Love is in the air plants

Love is in the air plants. They’re the perfect little gift to share with those you love. From your lover to your BFF, all of the loves in your life will thank you for this little piece of heaven we have on earth. They’re great for home decor, wedding and baby shower table-scapes and office spaces. So how do you care for these plant oddities that require no soil or pot? We’ll tell you…

Air Plant Care

Air plantsLight. Air plants thrive off of indirect sunlight. Whether they receive natural light from a window or fluorescent lighting from an office window, just be sure yours isn’t taking in too much heated light. Too much bright light could cause your air plant to dry out.

Water. Just because these plants don’t require soil doesn’t mean that they don’t require water and food! That being said, air plants are very easy to care for so don’t let a little maintenance routine throw you for a loop! Watering is simple. Just do it once a week. You can use a spray bottle and simply mist each plant thoroughly. Signs of dehydration are wrinkled or dry, browning leaves. If you feel your air plants aren’t getting enough water, try giving them a bath. Place the plant in a container filled with water for about two hours and then place it back in your favorite place to display it.

Food. Fertilizing your air plants is great if you’d like to see yours bloom. (Yes! They can bloom!) It’s also not necessary for regular maintenance. So if you’re a lazy plant parent, feel free to skip this step completely. But if you’re in it to win it (by that, we mean you want to see yours bloom), try a water-soluble bromeliad fertilizer.

Do you have additional questions about air plant care? Or are you looking to find an air plant? Visit us at Garden Supply Company. We have a new shipment located in our house plants section!

Cyclamen Care

Give the gift of color this Valentine’s Day with a cyclamen. We’ll help you keep yours in living color through the season here.

In general, cyclamen are easy-care plants. This is good for those of us who may not always be so good to our potted plants! Just follow these easy steps:

CyclamenMake them feel at home. In the wild, cyclamen can be found in the woods with their root systems hidden and flowers peaking out towards the sunlight. Do your best to imitate this atmosphere by keeping your plant around room temperature. Find a place for your cyclamen near a window but not directly in front of it. Cooler, low-light environments could have your plant blooming through mid-spring! Warmer, brighter climates may just send your cyclamen into an early dormancy.

Don’t chance the cold. While cyclamen is beautiful outdoors in pots and within our landscapes, this particular plant doesn’t do so hot in the cold! So if you’re keeping your cyclamen outside, just be sure to bring them inside if the weatherman calls for temperatures lower than 50 degrees.

Water once a week. The easiest way to ensure you’re not drowning your cyclamen, is to place your pot in a tray of about an inch of water overnight just once a week. This allows the plant to rehydrate without moistening the soil at undesirable levels.

Keep it clean! Dead-head any dead or yellowing leaves.

If additional questions arise, feel free to swing by GSCO any time! We’ll be happy to help you raise a healthy cyclamen!

The easiest plant you’ll ever buy

The ZZ plant is the easiest plant you’ll ever buy. Coincidence that it’s name rhymes with the word easy? Well, it’s proper name is Zamioculcas zamifolia. So naturally botanists back in the day began to refer to it as it’s acronym. The ZZ plant name stuck.

ZZ PlantMore than likely, all of you with black thumbs are looking out the window to your backyard plant graveyards and thinking: Easy-care, sure…I’ve heard that before!

But seriously, this is a plant that does best when almost totally ignored. How’s that for easy?

Although the ZZ plant does best in moderate light, these plants still do fine with little to no light. Now that you know what they look like, you’ll begin to notice that these are the plants you’ve seen in public restrooms and office spaces with no windows. They weren’t fake!

How is it that these green, rubbery-looking plants still appear so healthy with so little care? The ZZ plant holds water in a similar manner to a camel. Under the soil, these African natives carry potato-like rhizomes which allow them to store water during drought. Lucky for us, this evolutionary root system works in our indoor container gardens just as as it does in it’s natural environment. So what does this mean for it’s caregiver? ZZ plants only need to be watered once the soil is completely dry to the touch or about once a month. If you notice the leaves begin to yellow, think of it as the yellow light on a stoplight. This is your plant cautioning you to stop watering it so much.

ZZ plants do fine without fertilizer but if you feel yours needs a little something, use a half-strength plant food up to twice a year during warmer months.

Garden Supply Company has plenty of ZZ plants in stock now and a new collection of pots to plant them in. Come by and turn that black thumb green!

Garden cocktail recipe: It’s thyme to party

It’s the last day of the year. You know what that means? It’s thyme to party with Garden Supply Company’s special garden cocktail recipe made with ingredients from your very own landscape. Try it with us for the countdown with these easy steps:

It’s thyme to party

It's thyme to partyIngredients

  • Gin
  • Prosecco
  • Cranberry juice
  • Fresh thyme
  • Pansy flowers (They’re edible!)

