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How to Repot a Bromeliad

Summer Rayne Oaks of Homestead Brooklyn demonstrates the ins and outs of repotting bromeliads. Follow along as she explains the difference between the pup and mother plant and what happens when you remove the pup vs leaving it on to continue growing. Utilizing her expansive collection of plants, she shows us what both scenarios look like in the repotting process.

Three takeaways from this video:

Summer Rayne teaches you how to get a brand new bromeliad from a plant that is about to expire. With the right care, she was able to get new life from the plant.

The best soil to use for bromeliads is a barky airy mix, such as The Espoma Company’s Organic Orchid Mix, that’s full of nutrients.

Once the pup is either 1/3 to 1/2 the size of the mother plant, you can decide to remove the pup for the mother to grow another or keep it on and watch it grow from the mother until it expires.

5 Steps for Repotting a Bromeliad:

  1. Grab some gloves. Some of the leaves are going to be prickly, so you want to protect yourself.
  2. Grab scissors or sheers. If the mother plant is desiccated or if you want to remove the pup before repotting, you will need something sharp to remove them.
  3. Remove the bromeliad from the container and separate it from the mother plant, if possible.
  4. When placing the bromeliad into the new container, center it and fill with Espoma’s Orchid Mix. You don’t need to tuck it in too hard, as it likes having room to breathe.
  5. Water it in well to help it settle into its new home.

*Remember, if you have a healthy mother plant and a healthy pup, you can plant them together or separately. You won’t harm it either way.

Build Your Own Vertical Strawberry Planter (Extended Version)

Need a new and updated way to grow your strawberries? Try growing them vertically!

This windchime inspired planter will add life to your garden while adding an element of design to your home. Watch as Laura from Garden Answer shows us how to make vertical strawberry planters.

Be sure to keep the materials in mind – even Laura almost used toxic tubing for the project.

Materials she used includes:

  • Galvanized Duct Work and Cap
  • Self-Tapping Sheet Metal Screws
  • Drill, Bits and 2.5″ Bi-Metal Saw
  • 1/8 inch Quick Links (x6 pieces)
  • Chain (x3 pieces)
  • 1.5 inch Ring
  • Espoma Organic Potting Mix
  • Espoma Organic Bio-Tone
  • Strawberries of your choice
  • Moss
  • Hook

Step-By-Step Instructions:

Construction

  1. Connect your galvanized tubing. There is a rivet on where they should connect – be sure to work from one end to the other to make sure it is secure.
  2. Drill a drainage hole in the bottom of the cap with a metal drill bit. Place the cap on the corrugated end and use 5 self-tapping screws to secure.
  3. Measure your planting holes. Start an inch away from the seam to keep the integrity of the tubing. Each hole should be 7.5″ away from each other. Use a pencil to mark where to drill. This will be your starting place.
  4. Drill your holes with a 2.5″ bi-metal hole saw. Ask one person to hold the tubing while the other saws. You will end up with about 15-16 holes. Safety tip: Wear long sleeves, gloves and eye protection to protect yourself from the metal.
  5. Keep your gloves on while handling the tube as it is sharp.
  6. Drill 3 holes in the top to get it ready to hang.
  7. Attach 1/8″ quick links to each of the holes. Connect your chain to the quick links. Add one more quick link to the end of each chain and each of those will go into one 1.5″ ring.

Planting:

  1. Starting from the bottom hole, add in Espoma Organic Potting Mix and Bio-Tone Fertilizer. Pro Tip: Mixing Espoma Organic Potting Mix with the Organic Bio-Tone Fertilizer allows the strawberries to get a boost in their new container while releasing nutrients slowly to ensure the edibles are being fed for a long time.
  2. Plant each hole with a strawberry and move your way up! You can also add a plant at the very top!
  3. Take little pieces of moss and add them around the strawberry plant. This will help keep the plant inside of the planter and help clean up your project.
  4. Hang your planter with a hook (Laura uses an S-hook).
  5. Slowly water in your new planter – watering too fast can make the plants fall out since their roots haven’t been established yet.

Enjoy!

DIY Cat Tower Garden

Find out how Laura from Garden Answer makes this clever indoor cat tower garden! Laura uses Espoma’s Organic Seed Starter to get her seeds off to a great start.

Spice Up Your Life – Start an Indoor Herb Garden

Add an extra special kick to homemade dishes by incorporating fresh herbs from your kitchen garden. It’s especially easy when flavorful herbs just need to be snipped from your kitchen windowsill.

Grow a winter herb garden in your kitchen with easy herbs like rosemary, chives, oregano, thyme, lemongrass and mint in just a few steps.

Herbs are perfect for growing in the kitchen. Be sure to feed with Indoor! plant fertilizer to give them a boost.

