Posts

Plain as Day – Find Your Perfect Hydrangea

Who can resist color-changing blooms as huge as snowballs?!

No one! That’s why no garden is complete until it has at least one hydrangea. With their picturesque foliage and magical blooms, these flower shrubs are a constant delight. Plus, hydrangeas are easy to care for — as long as you pick the right variety for your space.

Before choosing what hydrangea to grow, answer these questions. Then check out our hydrangea varieties guide to pick the best for your garden.

hydrangea care, hydrangea color, growing hydrangas

Couldn’t Ask for More! Questions to Ask Before Choosing a Hydrangea

Growing hydrangeas is easy! Simply answer these questions to find a hydrangea variety that will thrive in your garden.

1. How much sun do hydrangeas need? Most hydrangea varieties like a blast of full sun in the morning followed by a nap in the afternoon shade. Though, be sure to check since there are a few hydrangeas that thrive in full sun.

2. What hydrangea color do you want? While color of hydrangeas may seem important, it’s actually not! You can turn blue hydrangeas pink and vice versa. Hydrangea color and saturation all depend on the soil acidity. The only exception? White hydrangeas don’t change color.

3. What size hydrangea would you like? Hydrangeas come in small, medium or large-size. Larger varieties can grow up to 20’ tall and 18’ wide while dwarf hydrangeas are only 3-5’ tall and wide. No matter the size of your garden, you can find a hydrangea that works — even in container gardens.

4. What type of hydrangea to grow? Depending on what type of hydrangea you grow, it needs to be pruned at different times. Make note of what type of hydrangea you have to make pruning easy later on. Here are a few of the most common hydrangeas: bigleaf, oakleaf, panicle and smooth.

5. Is the hydrangea evergreen or deciduous? Evergreen hydrangeas, as their name implies, stay green all year. Most hydrangeas are deciduous shrubs, so they shed their leaves annually.

 

Make Like a Garden and Grow

This year, let’s grow your best garden yet! All you need is a sturdy pencil, a blank notebook and a vivid imagination. You’ll almost be able to smell wild lavender and delicate roses.

With a detailed garden plan, your organic garden blooms right off the page.

 Grow On! How to Plan Your Dream Garden

1. Reflect to Perfect. Think about last year’s garden. Jot down all your flowers, edibles and shrubs. Mark your favorite and most used plants. Cross off those that didn’t produce, succeed or required too much effort. What plants do you wish you had? What edibles did you spend too much on at the store? Add those to your plant list.

2. Wise Size. Sketch your current garden space. Should you expand or cut back? Consider if and where you’d like to place new garden beds, raised beds, containers or another vegetable garden. If this is your first garden, plan for 50-75 square feet.

garden plan, garden design3. Site for Light. With your garden design sketched, it’s time to color coordinate! Fill in each area with a different color based on how sunny or shady it is.

4. Single or Mingle. Tweak the list of plants you want to add, keep or remove. Then decide which plants you’ll cluster and which to keep separate. Pair plants with similar water, light and soil needs. Plan where to plant them, and circle the plants you’ll start from seed.

start seeds, plan garden5. Pick to Mix. Scrutinize your list to make sure you have a good mix of: plant types, scents, bloom times, beneficial plants, texture, sizes and color. Do the Safe Paws check to make sure all plants are safe for your pets.

Step back and admire your handiwork! In just a few short months, your hands will be in the soil making your garden plan spring to life.

Celebrate National Indoor Plant Week

Indoor plants are the superheroes of the plant world. They have the power to aid in concentration, increase productivity and even boost well-being.

To honor these green heroes, the third week of September is recognized as National Indoor Plant Week. So let’s celebrate!

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) ranks indoor air pollution as one of the top threats to public health. We spend as much as 90 percent of our lives indoors — so it’s time to add some greenery.

Houseplants are surprisingly easy to take care of with these six tips.

