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8 Terror-ific Plants to Spookify your Home & Garden for Halloween

Pumpkin-picking isn’t the only way to get into the Halloween spirit! With dark shades, peculiar shapes, and scientific names plucked right from the mad scientist’s shelf, plants are a crafty way to give your home and garden a spooky touch your trick-or-treaters will love. Plus, if October isn’t enough to motivate you, these eight plant picks are a great way to spice up your space year-round!

 

‘Black Velvet’ Elephant EarAlocasia reginula

This striking plant earns the name ‘Black Velvet’ for its gothic, nearly black foliage accented by silvery-white veins. This tropical houseplant, a dwarf variety of the Elephant Ear plant, loves warm, moist places and well-drained soil. We suggest a 50/50 combination of our Espoma Organic Potting Soil and Espoma Organic Cactus Mix to keep those ‘Black Velvet’ leaves nice and spooky!

 

‘Black Prince’ EcheveriaEcheveria affinis

Everyone loves a cutesy succulent, but a ‘Black Prince’ Echeveria is the key to adding some drama to your arrangement. Accented by salmon to red-colored flowers in the fall and early winter, this deep purple, nearly black succulent provides spooktacular color contrast against typical green succulents. Water sparingly and keep the ‘Black Prince’ in the bright light to prevent the dark foliage from fading. 

 

Venus FlytrapDionaea muscipula

Dun dun… dun dun… it’s everyone’s favorite insect-eating, horror-movie-starring plant: the Venus flytrap! The carnivorous Venus flytrap has “jaws” that can snap shut in less than a second, and while they’re nowhere near as frightening as Halloween decorations make them out to be, this plant can be a unique, scary-cool addition to your little garden of horrors. 

 

Doll’s EyesActaea pachypoda

Doll’s eyes plant, also called white baneberry, has an alien appearance with creepy clusters of eyeball-like berries. A slow-growing perennial, Doll’s eyes plant is best planted during late fall or early spring, and it can be a low-maintenance, ornamental addition to your garden, especially with a boost from Espoma Organic Flower-Tone. Just beware of the plant’s berries because they are very toxic if ingested. (Eye wouldn’t be caught dead eating one!)

 

Raven ZZZamioculcas zamiifolia

A group of ravens may be called an unkindness, but there’s nothing mean-spirited about the easy-to-grow Raven ZZ! One of the most loved and sought after houseplants for plant parents and interior designers alike, its shiny, dark foliage and upright form make it a bold way to add a gothic element to your space. To keep a Raven healthy, don’t overwater it!

 

Ornamental PeppersCapsicum annuum

Want some witchy fingers clawing through your garden? Give your Halloween decor a little pepper-power with ornamental peppers! Coming in a variety of funky shapes and colors, including vibrant oranges, reds, greens, and purples, you can enjoy these plants before the first frost sets in by keeping them in a container in the fall months. 

 

Dracula OrchidDracula vampira

Based on its name, it’s no surprise that the Dracula Orchid would be a perfect addition to your home and garden this Halloween. At the center of the bloom, the plant has a vampire-like (or for the Netflix buffs, a Demogorgon-like) mouth that looks ready to bite you. Want to add a festive touch? Wrap your container in a cape and paint it red down the sides to give your Dracula Orchid the proper outfit. 

 

 

GarlicAllium sativum

More of a vampire hunter than a Twilight lover? Time to stock up on garlic. Folklore has taught us that garlic is the best way to ward off vampires, and in addition to its protective properties, allium vegetables also do very well this time of year. Kickstart the bulb-planting process with our Espoma Organic Bio-Tone Starter Plus

 

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Espoma’s All Purpose Potting Mix and Indoor! fertilizer will help ensure those peculiar plants grow healthy and strong. We hope these eight plants help you and your garden get in the Halloween spirit! Have a spooky suggestion we left out?

 

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VIDEO: Buzzing with Joy Over Summer Rayne Oakes’ Pollination Garden.

