At first, it’s a good idea to check your container once a week for watering needs. In general, they’ll only need water about once a month but each terrarium is slightly different. Don’t kill it with kindness, in other words, don’t over water it. Set your new creation in bright light but not direct sun light as the glass can act as a magnifying glass creating too much heat. Fertilize every other month with Espoma’s Indoor! Liquid fertilizer. Now, sit back and enjoy your very chic looking new art project.

Check out Garden Answer’s terrarium video.

Espoma Products for Fern Terrariums!


Succulent Pot in a Pot

Social media is blowing up with a new trend – the Succulent Pot in a Pot. It is a fun way to make a succulent arrangement that is a little out of the norm.

Basically, it is creating a potted succulent “floral” arrangement inside another pot. You use a small container for the base of your arrangement and place it on its side in the larger container. You fill in the area above the small pot with succulents so, when you look down into the larger pot, you’ll see a beautiful “floral” arrangement made out of succulents.

It might seem a bit complicated in the explanation, but this project is simple, fun and adorable to look at all year long.

Step 1 – Fill Your Large Container

Grab a container that has proper drainage as succulents don’t like to be in too much water. Use an aerating soil, like Espoma’s Organic Cactus Mix to fill your container one inch from the brim. This will allow room for you to sink in the smaller container and plant your succulents.

Step 2 – Lay in Your Small Container

Gently sink your smaller container into the soil. You want the bottom half of it to be buried, so the finished product will look right.

Step 3 – Place Your Plants

Starting towards the opening of the smaller pot, place your succulents the same way you would make an upright arrangement. Get creative with the plant use and layout. Go with contrasting colors or various shades of the same. Laura wanted this to be an ode to Valentine’s Day and went with shades of pinks, yellows and light greens.

*Expert Tip: Dress up your soil with pebbles, mulch or even miniature succulents to disguise the soil and give it a more polished look.

Care Instructions

Take care of this arrangement the same way you would any other arrangement. If you used any cuttings, give it a week to allow them to heal before watering it in. When watering try to avoid watering the tops of the succulents – get as close to the soil as possible. Be mindful that in the winter, you may only need to water it every 10 to 14 days. While in the summer, you will be watering it once a week.


Garden Answer’s Top 5 Low Light Houseplants (Extended Version)

Sometimes the perfect place for a houseplant has little to no light. But that won’t  stop these low light houseplants from growing big and healthy. Laura from Garden Answer shows off her favorites and gives tips to keep them healthy.

Watch the quick version and see instructions here.



Espoma Organic Potting Soil Mix





Top 5 Low Light Houseplants

Houseplants are great for adding color, décor, texture or even a little bit of health to any space in your home. Sometimes the best place to put a houseplant isn’t the most ideal for the plant, but with these low light houseplants, they will thrive in even the darkest corners. Don’t forget, these plants can go anywhere indoors, like an office space that can use a little life.

Garden Answer’s Favorite Low-Light Plants

Peace Lily

Not many plants that tolerate low light areas have blooms, but this one does! It has interesting green or white flowers that are the same texture as the foliage, which is dark and glossy. The flowers bloom for long periods of time. Peace lilies can grow 18 to 36 inches tall and wide, depending on the container you have them in. Water every week or so, be sure not to overwater, and as a friendly reminder the foliage will droop if it needs more water.


This houseplant thrives in places out of direct sunlight and is super low maintenance, so place them wherever you want to enjoy them. They can be planted in hanging baskets or on ledges to allow the foliage to drape over and trail down. Water every 10 to 14 days.


Also known as a Mother-in-law’s tongue or a snake plant, this houseplant has striking foliage that grows upward. It is a very modern plant that comes in different shapes, sizes and colors, so it will truly work with any decor. It is very low maintenance — just keep an eye on the foliage for wilting and water about every two weeks when the soil is completely dry. In the winter, you may go a month between waterings. Add water away from the plant – never pour over the leaves.

Spider Plant

This is another interesting plant to add to any space. It is multigenerational, meaning it is easy to propagate and pass on to others (even kids and grandkids) to start their own. The name Spider Plant comes from the off shoots on the foliage. They look like little spiders hanging from a web. Pinch an off shoot (or spider) and plant it in a pot with fresh Espoma Potting Soil to start a new plant. Water once a week to keep them happy.

ZZ Plant

The dark green healthy foliage on this plant is worth noting, though it isn’t always that way. The foliage starts off bright green when it is freshly planted and will darken as time goes on. While other plants can get little burns from being indoors, the ZZ plant is hardy enough to withstand anything, even the darkest of corners. This is probably the toughest plant of this list.

Remember, low-light houseplants need time to absorb water, so allow them to dry out in between watering. The peace lily is the only exception, as they prefer it a bit moist. Use a damp cloth to wipe down the leaves every month or so. This will help keep your plants looking better as dust settles on them. Be sure to keep the cloth damp as they need humidity to survive too. In addition to the cloth, spray a mist over the foliage with distilled water to amp up the humidity around the plant.

Feed your houseplants regularly with Espoma’s Indoor! liquid plant food. It is an all-purpose houseplant food to help give them the nutrients they need. Lastly, be sure to check the roots every six months to see if you need to move your plants to a bigger pot.



Espoma Organic Potting Soil Mix





Fixer Upper: Chicken Coop Edition

Why did the chicken cross the road? To get to Brooklyn’s newest chicken coop!

Summer Rayne Oakes from Homestead Brooklyn crowdsourced funds and donations to build a new chicken coop and garden for Los Sures, a non-profit senior citizen service center. Summer currently fosters Kippee, a Rhode Island hen, in her Brooklyn apartment and embarked on this project in an effort to build Kippee a new home.

Summer is an environmental scientist and entomologist by training. She’s changing the way we think about everything from how to care for houseplants to how we connect our community.

Los Sures’ mission is to develop and preserve sustainable communities in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. They build affordable housing, participate in community service, and even have a food program. The organization originally started to help improve the borough in the seventies.

Summer worked alongside Zach Williams, the food access manager at Los Sures, to purchase tools and equipment for the chicken coop. With the help of the community, the chicken coop was erected in a single day. The Espoma Company was happy to help by donating Sani-Care animal bedding, Sani-Care Odor Control, Bio-tone Starter Plus fertilizer, and Garden Soil.

Sani-Care animal bedding is an all-natural product, manufactured using a blend of NIH approved premium hardwoods that includes beech, birch and maple. Sani-Care Odor Control helps to mitigate the odor of chicken feces.

Summer and Los Sures built a top-notch chicken coop! The chicken coop and garden will serve a variety of purposes for the organization. The chickens provide eggs which contribute to Los Sures’ food program and pantry.

Want to see more about the chickens at Los Sures? See how Homestead Brooklyn creates a garden just for the chickens to enjoy!

Espoma Chicken Coop Essentials


DIY Easter Rabbit Garden


Laura from Garden Answer shows you how to make a spring Easter basket! It’s the perfect decor to add to any spring festivities. In just a few minutes, you can create your own Easter rabbit garden to use as a centerpiece for your holiday dinner or decor accent.

For this project, you’ll need:

  • Spring basket
  • Removable basket liner
  • Espoma’s Organic Potting Mix
  • French lavender
  • Celosia
  • Branches
  • Spray paint
  • Reindeer moss
  • Seasonal fairy gardening elements