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The Gift That Keeps on Growing: Why Green Gifting is the Way to Go

The holidays are right around the corner, and gift shopping is in full swing. Not sure what to get the gardener in your life? We’ve got you covered. Even for those less horticulturally inclined, a low-maintenance plant can be a welcome addition to their home or office. Plant presents are going to be all the rage this year, and when you pair them with a bottle of Espoma Organic Liquid Fertilizer, they’ll only continue to grow for holiday seasons to come. Here’s our guide to meaningful plant presents and why green giving is a great option for the holidays!

 

5 Recommendations for a Meaningful Plant Present

     1. Aloe Vera

Health is wealth, and just one aloe vera plant can bring significant medicinal benefits! Aloe can be used to treat burns, improve digestion, nourish skin, and more. These super air-purifying succulents are also easy to care for, and they only need bright natural light and infrequent watering (typically every 3 weeks, but longer in the winter). Gift aloe vera with good wishes for your recipient’s health, and pair your present with Espoma Organic Cactus! Liquid Fertilizer to keep the love growing. 

 

     2. Christmas Cactus

If the name isn’t enough of an indicator, Christmas cactus plants make great holiday gifts! They’re low-maintenance like aloe vera, thriving in bright sunlight and with spaced-out watering. Christmas cacti are known to bloom red, pink, orange, or cream flowers right around the end of December, year after year. With a bottle of Espoma Organic Cactus! Liquid Fertilizer and care instructions, a Christmas cactus is a living, reblooming reminder of love. That’s a gift that truly keeps on giving!

 

3. Peace Lily

The peace lily is an oh-so aesthetically pleasing present to put on your shopping list. With dark green foliage and elegant white flowers, the peace lily is a visually striking addition to any space. It symbolizes purity, rebirth, and tranquility and is a great way to express your genuine support for someone. The peace lily is also easy to care for because the flowers will droop as a signal that the plant needs more water. With visual beauty and simple maintenance, the air-purifying peace lily is a lovely gift that will last beyond the holiday season.

   

 4. Philodendron

Looking for something with more of an artsy touch? Philodendrons are a frequent feature in modern art, making them perfect for a creative plant lover. The plant symbolizes health, growth, and beauty, so they make ideal gifts for someone entering a new phase in life. Philodendrons vary in appearance, but their low-maintenance nature makes them a common pick for plant parents. Amp up the love by gifting a heart-leaf philodendron variation and include a bottle of Espoma Organic Indoor! Liquid Fertilizer to keep the plant thriving for years to come! 

 

5. Poinsettia

This wouldn’t be a proper plant-centric gift guide without mentioning the poinsettia. More than 100 varieties of poinsettias are available today in a wide range of colors, but you can’t go wrong with classic red and green. Poinsettias are easy to find around the holidays and not too difficult to care for—just be sure to limit their exposure to the cold, as cool temperatures can cause the leaves to drop prematurely. To make this festive plant present extra special, repot it in a decorative container!

 

Why Gift a Plant Present?

Sustainable gifts have been on the rise for years now, and what better way to go green than by supporting a local gardening store and gifting a thoughtfully picked plant? Plants make beautiful decor items, functional air purifiers, and unique reminders of love. With a symbolic selection, care instructions, decorative repotting, and a boost from an Espoma Organic Liquid Fertilizer, a plant present will leave a lasting impact on your recipient’s health and happiness… even if they are a bit difficult to wrap.

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We hope this plant-centric gift guide helps you incorporate a little fun and foliage into your holiday shopping this season. Have a plant present idea we missed? 

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Popular Aroids to Add to Your Collection

This blog is inspired by Episode 153 of Bloom and Grow Radio Podcast, where host Maria Failla interviewed Enid Offolter, owner of NSE Tropicals.

​​Aroids have always been fascinating with their different leaf shapes, structures, and textures, so it’s no surprise that this set of plants are blooming into popularity. In this blog we discuss five popular and unique aroids to add to your collection. This blog is definitely geared towards you curious-collector plant parent types out there, so let’s dive in!

What Are Aroids? 

