Posts

BAGR Blog 159: Houseplants that Bloom

This blog is inspired by Episode 159 of Bloom and Grow Radio Podcast, where host Maria Failla interviewed Lisa Eldred Steinkopf of The Houseplant Guru.

Houseplants are celebrated for their amazing foliage, but are often overlooked for another ability—the ability to bloom! To give us a better grasp of this beautiful subcategory, let’s dive into the must-knows of houseplants that bloom. 

How to Care for Blooming Houseplants

The main difference between blooming houseplants and normal foliage houseplants is light requirements. If you want to start caring for blooming houseplants, you need to have a good light setup.

Blooming houseplants require a bit more light. That can look like a Southern-, Western-, or an Eastern-facing window for natural light. If you have Northern-facing windows, you will need to supplement with grow lights.

The type of grow light you have will determine the amount of hours needed, but at most your blooming houseplants will need 12 hours of direct light. Inadequate lighting is often the culprit if your blooming houseplants don’t bloom. 

What Does a Houseplant Bloom Cycle Look Like?

Across blooming houseplants, there are long-day, short-day, and day-neutral plants that affect the bloom cycle. A day-neutral plant like the African violet (Saintpaulia) can bloom year round, as it’s not sensitive to day length. A short-day plant, however, will start blooming when the nights get longer, focusing on how much darkness they need.

Houseplants like poinsettias, kalanchoe, and cyclamen are all short-day plants, blooming in the Fall when nights are longer. Most of the annual flowers outdoors like snapdragons and marigolds need light for as long as possible to bloom, so they are categorized as long-day plants. These long-day flowers bloom best in Summer when day length is greatest.

If your plant is not blooming within a year, it may need something different. Often the key can be more light, but it could also be that it’s simply not mature enough yet to produce blooms. If you grow a citrus from seed, it won’t flower for six to seven years—but if you grow a cutting from a mature plant, it could bloom within a year. Consider a plant’s maturity for each variety before you write off your plant parent skills. 

Fertilizing Requirements for Blooming Houseplants

While sun and photosynthesis tend to be the most important factors in getting your plants to bloom, fertilizers can certainly help. An all-purpose fertilizer like Espoma’s Organic Indoor Houseplant Food is a great overall fertilizer. To help your blooms last longer, Espoma’s Super Bloom Booster that’s high in phosphorus will give your plants strong, healthy blooms. Opt for every two to four weeks if you choose a liquid fertilizer. 

How to Make Blooms Last Longer

To get your houseplant blooms to last as long as possible, focus on consistency. Blooming plants want consistent moisture, so do not let them dry out. Keep your plants in a well-lit spot, but not so hot that they become stressed. Be consistent with moisture and temperature during blooming and your plants will be happy. 

Now that we’ve covered some basic care for blooming houseplants, let’s go into some great starter plants for beginners. 

The 6 Best Blooming Houseplants for Beginners

The crown of thorns (Euphorbia milii) is a wonderful blooming houseplant if you have high light. It can even bloom year round with enough light. They come in many colors ranging from white. red, yellow, pink, and orange. 

Hoyas (Hoya carnosa) are another blooming houseplant that are great for beginners. The key with hoyas is to know they won’t bloom until they’re mature enough. It can take anywhere from three to seven years for hoya plants to reach maturity.

Air plants (Tillandsias) are next for beginners. While they need lots of light, they almost constantly bloom and grow. They will send out new pups, because once they bloom, they slowly die off. 

The holiday cactus (Schlumbergera spp.) is another great beginner blooming houseplant, and an often underrated one. Holiday cacti include Christmas, Easter, and Thanksgiving varieties, each slightly different in the shape of their stem segments. Their blooms also come in a range of colors including pink, orange, salmon, and white. 

African violets (Streptocarpus sect. Saintpaulia) are another beautifully blooming houseplant that would be a great fit for a mindful plant parent. African violets prefer to never dry out and to be repotted about every 6 months. Their leaves and stems are easy to propagate, making them a fun houseplant to share with other plant lovers. Try feeding your violets with Espoma Organic Violet! African violet liquid plant food.

