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VIdeo: Winter Plant Projects with Garden Answer

Who says you can’t pot plants in the winter?

Watch as Laura from @GardenAnswer shows you what she’s planting this time of year while using Espoma Organic Potting Soil Mix and Bio-tone Starter Plus! Laura takes you on a tour of her majestic greenhouse and beautiful plant studio. Take notes as she shares valuable plant care tips that you can utilize to be successful his winter.

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/

 

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BAGR 110 Blog: Low Waste Plant Parenthood

Caring for plants can connect us back to nature. Engaging with them on a daily basis either in our homes or in our gardens can help us understand the importance of preserving the natural world around us. In this blog, we do a deep dive into low-waste choices you can make to have a more sustainable plant collection and a more positive impact on the environment.

This blog is inspired by Episode 110 of Bloom and Grow Radio Podcast, where host Maria Failla interviewed Nick Cutsumpas of Farmer Nick.

Don’t get intimidated by the “zero” in “zero waste”

As a society, we often get intimidated and overwhelmed when we see something that says “zero.” Even if we strive for zero waste, we recognize that there are certain wasteful elements in our lives that are inevitable. 

Let’s face it—achieving “zero waste” is almost close to impossible. Instead, let’s try to reduce waste as much as possible and promote a “low waste” style of plant parenthood. 

We don’t need 10% of the population living a 100% zero waste lifestyle. We need 100% of the population making choices that lead them to be at least 10% more sustainable.

 

What is Waste?

To put it simply, waste is something that will end up in a landfill. Items that cannot be recycled should be considered waste. It is a growing problem affecting not just the environment but also our population.

Waste contaminates water if not disposed of properly and can get absorbed by fish and other aquatic life. This then spreads into the food chain and is now affecting the population.

 

Here are 3 low waste tips you can apply to your approach to plant care. 

 

Low Waste Tip #1: Reuse everything (or at least as much as you can)

Take a look at something, pick it up, and instead of the Marie Kondo style of, “Does it bring me joy? If not, throw it away,” try saying, “What kind of purpose do you have in my now?”

Here are some examples for upcycling your plant products: 

  1. If you buy a plant at the garden center and it comes in a plastic pot. Instead of throwing it away, save it to use for another plant, or try and return it to your garden center for them to reuse.
  2. Many companies now have lots of fantastic alternative types of packaging, whether it’s compostable packing peanuts, recyclable shipping containers, or even pots made out of rice. Try supporting companies that use sustainable packaging.
  3. Instead of tossing a glass yogurt container or bottle, upcycle it into a propagation vessel.
  4. If composting is available to you, instead of tossing your dead houseplants, annuals, and food waste in your garbage, compost them and use them in your garden in the years to come.

Espoma has always been a zero waste manufacturing facility and continues to strive to create zero waste during its manufacturing processes.

Here are some of Espoma’s sustainability accomplishments

  • < 1% waste of packaging materials
  • Recycling of skids and damaged pallets
  • Largest recycler of manure – Prevents millions of lbs. of raw manure from leaching into waterways

Low Waste Tip #2: Choose sustainably made, organic fertilizers and potting mixes

Plant roots require soil as a foothold. It contains nutrients that allow plants to grow. Putting them in high-quality potting mix or soil is an easy choice when trying to set your plant up to thrive. 

Anyone who wants to take care of the environment should not be buying from places that use potentially harmful synthetic fertilizers. 

As for quality soils, look no further than Espoma’s Organic Potting Soils. This contains a rich blend of only the finest natural ingredients. No synthetic plant foods or chemicals are used.

Low Waste Tip #3: Know your plant number!

This might be tough for some people to hear, but knowing your plant number not only saves you money but also saves your plants and your waste footprint! 

Say you have 50 plants and they’re all thriving under your care. Let’s assume that is your limit or plant number. If you add your 51st plant and then the quality of care suffers for the other plants, you might start losing plants in your collection due to overwhelm or negligence. That’s not sustainable. 

Before you bring a plant home, be honest with yourself and ask, “Do I have the space? Do I have the time and the right environment for this?” 

This is also a lesson in restraint—by taking a step back and knowing that you don’t need another plant in your collection: you limit waste and increase the likelihood of your plant collection bringing you joy instead of stress.

Protecting the environment

In today’s world that divides us, the environment is one of the things that can be quite polarizing depending on what views you have. But no one can disagree with the fact that we all use and require the natural resources the Earth so generously offers us.

Anyone who has been inspired by the vastness of the ocean, the awesome height of a redwood tree or the simple relaxation a hike can bring can understand the importance of nature. So all humans, in essence, should view themselves as stewards of the earth. 

Understanding your responsibility to the Earth doesn’t require you to move to a cabin and live off the grid. You can live in sync with nature and it can be done so in a way that does not detract from your lifestyle by making simple, sustainable choices that benefit you and the planet.

