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Gothic Gardening – The Darkest Plants

These black beauties are some of the most sought after houseplants available today. While they’re certainly fitting for autumn décor, they’re stunning year-round additions to your collection. Use them to create dramatic accents in any room, alone or in combination with other favorite houseplants. They all prefer bright, indirect light. They tend to lose their deep coloring in low light locations. Keep them looking their best by feeding them every two to four weeks with an organic houseplant food like Espoma’s Indoor! fertilizer.

Each of the plants on this list requires good drainage. Make sure containers have a drainage hole and consider setting them on a saucer of pebbles to catch any run-off water. The potting soil is also important. A 50/50 mix of Espoma’s Potting Soil Mix and Espoma’s Cactus Mix would be ideal. The potting mix will help hold nutrients while the cactus mix will ensure good drainage.

Black Raven ZZ courtesy of Costa Farms
Image Courtesy of Costa Farms

Raven ZZ

Raven ZZ is the “Top Model” of the house plant world. Everyone from plant parents to interior designers are scrambling to get their hands on one of these. It’s shiny, nearly black foliage and strong, upright form gives it a bold visual presence, perfect for modern and contemporary homes. As if that wasn’t enough to recommend this plant, it will grow in almost any place in bright or low light. The key to keeping Raven healthy is not to overwater it. They grow from one to three feet tall.

Image courtesy of Monrovia

Black Prince’ Echeveria

It’s no secret that succulents are all the rage and this deep purple, nearly black variety is king. The dramatic foliage is accented by salmon to red-colored flowers in the fall and early winter. This plant shines in succulent arrangements, providing a spectacular color contrast. ‘Black Prince’ grows best in bright light. The foliage color will fade in low light. Water sparingly and use a container with good drainage.

Image courtesy of Costa Farms

Burgundy Rubber Tree

Green rubber tree plants are beautiful, easy to grow houseplants. Burgundy rubber plants however, steal the show every time. The new foliage emerges blood-red in stunning contrast to the deep burgundy leaves. Give this beauty a spot in bright, but not direct sun. Designers often use them to accentuate corners as they grow quite tall but not necessarily very wide. They will tolerate low light but the color will be less intense. Make sure the container you choose has good drainage.

Courtesy of Proven Winners

Charmed® Wine Shamrock

This lucky plant is growing in popularity as an indoor foliage plant. The bright purple foliage adds bright pops of color to any room. In the evening the leaves fold down but lift back up in the morning light. The small pink flowers are delicate and attractive. A sunny window with bright, but not direct, light is best and good drainage is a must.

Black Velvet’ Elephant Ear

This is a must-have for any houseplant collector. Many people are familiar with giant elephant ears that grow outdoors. ‘Black Velvet’ is a dwarf variety, with nearly black foliage accented with silvery-white veins, a truly striking combination. This tropical loves warm, moist places like kitchens and bathrooms. It prefers bright, but not direct, sun and well-drained soil.

Ready for more? Learn How to Fertilize Houseplants with Homestead Brooklyn

Espoma Products Indoor!, Potting Soil Mix, Cactus Mix

5 Flowers for Halloween

With Halloween just around the corner, it’s time to start decorating. While some enjoy   spooky and scary décor, others delight in the whimsical side of Halloween. Planting orange plants will provide some living décor for a Happy, and not so scary, Halloween!

These plants provide an instant festive flare and grow well in containers on your porch, deck or patio. Place them alongside pumpkins and other décor. You can bring some of these inside, to add to your own haunted house! Try a few of these for a fun, floral twist this Halloween:

5 Orange Plants for Halloween

Photo courtesy of Proven Winners

Bracteantha

These beautiful flowers will elevate your space with their pumpkin orange petals and bright yellow centers. While they are an annual, they work well for the fall season without having to commit all year long. Plant them in full sun to watch these foot-tall stems steal the show. Use Espoma’s Organic Flower-tone when planting to keep the vibrancy of these flowers through the Halloween holiday.

Marigolds

The bold color and wonderful scent set marigolds apart. Known for sparking strong emotions in people, this flower works well for the occasion. Since they are easy-to-grow and require full sun, you will see marigolds all season long. Plus, they start to bloom in the spring and will continue through the end of autumn – they are worth the work. They are hardy and will grow in zones 2-11.

Goldenrod

While this is not exactly the bright orange Halloween suggests, goldenrod is still one of the most visually stunning plants to put in your yard. It is debated often whether it is a weed or a wildflower, so if you are on the fence about it, plant it in a container or a garden bed to contain where it will go. It grows well in full sun and just about anywhere.

Dahlias

As a fan favorite, your neighbors will be checking out your garden every chance they get! This might be the easiest bloom to grow on the list. They are technically a ‘tuber’, and are best fed with  Espoma Organic Bulb-tone in the spring (once the ground is no longer frozen). They are available in all shapes and sizes. Be sure to pick out your favorite orange varieties to make a stunning fall appeal. In zones 8-10 simply plant and forget them (though you won’t forget the flowers!).  In cooler zones grow them as annuals or dig them up in the fall and store dry indoors.  You can divide them and replant the following spring.  Be sure to use some Bio-tone Starter Plus when planting!