How to Grow Herbs Indoors in 5 Steps:

  1. Pick a container. Visit your local garden center to purchase herbs and pots. Choose 6” containers that have drainage holes and saucers. Herbs don’t like wet feet.
  2. Pot up your herbs. Fill containers halfway with Espoma’s Organic Potting Mix. Remove herbs from containers by pushing from the bottom. Gently loosen roots and place plant in the pot. Fill with soil to the depth the plants were growing in the original pots. Water well.
  3. Choose a Spot. Place plants in a sunny window that receives at least 6 hours of strong sunlight each day.
  4. Refresh plants. Water as needed to keep the soil lightly moist, but don’t overwater.
  5. Give herbs a boost. Feed with Espoma’s Indoor! liquid plant fertilizer as needed to give plants the nutrients they need.

Once warm weather does arrive, get ready to plant more veggie crops!

 

Romantic Reds Houseplants

With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, there’s a lot of pressure to find the perfect gift, we made it simple.

Give something that will live long past the special day – Red Houseplants!

The best part yet? These are perfect gifts for your special guy or girl. Visit your local garden center to surprise your love with a beautiful new plant today.

5 Red Houseplants to Spark the Romance

  1. Anthurium
    This lovely houseplant has heart-shaped blooms called spades. Be sure to buy one in bloom to ensure your significant other sees the heart on your sleeve plant. Anthuriums love light, so be sure to place them in a bright area, but not directly in the sunshine.
  1. Bromeliad
    This easy-to-grow houseplant is the perfect gift. It provides an exotic touch of red to any home. Even with the thick foliage and wide leaves, it gives off a radiance that anyone will fall in love with. Be sure to use Espoma’s Orchid Potting Mix to allow proper drainage and vitality.

    Feed regularly with Indoor! liquid fertilizer to keep your plants happy and healthy.

  1. Kalanchoe
    Succulent love! This succulent produces clusters of tiny red flowers which will last for several seasons. The scalloped greenery is just as gorgeous as the flowers, so you will have a showstopper year round. Use Espoma’s Cactus Potting Mix and Cactus! liquid fertilizer to be sure your Kalanchoe is happy and hearty.
  1. Croton
    Red can be too much for some lovers, so crotons offer the perfect balance of greenery with a subtlety of red. But don’t let it fool you, this houseplant is a bold contender. It offers texture and design to any household that needs extra energy. Crotons also help purify the air, which in turn keeps you calm and relaxed.
  1. Red Aglaonema
    Another more subtle red houseplant, the Red Aglaonema is a standout in home décor. The bold foliage adds height and eye-drawing texture. Your significant other will love this easy-care plant.

Trust us, gifting any of these romantically red houseplants will show your love for years to come. Feeding plants with Espoma’s Indoor! liquid fertilizer helps keep their red vibrant.

What else can you give for Valentine’s Day? Try a cute and creative gnome garden!

7 Tricks for Starting Tomato and Peppers Seeds Indoors

Dreaming of juicy, flavorful tomatoes and ripe, spicy peppers? Grow them yourself in only a few months.

If you’re as excited about tomato season as we are, why not get started now?

The best way to get a head start on growing tomatoes is to start seeds indoors 4-6 weeks before the last spring frost date in your region. Whether you’re growing cherry tomatoes or hot peppers, visit your local garden center to pick up supplies and seeds.

Here’s how to start tomato and pepper seeds indoors:

  1. Test Seeds

If you saved tomato seeds from last year and stored the seeds properly, they should last for about four years. Pepper seeds will last about two to three years.

Check seeds for vitality before planting for a successful crop. Need seeds? Find them at your local garden center.

Test your seeds a few weeks before you’re ready to start. Place several seeds on a wet paper towel cover it with plastic and place it in a warm spot. If the seeds are viable, they should sprout within a week.

  1. Soak Seeds

Give your seeds a head-start. Simply soak seeds in warm water for 2-4 hours to soften. Read the instructions on the seed packet to ensure the optimal conditions for your seeds.

  1. Start Seeds

Gather supplies and fill seed trays to within ¼” of the top with Espoma’s Organic Seed Starting Mix. Follow instructions on the seed packets to see how deep and far apart to plant. Cover with soil, press down and lightly water.  Find out more about starting seeds here.

  1. Add Heat

Once the seeds are planted, it’s time to warm them up. Heat loving crops like tomatoes and peppers love the warm weather. While your seedlings are sprouting, store them on top of the fridge or in a warm place. An even better option is use a special heating mat. The warm temperatures help to speed up the growing process. Make sure to check seeds daily for moisture since the soil may dry out more quickly.

  1. Feed

Once the true leaves have developed, seeds will benefit from a nutrient boost. Add Espoma’s Organic Tomato-tone, a premium plant food formulated specifically for growing plump and juicy tomatoes.