*****

About Our Interviewee

Nick is a “plantrepreneur” who is passionate about all things green. As a full-time plant coach, urban gardener, and landscape designer, Nick’s mission is to leave the earth greener than when he found it—giving people the knowledge and confidence they need to create their own green spaces in the pursuit of environmental action and social justice. 

Watch Nick and other rapid-fire renovators on Netflix, Instant Dream Home. This showcases Nick and his incredibly talented friends taking big risks and making painstaking plans to transform families’ homes from top to bottom in just 12 hours.

​​Follow Farmer Nick:

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BAGR 113 Blog: How to Green Up Your Living Space

People are spending more time than ever indoors and at their screens, and that’s why it’s never been more important to have plants in our living spaces. This blog covers the benefits of having plants indoors and provides simple and affordable tips for greening up your own living space to be more in sync with nature. 

 

This blog is inspired by Episode 113 of Bloom and Grow Radio Podcast, where host Maria Failla discusses why and how to green up your living space.

 

Why Should I Have Plants Inside My Home? 

Being around plants has been proven to have a variety of benefits for humans. Plants can increase your creativity, alertness, productivity, cognitive performance, and concentration. They can also reduce stress, help lower blood pressure and heart rate, and reduce mental fatigue. Not to mention… plants look beautiful! Who doesn’t want a more picture-perfect home? 

 

What is Biophilia? 

If you’re reading this, you’re probably already a fan of nature. Biophilia is a hypothesis initially created by psychoanalyst Erich Fromm and then made popular by biologist Edward O. Wilson that states that humans have an innate desire to be around other living things. We are nature, therefore we seek to be around other natural things. It’s why we feel so calm around our pets, or so peaceful in natural settings.

 

How to Green Up Your Living Space

The best tip to make your space greener: always have a plant in your eyesight. This is especially important for areas you spend a lot of time in: the kitchen, living room, and home office. Make sure that where you look, there is some iteration of plant.


     1) Use Plants or Images of Plants

If you have a window in your space, make it a focal point. Place a desk, table, or couch against the window for that visual connection with nature. Put plants within the eye-line of your tables or any place you’ll be looking frequently. Another option is to put pictures of plants on the wall, so if you can’t have the real thing, you can still benefit from seeing pictures of nature. Photos, watercolors, paintings, or even botanical wallpaper can invoke that feeling of plants in your space. 

 

“Maria’s favorite botanical wallpaper is from Rifle Paper Company”

 

     2) Incorporate All of Your Senses

Different sensory inputs can mimic nature in your space too. Think of ways you can incorporate sounds, smells, and textures in nature. A small trickling water fountain, a soundtrack of calming rainforest noises or birdsongs, and scented plants, candles, or diffusers can all help green up your space. 

Our favorite scented plants: 

  • Lavender (Lavandula spp.)
  • Hoya lacunosa: blooms smell like cinnamon
  • Maxillaria tenuifolia, nicknamed “The Coconut Orchid” has a piña colada scent! 
  • Rose-scented geranium (Pelargonium graveolens)

     3 ) Use Your Space Wisely – Look up!

If you have a small space, this is especially important. Using vertical space to display plants or images of plants can really help fill in empty areas. You can use shelves, install hanging planters, attach plants to curtain rods, or even create green walls. Don’t just let your bookshelf be all business–let it be a little planty as well. 


     4) Mix Up Your Textures

Greening up your space doesn’t have to be with just living things. There are so many patterns in nature that show up and have been proven to relax us. Consider having accent details in your space made of natural wood grains, leather, stone, fossil textures, or bamboo as a way to mimic being outdoors in nature.

 


     5) Think About Your Light Setup

A window with natural light will of course give you lots of options for plants. But if you don’t have a window, you’re certainly not out of luck! Picking plants for your space is all about understanding your light setup. 

Remember: plants use light to make their food. So no light = no food = dead plants. If you truly have no natural light in your home, opt for a grow light. 

Suggestions for low-light homes: 

  • Snake plants (Sansevieria spp.)
  • Philodendron
  • Air plants (Tillandsia spp.)  

Suggestion for high-light homes:

  • Fiddle leaf figs (Ficus lyrata)
  • Succulent collection
  • Any type of Peperomia or Hoya

However you choose to green up your living space, remember that plants are our connection to the natural world. Spend screen free time with them everyday.  Use watering or caring for them as an excuse to get up from your computer and take some “me time” because plant care is self care. 

*****

Check out Maria’s Planty Home Office Tour for an in-depth look into her setup and her new book Growing Joy: The Plant Lover’s Guide to Cultivating Happiness (and Plants)

For a deeper understanding of the science behind biophilia, read “14 Patterns of Biophilic Design” by William Browning, Catherine Ryan, and Joseph Clancy. 

 

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.

