2015 is the Year of the…

ColeusEvery year, the National Garden Bureau selects one annual, perennial, and edible plant as their “Year of the” plants. They choose these based on how each plant’s popularity, easiness-to-grow, adaptability, genetic diversity, and versatility. This year they have selected:

Annual of the Year: Coleus

Coleus is a sturdy plant that doesn’t need too much care from gardeners. These plants are available in a wide range of colors and varieties and make a stunning statement wherever you decide to put them.

Perennial of the Year: Gaillardia

This is a beautiful flowering plant is in the sunflower family and comes in shades of red, orange, yellow, brown and white. It has a long season of bloom and attracts butterflies.

Edible of the Year: Sweet PepperGaillardia

Sweet peppers offer something for everyone—they come in a lot of different shapes, sizes, and colors. They are a garden favorite and are ideal for spot planting around your garden.

 

We’re still in the midst of winter but spring is just around the corner! As we approach warmer weather, consider finding a place for some of these plants in your garden. Come in to see us to learn what we have in stock and tips to make these plants thrive.

Growing Cacti and Succulents

CactiCacti and succulents are excellent houseplants that add character to any room. Firstly, understand that the words cactus and succulent are general terms that refer to a wide variety of plants. Anything called a “cactus” belongs to a certain family of plants but may be one of many different species. “Succulent” is not a family of plants, but refers to any plant with fleshy parts for storing moisture. A wide range of plants from many different parts of the world falls into the succulent category. Cacti are defined as succulents and what sets them apart as their own sub-group within that classification is that they produce growths (areoles) such as sSucculentpines. These spines help defend the plant against being eaten, as well as helping to reduce water loss by diminishing the air flow close to the cacti stem and offering a little shade. What sets cacti and succulents apart is their ability to exist on low amounts of moisture. Both of these categories of plants are adept at conserving water and nutrients.

Keeping indoor cacti or succulents require a special kind of care which is different from most other houseplants. These plants are tough and can stand extreme conditions with little water, but in order to thrive, they need regular care and attention. During their growth season (which is usually spring to fall), cacti and succulents will appreciate regular watering and fertilizing. CactusCheck out the tag on your individual plants to identify the specific needs of that species and ensure you successfully care for the plant. These plants do enjoy a lot of sunlight and whether they like direct or indirect light will depend on the variety, so make sure you have the right spot to meet its needs. You can always supplement light needs with a grow light if you don’t have enough daylight in your house. Cacti and succulents like a well-draining soil and should be repotted every year or two, as they outgrow their current pots and to give them fresh soil.

We have a selection of cacti and succulents, so stop in and check them out! They may be the perfect plants to supplement your indoor houseplant collection and our friendly staff will be glad to assist you in understanding their care!

Fun with Ferns

FernsFerns are a lacy, whimsical plant that add visual interest to any room. Their beautiful delicate appearance and easy needs make them an ideal choice to grow indoors. They gained popularity as indoor plants in the Victorian Era and the word “fern” comes from an Anglo-Saxon word (fearn) which means feather. These plants happen to be one of the only plants that do not produce flowers. They produce spores to reproduce.

Ferns are native to the tropics and so enjoy high humidity, making them a good option for a bathroom. You can also mist them daily with a spray bottle, and if the humidity levels are not right, you may notice the tips of the fronds turning brown or dying. Another option to increase moisture levels around ferns is to double pot them. Place the potted fern in a larger container that is lined with moist sphagnum moss and be sure to keep the moss moist.

Table of fernsDepending on the type, ferns can have a variety of sunlight needs. Some like indirect sunlight, some will do fine with dappled or morning sun, and some can handle full sun. Check the tags on your chosen variety to ensure proper conditions. Their soil should stay evenly moist—not too wet and not too dry. When overwatered, their leaves will turn yellow and wilt. Water slowly and evenly until water runs out the bottom of the pot into the saucer. Ferns like light applications of houseplant fertilizer to stay happy and healthy.

Different ferns and plantsFerns should be repotted every couple years. If your fern starts looking lackluster, rejuvenate it with some outdoor time in the warm months. Place the pot in a shady spot so it can experience the fresh air and rain.

We currently have an incredible selection of ferns so if you want to give this beautiful plant a try, come see us! Our friendly associates can get you set up with everything you need to make your indoor fern a success.

Deck the Halls with Citrus Plants

Lemon TreeWhat’s more fun and healthy than being able to grab a lemon, lime, or orange from your very own indoor citrus tree? Citrus plants can easily be grown indoors in a container and they will produce fruit as well as give off a refreshing fragrance. You can start these plants indoors in pots and then transfer outside when the weather is warm, or keep them inside permanently. Maintaining the plant in a container minimizes the shock involved with transplanting and allows you to control their growth (in case you don’t have space for a 12-foot tree inside). Citrus trees like soil that is well draining so their roots don’t sit in water for too long. Putting Styrofoam peanuts or rocks in the bottom of the container helps retain the water while allowing the roots to stay dry.

