Starting a fun new succulent project? Take a tip from Garden Answer and kick things off with Espoma Organic Cactus Mix, which is made specifically for cactuses and succulents.
A rainy week calls for an awesome indoor activity like this one! Remember: Anything that contains something is a potential planter. Watch as Laura from Garden Answer makes the most of her old tea tins using Espoma Organic Cactus Mix!
Watch Laura from Garden Answer plant for Fall!
Fall crops already? That’s right! Join Garden Answer and get some great ideas for food crops in the upcoming season.
In this video from Garden Answer, Laura plants a new garden for her sister–in-law. She has already outlined the new beds and removed the sod. The next steps are installing a drip irrigation system by tapping into an old one and marking the spots for the trees she will be planting.
Drip irrigation emits water at the base of the plants, which is better for plants than overhead watering. Hard water can leave damaging build up on foliage and wet leaves can invite diseases. With drip irrigation, all of the water soaks into the ground and doesn’t evaporate. It’s the most efficient method of watering.
Irrigation systems take the work out of watering, but it’s not – set it and forget it. Water needs vary at different times of the year. Laura is using emitters that deliver one gallon of water per hour, a standard-setting. She still waters each newly planted tree with the garden hose to make sure the soil has settled and that there are no air pockets.
Planting in mid-summer isn’t ideal because of the heat, but it can be done with a tiny bit of extra care and water. Laura always recommends using Espoma’s Bio-tone Starter Plus whenever she plants. And, as she points out, it’s even more important when the plants are stressed, in this case by heat. The mycorrhizae in Bio-tone helps stimulate root growth to ensure new plants get maximum water and nutrients from the soil to minimize transplant shock and loss.
These trees will become the “bones” of her design. She has taken into account the mature height of the trees so they do not interfere with the power lines above them or the fire hydrant between them. She has also chosen narrow varieties of evergreens that will not outgrow their allotted space in the garden.
Slim Trees for Small Spaces
Weeping White Spruce
An elegant, straight trunked tree with weeping branches. The needles are green with a bluish tint. A perfect choice for narrow spaces. Hardy in zones 2-7.
Bright lavender-pink flowers bloom in spring before the leaves unfurl. Dark purple, glossy foliage stands up to summer heat. Perfect for smaller landscapes. Hardy in zones 6-9.
‘Baby Blue’ Blue Spruce
Attractive silvery-blue needles make this spruce standout, plus it maintains its color throughout the year. The habit is smaller and narrower than other blue spruce. Hardy in zones 2-8.
‘Hillside’ Upright Norway Spruce
A narrow, upright form growing to just 10 feet tall in the first 10 years. Perfect for smaller urban gardens. Dark green needles are backed by attractive, burnt orange stems. Hardy in zones 3-7.
Columnar Dwarf Mugo Pine
A narrow, upright form of mugo pine, makes a strong architectural statement. Will grow to just 8 feet tall. Produces small, yet ornamental cones. Hardy to zones 2-8.
Here are a few of our other blogs and videos that we think you’ll enjoy:
Mom is the best! For years, she’s showered you with love in so many ways, big and small.
Now, it’s your turn to remind her how much you truly appreciate her. Creating a beautiful container is something she’ll enjoy for months or even years to come. Watch as Laura from Garden Answer visits her family’s garden center to pick out a selection of plants, potting soil and fertilizer to make the cutest planter for her own mom.
Tips for Making a Flowery Container for Mom
First, start by selecting a container that’s her style. You’ll find lots of fun, colorful and patterned containers at your local garden center. Check to make sure your container has drainage holes in the bottom and will fit the plants you select at their mature size.
Next, choose plants that spill, thrill and fill! You want one plant that cascades, one that mounds and one that stands taller than the rest. Look for 3-5 varieties of flowering plants, grasses or greenery. Does Mom have a favorite flower or color? Try your best to incorporate those features into your creative design.
The options are endless. Have fun as you mix colors and textures for a winning combination. Check plant tags to make sure your plants like the same growing conditions, sun exposure and amount of water before checking out.
While you’re still shopping, grab a bag of the best organic potting soil mix and Espoma’s liquid Bloom! fertilizer. These Espoma products will help the plants adjust to their new home and grow healthy roots for bigger plants.
Fill the container 3/4 full with Espoma’s Organic Potting Mix.
Remove plants from their original containers and arrange them in the new planter. Play around a bit and move the plants around to see where each plant looks best. Remember to consider their mature size and give them ample room.
Once the plants look perfect to you, fill in any gaps in the container with more organic potting soil.
Wait till you see you mom’s face when you arrive on Mother’s Day with a beautiful, homemade container garden!
Espoma Products for Flowery Containers
Succulent arrangements are long lasting creations that can be enjoyed indoors or out. This DIY video from Garden Answer will show you just how easy it is to create your own succulent arrangement
Form Follows Function
Arranging succulents is all about texture, form and color. Use contrasting forms to add interest. Think of the round foliage of a string of pearls plant in comparison to the rosettes of hen and chicks for example. The prickly form of the gold tooth aloe is entirely different than the glossy foliage of a Kalanchoe. Experiment with different textures and heights to create something entirely unique.