Directions

  • Fill your cocktail shaker with about half of a cup of ice.
  • Pour 6 fluid ounces (or 4 shots) of your preferred gin into the shaker.
  • Add 6 fluid ounces of cranberry juice and shake.
  • Pour into cocktail glasses and add a splash of your preferred prosecco for a little sparkle.
  • Add fresh thyme to each glass and garnish with pansy flowers!

A DIY gift for yourself: Relaxing lavender bath salts

It’s time to relax. You’ve been running, running, running. You’ve been rushing between stores, grabbing gifts for all you know. You’ve been chauffeuring the kids between Christmas pageant rehearsals and Nutcracker shows. You’ve given yourself paper cuts on gift wrap trying to get it all done. And you’re exhausted.

Now, it’s time for you. So take it. But first, we’ve got a gift for you. It’s a gift you can easily make in the comfort of your own home and it’s one you can share! No more worries about last minute gifts. This will do just fine! So before you turn on the hot water to soak your sore feet, grab these inexpensive items from the store (or your garden!). It’s time to make your own lavender bath salts.

Lavender Bath Salts

Lavender-Bath-SaltsWhat you’ll need:
1 cup Epson salt
1/2 cup natural sea salt
20-30 drops of essential oils*
2-3 tablespoons dried lavender buds or other dried herbs like rosemary**
Glass container with lid

Directions:
Combine ingredients in a mixing bowl and stir until blended evenly. Transfer to your preferred glass container and seal with the lid.

To use:
Add about 1/2 cup of your freshly-made bath salts to hot running bath water. Relax!

*Choose one or more of your favorite scents! We love lavender by itself or combined with juniper and rosemary or peppermint.

**If you don’t have dried lavender buds, no worries! You can use a selection of fresh herbs from your garden or dry them yourself. If you go with fresh herbs, just be sure to use the bath salts right away. If you’d like to dry your own lavendar or rosemary, strip the needles and buds from the stems. Place them on a sheet pan and set the oven to 225 degrees. Heat until the herbs are completely dry (approximately two hours).

Amaryllis: A gift that keeps on giving

amaryllisSo you don’t want to cook but you feel compelled to bring something to the Thanksgiving dinner you were invited to by the neighbors. Why bring something that will be gobbled up in one day anyway, when you could instead give a gift that keeps on giving?

The amaryllis. They’re cheap, fast and easy to grow. And now is the perfect time to plant them. You’ve seen them boxed and wrapped in 500 different ways at more stores than you thought carried green goods. The reason so many retailers carry them? Because they provide an impeccable bang for your buck and because on a care-giving scale they’re easy as pie.

They’re not so pretty when you buy them–just a bulb, soil and a pot that usually come together as a kit. But once that first glimpse of green appears, the receiver of this gift will find themselves tranced by the pace of this bulb’s growth and then stunned by the enormous, bold blooms this holiday plants carries.

To care for the amaryllis, place the potted bulb in a warm, sunny place in the home. The warmer the temperature, the faster the bulb will sprout and grow! Here’s a helpful hint: try placing the pot on top of the refrigerator where it is extra warm. This may stimulate growth.

Water the amaryllis only after the top inch of soil feels dry to the touch. If your kit comes with Spanish moss, just be sure to lift the moss when you water. We don’t want to cause our sweet potted pet to rot at the roots!

There are many varieties of amaryllis. We carry several kit varieties as well as single bulbs. Each variety has a slightly different growth period but in general, you’ll begin to see the bulb transform between two to eight weeks after it’s potted.

Once the amaryllis sprouts, be sure it’s receiving ample sunlight. South-facing windows and sunrooms are perfect! These plants grow quite fast and very tall. If you (or your neighbor) notice the stalk is beginning to lean in one direction, simply rotate it often so that it will begin to grow towards the direction of the light and straighten itself back out. If the amaryllis grows extra tall, it may need a small stake for added support.

So how does this bulb keep giving? With proper care and minimal effort, this beauty will bloom again! After the blossoms die, cut the dried flowers leaving the stalk until it also dies back. Keep watering and fertilizing the plant which may still provide long, elegant green foliage through the winter until the last frost. When spring temperatures are about 50 degrees, begin to transition the plant to the outdoors by bringing the pot out to a shady area. Plants can get sunburn too! So this step is imperative. Slowly, expose the plant to more light until finally planting it in the ground in a sunny area of the yard. Water and fertilize for about six weeks and come summer, you’ll have yet another bloom.

By mid-August, after this bloom fades, leave it alone. No need for water or plant food. Come September, dig up the bulb from outdoors and find that pot from the last Thanksgiving to plant it in. Store it in a cool, dark place and leave it alone for at least two months.

Remember how long it took for the amaryllis to bloom last time? Do a little math and decide when you want your bulb to bloom. When you’re ready, remove it from your closet, pantry or wherever you stored it, and begin to water it just as you did the first time.

Repeat each and every year. Now, that’s a gift worth giving.

For additional tips on amaryllis bulbs or other plant care questions, feel free to drop by Garden Supply Company any time. We’ll be happy to help you.