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Three signs your orchid needs to be repotted

Orchids make the perfect houseplants — they’re stylish, long-lasting and easy to care for. They’ll continue to bloom for years with minimal effort.

After years of living in the same space, things might get cramped. And the same can be said for your moth orchid. Refresh your orchid – and let it spread its roots – by giving it a new home and repotting it.

Orchids generally need to be repotted once a year. The best time to repot is just after flowering, or when new growth appears.

You’ll know it’s time to repot if any of these reasons apply to you:

  1. Your orchid has tightly tangled roots. It’s normal for Phalaenopsis orchids to have loosely tangled roots. This is a surefire sign your orchid needs to be repotted. Give plants breathing room by placing it in a larger pot every year or two with fresh potting soil.
  2. It’s been a while since you’ve repotted. Orchids need fresh potting mix every year or so.
    This continues to provide plants with the best nutrients and encourages proper air circulation. Soil that is not replaced can retain more water, leading to root rot and leaving your orchid vulnerable to fungal diseases.
  3. Your orchid’s roots are soft and brown. If you truly waited too long to repot, you’ll notice that your orchid is holding too much water. The roots will appear brown and feel soft to the touch. Fresh orchid potting mix will provide your plant with the environment it needs to stay happy and healthy.

Think it’s time to repot? Follow the steps below to give your orchid the space and soil it needs to keep growing happy and healthy.

How to repot orchids:

  1. Choose the right medium. We suggest using Espoma Organic Orchid Mix. For best results, pre-soak orchid mix for 24 hours and allow water to drain.
  2. Remove orchid from current container and trim dead roots from the plant.
  3. Fill container to one third full with orchid mix.
  4. Position single stem plants in the center of the new pot. Position multi-stem plants against the pot wall. Staking may be required until the plants are fully established.
  5. Gently cover roots with additional mix and fill pot to 1/2 inch below rim.
  6. Water thoroughly. Add more mix if setting occurs.

 Is your orchid telling you it needs to be repotted? Watch this video to learn how!

Orchid Care 101

Laura from Garden Answer demonstrates how to care for moth orchids, also known as Phalaenopsis orchids. Repot, fertilize and give orchids exactly what they need to help them thrive.

For this project, you will need:

Moth orchid

Organic orchid mix

Orchid pot with holes

Watering can

Orchid! Bloom Booster

Grab Your Books for a Lesson in Gardening 101

Going back to school is equal parts nervous jitters and genuine excitement for what could be. Remember what it was like to have a new backpack, a fresh outfit that makes just the right statement and your stack of empty notebooks waiting to be filled?

It feels like anything is possible at this time of year!

Molbak’s Garden + Home is here to help teach you gardening basics. Already an experienced gardener? Now is the time brush up on your lessons.

Espoma’s Gardening School 101

1. Build a Foundation for Success. For a garden to be great, superior soil is a must! Perform a quick soil test, study the results and your garden will be A+ in no time!

soil test

2. Back to School Shopping. Examine your garden equipment to see what should stay — and what needs to go. Look for cracked handles, rust and missing or loose parts. Then, go shopping for replacements.

Plan your garden

3. Get a Whole New Look. A new school year means it’s time to reveal your new look. Do you want to be refined? Edgy? Colorful and bold? Sweet and simple? Define your garden look and do your homework — then start pinning!

Espoma Pinterest

4. Make a Plan for Success. The only way to improve this year’s performance is to analyze the successes and failures of last year’s garden. Your assignment: create a new garden plan.

plan your garden

5. Meet the Teacher. Hi! It’s a pleasure to see you! At Espoma, we’ve been teaching organic gardening practices since 1929. Comment with questions below, post them to Facebook or tweet us. We’re here to make you the best gardener you can be.

Espoma Facebook6. Sharpen Pencils. Clean and sharpen your garden tools to get them ready for the new season! You can DIY or take them to your local garden center.

Garden tools

7. Find New Friends. Follow us on Facebook and check out our posts to find gardeners who are just as passionate about organic growing as you are.

Garden Party

Patio Party photo by Proven Winners

Throw your cap (or gardening gloves) up in the air! You passed the Back to Gardening School Class! Your garden will thank you for it later!

Spruce Up Your Garden Before Memorial Day Weekend

As the official kickoff to summer, Memorial Day weekend is the perfect excuse to tidy up the garden. So before you bring out your red, white and blue and get ready for the summer season, spend a little time cleaning up around the yard.

