Posts

More is More: Hydrangeas that Bloom All Summer

Once upon a time, hydrangeas would only bloom once a season. Not anymore! Now, you can choose a variety of hydrangeas that bloom all summer long. You can even prune these at any time.

Reblooming hydrangeas flower on both new and old growth, meaning you can enjoy flowers from June until the first frost. They’ll continue to bloom long after other flowering shrubs and perennials have stopped. Long lasting blooms of blue, violet, pink, white, or chartreuse add brilliant pops of color to any garden.

Plus, these hydrangeas perform a magic trick. Depending on your soil’s acidity, the hydrangea color changes. Creating breathtaking blue hydrangeas is extremely easy. All you need to do is amend your soil with Espoma’s Organic Soil Acidifier. 

hydrangea care, hydrangea color, growing hydrangas

Photo courtesy of Bailey Nurseries

The Original Endless Summer Hydrangea – A beautiful game changer! The Original Endless Summer hydrangea was the first non-stop blooming hydrangea. Plus, it’s easy to care for. You’ll be wowed by its color-changing blooms all season.

Hydrangea Type: Mophead

Shrub Type: Deciduous

Light: Part sun-mostly shade

Size: 3-5’ H x 3-5’ W

Zone: 4-9

Blooms: Late-spring-early fall. Blooms can be blue, purple or pink based on soil pH.

Features:

    • Blooms all season
    • Very disease tolerant
    • Easy care
    • Works in container gardens

Soil: Moist, well-drained soil. 5.5 or lower soil pH for blue blooms. 5.5-6.5 soil pH for purple blooms. 6.5 soil pH or higher for pink blooms.

 

hydrangea care, hydrangea color, growing hydrangas

Photo courtesy of Doreen Wynja for Monrovia

Penny Mac Hydrangea – Large flowers that just keep blooming! The Penny Mac hydrangea is super easy to care for and seems to thrive on neglect. While the blooms can change color, they’re naturally a vivid blue.

Hydrangea Type: Mophead

Shrub Type: Deciduous

Light: Part sun

Size: 4-6’ H x 3-4’ W

Zone: 5-8

Blooms: Mid-summer-early fall. Blooms are typically blue, but can be changed to pink or purple based on soil pH.

Features:

  • Attracts birds
  • Repeat bloomer
  • Fast growing
  • Easy care

Soil: Moist, well-drained soil. 5.5 or lower soil pH for blue blooms. 5.5-6.5 soil pH for purple blooms. 6.5 soil pH or higher for pink blooms.

hydrangea care, hydrangea color, growing hydrangas

Let’s Dance Starlight Hydrangea – You’ll feel like dancing when you see this breath-taking bloom. It’s elegant, bright and beautiful textured. Plus, it’s the first-ever, re-blooming lacecap hydrangea.

Hydrangea Type: Bigleaf

Shrub Type: Deciduous

Light: Full-part sun

Size: 2-3’ H x 2-3’ W

Zone: 5-9

Blooms: Mid-summer-early fall. Vivid, lacecap blooms can be blue, purple or pink based on soil pH.

Features:

  • Small hydrangea
  • Repeat bloomer
  • Works in container gardens
  • Salt tolerant

Soil: Prefers moist, well-drained soil. 5.5 or lower soil pH for blue blooms. 5.5-6.5 soil pH for purple blooms. 6.5 soil pH or higher for pink blooms.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Keep the blooms coming all season long with the hydrangea that speaks to you! Want one that grows in full sun? Learn about the best hydrangeas for beginners. Find out even more about hydrangea care in our Ultimate Hydrangea Guide

The Grass is Always Greener with Lawn Starter

The big reveal. The snow melts, and your grass emerges. But wait a second… are those bare spots?

If you need to repair your lawn this season with seed, early spring is best! Later on, lawn seed won’t survive the summer heat – and you won’t survive that water bill! If you can, wait until fall to seed. That’s when the soil, temperature and sunlight are just right for lawn seed.

organic lawn care, safe paws, lawn care tips,

Update old grass and worn-out lawns by reseeding and then encourage strong root systems by feeding it. It’s an easy and quick way to give your lawn the update it needs without starting from scratch.

