Houseplants

MARCH
6
2015

GET THIS LOOK!

DO-IT-YOURSELF STRING GARDENS

Some call it string art, some call it Kokedama and some just call it unique. Whatever you call it, these interesting moss-covered gardens held together with string find their roots in the century old art form called kokedama. A form of bonsai, the Japanese have enjoyed moss balls for centuries and just recently the West has caught on to this unique art.

Loosely translated, “Ko ke” means moss and “dama” means ball. Its history began, as a poorer mans bonsai due to its inexpensive requirements and easy to do technique. The simplicity of these moss balls are what makes them so interesting and you are not constrained by a pot. We recommend any small sized plant around 4-inches that has an interesting shape. We especially love using orchids, ponytail palms, rabbit foot ferns and succulents.

What You'll Need:

  • Clear Fishing Line or Twine
  • Orchids, Ponytail Palms, Rabbit Foot Ferns and Succulents
  • Sphagnum Moss
  • Rubber Gloves
  • Bucket of Water
  • Scissors
  • Shallow Container or Hanger
  1. Soak sphagnum moss in water. We do suggest that when working with sphagnum moss you wear rubber gloves.
  2. Remove the root system of the plant from its container.
  3. Surround the root system in a mud cake of sphagnum moss.
  4. Once the roots are completely covered, wind fishing line or twine around it to secure the moss in place.
  5. Once your are finished, hang your string garden or place it in a shallow container. Enjoy!

String gardens are not exactly maintenance free, but if you use the right plants then watering shouldn’t be a problem. We recommend watering once or twice a week depending on the plant.

FEBRUARY
19
2015

Plant of the Week:

KALANCHOE

Big beauty, low maintenance. This colorful little succulent plant is easy to grow and almost as easy to bloom. Kalanchoe grows 8 to 12 inches tall with clusters of small, upright flowers in a rainbow of colors, including red, orange, yellow, gold, purple and white. It has thick, rich green, succulent leaves that retain water to sustain the plant with little water.

Most often grown in pots as a brightly-colored houseplant, Kalanchoe can also be used as a landscape plant provided you live in the right climate. However, their needs vary slightly depending on weather they are planted indoors or outdoors.

Indoors, Kalanchoe requires bright light and should be potted in a well-draining soil, watering only when the soil feels dry to the touch. This succulent plant can withstand periods of dry soil, however, soggy soil can lead to root-rot. Maintain flower color by providing bright, indirect sunlight daily for at least four hours. A sunny windowsill or a bright sunroom are the perfect spots for this plant. Remove dead leaves and spent blossoms when needed. The blooming period usually lasts four to eight weeks.

Kalanchoe planted outside also needs well drained soil, so in wet areas you will not have much success. The same is true if you live in a cold climate, since they do not tolerate the cold. Ideal temperatures are a low of 65 degrees at night and a high of 85 degrees during the day. Kalanchoe grows best in a sunny spot that receives some shade from the harsh afternoon sun.

With just basic care, you can enjoy this low maintenance-big on beauty plant that will brighten your home both inside and out!

Check out more of our favorite plants! OUR PLANTS OF THE WEEK >>

FEBRUARY
11
2015

Plant of the Week:

MOTH ORCHIDS, Phalaeonopsis

We ❤️ these gorgeous orchids - in fact, we can't get enough of them. There's such a special grace to the long, arching stem of these plants. These elegant flowers will brighten tables and windowsills in your home for months at a time. Moth orchids, also known as Phalaeonopsis, are some of the least expensive and longest-blooming orchids available. In fact, one bloom spike can look great for four months or more and there is not shortage of color options. Choose from whites, pinks, lavenders and yellows in both solid colors or stripes and spots.

Love the style, grace and beauty of orchids but afraid they look too complicated to care for? Never Fear. Moth orchids are surprisingly easy to grow. In the right setup at home they can be extremely low maintenance. Be sure to give them a spot in low, medium, or bright light and water weekly or every other week. Promote more and larger blooms by feeding moth orchids monthly with a fertilizer formulated specifically for orchids. Plants do best in temperatures from 50 to 75F. If you're looking for an easy to grow orchid, the moth orchid is for you.

So bring a little spring into your home this winter these blooming beauties... and did we mentions moth orchids make the perfect living Valentine too? Show the love this year with a blooming moth orchid!

Check out more of our favorite plants! OUR PLANTS OF THE WEEK >>

FEBRUARY
9
2015

FILED UNDER

Orchids Need TLC

Orchids need TLC, but a little goes a long way!
by Kathy Van Mullekom, a lifelong gardener and gardening writer living in York County, Virginia

There it was in all its glory – a white-flowering orchid sitting on my dining room table. The scene looked very much like a page out of House Beautiful magazine. The orchid was a Valentine’s Day gift from my husband, and I cherished its specialness. For years, he gave me long-stem red roses, and the switch to a plant that would grow and bloom again was a nice change. For days, I walked through the dining room often, admiring the orchid’s silky white flower petals.