The goldfish plant (Columnea nematanthus) is another fantastic blooming houseplant that doesn’t need much light to bloom. Their blooms are orange and shaped like goldfish, looking like a sea of goldfish swimming when in full bloom.

Intermediate Level Blooming Houseplants

If you’re ready to move up to the intermediate level, here are three blooming houseplants to get you started. 

Orchid cacti (Epiphyllums) are a type of climbing cacti with flat, leaflike stems. Despite being a tropical succulent, they actually need stretches of cold before they will bloom again. Give them enough light and enough of a cold period, and you’ll be wowing everyone with these stunning blooms.  

Bromeliads (Bromeliaceae) are another long-blooming houseplant that are typically bought in their blooming stage. Their blooms eventually die back, but not before they send out new babies at the bottom.

While there are beginner orchids, there are plenty of interesting varieties for an intermediate plant parent to try. Dendrobiums, Cattleyas, and Miltonias tend to be a bit more care intensive. To troubleshoot why your orchid isn’t blooming, it can often be a lack of light. Orchids also need to be repotted at least every two years to ensure adequate air for their roots. Try Espoma’s Organic Orchid Mix potting soil to help with drainage and aeration. Apply Espoma Organic Orchid! liquid plant food to make sure your plant has the essential nutrients needed for successful growth. 

*****

For an in-depth look into blooming houseplants, make sure to read Lisa’s new book Bloom: The Secrets of Growing Flowering Houseplants Year-Round

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

Lisa Eldred Steinkopf is The Houseplant Guru. She’s a blogger, freelance writer, and houseplant enthusiast who loves taking care of her own plants and teaching others to take care of theirs. If you love plants, want to know more, or are just looking to keep your houseplant plant alive, you’re in the right place!

Lisa’s new book Bloom: The Secrets of Growing Flowering Houseplants Year-Round celebrates the beloved houseplants we can grow for blooms in addition to foliage. It focuses on how to get many houseplants to bloom and how to keep them in bloom. 

​​Follow Lisa:

Website

Instagram

Facebook

Books

 

Featured Products: 

           

 

 

 

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. 

 

*****

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:

Website

Instagram

Facebook

 

Featured Products:

    

VIDEO: Houseplant Heaven with Garden Answer

Is it even possible to have too many houseplants? Not if you’re an expert like Garden Answer! With the help of Espoma’s Organic Potting Mix, walk through a whole haul of exciting, unique, and beautiful houseplants from the research phase all the way to repotting. 

 

Learn more about Garden Answer here:

https://www.youtube.com/c/gardenanswer 

https://www.gardenanswer.com/

https://www.facebook.com/gardenanswer

https://www.instagram.com/gardenanswer/

 

Featured Products:

        

 

8 Terror-ific Plants to Spookify your Home & Garden for Halloween

Pumpkin-picking isn’t the only way to get into the Halloween spirit! With dark shades, peculiar shapes, and scientific names plucked right from the mad scientist’s shelf, plants are a crafty way to give your home and garden a spooky touch your trick-or-treaters will love. Plus, if October isn’t enough to motivate you, these eight plant picks are a great way to spice up your space year-round!

 

‘Black Velvet’ Elephant EarAlocasia reginula

This striking plant earns the name ‘Black Velvet’ for its gothic, nearly black foliage accented by silvery-white veins. This tropical houseplant, a dwarf variety of the Elephant Ear plant, loves warm, moist places and well-drained soil. We suggest a 50/50 combination of our Espoma Organic Potting Soil and Espoma Organic Cactus Mix to keep those ‘Black Velvet’ leaves nice and spooky!

 

‘Black Prince’ EcheveriaEcheveria affinis

Everyone loves a cutesy succulent, but a ‘Black Prince’ Echeveria is the key to adding some drama to your arrangement. Accented by salmon to red-colored flowers in the fall and early winter, this deep purple, nearly black succulent provides spooktacular color contrast against typical green succulents. Water sparingly and keep the ‘Black Prince’ in the bright light to prevent the dark foliage from fading. 

 

Venus FlytrapDionaea muscipula

Dun dun… dun dun… it’s everyone’s favorite insect-eating, horror-movie-starring plant: the Venus flytrap! The carnivorous Venus flytrap has “jaws” that can snap shut in less than a second, and while they’re nowhere near as frightening as Halloween decorations make them out to be, this plant can be a unique, scary-cool addition to your little garden of horrors. 