Can’t bear to stare at those patchy brown spots any longer? Here’s how to reseed successfully in spring.

Hit the Lawn Seed Sweet Spot: Start Seeds with Organic Lawn Starter

 Order Organic. Help lawn seed take root by applying an organic fertilizer made specifically for lawn seed and sod. This used to be impossible to find, but you asked, and we delivered! We made the first and only organic lawn starter. Now you and your pets are free to roam, play and enjoy your Safe Paws lawn. Together, we can keep pets safe with organic lawn care from start to finish.

organic lawn care, safe paws, lawn care tips,

Know How to Mow. If overseeding an established lawn, mow grass to at least 3”. This helps grass to develop strong roots.

Smart Seed Start. After you’ve spread lawn seed or sod, apply organic lawn starter. This helps your lawn seed establish faster and grow stronger roots. The secret is in our Organic Lawn Starter’s powerful Bio-tone microbes. Yes, the same Bio-tone you use to strengthen new plants!

The New Rule. Lightly water new grass seed or sod frequently until you’ve mowed it twice. After that, give your lawn 1” of water a week.

Patchy spots be gone. Go on, green lawn it’s your time to shine! And we’ll be here to share more lawn care tips for your new, fabulous organic lawn.   

Weed Out Bad Seeds from the Lawn

It’s time to put an end to the weed invasion, for good.

Stop annoying weeds, dandelions and crabgrass from ruining your lawn. They won’t know what hit them, but, you will!

Apply a weed preventer now, in early spring, to stop weeds before they start while greening the grass.

No More Weeds Below: Stop Weed Seeds from Sprouting in the Lawn

lawn care, organic gardening, compost tips, safe paws

Start your early spring lawn care right. Apply an Organic Weed Preventer now to have more time for organic gardening later.

Tender Offenders. Pre-emergent fertilizers only affect weed seeds, so handpick visible weeds. Compost tip: When composting weeds, discard weed seeds first to prevent germination.

Born to Corn. Espoma’s Organic Weed Preventer is 100 percent corn gluten, which helps your lawn grow faster and greener. Corn gluten also organically prevents weeds from growing roots, according to numerous field trials. That’s right: science shows corn stops weeds.

Say No to Chemicals. When you use an organic weed preventer, there’s no need to worry. You’re growing a Safe Paws lawn, so children and pets can safely walk on the grass. Encourage friends and families to use only organic lawn products, too. Studies found a link between chemical lawn fertilizers and canine cancer.

Spring Fling. Apply Weed Preventer in early spring on a dry, recently mowed established lawn. Instructions here. But don’t do this if you recently seeded the lawn. Corn gluten will stop all seeds from germinating, not just weeds!

Expect to Correct. Greener grass is on the horizon! If this is your first year applying a weed preventer, you’ll see up to 58 percent fewer weeds. In your second year, you’ll see up to 85 percent weed reduction. In year three, you’ll have up to 91 percent fewer weeds, according to Iowa State University research. Plus, you’ll have healthier soil and feel better about what you’re putting into it.

Greener grass and fewer weeds – all while keeping your pets and family safe. Life is g-o-o-d with a Safe Paws lawn.

2016 Philly Flower Show is Hitting It Out of the Park

During the final stretch before spring, the Philadelphia Flower Show gives us a magical, beautiful taste of all that’s to come. Which is why we, at Espoma, are thrilled to once again be a contributing sponsor of the show.

Mark your calendar, the show starts in just 4 days! Explore the must-see highlights of the 2016 Philadelphia Flower Show here.

Philadelphia Flower Show, Philly Gardening

Explore All of America’s National Parks in ONE Day

The 2016 Philadelphia Flower Show, “Explore America,” is celebrating 100 years of the National Park Service.