Variety is the key to pollination, and Summer Rayne Oakes has it down tenfold with over 160 species of plants in her garden at Flock Finger Lakes. Want to know what really makes it buzz? Espoma Organic Bio-tone Starter Plus, of course!

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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Beginners Guide to Growing Cut Flowers

Beginners Guide to Growing Cut Flowers

Growing flowers in your garden can be as appealing as growing food, because not only are flowers beautiful, but they’re pollinator magnets. Let’s get into the basics of growing cut flowers. 

This blog is inspired by Episode 128 of Bloom and Grow Radio Podcast, where host Maria Failla interviewed Brooklyn Sherri, owner of Petal and Herb Farm.

Why Are Seed Packets Important? 

Seed packets can be crucial in helping you understand all the components that go into growing your cut flower garden. They provide information on when to plant, how long until germination, plant description, growing habits, how deep the seed should be planted, and helpful details on growth and harvesting. Make sure you do your homework on the seed company of your choosing to make sure they fit your needs. 

What Is My Growing Zone? 

Your growing zone helps you determine how long your frost-free growing season is. If you’re in the U.S., you can find your USDA plant hardiness zone by entering your zip code. 

Once you find your hardiness zone, you can also search for the last frost date in your zip code. Your first and last frost dates will show you how many frost-free growing days you have in a season. This can help you figure out when to plant each of your cut flower varieties. 

What Growing Conditions Do Flowers Need? 

Most flowers prefer well-draining soil. If you’re starting with clay soil that tends to hold water, you want to amend it with compost or peat moss to provide more drainage. Additionally, you can mix in bagged garden soil, like Espoma’s Vegetable & Flower Garden Soil to add structure and drainage. 

Sun needs will also vary by flower, but a general rule is 6 hours of direct sun for flowers. Whether you’re direct sowing seeds outdoors or transplanting plants, make sure each variety is in a location with enough sun. 

Water requirements for annual flowers may be higher during Summer months, but in general, deep, infrequent watering is best. About one inch of water per week is enough. 

Fertilizing requirements will depend on the specific flower you’re growing. If you notice foliage yellowing, it can often mean your plant is low in nitrogen. Or if you have lots of green foliage but no blooms, that could indicate you have a phosphorous problem. Try Espoma’s Flower-Tone Fertilizer to get large, healthy blooms. 

 

Now that you know basic care for growing cut flowers, check out our list of the 7 best flowers to grow from seed as a beginner

1) Sunflowers

Sunflowers are some of the easiest annual flowers to grow from seed. You can directly sow them outdoors in full sun with minimal effort. They come in so many sizes and colors too! 

2) Zinnias

Zinnias are another easy annual flower to grow from seed in full sun. They only take about 60-70 days to bloom from seed, and there are tons of varieties like double flowered, dwarfs, cactus, and giant zinnias. They also come in a wide range of stunning colors! 

3) Daisies

Unlike sunflowers and zinnias, daisies are a perennial flower that will come back year after year. You can start them from seed outdoors as long as you keep them moist for up to twenty days. Otherwise, they grow great from transplants and continue to spread every year. They come in whites, yellows, pinks, and reds.

4) Sweet Peas

Sweet peas are an annual flower that can deal with cooler temperatures. Plant them in very early Spring and you’ll have beautiful pastel bouquets in a couple of months. Since they are vining plants, give them something to climb like a trellis.

5) Snapdragons

While snapdragons will need to be started from seed indoors 2-3 months before your last frost, the payoff in blooms will be worth it. Pay attention to the seed packet for best germination methods. The more you cut snapdragon blooms and create branching, the more blooms you’ll get. And snapdragons come in so many different colors that you’ll be creating gorgeous bouquets for weeks! 

6) Cosmos

Cosmos are another easy-to-grow annual that produce tons of Summer blooms. They come in a variety of heights and colors, and their long, slender stems make for an easy addition to any cut flower bouquet.