The orchid was a Phalaenopsis, nicknamed a moth orchid because each bloom looks like a dainty moth ready to take flight from the arching stem that holds it tight. It was planted in a small clay pot filled with a bark mix made special for orchids. Thinking I was giving it kindness, I watered the orchid enough to keep the bark constantly moist. Within weeks, the orchid’s fleshy leaves began to wrinkle. I fretted and watered some more, thinking the plant was thirsty.

Desperate to save my beautiful orchid, I took it to the garden center where my husband had purchased it. They kept it for several days, nursing it back to health. They also warned me – don’t water it so much! Unfortunately, my orchid didn’t make it, but I learned an important lesson that I continually pass onto plant lovers when they ask me how to maintain an indoor plant’s good health.

Watering a houseplant too much is just as bad as watering too little. When you get a houseplant, take the time to read the label which includes care instructions. Plant roots need oxygen, and quickly suffocate and rot if left in a water-logged pot. Water orchids thoroughly, usually about once a week, then allow them to dry slightly before watering again, according to the American Orchid Society on its website at www.aos.org.

Did I get another orchid? Not yet, but I’m hoping Cupid delivers one this Valentine’s Day!

FEBRUARY
8
2015

GET THIS LOOK!

DO-IT-YOURSELF LIVING VALENTINE

This year, give your Valentine a living gift made by your own two hands. All you need are just a few materials and some beautiful blooms. We designed our living Valentine using primrose - a flower that says "I can't live without you!" These little flowers make a big impact with mega color making it the perfect Valentine gift.

The primrose is an unusually vivid spring-blooming perennial flower. Unlike the faint pastels associated with spring, primrose shout out in bold yellows, reds, pinks, blues, oranges and white. Their flower stalks sprout up from low, ground-hugging rosettes of lush green leaves and stay in bloom for weeks. By forcing these blooms in our greenhouse, we can get them to you well before spring sets in. These flowers make a cheery houseplant this time of year, so dig in and create your own living valentine!

What You'll Need:

  • Heart-shape container -- Be sure it has drainage holes.
  • 3 to 6 primrose plants or any low-growing flowering plants -- We also love using succulents.
  • McDonald potting mix
  • McDonald Greenleaf fertilizer
  • Spanish moss
  1. Fill the heart-shaped container with soil and drop in your plants as desired.
  2. We recommend planting your flowers as low as possible to keep the heart shape.
  3. Be sure to sprinkle in an all-purpose fertilizer like McDonald GreenLeaf to promote optimum performance.
  4. Tuck Spanish moss in any spaces to cover soil and top off the look!
FEBRUARY
4
2015

Plant of the Week:

GET THINGS BLOOMING EARLY WITH HYACINTH

Hyacinth makes an ideal houseplant this time of year as you find yourself craving colorful blooms. While spring will be here before you know it, why not get things blooming now?! Hyacinth ushers in the beauty and grace of spring early on with brilliant color and unforgettable fragrance! A member of the Lily family, hyacinth are available in a variety of shades including white, salmon, yellow, pink, red, lavender and blue. Blooms are complimented by fleshy, glossy green, strap-shaped foliage, and we assure you... they smell amazing! If you are planting outdoors, hyacinth bulbs should be planted in early autumn for flowering in March and April. However, if you want blooms now, you can force bulbs to grow indoors, or you can purchase hyacinth already in bloom. There's no better way to help alleviate those winter blues than with beautiful blooms. Inside, these beauties are perfect for use in bouquets and arrangements. Later in spring, they are ideal in rock gardens, containers, mass plantings, beds, and borders. Hyacinth will grow well in shade to full sun, but does best in bright sunlight in a well-drained area.

Did you know?
Legend has it the origin of hyacinth can be traced back to a young Greek boy named Hyakinthos, the name of a youth loved by Apollo; when he died a flower sprouted from his blood and was named after him. Hyacinth symbolizes playfulness and denotes constancy. Blue hyacinth stands for constancy, purple for sorrow, red or pink for play, white for loveliness and yellow for jealousy.

Check out more of our favorite plants! OUR PLANTS OF THE WEEK >>

FEBRUARY
2
2015

FILED UNDER

It’s All About Love

OUR FAVORITE LIVING VALENTINES

Valentine's Day sneaks up on us every year, but no worries - we've got a whole host of blooming possibilities for that someone special on your list. And need we remind you that roses aren’t the only choice? Check out our favorite living Valentines!

Daffodils are a great way to brighten someones day with an early dose of spring! We love using these petite daffodils to brighten things up indoors during the remainder of winter.

Hyacinth ushers in the beauty and grace of spring early on with brilliant color and unforgettable fragrance. A member of the lily family, Hyacinth are available in a variety of colors including pink, white and purple. This flowering houseplant makes an excellent living gift.

Anthuriums are long-lasting plants with glossy, red heart-shaped spathes from which emerges a white or yellow flower spike. Flowers float above the contrasting, dark green leaves for months on end. Anthuriums come in a variety of colors, including red, pink, salmon, pale yellow, green and orange. With proper care, flower spikes can last four to six weeks.