Aroids are in the family Araceae, which includes many common houseplants like philodendrons, anthuriums, monsteras, ZZ plants, and pothos. Many of these are “moderate light” plants indoors, mimicking their natural growing conditions as understory plants outdoors. To learn more about aroids check out our blog, “What’s An Aroid?

Why Are Aroids So Popular? 

Aroids grow well indoors, which helps their popularity because plant parents can grow them easily. They are surprisingly hardy and difficult to kill. Most aroids are also easy to propagate and share with other plant lovers. They come in many different forms too: big round leaves that give you a tropical look, skinny leaves, and three-inch tall all the way up to three-feet tall aroids. 

Now that you’ve learned a bit about aroids, let’s jump into 5 unique aroids that would be great additions to any plant collection. 

5 Popular & Unique Aroids

Unique Aroid #1: Philodendron tortum 

Philodendron tortum has long, skinny leaflets that look similar to a fern and prefers to climb. New growth emerges like a corkscrew and plants can grow about 18 inches to two-feet tall. It’s a fascinating philodendron that adds interesting textures to your collection. 

Being pretty easy to care for, Philodendron tortum doesn’t create much drama or stress. It prefers indoor light conditions at mid-range to bright light with well-draining soil. 

 

Unique Aroid #2: Philodendron bernardopazzii

Next up is Philodendron bernardopazzii with its glossy green leaves and lighter veins down the center. Long, narrow leaves can grow up to three feet in a large enough environment, and form a slender heart shape. The stems also have a bit of red in them. 

Philodendron bernardopazzii is another aroid that’s easy to care for. Give it something to climb for support and it will be even happier. It prefers mid-range to bright light and well-draining soil. 

 

Unique Aroid #3: Anthurium veitchii

Anthurium veitchii has a long leaf that’s corrugated with ribs all the way down its heart shape. Leaves are about eight-inches wide and can grow up to five-feet long in a beautiful shade of green.

Its care can be slightly more difficult than the previous two aroids. It needs more humidity than philodendrons and better placement. Because it can grow long, try growing Anthurium veitchii in a hanging basket or on top of a pedestal. It can get by on a little less light than the above philodendrons, but still prefers medium light. Make sure you plant it in well draining soil. 

 

Unique Aroid #4: Anthurium ‘Selby’s Silver’

Anthurium ‘Selby’s Silver’ is named in honor of Selby Botanical Gardens in Sarasota, Florida. This aroid can grow in much smaller pots with its small, clumping leaves. It stays relatively normal in size with leaves about three-inches long. Its new leaves are reddish, so you’re likely to have all different color leaves growing at the same time.

Anthurium ‘Selby’s Silver’ is another that’s a bit more delicate than a philodendron. Opt for a well-draining soil like our Organic Potting Soil Mix combined with our Organic Charcoal to add even better drainage. These aroids prefer a decent amount of humidity and medium light as well. 

 

Unique Aroid #5: Philodendron distantilobum

And finally we have Philodendron distantilobum. This climbing aroid has a similar leaf shape to  Philodendron tortum, but much wider. New growth also has the corkscrew curl as well. Provide some extra support for this climber, since it attaches to structures as it grows. 

Similar to the other philodendrons, medium to bright light and well draining soil is preferred. 

 

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Want to know more about aroids and unique houseplants? Check out Enid Offolter’s new book, Welcome to the Jungle: Rare Tropical Houseplants to Collect, Grow, and Love

 

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

 

NSE Tropicals is well known for its large selection of hard-to-find anthuriums, philodendrons, and other unusual plants. Their online store is dedicated to bringing the odd, unusual, rare, exotic or seemingly unattainable to fellow collectors. 

 

Enid Offolter of NSE Tropicals just released her new book, Welcome to the Jungle: Rare Tropical Houseplants to Collect, Grow, and Love. This book is all about unusual aroids and how to care for them. It profiles 50 plants that aren’t so common in the plant trade and you certainly won’t find at big box stores. 

​​Follow Enid & NSE Tropicals:

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How to Use Succession Planting in Your Fall Garden

 

Did you finish harvesting your summer crops and find yourself wondering what to do next? There’s still plenty of time to get a fall and winter garden going before the first frost! Try planting one vegetable right as another one finishes. This is a process many gardeners use called succession planting and will maximize your harvest all season long. Here are four different ways to do it!