Close up of lemonCitrus trees like a specific amount of watering. If you scratch just under the surface of the soil and it’s moist, then the water level is correct. Overwatering can lead to weak roots and open the door to diseases. If the leaves are curling, are muted colors, or starting to drop off, then the plant needs more water. It’s best to keep a consistent watering schedule of about once a week in the winter to ensure the tree maintains the right amount of moisture.

These trees like a lot of sunlight, so choose a spot where they’ll get an adequate amount. A grow light can supplement for sunlight if there’s not a sunny-enough spot. A fertilizer specifically for citrus, fruit, or nut producing plants is recommended because these will have the right mixture of nutrients for fruit production. Follow the directions on fertilizer packaging for the frequency and amount of fertilizer to be used.

Citrus PlantsIf you’ve ever wanted to try your hand at growing a citrus tree, come down and see us! We have a selection of lemons, oranges, and limes to choose from and one of our friendly associates can help you get started growing your own citrus fruit. We even have some plants that are currently producing fruit to choose from!

December Garden Clean Up

There’s a lot of gardening chores to be done in December to prep for winter weather. Here’s a quick run-down of some activities to think about doing:gardening tools

  • Keep mowing lawns until the grass stops growing and let clippings lie one the soil to return some nitrogen into the ground.
  • Clean up beds by pulling weeds, battling garden pests, and removing unnecessary debris from around plants and off of lawns.
  • This time of year is a good time to start thinking about the birds in your yard. Putting out a feeder is helpful for them during the winter months and they greatly appreciate an always-available, unfrozen water source.
  • Any plant that will not weather the winter well should be stashed in a safe spot for over-wintering. You can pot small plants or herbs like chives or rosemary and bring them indoors to continue growing them during cold months.
  • Make sure all of your bulbs are planted. They won’t do you any good come spring if they’re still sitting in the garage and you’ll be happy to have those beautiful blooms next year. It’s not too late to plant them and we still have bulbs in stock!
  • Get any trees or shrubs you want planted into the ground so they can thrive next year. We’re getting a new stock of trees in this month, so stop by and check them out.
  • Prep your new beds for next year’s plantings by laying newspaper or cardboard down to smother grass or weeds, then lay mulch on top.
  • Prune out or remove any plants, trees, or shrubs that look dead, diseased, or damaged. Don’t do aesthetic pruning now because new growth could begin and get damaged by the cold—save it for the spring.

It’s That Time: Poinsettias are Here!

Poinsettias: few other flowers are as synonymous with Christmas as this one! This plant was brought to the United States from Mexico in the 1828 by Bright Pink PoinsettiaJoel Roberts Poinsett. In Mexico, this plant is a perennial shrub and can grow 10-15 feet tall. The part of poinsettias which most people think of as the flowers are actually colored bracts, or modified leaves. The flowers are the center of the bracts. To get the longest-lasting poinsettias, choose plants with little or no yellow pollen showing because the plant drops its bracts and leaves soon after losing their pollen.

While poinsettias have long been rumored to be poisonous, this is not true. Ingesting the leaves of this plant will cause a child or pet to be sick with an upset stomach, vomiting and nausea, and they would have to eat 500 to 600 leaves to experience those side effects (and the leaves are not tasty). Despite that, it’s still best to be cautious about where you place house plants with pets and children in mind.

Red PoinsettiaThere are over 100 varieties of poinsettias on the market, ranging from red to pink, white, and purple. The red variety is the most popular and traditional. Although most poinsettias sold in the US come from California and their sales contribute over $250 million to our economy, our Poinsettias are grown locally. They are the bestselling potted plant in the US, which most being sold in the six weeks leading up to Christmas.

When bringing poinsettias home, make sure to place them poinsettias near sunny windows, or somewhere where they will receive plenty of sunshine. Be careful not to let the leaves of the plant press against the cold window panes, as they are tropical plants that dislike cold. They do not do well with very hot or cold drafts, so take care to keep them away from air registers and open windows or doors. Water only when soil feels dry and when watering, ensure that water soaks the soil down to the bottom of the pot, and then discard any excess water. If you plan on keeping your plant for several months, apply a soluble houseplant fertilizer for best results.Speckled Poinsettia

It is possible to keep your poinsettia going for longer than the Christmas season. You will need to care for it as you would any houseplant, and probably cut back the old flowering stems in February or March to maintain a good shape. Continue to fertilize the plant as needed.

For those who just want holiday blooms, take advantage of our “Dead or Alive” Program. Save the “Dead or Alive” tag and bring it back in the new year for a $5.00 discount on any house plant.

Our beautiful stock of Poinsettias is ready and waiting for you, so stop by and see us! Our knowledgeable staff can help you with any questions you have about caring for these festive flowers!