And yes, Memorial Day may be the start of summer fun, let’s not forget the real reason behind the holiday and thank our veterans.

This federal holiday, observed the last Monday of May, honors those who’ve died serving in our country’s armed forces. Formerly known as Decoration Day, the holiday originated after the Civil War to commemorate both Union and Confederate soldiers who died in the war.

Take some time and  follow these simple, inexpensive and necessary gardening tips to get your yard in tiptop shape.

liquid fertilizer, potting soil, container gardening

Five Ways to Spruce Up:

CLEAN.

It’s not the prettiest task but it is one that can have the most impact. First, give lawns a nice clean cut and trim. Next, rake leaves out of garden beds and borders. Shred or leave them whole and place in a compost pile. Finally, remove tools, debris and the uncoiled hose that may be sitting on the patio.

liquid fertilizer, potting soil, container gardening

WEED.

Another task that’s low on the fun list, but necessary for a clean yard is weeding. Pull any weeds and discard. Do not compost weed seeds.

MULCH.

Adding fresh mulch to the garden makes everything look clean. Mulch with shredded bark, compost or other biodegradable mulch.

FEED.

Now is a good time to apply the second application of your annual feeding program for your lawn. It’s also a good time to give your plants a boost with liquid fertilizer Bloom! to ensure they’re looking their prettiest and peppiest for the party.

liquid fertilizer, potting soil, container gardening

DECORATE.

Colorful flowers do a world of wonder for a garden. Buy annuals and plant them along borders. Choose heat-loving flowers that will bloom all summer. Decorate with colorful containers and place by front door and at focal points. Putting a few plants out around the patio will really set the mood.

Have a safe and happy Memorial Day weekend! If you used any of our tips, let us know! Share your pictures with us on our Facebook page!

The Best Blueberries to Grow in Containers

Blueberries are nutritional powerhouses packed with high concentrations of antioxidants that help guard against cancer and heart disease. Just one serving of blueberries serves up almost 25 percent of the recommended daily intake of Vitamin C.

Growing blueberries maximizes small spaces and keeps fresh, nutritious fruit nearby. Even if space is limited, you can still grow blueberries at home. Some blueberry shrubs are the perfect fit for containers on the porch, patio or balcony.

Ought to Pot: The Best Blueberries for Container Gardening

Espoma soil acidifier, Holly-tone, growing blueberries

Photo courtesy of Bushel and Berry™

Bushel and Berry™ Pink Icing – With breathtaking spring and fall foliage and large, sweet berries mid-summer, this gem makes small spaces shine. Plus, these bushes are self-pollinating, so only one bush is needed to produce fruit.

Blueberry Type: Dwarf

Light: Full sun

Size: 3’ H x 4’ W

Zone: 5-10

Chill Hours: 500

Ripening Season: Mid-summer

Taste and Size: Large blueberries with sweet, robust flavor

Yield: Moderate yield

Features:

  • Works well in containers or in landscape
  • Likes acidic soil
  • Beautiful year-round foliage

Espoma soil acidifier, Holly-tone, growing blueberries

Patriot Blueberry – The Patriot puts on a show each season – from striking white blooms in spring to warm, vivid foliage in fall. During summer, you’ll be busy munching on up to 20 pounds of blueberries!

Blueberry Type: Northern Highbush

Light: Full sun

Size: 4-8’ H x 3-5’ W

Zone: 3-7

Chill Hours: 800-1,000

Ripening Season: Early: Mid-End of July

Taste and Size: Large blueberries that taste classically sweet

Yield: High yield, 10-20 pounds of blueberries

Features:

  • Native
  • Cold-hearty
  • Works in the landscape or as a hedge
  • Adapts to various soil types, including heavy or wet soil
Espoma soil acidifier, Holly-tone, growing blueberries, Brazelberries Peach Sorbet

Photo courtesy of Bushel and Berry™

Bushel and Berry™ Peach Sorbet – Full of charm, these compact blueberry plants are four-season showstoppers with stunning leaves ranging from peach to pink to orange to emerald green. Spring’s white, bell-shaped flowers will give way to an abundant summer crop of healthy, sweet blueberries mid-summer.