  1. Thin Plants

Thinning is the process of removing weaker seedlings to allow more room for the stronger ones. It creates healthier plants that produce more. As seedlings grow and you see crowding beginning to happen, gradually thin plants to 4” apart by gently pulling out the smallest ones with your hands.

  1. Prepare for Transplant

Start hardening off plants once the last frost date has past. Place seedlings outdoors for seven to 10 days for a few hours each day. Once plants are ready for transplanting, gently remove plants from containers without damaging the roots. Plant in a prepared bed and mix in Espoma’s Bio-tone Starter Plus, to keep roots strong.

 

 

Best Houseplants for the Kitchen

Sometimes we find a beautiful houseplant and have no idea on where to put it. Other times we have a space that needs filling and no idea what to put there.

The way we see it, you can never go wrong with more plants!

There’s no better place to start adding plants than the kitchen. If you haven’t thought of adding plants there before, you’re missing out!

Houseplants in the kitchen aid in decreasing cooking scents that consume your home – while it might smell amazing when you bake cookies, cauliflower can really bring you down. Or, you can grow edibles in your kitchen to have easy access while cooking.

Here are our top picks for plants in the kitchen:

  1. Assorted Herbs
    Herbs are perfect to grow in the kitchen. Place your herb garden on your windowsill or in a hanging basket for ease. Luckily, a lot of herbs grow well indoors with adequate light. They need to be rotated if they start to become leggy. Read more about growing herbs in your kitchen.
  1. Aloe Vera
    Aloe Vera is one of the easiest plants to grow, so keeping it in your kitchen will bring life there all year long. It’s especially great to have in the kitchen to use its natural coolant in case of a burn. It will do well anywhere in the kitchen, although next to the stove is probably best. Read more about growing aloe and other succulents.
  1. White Jasmine
    The soft jasmine scent that is released from the blooms of this plant will help keep your kitchen smelling nice and fresh. The scent is subtle enough that it won’t overwhelm the kitchen yet can still help keep your space feel clean and refreshed. Read more about growing jasmine.
  1. English Ivy
    Ivy is a diverse plant that can thrive in many rooms. Putting it in the kitchen will add dramatic lines and textures while purifying the air. If your cabinets don’t hit the ceilings, this ivy will gladly take up space. It will add wonderful shades of green with accents of whites or yellows. Read more about growing ivy in unusual spaces.
  1. Spider Plant
    Another great air purifier, the spider plant will help keep cooking more enjoyable. Place it somewhere you need to add height and texture to an area. It is an easy-care houseplant that will continue to love you in every season. Read more about the benefits of houseplants.

Don’t forget, all of these plants need to be fed as directed with Espoma’s Indoor! liquid fertilizer in order to grow strong and highlight their colors.

Need more inspiration for houseplants? Check out this paint can container that Laura from Garden Answer created!

How To Make An Easy Terrarium

Terrariums make great additions to any room. There are endless options for variety, decorations and plants. They can be assembled in minutes and will continue to be enjoyed for months.

They can even match this season, like these adorable winter snow globes!

Whether you’re a terrarium expert or just making your first one, here are six easy steps to follow again and again.

Six Steps to Create a Terrarium

Step 1: Assemble materials

First, envision the terrarium you want. Where will you place it? What kind of plants are in it? What type of container will you use? Does it have a lid? Once you’ve got an idea, visit your local garden center to find many of the materials needed to make a terrarium.

You will need:

  • Glass jar or bowl
  • Sand
  • Activated charcoal
  • Espoma’s organic potting soil or cactus mix, depending on plants
  • Ornamental moss
  • Decorative elements such as fairies, rocks, shells, or stones
  • Small plants or succulents
  • Watering can
  • Espoma’s Indoor! or Cactus! liquid fertilizer depending on plant needs
  • Optional: Tweezers
  • Optional: Small sticks or bark

Step 2: Sand Layer

The first layer in your terrarium will be for drainage. Add about a 1-inch layer of sand, rocks or pebbles at the bottom. This ensures that water will not linger in the soil and will help to prevent root rot.

Step 3: Activated Charcoal Layer

Add about ¼ cup of activated charcoal to the terrarium to help keep it healthy. The charcoal helps the water stay clear of buildup and microorganisms that can grow on any living thing.

Step 4: Add Soil and plants

Add an adequate amount of soil for your plants. Dig a small hole to place the plant in. Choose a few standout succulents or add as many plants as you’d like. Make sure each plant has room to grow. Remember to leave some space to add in creative elements.

Step 5: Get Creative

Once your terrarium has plants, it’s time to add the finishing touches. Layer different types of ornamental mosses or decorative stones to enhance the look. If you’ve got fairy garden elements, add them in now. If you’re adding any pieces that you may have brought in from outside, make sure to rinse them off well first. You might find it’s easier to use a set of tweezers to place these pieces in smaller terrariums.