  • Begin in the Big Timber Lodge. Walk into the quintessential National Park building – filled with a 12’ waterfall, a life-size buffalo sculpture and a variety of woodland plants.
  • Ride the Railway Garden. You’ll wish you could hop on this locomotive! The Train Garden shrinks the American landscape and fills it with large-scale model trains.
  • Fly Away in the Butterfly Room. More than 1,000 butterflies flutter around a magical room – landing on native plants and you! Great for kids!
  • Find Your Friends at Fido Friday. The return of Yappy Hour! It’s Fido Friday on March 11th. Bring your dog, talk Safe Paws and meet fellow dog-owners who love gardening.
  • Discover Incredible Containers. Unbelievable colors and textures in stunning containers. Unearth the beauty, fun and adaptability of container gardens at Espoma’s “Beauty of Container Gardening” display. As always, it’s 100 percent organic.

The Skinny on the Philadelphia Flower Show

  • What: The world’s oldest and largest indoor flower show, attracting more than 260,000 people
  • When: Saturday, March 5 – Sunday, March 13. Hours here.
  • Where: Pennsylvania Convention Center
  • How: Buy tickets online or at the door

 Explore our nation’s majestic National Parks in their full glory – wildflowers and evergreens included!

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!

Make Like a Garden and Grow

This year, let’s grow your best garden yet! All you need is a sturdy pencil, a blank notebook and a vivid imagination. You’ll almost be able to smell wild lavender and delicate roses.

With a detailed garden plan, your organic garden blooms right off the page.

 Grow On! How to Plan Your Dream Garden

1. Reflect to Perfect. Think about last year’s garden. Jot down all your flowers, edibles and shrubs. Mark your favorite and most used plants. Cross off those that didn’t produce, succeed or required too much effort. What plants do you wish you had? What edibles did you spend too much on at the store? Add those to your plant list.

2. Wise Size. Sketch your current garden space. Should you expand or cut back? Consider if and where you’d like to place new garden beds, raised beds, containers or another vegetable garden. If this is your first garden, plan for 50-75 square feet.

garden plan, garden design3. Site for Light. With your garden design sketched, it’s time to color coordinate! Fill in each area with a different color based on how sunny or shady it is.

4. Single or Mingle. Tweak the list of plants you want to add, keep or remove. Then decide which plants you’ll cluster and which to keep separate. Pair plants with similar water, light and soil needs. Plan where to plant them, and circle the plants you’ll start from seed.

start seeds, plan garden5. Pick to Mix. Scrutinize your list to make sure you have a good mix of: plant types, scents, bloom times, beneficial plants, texture, sizes and color. Do the Safe Paws check to make sure all plants are safe for your pets.

Step back and admire your handiwork! In just a few short months, your hands will be in the soil making your garden plan spring to life.

New Year’s Solution: Easy Garden Resolutions

The New Year is on the horizon. What an exciting time! We get to dream of the great things the year will bring with new goals, resolutions and hopes for you and your garden.

Now’s the time, grab a warm cup of cocoa and your favorite notepad to draft New Year’s resolutions for your garden.

Put Your Best Flower Forward: New Year’s Resolutions for Gardeners

Spend a few minutes dreaming to enjoy the year in your best garden ever!

Stride Outside. Americans spend 97 percent of their life indoors. Hard to believe, isn’t it? As a gardener, you know the magic, relaxation and beauty of the outdoors. Strive to spend more time outside every day!

Enchant with Plants. This year, grow only what you love! Make a list of all the flowers and edibles you grew last year. Cross off the ones that weren’t worth it, and star the plants you used the most. Add a few plants you’ve always dreamed of growing, too.

Test the Soil. The health of your plants depends on healthy soil. Vow to do a soil test this year before planting anything else. You won’t believe how easy they are!

Pause for Safe Paws. Grow a lawn and garden that puts your pets’ health first. Use only organic, chemical-free products to green your lawn. Take it a step further and by petscaping your yard.

Reduce Your Use. Plant more native and drought-resistant plants to reduce water usage. Or start composting to save kitchen and garden scraps from the landfill.

With your New Year’s Resolutions, the garden of your dreams will soon be a reality. Tastier edibles and bigger flowers ahead!  Track your goals using an app to ensure you achieve them.