Blueberry Type: Dwarf

Light: Full sun

Size: 1½’ H x 2’ W

Zone: 5-10

Chill Hours: 300

Ripening Season: Mid-summer

Taste and Size: Medium blueberries with a sweet, tropical essence

Yield: High yield

Features:

  • Works well in containers or in landscape
  • Likes acidic soil
  • Plants keep leaves through winter when the foliage transitions to a rich eggplant purple
Espoma soil acidifier, Holly-tone, growing blueberries

Photo courtesy of Doreen Wynja for Monrovia

Sunshine Blue Blueberry – These berries are even more nutritious than other blueberries because they’re high in Vitamin P. Another fun attribute of the Sunshine Blue is their hot-pink flowers in spring and blazing red leaves in fall!

Blueberry Type: Southern Highbush

Light: Full sun

Size: 3-4’ H x 3-4’ W

Zone: 5-10

Chill Hours: 150

Ripening Season: Mid-season: End of May-End of June

Taste and Size: Medium blueberries that taste opulent and sweet

Yield: Moderate yield, 5-10 pounds of blueberries

Features:

  • Tolerant of higher soil pH
  • Love the California sunshine and heat
  • Semi-evergreen

Northsky Blueberry – Meet the most cold-hardy blueberry out there. The Northsky can withstand temperatures of -45° and can even bear snow on its branches. In spring, the Northsky produces lots of sweet, white blooms that look absolutely darling.

Blueberry Type: Half-high

Light: Full sun

Size: 2-4 H x 2-3 W

Zone: 3-7

Chill Hours: 800+

Ripening Season: Mid-season: Mid-End of July

Taste and Size: Small, firm blueberries that taste fresh, wild and free

Yield: Small yield, up to 2 pounds of blueberries

Features:

  • Extremely cold-hardy
  • Works in the landscape or as a hedge
  • Elegant burgundy fall foliage
Brazelberries jelly bean, Espoma soil acidifier, Holly-tone, growing blueberries

Photo courtesy of Bushel and Berry™

Bushel and Berry™ Jelly Bean – This blueberry is prolific – producing a bumper crop of large, flavorful blueberries mid-summer with a super sweet flavor like homemade blueberry jelly. Brilliant green new foliage emerges in spring which gives way to darker greens with red hues throughout the summer and fall.

Blueberry Type: Dwarf

Light: Full sun

Size: 1’ H x 2’ W

Zone: 4-8

Chill Hours: 1,000+

Ripening Season: Mid-summer

Taste and Size: Medium to large blueberries with homemade jelly flavor

Yield: High yield, bumper crop

Features:

  • Works well in containers or in landscape
  • Likes acidic soil
  • Beautiful year-round foliage
  • Prune annually during winter dormancy

Looking for more options? To learn more about blueberries, the best tasting berries, how to plant, care for and grow, visit our Organic Blueberry Growing Guide.

Smarty Plants: 5 Easy Planting Tips

Raise new plants that grow as big and mighty as Jack’s Beanstalk with these five tips for planting success. Your new plants will look so perfect your neighbors will think you plucked them right from a fairy tale!

Before you even think about picking up your garden trowel, check out these tips.

Bio-tone starter, potting soil, organic fertilizer

Say Yes to Success: 5 Tricks for Planting New Flowers, Veggies and More  

1. Start with the Best. Make sure you have the right light, space and soil for each plant. Then select plants with shiny, blemish-free leaves that you can easily lift out of the container.

2. Royal Soil. Before planting, test the soil and add necessary amendments. If your soil is lacking, your plants will be too. For an extra oomph, add Espoma Organic Vegetable & Flower Garden Soil or compost to the planting hole. And if direct sowing seeds, mix in an organic seed starting potting soil, so seeds can take root easily.

3. Feed Now… and Later. When planting, mix in an organic starter plant food. Adrianna, an Espoma customer, loves Bio-tone Starter Plus. She can even tell “when the roots begin to take up the plant food because they start to grow MUCH faster.” Bio-tone Starter Plus’ secret is mycorrhizae, which promotes bigger blooms and helps plants get established faster. Continue to feed plants with an organic fertilizer for starter plants. Try our new Start! liquid fertilizer to speed up the process.

Bio-tone starter, potting soil, organic fertilizer

4. Stay Strong Seedlings. Before moving indoor seedlings outside, toughen them up. Otherwise, they may not make it. To help seeds adjust, begin hardening them off two weeks before transplanting. How-to instructions here.

5. Don’t Forget to Water. While still in their nursery containers, water your plants. Then water deeply after planting. Water reduces plants’ stress levels and helps them adjust to their happy, new abode.