Color also plays an important part in the design. Many succulents have colorful foliage. Think of the nearly black Aeonium ‘Zwartkop’ or the orange hues of Graptosedum ‘California Sunset’. Even the container can reinforce the color palette. In this video, a variety of warm colors are used and are picked up the terra cotta accent of the pot.
Caring for a succulent couldn’t be easier. Their number one nemesis is too much water. Pot them up with an organic, potting soil designed for succulents and cacti like Espoma’s Cactus Mix. This will ensure that the soil drains freely. Your succulents also need a special diet. Feed them with an organic liquid fertilizer like Espoma’s Cactus! Succulents love sunshine and their colors will be most intense in bright light.
Meet the Stars of This Garden Answer Video
String of Pearls
This is a highly ornamental plant that can be grown both indoors or out. The “foliage” looks like a string of green pearls. They cascade beautifully over the edge of containers and hanging baskets. This is a show-stopper that will attract lots of attention.
Sempervivum, are commonly known as “hen and chicks.” Each spring new rosettes form that are called the “chicks.” This cultivar is known for its terra cotta colored foliage. The color is best in bright sunlight.
Echeveria is also known as a Chenille Plant, ‘Ruby Blush’, ‘Ruby Slippers’, or ‘Red Velvet’ because it has a crimson color. The foliage has a velvety coating to protect it from the intense sun in its native habitat.
‘Zwartkopf’ is a striking succulent, with very dark purple, almost black foliage. The long bare stems are topped with a rosette of leaves and can bloom with clusters of yellow, star-shaped flowers.
This versatile succulent is prized for its glossy foliage and brightly colored flowers that bloom for months. This is a stand out in a container and is extremely low-maintenance. They are available in a wide variety of colors.
Gold Tooth Aloe
These golden spines may look mean, but they are actually soft and won’t harm you. In full sun the foliage will be tinged with orange. Watch for the red blooms in summer.
Graptosedum ‘California Sunset’
Durable, grayish new leaves of this succulent will become tinged with pink in full sun. Happy plants will produce white flowers in spring. The “sunset” coloration is truly striking. Easy to grow and very low maintenance.
Crassula, commonly known as the jade plant, are carefree and easy to grow. This beautiful house plant can also be grown outdoors in the summertime. Jade plants are considered to be symbols of good luck, prosperity and friendship.
Check out these blogs to learn more about growing succulents.
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
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.
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.
Spring has sprung and it’s time to get outside and plant up some early spring containers. A trip to the local garden center will surely inspire you. Plant big pots of brightly colored bulbs and annuals to liven up entryways, patios and balconies. Laura from Garden Answer shows you just how easy it is to do.
Laura fills her containers with tulips and violas, true harbingers of spring. Alternatively, you could also use daffodils and other cold hardy annuals like Iceland poppies or nemesia. In cold climates, it’s important to select plans that are hardy enough to withstand a cold snap.
These early spring containers will flower for a month or so, bridging the gap from early spring to the frost free date. When it’s time to plant summer containers, replant the tulips out into the garden where they’ll bloom again next spring. The violas may also be moved to a lightly shaded area of the garden.
Four Easy Steps to Early Spring Containers
Enjoy flowers for even longer by choosing tulips or daffodils that are not yet in full bloom. When finished blooming, just remove the flower stem. The leaves will still provide a vertical accent and the bulbs need the foliage to replenish themselves.
Taking time to deadhead the violas will extend their bloom time. If temperatures are cool, you may only need to water containers once a week.
Check out these videos from Garden Answer about tulips and early spring planting.
Plant Your Window Boxes Like Garden Answer
How to Care For Your Tulips After They’ve Bloomed
Dressing up window boxes can add so much beauty and curb appeal to your home. They instantly greet you the moment you walk up to your home, brightening every day.
If you don’t have window boxes, just put a good sized container next to your front door and make the same combination in a smaller form.
If you have old soil in your window boxes, it’s best to remove it and start with fresh Organic Potting Soil from Espoma. In this case, Laura is only replacing half the soil because it was only used briefly in her window boxes last fall. Pour the new soil in until your planters are half full.
For these early spring window boxes and containers, you can take liberties with spacing and sun and shade preferences. The plants won’t actually grow much in cool climates, except for the daffodils. As you will see this combination contains both sun and shade-loving plants.
This gorgeous combination begins with Lenten rose, Helleborus ‘Ivory Prince’. Their burgundy pink buds open to ivory with a pink blush on the back of the petals. These are the tallest plants in the combination and are planted in the back. Next, plant Martin’s spurge, Euphorbia ‘Tiny Tim’. The emerging foliage is deep red and picks up the reddish tones in the Lenten roses. A miniature Narcissus called ‘Tete-a-Tete’ is placed in between the spurge and will add a bright pop of yellow when they flower. Two varieties of pinkish apricot primrose are planted next and are interspersed with deep blue perennial violets.
This design is awfully clever for a couple of reasons.
First of all, it shows that it’s possible to create a sophisticated early spring display that can withstand very low temperatures. Secondly, it’s extremely economical. All of the plants in her palette, with the exception of the primrose, are perennial and will be planted out in her landscape in late spring. Having your plants do double duty is brilliant and saves money.
Since beauty is in the eye of the beholder, get creative and try out different combinations or add branches for another design element. Have fun.
Espoma Products for Early Spring Window Boxes