1. Bring them indoors. Many people place their houseplants outside in the summer, but when temperatures start to drop below 50º at night, it’s time to bring them in! Check houseplants for pests before moving them. Help houseplants to adjust by bringing them in at night and returning them outdoors during the day. Over the course of two weeks, gradually increase the amount of time plants spend indoors.

houseplant2. New space. Repot houseplants if they’re in need of some additional space. Select a pot that is at least 2” larger than your current container and transfer. Use Espoma’s Organic Potting Mix to fill the rest of the container.

houseplants

3. Pick the right spot. A houseplant lets you know the spot is right by maintaining healthy leaves. If there’s enough light for you to read by, there’s probably enough for a low-light houseplant. Avoid placing plants near heat or air conditioning ducts, on TVs, or between the curtains and a chilly window.

houseplants

4. Give them a drink. If the soil is dry about an inch below the surface, add water. But don’t overwater! It’s the number one cause of houseplant death. Collect excess water in a tray or saucer and never allow plants to sit in water.

houseplant

5. Stay Comfortable. Houseplants are happiest when temperatures are between 70 and 80ºF during the day and 10-15º cooler at night.

potting soil

6. Feed houseplants. Fertilize houseplants with an organic fertilizer such as Indoor! during active periods of growth. This is usually during the spring and summer.

With these tips, your houseplants will be looking their best in no time! Tell us about your favorite houseplant in the comments!

Make a Splash in the Garden for Your Labor Day Bash

Labor Day is about relaxing, having fun and soaking up every last second of summer. And, it’s the perfect time to reflect on all of your summertime garden accomplishments. Need you look any further than your pile of super-ripe tomatoes or your luscious roses

But just because summer is ending doesn’t mean your garden has to! Your garden can look as fabulous as ever for your Labor Day bash or just to head into fall with these late-summer gardening tips.

Tips to Display a Lavish Garden on Labor Day

  1. Aiding the Fading. Walk through the garden and remove any plants that are done for the season. Be sure to compost them!
  2. Love Late-Bloomers. Swap annuals that have stopped blooming or look less than stellar with late-summer blooming flowers. Plant these colorful annuals to end the summer with a bang: celosia, zinnias, salvia, chrysanthemum or pansies. Boost your blooms with organic Flower-tone.
  3. Include Fresh Food. Hosting a Labor Day party? Plan your menu and snacks by seeing what’s ready for harvest in your garden. Guests love hearing that you grew your organic fruits and veggies. Plus, the home grown flavors will blow them away. Here are some of our favorite garden-to-table recipes. Be sure your fall veggies are planted, too.
  4. Pose with a Rose. Pair your homegrown menu with a homegrown tablescape. Cut garden roses. Pop single flowers in unexpected containers and space them along your table. Intersperse with glass ball jars or votives that have a fresh sprig of herbs tied around them.
  5. Plant Permanent. Late summer and early fall are perfect for adding perennials. Plant fall-blooming perennials before your Labor Day party to add a splash of color to your garden. Black-eyed susan, asters, sedum, daylilies, coneflowers and yarrow will wow for years.
  6. A Breath of Fresh Air. The late-summer heat takes a lot out of your favorite plants in the garden. Give them a good watering before the party, so they’ll look their best!

Now, you’re ready to end the summer in style! A table filled with just-plucked edibles, fresh cut roses and friends and family… That’s the essence of summer.

How to Water Plants When It’s Hot

When it’s hot, dry and muggy, the only cure is a cold drink. Well, your plants think so, too.

