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Give Some Green for the Holidays

This holiday season choose gifts that help the earth and are sure to impress friends and family. I’ll give you a hint: Think green!

Whomever you are shopping for, green is sure to please. It doesn’t matter if it is someone new to gardening or the expert gardener in your family, there is something for everyone.

Providing “green” gifts allows loved ones to decorate their homes and enjoy the benefits of a healthy life.

Here are some great ideas for gardening gifts:

With just a little care, holiday houseplants can continue to thrive throughout the year. Knowing how to care for them helps to keep them beautiful.

Holiday Houseplants

Poinsettias, Christmas cactus, amaryllis, and cyclamen are just a handful of holiday houseplants that will wow any recipient. These everlasting gifts that will bloom again and again for years to come. Pick up houseplants at your local garden center. Don’t forget to pair your new houseplants with Espoma’s Indoor! liquid fertilizer.

Garden Starter Kit

This is one you can have fun with. Grab a few garden essentials and your recipient will be set and ready to get their hands in the dirt. Grab a bag of Espoma’s potting mix, a hand trowel, gardener gloves, various vegetable seeds, seed trays, and a few flower seed packets for the perfect starter kit for any gardener. Personalize it by adding their favorite flower seeds or including their favorite colored items.

Go Local

Are too many choices making the gift giving process overwhelming? Is that loveable gardener on the list too picky? Take the hassle out of shopping and buy a gift certificate to a local garden center. It’s an easy and thoughtful gift and also supports a local business.

Get Outdoors

What better way to enjoy gardening than to spend time in one? Give the gift of forest bathing this year and purchase a day pass or membership to a local arboretum or public garden. Spending time in nature reduces stress and improves concentration.

Get Creative

Be crafty and make these DIY succulent snow globes with Garden Answer’s tutorial. These little planters are sure to please even the toughest gift recipients. And you get bonus points for making them yourself.

 

Big-Leaf Drama – Indoor plants with oversized foliage

There’s no such thing as too many houseplants – nor is there such a thing as too big of a houseplant. Dramatic leaves, oversized foliage and overhanging limbs make houseplants the center of attention in any household.

Depending on where big leaf plants are placed, they can help draw attention to a room or hide that patch in the wall that you don’t want anyone to see.

Our Favorite Oversized Foliage Houseplants

  1. Monstera

Known as the split leaf philodendron, the foliage on this plant is striking. Being a tropical variety, this plant can survive low light and higher humidity. It has large, lush, dark green foliage that stands out against a blank wall. Keep it near a window with indirect light and watch it grow. Don’t forget to share it on Instagram using the hashtag #monsteramonday.

  1. Bird of Paradise

This exotic plant draws attention in your home. Not only is the foliage large, it can grow up to 8 feet tall. The leaves are evergreen and arranged in a way that the leaves look like a bird’s head and beak. Keep it in front of a window that gets 4-5 hours of sunlight a day.

  1. Fiddle Leaf Fig

With its height and large leathery foliage, this houseplant can really change up a room. The glossy foliage will add flare wherever you need a little splash of dark color. Inside, it can grow up to 8 feet tall. It is aesthetically pleasing and can complement any room decor. Keep it in a well-lit spot, where it will get indirect sunlight all day long.

 

  1. White Snake Plant

This easy to care for plant will certainly make a statement. While the foliage isn’t as wide as the previously listed plants, it can grow up to three foot tall. A snake plant will survive anything. Low light loving and drought tolerant, so if you accidently forget about it for a few days, it will be just fine. Place in an area you want to add a little height for a dramatic appeal to your home.

 

  1. Rubber Tree

If you’re looking for a tree that gives the best of everything, a rubber tree is for you. It has large evergreen leaves, impressive height and cleans the air around you. It is easy to care for and can survive even after being neglected for a few days. It will eventually reach up to 8 feet tall. Keep it somewhere where you spend a lot of time, especially a home office or a children’s room, in order to really reap the air cleaning benefits.

 

Just because these houseplants are oversized, doesn’t mean they are too big of a job for Espoma’s Indoor liquid fertilizer. By feeding your houseplants as directed, you keep your attention grabbers happy and healthy.

 

Keeping Things Simple- Propagating African Violets

African Violets are one of the most loveable houseplants — packing lots of beauty in such a small plant. Gardeners love having them as a reminder of spring or summer indoors, while the seasons outside might be a little dreary. They seem to want more and more of them every year.

Save money and take your gardening skills to the next level by propagating them? It may sound intimidating to propagate an African Violet in the first place, but it is actually really simple – even beginning gardeners can do it.

Propagating African Violets from leaves

1. Choose a Leaf

Look for a leaf that is healthy and fresh, but has been established on the plant. You want to be sure the leaf is still full of life and not old and tough. Keep the petiole attached to the leaf.