Harvest and replant


Go ahead and harvest your veggies that are ready to go. When you’re done, plant another set of vegetables with a shorter maturity date in that same plot in your garden. Replacing leafy greens with potatoes is a great example of this method.

 

Be sure to plan accordingly here! Growing based on maturity can be a little tricky if you aren’t planning for your region. Make sure to check the seed packet or plant tag to find out how long the plant will take to mature and what temperature in which it will grow best. Also be sure you have enough seeds to keep you going through the season.

 

Companion crops

 

This method involved planting two or more crops with varying maturity dates around each other. This way, even after you harvest the first crop, your garden will continue to flourish! Radishes next to cucumbers are a perfect example of this since radishes will be harvested before the cucumbers start to produce too much shade.

 

Remember to feed all your crops at their varying stages of growth to keep them moving along. Espoma’s Garden Tone will keep the soil rich in order for your crops to continue thriving as the weather gets colder. And don’t hesitate to pull plants that are reducing or ceasing harvest in order to make room for new crops!

 

Staggered crops

 

Try planting the same crop every few weeks in order not to be bombarded by the entire crop at once. For example, tomatoes and peas would work well in small batches throughout the entire season.

 

Just one crop

 

Lastly, you can always keep things simple by planting the same crop with different maturity dates. Seed packets will often display the days to maturity for you. Broccoli, for example, is a crop with various maturity dates.

 

Don’t forget that you can always start your seeds indoors in order to speed up the growing process outdoors! This allows you to harvest and quickly plant to keep your garden at an optimum level throughout the fall and winter season.

 

Ready to get out there and start succession planting? We can’t wait to see your endless harvests all season long! Get started by making a list of veggies it’s not too late to plant.

 

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Video: Indoor Succulents for Beginners with Garden Answer!

Watch as Laura from Garden Answer shows you 7 great succulents for beginners!

 

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Video: Caladiums for Christmas with Garden Answer

Laura from Garden Answer got her hands on some gorgeous new caladiums just in time for Christmas. Follow along for some keys to transitioning to holiday decor using Potting Mix!

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4 Tips for Getting the Most Out of Your Poinsettias

‘Tis the season of poinsettias! These jolly red plants are a classic holiday gift and household decoration all across the country during the winter months. Unfortunately, for many people, the leaves quickly turn lackluster and the plant dies soon afterward. But you can avoid this outcome with proper care and maintenance! Here are 4 ways yours can thrive this holiday season, as told by Garden Answer.

1. Get a healthy start

Did you know poinsettias are actually tropical plants? These festive spurges have somehow become a staple during the colder months, but they very much still appreciate their native climate! That means you should try to avoid the ones that are placed near the entrance of your local grocery store, since the draft from outside and the dry heat from inside are already harming the plants’ health. If you find them elsewhere, be sure to check that the foliage has solid colors and is not showing any green as this could mean they’re finished flowering for the season.

2. Give them a loving home

Since poinsettias appreciate that tropical climate, be sure to place them somewhere with lots of light that’s away from cold glass. As mentioned before, keep them away from any drafts — warm or cold. Be sure to check their soil moisture regularly as heated homes often lack moisture in the air. You can water them when the top layer of soil feels dry. As a finishing touch, feel free to mist them regularly and use Espoma Bloom! to give them a boost.

3. Stay safe this holiday season

A widely believed myth is that poinsettias are incredibly toxic to pets and humans. But the truth is that you would have to ingest an exorbitant amount of it for it to actually be dangerous! You should still err on the side of caution since the white sap that’s produced when the stems break can be a skin irritant, and it’s best to set them somewhere pets and kids can’t reach as with all houseplants.

4. Start anew next year

No matter how devoted you are to your beloved poinsettias, you should still think of them as annual plants that need to be replaced each year. It can be very difficult to get them to bloom again a year later and it involves much stricter care than the tips listed above. 

Now that you have all the necessary knowledge, go find the biggest and brightest poinsettias you can locally buy — and rest assured that they’ll last much longer than last year’s!