Step 6: Fertilize

Help your terrarium plants stay healthy and strong by feeding with the proper Espoma liquid fertilizer.

Enjoy! Switch up your terrarium whenever you feel like you need a change or new plants!

When Life Gives You Lemons – Grow Them Indoors!

Everyone loves houseplants – they provide greenery and pops of color to your home. Sometimes it’s fun to switch things up a little bit. Growing citrus indoors is actually easier than you think!

Unless you live in a warm climate year round, growing citrus outside can be tough. Bringing it indoors will keep it at the temperature it needs and gives it a chance to thrive.

Just imagine seasoning your salmon on a chilly night, adding fresh lemon to your water, or making a natural cleaner and being able to grab citrus right out of your living room to do it! And Meyer lemon trees smell so good too!

How to Grow a Citrus Tree Indoors:

1. Choose your container

If allowed, citrus trees will grow incredibly tall. Keep citrus trees from hitting the ceiling by choosing a container that is deeper than it is wide. This will help roots to grow down and not out, keeping the tree balanced as it grows.

If the tree will stay in one well-lit area year-round, any container will do. If you are moving it from room to room to follow the sunlight per season, a thinner plastic container is lighter and easier to transport. Make sure your container has adequate drainage holes.

2.The right soil

Citrus trees don’t like wet feet. A light well-drained soil mix, such as Espoma’s Cactus Potting Soil, works best to grow your tree in. It provides the tree with enough water to keep it happy and allows the excess to drain quickly.

Fill your container with just enough soil so your root ball is just under the lip of the container. This helps your tree to get the right nutrients and drain correctly.

3. Plant your tree

Before placing the root ball in the container, be sure to sprinkle Espoma’s Citrus-Tone on your soil as directed.

Center your tree’s root ball and fil the sides in with soil. Tuck the soil in the sides, so the tree doesn’t lean. Feed your tree regularly to ensure successful and juicy citrus.

4. Choose your location

Citrus trees require 8-12 hours of sunlight a day. Be sure to choose a south-facing window with good airflow. In the winter months, you may need to supplement with a grow light if there isn’t enough daylight.

5. Give it a drink

While citrus trees don’t like their feet wet, they also don’t like to dry out. If the first inch of the soil dries out, be sure to water your tree. If you water about once a week, you should be using around ¼ of a gallon. If the tree is standing in drainage overflow, be sure to allow it to dry before watering again.

Do you have outdoor trees that need to be fertilized? Watch this video to learn how!

 

Winter is Coming – Frost Preparedness

It may still be warm outside, but that doesn’t mean winter is not going to come bite us in the bud. Frost is coming and it will hit your garden hard if you aren’t prepared.

Be sure to find your first frost date and prep your garden for winter.

What is Frost?

Frost is when the dew you see on your garden turns into ice crystals. This happens when the temperature drops down to 32° F or lower.

Even a light frost can end your garden for the season. This happens when temperatures are between 29-32°. When frost hits a garden that hasn’t been properly prepared, you can say goodbye to heat-loving plants.Winter can be hard on any garden, but many plants can be protected from a light frost and continue to grow until your first hard freeze.

Find your Frost Date.

The easiest way to find your frost date is to type in your zip code into this frost date calculator.

This calculator gives you an idea on when frost will hit first and when you can expect temperatures above freezing in the spring. The percentages on top of the chart explain that you have that much of a chance of having frost for that date. For example, in the Fall 32° row, if you have the date Oct 14 under the 50 percent column, you have a 50 percent chance of 32° on October 14th.

What does this mean for your garden?

Once you know your frost date, it’s time to prepare your garden to preserve what you can.

Prepare. Often times, first frosts are light and followed by some sunshiny days before everything freezes over for good. Cover crops with a blanket or cloth material to keep them warm during this period. Try to avoid plastic as it can freeze and crack. You can also try to hose off your garden first thing in the morning to get any of the excess ice crystals off and warm your plants back up.

Harvest. Remember to harvest as your vegetables continue to ripen. You don’t have to make a mad dash to get all of your vegetables inside, but keep an eye on them. If they stop producing or if a harsh frost is coming, harvest any vegetables on your plants and let them ripen inside. Frost will damage the delicate tissue of fruits and veggies like tomatoes.

Wait. For winter vegetables, such as some squash, pumpkins, and cabbage families, you can wait until after the frost. In fact, some root crops actually have improved flavor after the frost. Check your seed packet or with your local garden center to check which vegetables you can keep outside during a frost.

Feed. Lawns will stop growing when it gets colder. This is great news for you – no more mowing! Give them a fresh dose of Espoma’s Fall Winterizer Lawn Fertilizer to help it withstand the winter’s harsh cold.

When the hard frosts are on the way, it is time to put your garden to bed for the winter.