Optional Step: With a sharp knife or razor, trim off the top of the leaf blade. This will encourage faster production of roots by sending all of the energy back into the soil and not into leaf growth.

2. Cut Leaf Petiole

Trim the petiole (the stem) to about ½ to 1 inch in length for best results. When trimming, be sure to cut it at a 45 degree angle to encourage root and plant growth.

3. Plant your Cutting

Find a small container and fill it with Espoma’s Organic African Violet Potting Mix. Make a shallow hole, using your finger or pencil. Place your leaf cutting in, stem side down, and firm the soil around it. Moisten the soil to lock in the cutting.

4. Give it Sunshine

Your cutting needs humidity and sunshine in order to grow. Place it in a clear covered container or put a clear plastic bag over it to provide humidity. Place this in a bright place without being in direct sun. Try to find a window that provides moderate temperature.

5. Plantlets Sprout

Patience is key here. At about 3-4 weeks, roots should begin forming on the petiole. In another 3-4 weeks, your new leaves will start to sprout. When the sprouts get 2-3 leaves on them, which is around the 2-6 month mark, you will need to repot.

 

Keep maintaining your sprouts and plantlets to nurse them into full grown African Violets. Keep your fully grown African Violets happy and healthy with Espoma’s Violet! liquid fertilizer.

How to Decorate for Thanksgiving With Plants

Plants are the perfect décor for any holiday occasion, especially Thanksgiving. Houseplants fit in perfectly with the magnificent fall colors and magical feel of autumn. Use plants to transform your holiday table this Thanksgiving into something truly beautiful. What’s even better is there’s a style for every personality!

Use these easy steps to get the perfect look.

1. Pick a Focal Point

Select a plant that will draw your eye and establish the look for your centerpiece. A popular choice in focal plants is the croton, due to its exceptional color and texture, which brings autumn to the table. Crotons come in bright yellow, rich gold, flaming orange, deep red, and burgundy purple which, paired with its height, will brighten the table. Any houseplant with a full autumn palate is perfect to be a focal point.  Keep the plant well-fed with our Indoor! liquid fertilizer to ensure your plant stays full of color all season long.

2. Dress it Up

To make a beautiful centerpiece really feel complete, find a fun container for your plant. If you are using this as a temporary focal point for Thanksgiving, any container will do. Otherwise, if you are looking for a more long term arrangement, be sure the container has proper drainage holes. Another option is to keep it in the original pot and wrap a seasonal cloth around the container to dress it up. Really stretch your creative mind and find a unique container, like a holiday turkey vase or a cornucopia to fill with a houseplant.

3. Accessorize

Be as creative as you’d like by adding supportive accents and characters to your table. Autumn themes accents like pinecones, colorful leaves or various gourds to compliment your focal point plant. Yellow and orange chrysanthemums placed in a smaller container will keep within the Thanksgiving vibe.

The thing to remember is to have fun with it and make something truly unique for the holidays.  Be sure to remember to monitor the light, water and to feed with Indoor! liquid fertilizer as directed for a long lasting beautiful plant.

Need more autumn inspiration? Check out Garden Answer’s make a fall succulent DIY!

 

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

Bring the Outside In – Best Indoor Plants

Having a beautiful garden is what we all dream about, but in the cases we don’t have the space or we want to have more greenery inside, indoor plants come to the rescue.

Some indoor plants come with the added benefit of not only giving color to a blank space, but also cleaning the air you breathe every day. Some plants are better for an office space while others are great as a centerpiece.

Not sure what plants will work for your space or how to care of them so you can enjoy them for a long time? We have you covered! We’ve rounded up the best indoor plants to introduce to your office or home this week and offer some tips on how to keep them happy and healthy. Be sure to monitor the light and water requirements and feed regularly with Espoma’s Indoor! liquid plant food for superior results.

7 Best Indoor Plants

  1. Ficus

Arguably the most popular indoor plant for homes and offices, the ficus’ simplicity in looks makes it well known and well liked. They are great for purifying the air — making the air better and cleaner to breathe. Ficus trees love indirect light, so place plants in a naturally bright room where it will thrive. Keep your ficus away from any drafts as they prefer more heat. This plant is perfect for the home or office; it is both beautiful and sophisticated.

  1. Peace Lily

The peace lily is a hardy, forgiving plant that will let you know when it needs water. It has a telltale droop to signal it’s thirsty. It will pop back up as soon as it gets the water it desires. Peace Lilies prefer bright indirect light, but will be happy with medium light, as well. Place it somewhere light comes through for a few hours of the day.

  1. African Violets

With a little bit of learning, you can introduce brilliant, cheerful blooms to your home easily. They don’t need a lot of room, so any small pot or a group of them in a bigger pot works well. African violets need bright to medium indirect light. Place them 3 feet from a west or south facing window and turn them regularly to ensure proper growth. Feed regularly with Espoma’s Violet! liquid plant food for plenty of blooms. Bring this plant to the table during dinner or hosting a party to make a beautiful and colorful centerpiece.