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Video: Epic Gardening: How to Transplant Water-Rooted Cuttings Without Killing Them

Houseplant propagation can be challenging. Check out @Epic Gardening’s foolproof transplanting method for water-rooted cuttings – featuring Espoma Organic Moisture Mix!

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Unusual Houseplants to Add Life to Your Home This Fall

With fall underway and winter on our heels, you’re probably putting away your gardening tools for the season and taking the last bits of veggies and fruits you can harvest before the ground freezes over. And if you’re anything like us, you’re probably sad to see all the greenery and colors go. But don’t let that crush your spirits! While you’re waiting for spring to arrive, you can stay busy raising colorful houseplants.

This plant has green leaves with red, yellow, and orange hues in them, so you get the greenery and some beautiful colors all in one! Direct sunlight may burn their leaves, but bright light will produce the beautiful red and pink colors — so be sure they’re receiving bright indirect light. But don’t fret if your home is low light! Your Aglaonema can still grow, it will just be less colorful.

1. Colorful Aglaonema

 

2. Prayer Plant

Don’t have space on the windowsill to put the plants? Try hanging them up! Prayer plant is a favorite of ours because it has the habit of sprawling out. It can make any room you put it up in look cozy! It has dark green leaves and purple-mauve stems and veins that give your space a classy look.

3. Neon Pothos

If you’re someone who’s going to get the blues in winter from the lack of color outside, this plant is just what you need! Neon pothos adds a pop of color to your living space and will brighten up your day every time you look at it. This will also present a good contrast to any darker colored plants like the prayer plant or calathea. It’s an easy to grow plant that you can hang up or put it on your coffee table and let the vines take over. It needs direct sunlight to grow, but you can swap that out with fluorescent lights if your house isn’t very sunlight-heavy.

4. Anthurium

Want a plant that’ll bloom every season? If you take care of this plant right, you can have shades of pink and red residing in your house all year long! All you need to do is keep it in a well-lit place and water it regularly. This valentine’s day favorite will definitely give your house a more quirky look.

5. Monstera

You might’ve seen this one on aesthetic Instagram accounts or have it pinned on one of your “dream room” Pinterest boards. This plant has been a popular go-to for a lot of people in recent years, and we totally get why. It’s a plant with big green leaves that can be placed anywhere without taking up too much space! They can also grow in almost any atmosphere. If you’re looking to add some simple green to your room, monstera is the way to go.

Ready to head to your local plant shop yet? Stock up now so you can sit back and relax with your indoor green space this fall and winter. They’re sure to bring colorful life to your home and remind you of the upcoming spring and all of the beautiful outdoor blooms that are yet to come!

 

 

Plants to Help You Get Some Rest

Houseplants are so much more than decorations. They help reduce stress and tension and create a relaxed and happy atmosphere. They absorb carbon dioxide and produce oxygen while purifying the air by removing toxins. They say we spend a third of our life sleeping, so let’s do it in the best possible environment, a room full of house plants.

The best plants for a healthy night’s sleep.   

Photo courtesy of Costa Farms

Snake Plant

Snake plants convert carbon dioxide to oxygen at night. It is also one of the easiest and most forgiving houseplants you can grow. Whether you have bright or low light, a snake plant will adjust to it. It doesn’t require much water and even if you forget to water it for a couple of weeks, it will still look great. Overwatering it is really the only way to kill it. 

Photo courtesy of Costa Farms

Golden Pothos

A study from NASA shows that pothos removes toxins, mainly carbon monoxide and formaldehyde from the air. This low-maintenance plant grows well in low light. Water it only when completely dry. Always pot your houseplants in quality potting soil like Espoma’s Potting Mix or a mixture of potting mix and Cactus Mix for plants like this that require excellent drainage. 

Photo courtesy of Costa Farms

Spider Plant

The spider plant removes formaldehyde from the air, which is a common carcinogen found in many household products and items. This is another easy to grow selection that enjoys bright light, but will adapt to low light situations. Like all house plants, a regular schedule of fertilizing will help keep spider plants in tip-top shape. Organic liquid fertilizer like Espoma’s Indoor! works beautifully and has an easy dose cap, meaning you’ll never use too much or too little.