Bromeliads are stunning plants related to the pineapple family and are available in an array of bright tropical colors. Its unique foliage adds instant drama to any space during winter and beyond. Once warmer weather arrives, move outside and enjoy all summer long. Truly a gift that keeps on giving!

Cyclamen is a cool weather bloomer boasting butterfly-like flowers with dark green, heart-shaped foliage. Bloom colors range from white to light pink, lavender, hot pink, and hot purple. Most will bloom from mid-November through February, provided conditions are right.

JANUARY
30
2015

Bust the Winter Blahs

SUCCULENTS: Easier than you may think!

The cold keeps coming up with ways to keep us out of the garden. We keep coming up with new ways to keep us digging in the dirt! It's a great time of year to invite a wide and varied bunch of plants into your home with succulents. These unique plants are low-maintenance, get by on minimal water, and come in interesting shapes, varied patterns, unusual colors and many even boast beautiful flowers! These plants are all the rage in the home and garden, appearing everywhere from table-top terrariums, dish gardens and even in glass orbs suspended in air. Try your hand at creating a succulent garden and see how exceedingly easy these gems are to grow.

Here are the general rules for growing top-quality succulents:

Light - Succulents prefer bright light, the brighter the better. Place your succulent in a window where it can get direct sunlight. Succulents don’t do well in the shade, but will thrive when the sun is shining brightly on them.

Temperature - Keep your ambient room temperature anywhere from 55° to 75° Fahrenheit. Too hot or too cold can be detrimental to the health of the plant, however, normal home conditions are suitable for succulents.

Water - Water whenever the soil gets dry and pulls away from the edges of the pot. Water just enough to soak the soil evenly. Overwatering a succulent is as bad as not watering it at all, as these are drought-resistant plants designed to withstand extremely dry conditions.

Try picking out some of the more unusual-looking specimens for your succulent collection, as they can be quite the conversation piece. Here's a few of our favorites:

Kalanchoe comes in a variety of shapes and sizes and are prized for their colorful leaves and their crayon-color flowers. We really like Kalanchoe Orgyalis. This new Kalanchoe is an upright plant with fuzzy, thick, silvery-grey leaves that take on a golden bronze tint in sunlight and blooms sunny yellow flowers.

Echeveria is a unique succulent that forms tight rosettes and comes in a variety of shapes and colors. Many of the varieties have a waxy sheen on their leaves and are great in containers. Echeveria are among the showiest of all the succulents.

Jade boosts smooth, round fleshy leaves that grow in opposing pairs along its branches. The leaves are a rich jade green and its classic beauty and low maintence requirements make it a must-have succulent.

Aloe, a classic favorite, offers dramatic flower spikes with gel-filled, tapered and serrated leaves. It is most notably known for its medicinal properties.

JANUARY
28
2015

Plant of the Week:

CLERODENDRUM WHITE LIGHT BULB

Meet our newest winter bloomer... the Clerodendrum White Light Bulb. This new weeping houseplant puts on a winter show with pure white flowers cascading from vining stems. It's bulb-like flowers hang down about one foot and usually begin blooming in deep winter. You'll love these flowering vines as they move and sway against deep green foliage.

To prune Clerodendrum, simply shear it during the summer - but not later than early September so the blooming cycle is not disrupted. During the summer, this plant will grow vigorously. You can even give this plant some time outdoors in the warm summer months. Then as cold weather sets in and nothing else seems to be blooming, Clerodendrum will give you another blooming show. Let plants cascade naturally, or train on a small trellis to grow upright. It prefers a wet/dry watering cycle, but don't let this one get too dry. Keep it in a sunny spot during winter and move to partial shade during the summer.

Check out more of our favorite plants! OUR PLANTS OF THE WEEK >>

JANUARY
6
2015

Plants of the Week:

CYCLAMEN - Long Lasting Winter Color

Looking to add some vibrant color indoors this winter? We have just the plant for you - cyclamen. This cheery plant is easy to care for and provides color to any indoor space during the long, cold days of winter. A cool weather bloomer, cyclamen features unusually shaped, colorful blossoms and variegated gray-green elliptical leaves. Its long lasting blooms come in bold shades of pink, red, purple and white. Cyclamen needs cool temperatures to continue blooming, so be sure to keep these plants away from heat sources and, if possible, in a cool part of the house.

Cyclamen can also be enjoyed outdoors any time the temperature is above freezing (on frosty nights, remember to bring them inside). Plant them in containers with pansies and other garden plants for a bright spot of color on a winter patio or front doorstep. Cyclamen prefer bright light, but avoid full sun during the winter growing season. Keep the soil continuously moist during the winter months. Never water from overhead, being careful to wet only the soil and not the plant or tuber at the center of the plant. So this winter, make your space as cheerful as possible with the bold colors of cyclamen!

Check out more of our favorite HOUSEPLANTS >>