  1. Golden Pothos

Due to its attractiveness and simplicity to grow, golden pothos is one of the most common houseplants. Golden pothos’ trailing vines love to fall over the sides of the container, making it fun to decorate with. Those who have a “black thumb,” welcome this plant into their homes. It needs low light and minimal watering, so placing it in a bathroom would be perfect.

  1. Rubber Plant

This indoor plant may seem intimidating, being able to grow 10 feet tall, but they are simple to care for. Rubber plants love being the focal point for any home. Place your plant somewhere with bright, indirect light and water with room temperature water. These are great in sunny spots when protected by a sheer curtain.

  1. Kalanchoe

Add a pop of color with this beautiful flowering plant. While it has a reputation for being a disposable plant, with a little care they may rebloom next season. It is easy to propagate a new plant quickly from the cuttings. Place your kalanchoe in a place with bright light, such as a windowsill.houseplant care, potting soil, indoor plants

  1. English Ivy

This gorgeous plant will take over wherever it is stationed. You can train it to grow around an item to make it into a decorative sculpture or allow it to spread freely. English Ivy needs bright indirect sunlight and steady moisture. This would look great on a desk or mantel where the sun hits.

 

Keep the foliage on your houseplants’ foliage looking great with Espoma’s new leaf polish Shine!

Autumn Houseplants for Any Home

Autumn is a wonderful (some might say the best) time of the year for color. Trees and landscapes turn into amazing shades of reds, golds, and oranges. Everything in the yard makes us want to bring those same colors indoors.

While a cutting arrangement full of autumn flowers is wonderful, they won’t last all season. That’s why we have autumn houseplants. Indoor plants bring a welcoming burst of color during the dark winter evenings and keep homes feeling cheerful.

Keep plants happy during colder months by following directions for your houseplant’s light and water requirements. Feed regularly with Espoma’s Indoor! liquid fertilizer to keep those amazing colors vibrant all season long.

8 Houseplants You Need This Autumn

  1. Crotons

Invite this bold houseplant to your space this season. The foliage comes in incredible colors of red, green, orange, yellow and even black! You will not be disappointed. Crotons like bright areas, so place it near a big window.

  1. African Violet

Bring vibrant hues to your home with African violets. They can be grown almost anywhere there is light and a bit of humidity. African violets prefer full sun in the winter to get their gorgeous color. Rotate them regularly to keep growth even. Feed regularly with Espoma’s Violet! liquid fertilizer to ensure sensational blooms.

African Violet for color by Espoma

  1. Dracena

Nicknamed the dragon plant, this houseplant brings great texture to any décor. Choose the variety of dracena that best complements your design styles– such as dark green foliage or red lined foliage. These plants are easily cared for, tolerating low light, but thriving in medium to bright spots, too.

  1. Lemon Cypress

This holiday favorite brings joy to your home all season long. Keep it trimmed into the cone shape to keep it looking like a miniature tree throughout the rest of the year. Keep in direct light and cool temperatures.

  1. Chrysanthemum

Mums are a sure indicator of autumn with their yellow, orange, and red hues. Put them anywhere they can get bright filtered light during the day, but remain in the dark at night. They look great on shelves and desks that have some sunlight hitting it.

  1. Goldfish Plant

A member of the African violet family, the goldfish plant brings a unique orange flower to your home. It’s named for the flower’s fishlike bodies and puckered mouths. Place this plant a few feet away from windows. Its curved stems make this a great choice for hanging.

  1. Oxalis triangularis

Also known as red shamrock plant, oxalis triangularis is a wonderful addition to any houseplant collection. It has big, redish-purple, clover-shaped leaves which give it the nickname shamrock. It blooms little pink or white flowers that contrast with the foliage so well. It is a dream to have. Oxalis triangularis doesn’t like direct sun, so anywhere will work for this plant. It is a bulb, so allow for drying in between waterings to prevent rotting.

  1. Bromeliads

Known for the bright yellow, it may be surprising to some that bromeliads are offered in a sunset of colors. Bromeliads thrive on low light and minimal watering. So those who are looking for hardy plants, this one’s for you!houseplant care, potting soil, indoor plants

Have pets and want houseplants? Here is a list of pet-friendly houseplants to introduce to your home.

Summer Care Tips for Your Favorite Orchid

Orchids have become a houseplant fan favorite, and rightfully so. The indoor plants add a touch of the exotic to any home and bloom for weeks at a time. Plus, orchids are typically easy to care for and relatively low-maintenance once they are established.

Here are three ways to keep your orchid happy and healthy this summer.