Photo courtesy of Costa Farms

English Ivy

English ivy has the unique ability to clean the air of mold. Ivy is a trailing plant that you can train to grow up a trellis or let it cascade down from a shelf.  It can be an aggressive plant outdoors, but inside it’s well behaved. Keep the soil moist, but not wet, and give it a place with indirect light.

Photo courtesy of Costa Fams

Aloe vera

Aloe has been used as a medicinal plant to heal: sunburn, cuts, insect bites, minor burns, and dry skin. It’s also an air purifier. Aloe likes bright light. Water it well every two weeks or when the soil feels very dry. Fertilize with Cactus!  monthly to give it nutrients.

Photo courtesy of Costa Farms

Peace Lilies

Peace lilies also made it on NASA’s list of toxin removing plants. They can absorb mold spores from the air into their leaves. It’s a pretty plant with calla-like flowers that likes bright light. Regular watering is a must (they’ll let you know when they’re thirsty by letting their leaves droop.)

Lavender

Lavender has been used for centuries for its soothing, sleep-inducing properties. Victorian ladies used to stuff their pillows with lavender to relieve stress. Today you can find a wide array of lavender products to help whisk you off to sleep. Lavender isn’t often sold as a houseplant but you can grow it outdoors and harvest the flowers for the bedroom.

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Ready for more relaxing? Check out these blogs for ideas.

Create a Spa in Your Bathroom

Top 5 Low Light Houseplants

How to Decorate for Thanksgiving with Plants

 

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Millennial Pink Houseplant Roundup

If you feel like your collection of tried and true houseplants is looking a little, well, green, then now’s the time to add some dramatic pink houseplants.

Millennial pink’s reign has extended well beyond its Pantone 2019 Color of the Year status. Choosing houseplants in this hue give it a timeless status.  

Houseplant lovers and interior decorators are embracing pink houseplants like never before. Want or little pop of color to mix with your greens? Check out some of our favorites.

Plus, these pink plants will outlast any pink cut flowers.

Photo courtesy of Costa Farms

Colorful Aglaonema

Traditionally known as the Chinese evergreen, this houseplant has been bred to come deep green, silver, pink and red. It is slow growing, with large, narrow and glossy oval foliage. Keep in mind the lighter the variegation, the more light it needs. If you opt for dark green foliage, it can thrive in low light. Water when the top two inches of soil is dry and add humidity around the plant in the summertime. Use Espoma’s indoor! liquid plant food during the growing season to give it the nutrients it needs.

Photo courtesy of Costa Farms

Fittonia

A small houseplant like Fittonia fits practically anywhere — from a tabletop to a window sill or a desk. It’s a good candidate for low-light spots in the home or office, too. Pink-variegated fittonias like ‘Frankie’ and ‘Mini Pink’ capitalize on the pink hues. Fittonia is a thirsty plant that wilts quickly when dry. Don’t worry, it will perk back up quickly after watering, but for the best keep moist for best results.

Afterglow Echevaria

This echeveria truly lives up to its name. With beautiful pastel pink and purple leaves, this succulent is a prize for any blush lover. Afterglow is perfect for indoor or outdoor containers. When growing succulents in containers, be sure to use Espoma’s Cactus Mix for best results.

Photo courtesy of Costa Farms

Earth Star

There are more than 1,200 varieties of cryptanthus and they come in many gorgeous shades of pink. It gets its common name from its star-like spread and need to grow in soil (many other bromeliads are air plants.) Earth star prefers low-water, bright light and an occasional feeding with an organic fertilizer like Espoma’s Indoor! Like other bromeliads, each cryptanthus blooms only once in its lifetime, and then it begins a slow dying process. Before it dies, new pups are produced that can be replanted.

Photo courtesy of Costa Farms

Anthurium

Anthuriums are elegant, easy-care plants with cheery blooms that last a long time. Anthuriums are also efficient air purifiers, so a colorful Anthurium will bring a pop of color and breath of fresh air to the room. This show-stopping plant is a two-for for any romantic with its glossy heart-shaped, pink leaves. Anthurium stands out of the crowd with blooms on and off all year. Its flowers will last for months under the right conditions. This exotic plant loves warmth and humidity.

Not ready for such bright color just yet? Check out these low-light picks!

Espoma products for pink houseplants