 

Doll’s EyesActaea pachypoda

Doll’s eyes plant, also called white baneberry, has an alien appearance with creepy clusters of eyeball-like berries. A slow-growing perennial, Doll’s eyes plant is best planted during late fall or early spring, and it can be a low-maintenance, ornamental addition to your garden, especially with a boost from Espoma Organic Flower-Tone. Just beware of the plant’s berries because they are very toxic if ingested. (Eye wouldn’t be caught dead eating one!)

 

Raven ZZZamioculcas zamiifolia

A group of ravens may be called an unkindness, but there’s nothing mean-spirited about the easy-to-grow Raven ZZ! One of the most loved and sought after houseplants for plant parents and interior designers alike, its shiny, dark foliage and upright form make it a bold way to add a gothic element to your space. To keep a Raven healthy, don’t overwater it!

 

Ornamental PeppersCapsicum annuum

Want some witchy fingers clawing through your garden? Give your Halloween decor a little pepper-power with ornamental peppers! Coming in a variety of funky shapes and colors, including vibrant oranges, reds, greens, and purples, you can enjoy these plants before the first frost sets in by keeping them in a container in the fall months. 

 

Dracula OrchidDracula vampira

Based on its name, it’s no surprise that the Dracula Orchid would be a perfect addition to your home and garden this Halloween. At the center of the bloom, the plant has a vampire-like (or for the Netflix buffs, a Demogorgon-like) mouth that looks ready to bite you. Want to add a festive touch? Wrap your container in a cape and paint it red down the sides to give your Dracula Orchid the proper outfit. 

 

 

GarlicAllium sativum

More of a vampire hunter than a Twilight lover? Time to stock up on garlic. Folklore has taught us that garlic is the best way to ward off vampires, and in addition to its protective properties, allium vegetables also do very well this time of year. Kickstart the bulb-planting process with our Espoma Organic Bio-Tone Starter Plus

 

*****

Espoma’s All Purpose Potting Mix and Indoor! fertilizer will help ensure those peculiar plants grow healthy and strong. We hope these eight plants help you and your garden get in the Halloween spirit! Have a spooky suggestion we left out?

 

Visit our Facebook page

Or on our YouTube Page

Tag us on Instagram!

 

Featured Products:

 

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bonsai Care 101

Picture of Bonsai tree

Bonsai Care 101

Bonsai trees–if you’re a millennial, you probably remember them from The Karate Kid movies. Did you know it’s actually pronounced “bone-sigh”? Bonsai means “to plant in a container or a potted plant.”

This blog all about bonsai care is inspired by Episode 119 of Bloom and Grow Radio–where host Maria Failla interviewed Bjorn from Eisei-En Bonsai.

Can Any Tree Be a Bonsai?

There are 3 characteristics to look for to help transform trees into the bonsai art we know and love:

  • Smaller leaves. You’re trying to create a large tree shrunk down into miniature form–so if you’re using a trunk with very large leaves, it looks quite out of proportion with the overall size of the plant.
  • Plants with bark on them. You should have to work with woody plants to achieve the true bonsai form. All of the conifers like juniper and pine are great for this!
  • Look for plants with apical dominance. Apical what?! Apical dominance means the bud at the tip of the stem stops the growth that occurs on the other buds along the stem. It does this to become the dominant stem and allow woody plants to grow taller–which is great for bonsai shaping!

Are Bonsai Grown Indoors or Outdoors?

You may be wondering, “can I grow a bonsai as a houseplant?” And the answer is yes–but with a few caveats.

You need to figure out if it’s a tropical or a temperate climate tree. Temperate climate trees have four seasons and need to go through their life cycles outdoors–think oaks and maples.

Tropical climate trees do not survive freezing temperatures and suffer in below 55 degrees F conditions, so these would be better options as indoor bonsai plants. Ficuses like the Weeping Fig (Ficus benjamina) and the Pot-Bellied Ficus (Ficus microcarpa) would both work great!