3 Summer Secrets to Orchid Success

Light

Orchids love light, but direct sun can often burn their delicate leaves and flowers. Avoid damaging orchids, by placing them near a window with a sheer curtain. Sun rays will seep through the curtain, providing your orchid with just the right amount of light. Or, keep your orchid in a well-lit area in your home to completely avoid risk of sun damage.

Temperature

Orchids love warm temperatures during the day; however, they like to keep cool at night. Let your orchid chill at the end of the day in a cooler room. If the heat breaks and temperatures drop below 65 degrees Fahrenheit at night, you can place your orchid outside to cool. Just be sure to remove it from direct sunlight before morning.

Proper Potting

You won’t need to repot your orchid very often, typically once a year. Start with Espoma’s Organic Orchid Mix and then plant your orchid in plastic growing pots. These containers have great drainage, avoiding problems related to overwatering.

If you’d like a more stylish pot to add to your décor, simply place the plastic container inside the decorative one.

Follow these simple tips and your orchid will produce beautiful flowers you’ll be enjoying for years to come!

Pink Succulents Mom Will Love

With Mother’s Day right around the corner, you’re probably getting ready to shower your mom with love! But, deciding what to get mom gets harder each year. Instead of pink or red roses, try something new – pink succulents! While succulents typically are seen in various shades of green or blue, pretty pinks and ruby reds are perfect for Mother’s Day.

Succulents are trending in the décor world right now and look great in any home. They’re also very low maintenance and easy to care for, perfect for a busy mom on the go.

Here are five succulents to buy for mom this Mother’s Day:

Perle von Nurnberg

The overlapping leaves of this echeveria species are beautiful in color. A greyish brown base with light pink and purple highlights creates contrast between the leaves.  In the summer, the flowers can become coral to red with a yellow interior. As with all succulents, be sure to keep soil dry to avoid root rot and growth damage.

Afterglow

This echeveria truly lives up to its name. With beautiful pastel pink and purple leaves, these succulents look like something from a fairytale, a flower any mom is sure to love. Afterglow is perfect for indoor or outdoor containers. When growing succulents in containers, be sure to use Espoma’s Cactus Mix for best results.

Aurora 

This sedum variety is definitely a fan favorite. Its bead-shaped, pink leaves earned Aurora the adorable nickname “Pink Jelly Beans” – and what mom wouldn’t love that? Yellow and white summer blooming flowers pair perfectly with the existing pink foliage.

Paddle Plant

Also known as Flapjack Plant or Desert Cabbage, this succulent gets its name from its flat, wide leaves. Paddle plant is typically found in green, but becomes accented with red when it receives enough sunlight. Like most of the succulents on this list, the pink and red color only becomes more prominent with more sun.

Graptopetalum pachyphyllum 

Bonus points for mom if she can pronounce the name! This species has beautiful rosettes of pinkish leaves, topped by tiny, yellow flowers with pointed petals. When given a lot of sunlight, the gray foliage can show a reddish tint.

This Mother’s Day, show mom your love with one – or all – of the succulents on this list. Try incorporating the succulents in a cute planter for a really unique gift!

The Best Pet-friendly Houseplants

For most, pets are a member of the family. And like any other family member, we’ll do whatever it takes to keep them happy and safe. Since our furry friends don’t always know what’s best for themselves, it’s up to us to petscape and create a safe environment they can roam freely in.

To remove some of the guesswork, we have comprised a list of plants that add beauty to your home and are problem-free for your pets. Just because these plants are pet-safe, doesn’t mean a mischievous cat still won’t knock your favorite plant off the table or dog might decide to take a bite. If your pet does get into any plants, even the nontoxic kind, be alert for signs of an allergic reaction.

5 Houseplants Safe to Have Around Pets

  1. Spider plant

This classic, indoor plant is a staple in many households because it grows fast growers and improves indoor air quality. Spider plants do need regular waterings, but can live in most light conditions and temperatures.

  1. Bamboo

In addition to being non-toxic to dogs, cats and horses, bamboo adds beauty to any household. The plant prefers a location with indirect, bright light, but can thrive under artificial lighting as well.

  1. African violet

The blooms of African Violets are delicate and come in hues of vibrant purples and pinks. They can thrive in windowsill container gardens and are very easy to care for. Keep them in a warm place in the house where they can get lots of sunlight to ensure year-round flowers.

  1. Boston ferns

Only true ferns are safe for pets, so when shopping make sure to look for this fern. These non-toxic plants can survive in cool, humid, dark places. Humidity is key for these plants, so lightly mist them once or twice a week and be sure to monitor the soil and keep moist.

  1. Phalaenopsis orchids

These orchids are great because they are both pet safe and human safe. This popular edible flower is found often in Hawaiian dishes and tropical drinks. They require indirect, bright light and need water once a week, but don’t overwater.

Now that you’ve taken care of indoor plants, learn how to petscape your yard.