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Top 4 Houseplants to Give and Get this Holiday Season

There’s so much to love about the holiday season — the cooking and baking, the time spent with family and friends, and the festive plants. Poinsettias or a blooming Christmas cactus are compact yet boast of holiday spirit. The more plants, the merrier!

With just a little care, holiday houseplants can continue to thrive throughout the year. Knowing how to care for them helps to keep them beautiful. Repot later if needed.

So whether you’re getting or giving holiday houseplants, use these tips to help keep them blooming.

How to Care for Holiday Favorites

poinsettia

Poinsettia: No other plant quite marks the beginning of the holiday season like the poinsettia. With more than 100 varieties available today in colors of red, white, pink and more, this plant can be found just about everywhere during the holidays.

First things first, don’t let poinsettias get cold on the ride home from the store. Keep trips and exposure to cold as short as possible. Once home, these cheery plants thrive on six hours of indirect light a day away from cold drafts and need proper watering. When the plant needs water, remove the decorative foil and let soak in a few inches of water for an hour or so. Let excess drain and rewrap.

Tip: Take the poinsettia out of its foil and place it in a decorative container.

Norfolk Island pine: A mini Christmas tree, this festive plant looks lovely when adorned with mini lights and homemade ornaments or just plain on its own.

Give pines about six to eight hours of light per day. Any less and lower branches are likely to drop. Water when dry to the touch. Fertilize Norfolk Island pines bi-monthly with our new liquid houseplant fertilizer to keep them happy and healthy.

Tip: Pines can last for years and be decorated for other seasons as well!

christmas-cactus

Christmas cactus: Though this cactus is known for blooming around Christmas, it’ll stay strong throughout the year and periodically rebloom. It’s ruffled flowers range in color from reds to pinks to oranges and creams.

Give this plant bright indirect light and place outdoors in a semi-shady spot during summer months. Allow plant to become slightly dry between waterings.  Keeps this holiday plant reblooming for years to come by giving it a rest during the fall and placining it in the dark for about six to eight weeks, encouraging new blooms.

Tip: No matter how diligent you are about care, bloom time may vary based on variety. Whether or not it blooms in time for the holidays, you’ll still have winter blooms to enjoy.

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Cyclamen: Cyclamen’s bright flowers in pink, white or red are great for adding a pop of color where you need it. With the right conditions, they can bloom for more than eight weeks.

Cyclamen likes light, but not super-bright light. Keep the temperature consistent and deadhead spent flowers and leaves. Pour water in a saucer and let the plant absorb it for 15 to 20 minutes.

Tip: During the summer, cyclamen’s foliage turns yellow and dies back. This is their dormant period when they’re storing energy for the next flowering season.

Any houseplant can grow with the proper care. Learn how here.

Five Reasons to be Thankful for Houseplants

While you’re counting your blessings and listing those things you’re grateful for this Thanksgiving, don’t forget to include houseplants. Indoor plants provide a pop of color and interesting texture to any space.

Houseplants are more than just a pretty face, though. They impact our everyday lives by cleaning the air and reducing stress. Give houseplants everything they need to grow and they’ll pay you back.

potting soil, houseplant care

Here are the Top Five Reasons to Be Thankful for Houseplants

1. Indoor Plants Purify the Air

Studies from the US Environmental Protection Agency 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. Houseplants such as bromeliads, spider plants and dracaena, remove the harmful compounds frequently found in homes and offices, produced by cleaning supplies, paint, furniture glue and nail polish remover.

2. Houseplants help us relax

Researchers have found that being around plants—especially indoors, can reduce stress and help us feel happier and more relaxed. You can never have too many houseplants so choose one, or 10 that work for you.

3. Plants Make Us Smarter

Having a plant around can enhance learning abilities by improving our concentration, focus and problem-solving skills. Make sure to place houseplant in home offices, studying spaces and at work.

4. They Improve Our Physical Health

Plants offer physical benefits, too. One study found that adding plants to office spaces reduces headaches, coughs and sore throats. And employees typically use fewer sick days.