The trick to keeping your garden hydrated during the hottest days is not to water more. It’s to water smarter. We’ll teach you how to conserve water and keep your garden and lawn looking good with these tips. garden tips

How to Smartly Shower Flowers and Lawns:

  1. Morning Glory. Water before 9 a.m. in summer. As the day heats up, water can evaporate before your plants have a chance to soak it up.
  2. Water Deeply. Deep watering is most effective since it goes right to the roots. Plan on deeply watering your garden frequently with a nice soak. Hold the hose on each plant and count to 20. 30 minutes after watering, ensure the soil is moist 8”
  3. Prep to Step. Step in the lawn before watering. If you leave footprints behind, water. Properly watered grass springs right back up.
  4. Precise Advice. Generally, plants, flowers and lawns need 1” of water a week. Use a rain gauge to make sure you’re not over or under watering. Check the gauge after it rains.
  5. Cool Tools. Add a soaker hose or automated drip irrigation system to save you tons of time and wasted water. Installing them is a project, but one that will pay off for many years to come!
  6. Clean Green. When watering, get right to the roots. Wetting plant leaves just goes to waste. Plus, wet leaves provide the perfect environment for mold and disease to thrive.
  7. Thank You Very Mulch! A garden with 2-3” of mulch can reduce water consumption by 25-50 percent. Since organic mulch decomposes, consistently add more mulch.

Nice! You’re saving water, and keeping your garden blooming! Treat yourself by hopping in the pool or sipping an ice-cold drink in the shade. You’ve earned it!

Don’t Leave Hanging Baskets Out to Dry…

Hanging baskets make great visual impacts when they are filled to the brim with bright summer blooms. They add instant color to any spot and are a sign of warm weather.

Though as days get hotter and the summer rolls on, hanging baskets can start to look tired: drooping blooms, minimal flowers and straggly plants.

Your hanging basket isn’t doomed. It just needs a good ol’ fashion pick-me-up.

Refresh your hanging baskets to keep them partying all summer long

Get ready to give your hanging baskets a make-over. With these tips, your hanging basket will be back in its prime in no time.

Photo Courtesy Proven Winners

Photo Courtesy Proven Winners

Take the Heat Off Hanging Baskets

  1. Test the Waters Hanging baskets need more water when temperatures rise. During the peak of summer’s heat, water baskets in the morning until water drips from the drainage holes. Check them again in the afternoon to see if they need more water. On windy days, hanging baskets dry out, so they will need even more water.
  2. Food for Thought. Feed hanging baskets  with an organic flower food, like Flower-tone or the new Bloom! liquid plant food. Because of how much water baskets need, nutrients are frequently flushed from the soil. Regular feedings give your hanging baskets the energy they need to shine and bloom continuously.
  3. Drop Dead Gorgeous Blooms. As flowers fade, pinch them off where they meet the stem. Deadheading hanging baskets keeps them producing flowers and prevents them from going to seed.
  4. Which to Switch. Not every flower blooms all summer. If one of your flowers is done blooming for the season, swap it out. Gently remove the flower, replace it with a vibrant plant and fill with an organic potting soil.
  5. What to Cut. When your hanging basket is looking a bit wild or leggy, cut it back by 1-2”.

Look at that! Your hanging baskets already look better. Keep up these tips throughout the summer to keep hanging baskets fresh, beautiful and blooming.

Make Your Pet Red, White, Blue for Some Green

Have you heard? Your 4th of July can be packed with far more than hot dogs, fireworks and parades. You can enter to win 100 bucks, too!

You’re only a photo and a contest entry away.

At Espoma, you know we love keeping pets safe, healthy and happy. So this year, we’re celebrating the Fourth of July by hosting our first-ever Patriotic Pet Photo Contest.

To enter, snap a darling picture of your patriotic pet. With this keepsake, you really win either way.

Corgi

Milo, Max, Ivy, Gryffin, Berkley

Step by step instructions on how to enter Espoma’s Patriotic Pet Photo Contest and win $100:

  1. Like Espoma Organic on Facebook.
  2. Click on the Contest Tab.
  3. Post the cutest picture of your pet celebrating July 4th! Want to win? Make sure it’s patriotic and posted before July 7th.
  4. Rack up the likes! Encourage friends and family to like your photo by sharing the link. Be sure to vote for your favorite, too.
  5. Keep your eye on the prize. The photo with the most likes by 9 a.m. on July 7 wins.
Sammie

Sammie

Need inspiration? Check out these fun ways to celebrate the holiday with your pet.