Helenium

Sometimes known as sneezeweed, this vibrant orange bloom will not affect allergy sufferers. It will however, brighten up your space and attract all kinds of pollinators. They come in shades of orange, yellow, dark red and golden brown with a prominent center and stiff skirt-like petals. Plant them in full sun with a well-draining soil. Helenium grows well in zones 3-9.

Want to add more fall flair to your yard? Laura from Garden Answer shows us how to create a fall container. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xRLpppMogWk

Products mentioned:

Hauntingly Good Plants for Halloween

The spookiest holiday of the year is just around the corner and trick-or-treaters are getting ready for the big night. This year, decorate your house with creepy, living decorations that will add an eerie twist to your night.

With their creepy names, weird colors and devilish shapes, these plants will be the center of every fun, spooky story you tell. Better yet, these plants can stick around all year with the right light, water and feeding directions.

Top 5 Spookiest Houseplants

Photo courtesy of Costa Farms

Spider Plant

This creepy plant is fun to decorate with due to its long spider-like legs that grow little “spiderlings” on the ends. Transfer it into a hanging plant basket and wrap synthetic web around the outside of basket. Cover with plastic spiders to give it extra creep. Make it kid friendly, by painting a container black and adding spider eyes to the front to making it look like one big spider. Spider plants are known for being low-maintenance so it will grow in almost any spot.

Dracula Orchid

The Dracula orchid is not an ordinary orchid. Aptly named, as it blooms, the center of the plant looks like it could bite you with its vampire-like mouth. Wrap your container in a cape and paint it red down the sides to decorate this plant into a creepy vampire.

Photo courtesy of Costa Farms

Devil’s Backbone

Devil’s Backbone gets its name from the interesting zigzagging formation of the leaves resembling a creepy spine as it grows. Invite this devilish plant to your home and hang ghouls and ghosts from it to add a spooky charm. Though it may be called the Devil’s Backbone, it works hard to purify the air from toxins.

Photo courtesy of Costa Farms

Earth Star

With spiky edges and elongated “fingers”, the earth star plant is a creepy addition to your Halloween décor. Transfer into a spooky container and let it spread and it will look like something is crawling toward you. Keep in bright light to encourage growth.

Photo courtesy of Costa Farms

Rope Plant

The rope plant’s foliage that twists and turns looks like something right out of a witch’s lair. Put a spell on your home with the shadows this plant gives off. The rope plant will flower and last up to a month.

Fun and spooky houseplants are the best way to bring live Halloween décor to your home. Feed as directed with Espoma’s Indoor! plant food.

Fall Succulent DIY

Get ready for fall by creating this seasonal planter filled with low light succulents, pumpkins and owls. Laura from Garden Answer explains how to create and care for a stunning low light succulent container! Be sure to use Espoma’s Cactus Mix and Cactus! liquid fertilizer.

Want to see the full tutorial? Check out our YouTube Channel!

DIY Bird Cage Succulents with Garden Answer

Laura from Garden Answer makes a frighteningly good succulent bird cage to add to her Halloween decor. Follow along as she adds brightly colored succulents and Espoma’s Organic Cactus Soil Potting Mix to this spooky bird cage for an easy to create spooky look.

Head over to our YouTube page for more fun DIY ideas.

 

 

Unveiled – This Year’s Best-Dressed Pumpkin Winner

How much fun have y’all had admiring the pumpkins in Espoma’s Pumpkin Decorating Contest?

All month long, we’ve been checking our Facebook page to applaud the creative pumpkin designs. Inspired, we must confess we’ve copied a few of the designs for our office! Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery after all.

Now, it’s time to pick the contest winner, who will score a $250 VISA gift card. Plus, we’re shining the spotlight on a few of our favorite pump-kings!

Drumroll, please!

Congratulations to Catie! Everyone simply adored your cute, cuddly pumpkin critter. That beaming, orange smile brightened our day.

Below are a few more pumpkins that stole a piece of our hearts!

Espoma Pinterest

  1. Heather – With bold royal blues and creamy whites, you created an exquisitely elegant windmill scene!
  2. Cynthia – We loved that your “lawless chickens” got to cluck alongside a freshly-carved chick!
  3. Joy – Your pumpkin village, brimming with magic, looked like a scene out of a Halloween movie!
  4. Susie – A pumpkin pile and a skeleton?! What a creative way to combine two of our favorite Halloween horrors!
  5. Amanda – Halloween décor never looked so chic. Your pumpkin-scape flaunted an amazing array of succulent shapes and pumpkin hues.
  6. Ann – Talk about precise carving! Your wolf looks like a howling Halloween haunting.
  7. Quineka – So fun! Who would have guessed Cookie Monster preferred pumpkin cookies?
  8. Nikita – Your spooky, snarling pumpkins personified that it’s a pumpkin-eat-pumpkin world!
  9. Adrienne – Ahoy! All hands are on deck applauding this action-fighting, patch-wearing pumpkin!
  10. Marlana – We paused for your Safe Paws! Your pumpkin pups looked truly fetching!

Thanks to all for sharing your creative pumpkin masterpieces! We’d pick all your pumpkins from the patch! Be sure to check out our Pinterest page to see all of the pumpkins entered in our contest!