7) Strawflower

And finally we have the humble, yet unmistakable strawflower. This annual is another easy-to-grow flower from seed that can handle any soil quality you have. Its textured petals feel similar to straw and make gorgeous cut or dried flower bouquets. 

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To give your cut flowers a healthy start, try using Espoma’s Flower-Tone Fertilizer during the growing season for larger, more abundant blooms. 

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

Brooklyn Sherri is a flower farmer with many skills. She runs her own flower farm, Petal & Herb, where they produce flowers, vegetables, berries, herbs, and microgreens all on 5 acres of land in Colorado. Brooklyn also hosts Ya Grandma’s Garden & Houseplants on Clubhouse and teaches horticulture at The Cool Choice to improve the opportunities for children and families in her neighborhood. 

​​Follow Brooklyn:

Instagram

Petal and Herb Farm

Ya Grandma’s Garden & Houseplants on Clubhouse

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VIDEO: Perennial Planting with Garden Answer!

It’s a beautiful day for planting some beautiful perennials! Take it from Garden Answer: a little bit of Espoma Organic Bio-tone Starter Plus goes a long way in getting them off to a great start.

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Kaleb Wyse: My Annual Plant Haul

Kaleb Wyse, an enthusiastic fourth-generation Iowan gardener, made Wyse Guide as an outlet for his passions in gardening and cooking. This Spring, he’s sharing with us his seasonal plant haul, complete with colorful foliage, fun ferns, and cute succulents. You can watch the full video below:

 

To start off with, Kaleb picked out some of his go-to annuals to fill in his yard with foliage. He grabbed some Helichrysum plants, a Limelight variety, which he thinks will pair beautifully with the yellow stripes of his Americana Agave. Kaleb also brought home some Purple Lady, Amethyst Falls (an ornamental oregano), and Variegated Lemon.

Kaleb was also excited to fill up his hanging pots with greenery. He had a problem, though. He loves the look of hanging ferns, but with a west-facing porch, he was concerned about sunlight. Luckily, over the years, he’s learned that Kimberly Queen Ferns thrive in full sun. He took a few of those and added some fun succulents around them, like String of Pearls and Senacios. Kaleb also made sure there was plenty of room for the plants to grow, so the baskets still look great when July comes around.

Before adding in his fun plants, though, Kaleb needed to make sure his greenery had all the right nutrients. He started by pouring some Espoma Organic Potting Mix into his hanging containers. This soil is great because it is so versatile and can be used on all indoor and outdoor container plants. Kaleb also added in a bit of Espoma Organic Garden-Tone. While Kimberly Queens don’t need a lot of food, it’s great to add just a little extra nutrients to help them thrive.

Kaleb ended with some words of wisdom for fellow gardeners: “Guess what, it’s not as hard as it looks. We make mistakes, things die, things grow. In the end it just makes us happy, and that’s what matters.” Stay tuned for more tips from Kaleb on Wyse Guide and right here on our own blog!

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Video: Garden Answer’s Two New Perennials for 2023: Heliopsis & Agastache!

Who else is excited two see Garden Answer’s two beautiful new perennials in the ground? Follow along and see how a bit of Espoma Organic Land & Sea Gourmet Compost gets the soil just right prior to planting.

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VIDEO: Planting Begonias & Impatiens with Garden Answer!

First up for Garden Answer’s Annuals in 2022: Begonias & Impatiens! As she gets these in the ground, some Espoma Organic Bio-tone Starter Plus will help get them off to a great start!

 

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Video: Planting Moss Containers for Spring

Take a look at how Laura from @GardenAnswer plants spring moss containers with the help of Espoma! 

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Cutting Flowers and Planting Fall Crops with Garden Answer

Follow along as Laura from @Garden Answer cuts some especially beautiful flowers for some friends! Stick around as she provides some helpful tips for cutting flowers and to see which Espoma products she uses while planting fall crops!

 

 

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