Pets Get Patriotic for the Fourth

  • Add a red, white and blue bandana
  • Dress them up in festive outfit, bowtie or pop a patriotic hat or headband on them
  • Have your pet pose in front the American flag
  • Military family? Dress them in your fatigues.
  • Show them admiring your home-made red, white and blue flower container
  • March with them in your local parade

We can’t wait to see how you and your pet celebrate the Fourth of July this year! Best of luck in the contest. And, have a happy, safe and festive Fourth!

Double your Roses by Feeding and Deadheading

Is there anything better than walking into your garden, smelling the heavenly scent of a rose and seeing a luscious rose bloom?

Believe it or not, we think there is!

More roses!

Once your roses start blooming, all you want is for more roses to grow, too! Stack the odds in your favor by feeding and deadheading your roses now.

Give Your Roses an Energy Boost!

roses

 

To create those gorgeous, lovely rose blooms, roses need lots of energy! You don’t think those beautiful blooms just happen, do you?

  1. Ohm. Find the Right Balance. Roses need a balanced, organic fertilizer made specifically for roses. A balanced food with the same amounts of NPK (nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium) keeps the roots, flowers and foliage growing strong and healthy.
  2. Do as the Experts Do. Don’t the experts always know best? That’s what it seems like from those toothpaste commercials at least! The same is true in the garden. Rose-tone by Espoma, an organic plant food, is preferred by professional rose-growers. Follow their lead to grow bigger, better roses! Dare we say, prizewinning?
  3. The 30 Day Phase. Feed your roses once a month during the growing season. When you use a slow-release, organic fertilizer, your roses have enough to eat for 30 days. After that, they’ve consumed all the soil’s nutrients and need their energy source replenished. If the soil is dry, make sure you water roses heavily before feeding them. Find out more here.
  4. Look Dead? Off with their Head. Anyone who grows roses knows the value of deadheading. Roses will bloom all season if you remove spent flowers. Otherwise, the roses focus on seeding – not flowering. Plus, deadheading is easy! With pruners, simply cut dead roses just below the flower to the first set of leaves. Leave the leaves though, since these help plants grow strong. During drought, deadheading also reduces the plants need for water, increasing its chance of surviving this dry spell.
  5. Don’t stop there. Continue to deadhead roses until late August. This will allow the rose to form the important seed bearing hips it needs to produce even more flowers next spring!

Soon, roses will be coming up every which way! Go forth and create big, beautiful blooms with your newfound knowledge.

Nothing tastes better than Produce you Grow at Home!

Forget farm-to-table. Back-yard-to-table is the next big thing.

While it’s easy to buy strawberries at the grocery store anytime of the year, if you’ve tasted a freshly picked berry, you 61aa2f93fb6601e0a9691958de00e1d3know fresh is best. In a single bite, you can instantly taste the difference.

Through the rise of farmers markets, we’ve been able to get back in touch with our food and our farmers. These markets not only help us to know where our food comes from, but to also to learn more about nutrition, cooking and agriculture.

Growing your own, organic vegetable garden is easier than you think. And, you’ll save hundreds of dollars on groceries. Plus, it’s so rewarding to taste the food you nurtured and know exactly how it was grown.

If you’re just starting out, try growing organic herbs. They grow like crazy and don’t require much work.

If you’ve got kids, plant tomatoes. Eating them fresh off the vine teaches your children where their food comes from and encourages healthy eating habits. Besides, even the pickiest eaters will be much more likely to eat what they grow.

And, if you just want to get into organics, follow these tips for getting started. It’s the healthiest thing you can do for yourself and your family.

Soon, your family will be eating more organic food. Follow our Pinterest board for easy, fresh and organic recipes, too!

At Espoma Organic, we’ve spent decades sharing the benefits of natural, organic gardening. Believe us, taking care of yourself and the planet is well worth it. After all, food should come from the ground, not from a bag.

Share below why you think organic produce and gardening is important.