If you want an indoor bonsai, try sticking with the subtropical and tropical climate plants. And check out the Top 5 Bonsai Trees (Indoor and Outdoor Options) with Bjorn from Eisei-en Bonsai for more variety options!

How to Care for Bonsai Trees

Now that we know more about what to look for, let’s jump right into bonsai care. We’ll cover all the basics for soil, fertilizer, water, light, and pruning. Buckle up, ‘cause we’re on this road of planty learning for a while!

What Is the Right Soil for Bonsai?

Since your goal is total control over the growth of the bonsai, you have to use almost entirely inorganic components when you mix your soil together. To make your own, try getting your hands on these 3 basic components:

  1. Expanded Shale: great for aeration and drainage
  2. Calcined Clay: holds a lot of moisture, but also releases that moisture & fertilizer back to the plants easily
  3. Aged Forest Products: also good for aeration, drainage, and root growth.

The particle size is quite large at 3/16 inch to ensure as much drainage and aeration to the root system as possible. Don’t want to make your own soil mix? Check out our Organic Bonsai Mix.

By keeping the plants in a mostly inert soil mix, you can then decide how much fertilizer to give the tree and the type of growth that you’re going to get out of the plant.

Bonsai Potting Mix

How Do I Fertilize Bonsai? 

Fertilizer is the key to controlling your plant’s growth. To keep the soil from clogging up, Bjorn recommends distributing bonsai fertilizer by adding synthetic or organic fertilizer to a tea bag and slowly allowing the nutrients to leach into the soil. Every time you water your bonsai, water directly over your nutrient tea bag.

So how much fertilizer and what type of fertilizer should you apply? That all depends on the stage of tree development.

  • Young Trees: at this stage you want to thicken the trunk of the plant. Use a very high-nitrogen synthetic or inorganic fertilizer, which produces elongating, inner nodes and bigger leaves on your tree.
  • Older Trees: with older trees, you’re simply in maintenance mode. Here you’ll need fertilizer that has a much lower nitrogen value and well-rounded, equal amounts of nutrients.

Bonsai Fertilizers

How Do I Water Bonsai?

Since you’re using a rockier, more aerated soil, you’ll be watering more frequently than you would a regular potting mix.

A good general watering rule with bonsai plants: Bjorn suggests checking on them twice a day and water when the soil surface is slightly dry. Stick to the basic schedule of checking on your bonsai morning and evening, and all should be well in the bonsai world!

Bonsai Watering Guidelines

How Much Light Do Bonsai Need? 

In general, you want your bonsai plants to have as much light as possible. Bjorn says the more light you have, the smaller the leaf size and the softer the branch structure. In the long run it will be easier to maintain that tree’s shape.

If you plan to keep an outdoor bonsai, morning sun and afternoon shade is best during summer. Indoor bonsai plants will need supplemental light, especially during the fall and winter months. Generally speaking, 12-14 hours of direct light is best for bonsai growth.

Bonsai Light Guidelines

How to Prune Bonsai? 

You might have guessed that pruning is one of the most important factors in creating a bonsai tree. There are two main parts to pruning: roots and shoots. Let’s go over both.

What is the difference between Root Pruning and Shoot Pruning?

Root pruning should happen every 2-5 years in spring when you notice water is no longer penetrating the soil and simply pooling on the surface. Remove a lot of the old soil with a root rake or wooden chopstick. You will inevitably remove some roots through that process, but removing that old soil exposes the outer and underside of the root system. Make sure you don’t prune back more than 20-30% of the roots. Then simply replenish the space you’ve created with new potting mix. Since the mix is fresh, make sure to use your hands to pat the soil within the root system of the plant and give it a good watering to help settle the soil.

Shoot pruning is also done every 2-5 years in late spring or early summer after new growth has appeared. Your bonsai should have put out about 6-10 leaves–cut it back to two leaves with dormant buds. Essentially, you want to look for those little bitty nubs that are right at the base of the leaves. As long as you’re counting at least two, you can cut them back.

Think about pruning like you’re always trying to push the growth back and create desired directionality in one direction or another within the plant. Make sure to avoid pruning your roots and shoots in the same year–that would be far too much stress on your precious bonsai.