 

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VIDEO: Planting Haul of Fame with Garden Answer

     Another win for Garden Answer! From boxwoods to trees to a brand new bulb-garden, this planting haul is one for the books. Honorable mentions? Espoma Organic’s Bio-Tone, Potting Soil, and Bulb-Tone are the true heroes of this epic. See how they’re essential for long-lasting healthy blooms in the video below!

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/

 

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BAGR 117 Blog: Alocasia Care 101

There are so many reasons to love Alocasia, from their unique leaf shape to their gorgeous vein patterns and their incredible variety of colors. In this blog, we do a deep dive into Alocasia care.

 

This blog is inspired by Episode 117 of Bloom and Grow Radio Podcast, where host Maria Failla interviewed Enid Offolter, owner of NSE Tropicals.

 

Best Soil for Alocasia 

Alocasia plants prefer well-draining soil. Using Espoma’s Organic Potting Soil Mix amended with aerated blends like Orchid Mix and Perlite will ensure an airy potting soil for your Alocasia. 

 

Alocasia Watering Requirements 

Because Alocasia plants prefer well-draining soils, they do not like to sit in any standing water. It’s best not to let them dry out completely either. Let the top half of your soil dry out with the bottom half staying moist before you water again. 

 

The Type of Light Alocasia Need

Most Alocasia plants need shade, but some large varieties like Alocasia macrorrhiza ‘Borneo Giant’ can tolerate full sun. Smaller varieties like Alocasia reginula ‘Black Velvet’ and Alocasia cuprea prefer darker environments. That being said, indoor lighting environments are considerable darker than their natural outdoor ones. Bright, indirect light like an Eastern-facing window is best for most Alocasia varieties in your home. 

 

Alocasia Humidity Requirements

Alocasia plants are tropical, so they prefer moderate to high humidity indoors. Typical indoor conditions would work for Alocasia, potentially adding some humidity during dry Winter months. Aim for 60-80% humidity for happy plants. 

 

Fertilizing 

Stick with fertilizing Alocasia during the growing season from Spring through Summer. Espoma’s Organic Indoor Houseplant Food is an all-purpose liquid fertilizer you can use every two to four weeks during the growing season for healthy, new growth.

 

Common Alocasia Problems

Alocasia plants can be prone to root rot, so it’s important not to over-water. To help prevent over watering, try keeping your Alocasia a bit more root bound. If your pot is too big, it’s much easier to give your plants too much water because it takes the soil longer to dry out.

 

Alocasia Dormancy Period

Most Alocasia varieties will go “half dormant” in the Winter, where they tend to look like they might be dying. You may even observe your Alocasia trying to flower, which really takes a lot of energy out of the plant. 

But don’t worry! This is completely normal for Alocasia plants during the Winter months. Make sure to leave the yellowing leaves for the plant to absorb that energy back into itself, and your Alocasia should come back just fine in Spring. In the Spring, remove dead leaves and continue watering and giving it light and new growth should show up in no time. 

 

Best Alocasia Varieties for Beginners

Two varieties of Alocasia for beginners are Alocasia baginda ‘Dragon Scale’ and Alocasia ‘Silver Dragon.’ Both do well indoors with bright, indirect light. 

 

Best Alocasia Varieties for Advanced Plant Parents

Two Alocasia varieties that tend to be best for more advanced plant parents are Alocasia cuprea and Alocasia azlanii

There really are so many wonderful varieties of Alocasia that any plant parent can find one to fit their needs! 

*****

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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Video: Overwintering Tips With Kaleb Wyse!

Ever wonder how to save your favorite outdoor plants from the winter cold? ❄🌨 @Wyse Guide demonstrates how he overwinters his plants.

Kaleb demonstrates how to use our Espoma Organic Bio-tone Starter Plus and Espoma Organic Potting Soil Mix to re-pot your outdoor container plants and bring them inside for the coming winter months.

Learn more about Wyse Guide here:

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/TheGrayBoxwood 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/WyseGuide/ 

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/WyseGuide/ 

Website: https://www.wyseguide.com/ 

 

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VIDEO: Kaleb Wyse Answers Prayers With New Church Planter!

When there’s an important gardening project to be done… you call Kaleb Wyse. 🦸 And he always brings his trusty Espoma Organic products to make sure it’s a job well done! This time he’s tackling a tricky planter in front of his grandparents’ church that gets a lot of sun, a lot of wind, and a lot of eyes on it. Fortunately with our Espoma Organic Potting Soil Mix and Plant-tone, those plants will stay looking heavenly! Check out the full video below to watch Wyse Guide work his magic. 

Learn more about Wyse Guide here:

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/TheGrayBoxwood 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/WyseGuide/ 

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/WyseGuide/ 

Website: https://www.wyseguide.com/ 

 

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BAGR 154: How to Build a Terrarium

This blog is inspired by Episode 154 of Bloom and Grow Radio Podcast, where host Maria Failla interviewed Patricia Buzo of Doodle Bird Terrariums.