Get ready, your organic flowers, veggies and plants are about to be bigger and healthier than ever! You grow, gardener!  

Flip, Fill and Feed with Espoma’s NEW Liquid Plant Foods

Organically feeding your favorite plants just got way easier – and faster. Say farewell to messy measuring and that fishy smell of other organic, liquid fertilizers.

And say hello to Espoma’s new line of liquid plant foods. Learn more about our new collection below.

Hello, Healthy! Espoma’s New, Liquid Organic Plant Food

Here are a few reasons our new liquid plant line will become one of your favorite things.

  • Instant Nutrition. Espoma’s new liquid plant foods feed your plants instantly – and organically. With these, you can feed your plants faster than you send a text!
  • Scientifically Magnificent. Our new liquid fertilizers are scientifically proven to grow bigger, better plants with larger blooms. What gives them their mighty power? We’ve loaded them with kelp extracts, humic acids and beneficial microbes.
  • Less Mess. Ready, set, pop! The new Easy Dose cap on our liquid plant foods effortlessly measures each dose of fertilizer! No more messy bottles, measuring mistakes or spills.
  • Flip, Fill and Feed. All you do is pop the lid, hold the bottle upside down and voila! The perfect amount of liquid fertilizer drops into your watering can.
  • Cause for Safe Paws. Our new liquid fertilizers are 100 percent organic and safe to use around children and pets. Safe Paws approved!

espoma organic liquid plant food

Meet the New Liquid Plant Food Trio

Bigger, better plants are only a flip away!

  • Begin with Start! Flip open this starter plant food which helps plants get established fast while growing strong roots.
  • Go with Grow! Add this all-purpose, organic plant fertilizer to promote rapid root growth and encourage green foliage.
  • Boom with Bloom! Call in the super blossom booster which promotes and prolongs flowering while stimulating the growth of more blooms!

Try our new liquid organic plant foods with organic potting soil for super amazing results. Can’t wait to see what big beauties you grow!  

Seed to Succeed! Seed Starting Secrets

Step aside houseplants. Not now indoor herbs. There’s a new indoor winter gardening project in town… indoor seed starting!

Find the Prime Time: When to Start Seeds Indoors

One of the biggest mistakes when starting seeds indoors is starting too soon.

Before starting seeds inside, look up the last spring frost date in your area,  then count back 4-6 weeks. That’s the best time to start seeds indoors.

This handy seed starting chart from Organic Life makes it easy to calculate when to start and transplant your seeds.potting soil, starting seeds indoors, organic seed starting mix, growing tomatoes

To Sow or No? Best Veggie Seeds to Start Indoors in Winter

Not all seeds succeed indoors! Save root crops and cold-hardy seeds for when it’s warm enough to plant directly outside. Or, you can grow two crops of broccoli and lettuce. Start seeds indoors now then sow more outside later.

potting soil, starting seeds indoors, organic seed starting mix, growing tomatoes

Here are the best vegetable and herb seeds to start indoors in winter.

  • Tomatoes
  • Peppers
  • Cucumbers
  • Celery
  • Collard greens
  • Lettuce
  • Kale
  • Broccoli
  • Beans
  • Squash
  • Eggplant
  • Cabbage
  • Basil
  • Thyme
  • Cilantro
  • Oregano
  • Sage
  • Parsley 

Seed to Succeed!

There are three secrets to starting seeds indoors: warmth, light and an organic seed starting mix that promotes root growth.

Start with Espoma’s Organic Seed Starter – a gardener’s favorite! But don’t take it from us. One of our customers, Shelia, shared that she used a lot of seed starter in her day, but “this one is just OUTSTANDING!” Her plants came up just perfect, and she “will never use anything else, ever again.”

Fill seed trays to within ¼” of the top and lightly water. Follow the instructions on the seed packets to see how deep and far apart to plant. Cover with soil, press down and label.

Place tray in a larger pan of shallow water for a minute so thewater seeps up from the bottom.

Place seeds in a warm spot between 65-75°. Try the top of the fridge!potting soil, starting seeds indoors, organic seed starting mix, growing tomatoes

Loosely cover tray with plastic wrap or the cover from your seed-starting kit. Check seeds daily for moisture. Find even more detailed instructions here.

Give seeds 12-16 hours of light daily. Supplement sunlight with grow lights if needed.