Bonsai Pruning Guidelines

Bonsai is a Wonderful Practice for Mindful Plant Parents!

Are you someone who likes to interact with your plants on a daily basis, control all the elements, and look towards the future? Then the bonsai is a perfect fit for you! Caring for a bonsai is one of the most engaging and interesting hobbies you can get into. It really shifts your perspective on instant gratification, which will definitely make you think differently about not only plants, but also life in general.

Ready, Set, Grow!

If you’re ready to grow your own bonsai, make sure to check out the Eisei-en Bonsai YouTube channel with Bjorn and find all the specific guidelines for each tree variety along with tons of other helpful information.

Where can one buy a bonsai tree? If you’re in Nashville, Tennessee, you absolutely have to get one of Bjorn’s bonsai plants at Eisei-En Bonsai Garden. Otherwise, check out Brussel’s Bonsai online for plants, tools, and pots!

 

About Bloom & Grow Radio Podcast

Bloom & Grow Radio Podcast helped 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

Bjorn from Eisei-En Bonsai

Bjorn Bjorholm’s bonsai love started when he got a bonsai tree for his 13th birthday after watching all the Karate Kid movies. Even though his first bonsai croaked (hello plant parent initiation), Bjorn was hooked and founded the Knoxville Bonsai Society in high school with his father. After graduating from the University of Tennessee focusing on Japanese language and business, he moved to Japan and began a bonsai apprenticeship for 6 years under Master Keiichi Fujikawa at Kouka-en bonsai nursery in Osaka, Japan. His tenure as an apprentice at Kouka-en was followed by three years as artist-in-residence, making him the first foreign-born working bonsai professional in Japan. Bjorn now owns Eisei-en Bonsai in Nashville, TN, the premier bonsai garden, nursery and school of the Eastern US.

Follow Bjorn:

Website

Instagram

YouTube

 

References

  1. Episode 119 of Bloom and Grow Radio
  2. How Woody Plants Grow: https://extension.illinois.edu/blogs/garden-scoop/2020-12-12-how-woody-plants-grow
    1. Used to describe apical dominance
  3. Temperate Deciduous Forest: https://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/biome/biotemperate.php
    1. Used for temperate tree examples
  4. Ficus benjamina: https://plants.ces.ncsu.edu/plants/ficus-benjamina/
    1. Used for info on Ficus benjamina
  5. Ficus microcarpa: https://plants.ces.ncsu.edu/plants/ficus-microcarpa-ginseng/
    1. Used for info on Ficus microcarpa
  6. A Bonsai Close-Up on Indoor Tropical Bonsai: https://prairiestatebonsai.com/a-bonsai-close-up-on-indoor-tropical-bonsai/
    1. Used for indoor bonsai light requirements

Featured Products

 

Indoor Liquid Plant foodBonsai potting mix

 

5 Trailing Plants to Spice Up Your Indoor Jungle

Just because it’s winter doesn’t mean you can keep growing your indoor garden! The perfect way to turn it into an indoor jungle is to utilize trailing plants and high spaces around your home. These plants are characterized by their ability to grow long so they can gracefully drape down from bookshelves or windowsills. Here are some of the best ones to integrate:

1. Philodendron 

If you’re a new plant parent, philodendron may be the best choice to start. There are over 200 different types of just this plant alone, so you have plenty of options. The most important things to remember are to place it in indirect sunlight and water about once a week. Be careful because direct sunlight can cause sunburn on their leaves.

2. Pothos

This long, leafy vine also prefers indirect sunlight and moist soil. One of the most common problems with this trailing plant is that it can get thirsty very easily, so make sure to look out for signs of a dry habitat such as crispy brown leaf tips. For optimal care, they should be kept in a room that is 70°-90ºF during the day and above 60º F at night. That means keep them away from any drafty windows for the remainder of winter!

3. String of Pearls 

Another great starter trailing plant is the string of pearls. Unlike philodendron or pothos, this succulent thrives in bright light and can survive with less water. Be sure to check the soil and verify that it’s dried between waterings to avoid root rot from overwatering! If you’re ready to see this plant baby thrive in the coming growing season, stock up on indoor plant food and feed them every other month until spring and summer, then up their feeding schedule to once a month.