Terrariums do so much more than encapsulate our plants within the confines of a vessel. They capture a feeling. They capture a sense of wonder that a simple potted plant just can’t do. We can create entire worlds within a terrarium, and even ecosystems. They become a place that we can escape into for a mindful moment and use to amplify our passion for playing.

In this blog, terrarium guru Patricia of Doodle Bird Terrariums and Maria from Bloom & Grow Radio break down the differences and similarities of terrariums, paludariums, and vivariums to equip you with the knowledge you need to set your first one up!

What’s the Difference Between Terrariums, Vivariums, and Paludariums?

In the plant community, a terrarium usually refers to a small glass jar or fishbowl that has only plants inside. It’s not going to house any type of pet. 

A vivarium, on the other hand, contains pets like frogs or lizards, but has plants too. It’s also typically much bigger than a terrarium.

A paludarium is a type of vivarium that’s usually an even larger enclosure. It incorporates both terrestrial and aquatic elements into it, so it’s like having an aquarium and a terrarium in one. It often houses animals like fish, lizards, or frogs in the top portion.

Benefits and Common Problems of Growing in a Terrarium

One of the benefits to a terrarium is being able to grow diverse plants that you might not have otherwise been able to, as they create a microclimate of higher humidity. Most miniature terrarium plants need very high humidity, which likely doesn’t exist in your home or garden! 

Another benefit of terrariums is that they can be portable. If you’re traveling a lot and miss your plants, you can simply place them in a jar and take them with you.

A common problem in terrariums though, is mold growth. The warm, humid environment creates perfect conditions for mold to take over and eat away at your plants. You can prevent mold growth by avoiding biodegradable items in your terrarium like sticks, leaves, and pine cones. Adding little creatures like springtails and isopods (aka rolly pollies) that feed on decomposing materials can also significantly reduce mold growth. 

How to Choose the Best Terrarium Plants

When choosing which plants you want in your terrarium, opt for smaller varieties of plants to avoid requiring you to keep sizing up your vessel. 

Take advantage of the high humidity terrarium conditions and choose humidity-loving plants. Look for plants in the terrarium or fairy garden section at your local nursery for options. 

Small and miniature orchids work really well in terrariums, growing only an inch or two high with pretty flowers. Peperomia Ripple (Peperomia caperata) grows well in a bigger jar and loves the terrarium environment. 

Asparagus ferns (Asparagus aethiopicus), the little tree plant (Biophytum sensitivum), jewel orchids (Ludisia discolor), and creeping figs (Ficus pumila) are also great plant options for terrariums.

How to Set Up a Terrarium 

Materials Needed: 

 

Step 1: Make a list of plants you want in your terrarium. Do a quick search of conditions they prefer, including light, temperature, and moisture. 

Step 2: For a humid-loving plant, choose a jar with a lid to maintain humidity. For a plant that needs to dry out a bit, opt for an open jar. You can find great jars secondhand at thrift stores or estate sales, but affordable glass jars are also available at home goods and craft stores.

Step 3: Layer your materials in your glass jar with horticultural charcoal, soil, and plants. Use aquarium tongs to place your plants in the soil and scissors to trim excess plant material. 

Step 4: Water your terrarium using distilled water. Use a spray bottle for moss and if you have rooted plants, pour a small amount of water onto the soil. 

Step 5: Add your bioactive creatures like springtails or isopods and place your lid on top for humidity-loving plants. (This is optional.)

Step 6: Put your completed jar in bright, indirect light and enjoy your new terrarium! 

*****

For a more in-depth look at building terrariums, vivariums, and paludariums, check out Patricia Buzo’s book, A Family Guide to Terrariums

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

Patricia Buzo founded Doodle Bird Terrariums in 2008 out of her love of plants and creating unique works people would treasure. Each terrarium she creates is handcrafted using the highest grade plants and supplies, utilizing special tricks to carefully package these fragile vessels so they arrive safely.

Now, over 10 years later, she has authored the book A Family Guide to Terrariums, inspired many on her Instagram account, and has been featured in The New York Times.

​​Follow Lisa:

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VIDEO: Summer Rayne Oakes’ Festive Fall Urns

When it comes to turning a house into a home, Summer Rayne Oakes knows what she’s doing! With gorgeous urns, pretty patio plants, and a little help from Espoma Organic Potting Soil Mix and Perlite for quick root establishment and big blooms, this cozy meadow house got a welcoming entrance. Watch the full video below!

 

Learn more about Flock Finger Lakes here:

Website: homesteadbrooklyn.com

Instagram – @homesteadbrooklyn

YouTube – Summer Rayne Oakes

Twitter – @sroakes

Facebook – Summer Rayne Oakes

 

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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/

 

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