Once you see sprouts, remove the cover and move seeds to a sunny, south-facing window that is 65-75°F. Then, turn the container a little each day to prevent leaning seeds.

When leaves grow, add a bit of fertilizer such as Espoma’s Plant-tone or liquid Grow!. Both are organic fertilizers, so they are safe to use on edibles, around children and pets and they help plants grow bigger than ever before.

Once you see that first sprout peeking through the potting soil, homegrown veggies are only weeks away!

A To-Do List You’ll Love: January Gardening

Ah, a whole year of gardening is ahead of us. January is the best time to pause, reflect and prepare for a year of incredible gardening.

OK, tired of reflecting? Here are a few winter gardening tips to keep you busy this January!

Things to Do in the Garden in January:

Ward off those winter blues with a hearty helping of green, gardening thoughts.  potting soil, garden design, winter gardening tips,

  1. Dream Big. Plan or rework your garden design. Pin inspiration, flip through gardening magazines and daydream ways to make your garden even better. Illustrate your garden plan to visualize the entire space.potting soil, garden design, winter gardening tips,
  2. Plan Small. Make a list of organic edible and flower seeds to grow. Get the most of seed starting by growing unique varieties, heirlooms and expensive grocery store plants. See what seeds to start indoors and when to plant them. winter bird feeding, attract birds to garden, garden for pollinators
  3. Listen to the Songbirds. Nothing livens up a dreary, wintry day like a flock of fluttering birds. Fill bird feeders with tasty seeds this winter. potting soil, garden design, winter gardening tips,
  4. Take a Look. Walk around your home and garden with a notebook. Imagine how you could reduce water usage, recycle more, compost or conserve energy. Each week in January, try one idea to see what works! Start by recycling your Christmas tree.

    potting soil, garden design, winter gardening tips,

    Gather your trusty garden tools, and give them a good scrub. Rinse off the dirt, sharpen the blades and rub vegetable oil on the metal.

  5. Clean It Up. Gather your trusty garden tools, and give them a good scrub. Rinse off the dirt, sharpen the blades and rub vegetable oil on the metal. potting soil, garden design, winter gardening tips,
  6. Taste Summer Flavors. Get your green thumb back in the potting soil. Start an indoor herb garden to harvest a garden-fresh taste on the coldest winter days. See what herbs do best indoors here.

Here’s to a home filled with fresh herbs, the sweet song of birds and a stack of gardening magazines. January’s looking quite charming after all!

Deck the Halls with Holiday Houseplants

Hang the stockings by the chimney with care. Decorate the tree with glee. Then spread joy with holiday houseplants.

After all, the halls aren’t decked until the houseplants arrive! Houseplants can stand alone or complement other holiday decor. Plus, their lively blooms, colors and smells are the definition of holiday cheer!

Houseplants make sweet gifts to give — and even sweeter gifts for you to get yourself!

Below is everything you need to know about holiday houseplants.

Holly, Jolly Holiday Houseplants

Start with the perfect holiday houseplant! The rest is easy.

1. Festive Poinsettia. No other houseplant captures the Christmas spirit more than poinsettias.

houseplants

2. Cheerful Christmas Cactus. Red and green all over, this flowering houseplant is super easy to care for and bursts with sweet, red blooms all season.

houseplant

3. Amazing Amaryllis. Bold, stunning and elegant, amaryllis delight with vibrant red and snowy white blooms.

cat houseplant

4. Nifty Norfolk Island Pine. These petite Christmas trees are simply darling! Plus, they can grow up to 12’ tall if properly cared for!

holiday houseplants

5. Charming Cyclamen. Cyclamen’s heart-shaped red or pink flowers instantly fill spaces with love.

holiday houseplant

Keep Your Holiday Houseplants Happy

  1. Package It Up. Add your personal touch by potting your houseplant in a container matching your holiday decor. Have fun with it! Tie a bow around it, or paint the pot with chalkboard paint.
  2. Season’s Soil. Add a bit of organic fertilizer, then fill the pot with organic potting soil.
  3. Let It Shine. Read the plant tag to see how much sunlight and water your holiday houseplant needs.
  4. Feast on Food. Enjoy more of those beautiful blooms. Feed with Gro-tone every 3-4 weeks during periods of active growth, usually from March through September.

The best way to spread Christmas cheer is by placing a holiday houseplant here and here! Enjoy those blooming beauties all season.