Know someone in the hospital? Bring them a plant. A Kansas State University studied found that patients in rooms with plants request less pain medication, have lower heart rates and blood pressure, experience less fatigue and anxiety and are discharged sooner.

5. They’re easy to care for

Seniors feel better and more fulfilled when they take care of houseplants (or pets). Keeping plants healthy, helps make us more socially connected and happy. There’s a perfect plant out there for anyone, and certain plants, such as sansevieria and zz plant, are surprisingly low maintenance .

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

A Plant Today Keeps the Doctor Away

For most of us, the outdoor gardening season is winding down. Yet, we want to keep that green thumb moving!

Channel your gardening energy indoors. A green-filled oasis awaits you! Add a few indoor plants today!

potted-cactus succulent

Top 3 Reasons Why You Can Never Have Enough Houseplants

Plants add a pop of color and a burst of life to spaces. But, they do even more.

  1. Pollution Solution. Indoor plants scrub the air clean by removing toxins, according to NASA research. Houseplants remove 87 percent of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that are in everything from rugs and grocery bags to paint and vinyl.
  2. Find Your Focus. Houseplants increase well-being by 47 percent, increase creativity by 45 percent and increase productivity by 38 percent, according to new research.
  3. Combat Colds. Powerful indoor plants can reduce fatigue, coughs, sore throats and other cold-related illnesses by more than 30 percent, found the University of Agriculture in Norway.

orchid houseplant

Caring for Houseplants is Easy

Houseplants provide us with all those benefits and ask for very little in return. Here’s all they need!

  1. Strong Soil. Organic potting soil packed with nutrients, enriched with Myco-tone® and fortified with worm castings sets houseplants up for success. Whether you’re planting new or repotting old plants, use an organic soil.
  2. Light It Right. Check your plant tag to see how much sun your plant needs.
  3. Wow with Water. Water most houseplants when the top of the soil feels dry. Only water succulents and cacti when the soil is completely dry.
  4. Fuel with Organic Fertilizer. . Fertilize houseplants with an organic fertilizer such as Indoor! during active periods of growth. This is usually during the spring and summer.

Those happy houseplants will make you smile every day! Check out Espoma’s “Houseplant” Pinterest board for more inspiration and ideas!

Plant African Violets for a Pop of Color

Plant an African Violet in 9 Easy Steps:

Growing African violets is an easy way to add a burst of color inside – even in the dead of winter. These small flowers pack a punch with their bold color and dark, thick leaves.

To keep your African violet blooming all year long, follow these tips.

How to Pick, Plant and Care for African Violets:

  1. Pick the perfect plant. Select a healthy African violet in your choice of color that has dark green, spot-free leaves. Look for a plant with one growing center, known as a single crown, to get the most blooms.
  2. Start strong. Choose an organic potting soil made specifically for African violets, such as Espoma Organic African Violet Mix. A specially-formulated organic soil gives violets the right amount of air and drainage and is safe for people and pets, too.
  3. Choose a container. Use a pot made for azaleas or African violets, which has the right amount of drainage holes and a deep saucer. Avoid deep pots, which can cause roots to rot.
  4. Plant magic. Gently remove the African violet from its current pot without damaging roots. Next, give roots enough room to spread out. Pack any remaining holes with soil.
  5. Home sweet home. Place your African violet in a room-temperature spot with lots of indirect, natural light. Avoid direct sunlight, which can burn leaves. Be sure to rotate once a week for even growth.
  6. Water right. Only water your violet when the soil is dry to the touch. Then, fill the pot’s saucer, and allow the roots absorb the amount of water they need. After an hour, dump any remaining water to avoid over watering.
  7. Feed weekly. To keep your violet blooming and healthy, feed once a week with an organic plant food such as Espoma Gro-tone. This applies to all houseplants, too!
  8. Stop suckers. If you spot new growth, called suckers, on the main stem of your flower, remove them. Suckers can lead to misshapen plants.
  9. Repot. Repot large African violets once to twice a year and smaller ones twice per year. Choose a new pot that is 1/3 the diameter of the plant.

Enjoy the beautiful colors of your new African violets! Then, share your experience or why you love this purple flower today.