4. Inchplant

These beautiful purple leaves on top of trailing stems are perfect for hanging baskets! You need to make sure your inchplant is getting plenty of sun, because their overall health will decline if kept in low light for too long. The best way to help them thrive is to place them on a sunny windowsill. While inchplants are rarely bothered by pests, it’s always a good idea to keep a lookout for aphids and mites. If you start to see any, introduce some Insect Soap.

5. Arrowhead Plant

This plant is known for its beautiful large leaves that resemble arrows. They prefer bright light and moderate watering in addition to well-draining, acidic soil. A great way to make sure this plant stays happy and healthy is to give it the quality soil it craves. Don’t forget to repot your plants at least once a year with our Organic Potting Mix.

 

Have you decided which of these plants you want hanging around yet? There are plenty of options to greenify your shelfs and ceiling space, and many of them are easy to care for! Plus, adding these plants now will mean lots of new, beautiful growth in the coming warmer months.

Featured Products:

 

 

Video: Air Plant Care Guide

Learn all about air plants as Laura from Garden Answer explains what they are and how to care for them.

Featured Products:

 

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.

*****

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

 

Featured Products:

 

 

How to Care for Your Monstera

Monstera is commonly called Swiss cheese plant or split-leaf philodendron referring to the beautifully cut leaves. It’s a must have for its Caribbean feel. The foliage is deep green, lush and tropical. With time the foliage can become quite large and exotic looking. There is also a rare white variegated form that is slower growing. They generally don’t bloom indoors but in its natural environment they will produce edible fruit that is said to taste like fruit salad.

Light and Placement

As a tropical plant it’s no surprise that your Monstera likes warm indoor temperatures between 68 and 86 degrees Fahrenheit. A little humidity makes them feel right at home, too. Bathrooms and kitchens can often supply a touch of humidity or you can simply mist your plant now and then. These plants grow naturally in the dappled light of the forest floor. To mimic that, place your Monstera in bright or filtered, indirect light. They can actually grow in deep shade, but may not exhibit as much of the cut leaf foliage. If you live in zones 10 or 11, you can grow it outdoors in a shady spot.

Photo courtesy of Costa Farms

Food and Water

Monstera likes moist soil, but not one that stays soggy or overly wet. Make sure the pot has good drainage. Water weekly, when the top inch of the soil is dry. Make sure any excess water drains away. In spring and summer, when the plants are actively growing, it’s a good idea to feed them once a month with a liquid fertilizer like Espoma’s Organic Indoor!  plant food.

Repotting

Repot young plants every year to encourage growth and add soil nutrients. Gradually go up in pot size by 2 inches per year.  Once your plant has reached its optimal height for your space, you can give it a top dressing of new soil once a year and only repot it about every 3 years. Always use a quality potting soil to help keep the soil moist but free-draining. These are natural climbers that use their aerial roots to hold on to trees. When you do repot your plant, be sure to add a trellis or moss covered plant stake for support.

Photo courtesy of Costa Farms

Pruning

Young plants often have compact, bushy habits. As they grow, they will begin to show their vining nature. You can either give them support to climb and become a tall and dramatic or if you prefer, you can pinch them to rein in the lankiness. Pinch off the new growth tip with your finger at the height you’d like it to stay at. Feel free to prune out stems that are producing few or no leaves. If you can’t tuck the aerial roots back into the pot, you may remove them as well.

Pest and Disease

Monstera is rarely bothered by pest or disease. Wipe off the leaves with a damp cloth from time to time or give it a shower to remove dust. Check for spider mites when you do. This is a long-lived house plant that will give you years of pleasure with little care.

Ready for more houseplants? Check out “How to Fertilize Houseplants” with Homestead Brooklyn!

Best products for Monstera

 

Garden Answer’s Top 5 Low Light Houseplants (Extended Version)

Sometimes the perfect place for a houseplant has little to no light. But that won’t  stop these low light houseplants from growing big and healthy. Laura from Garden Answer shows off her favorites and gives tips to keep them healthy.

Watch the quick version and see instructions here.

 

Products:

Espoma Organic Potting Soil Mix

 

 

 

 

Product

Indoor!