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.

Success with Succulents

Plant parenthood isn’t always easy but you don’t have to suck at succulents. They’re supposed to be easy-care plants, you know? Easy come, easy go, you say? We’ve all killed a few house plants in our day but let’s earn our green thumbs with these easy tips to care for your succulents successfully.

Tip 1. Water carefully. Root rot is one of the quickest ways to kill your potted pets. Only water your succulents after the soil has dried completely.

Tip 2. When planting your succulent, you can use regular potting soil. Just remember that these soils are meant to hold moisture. So it’s not exactly the ideal environment for these dreamy dessert plants. They want to be dry. So let them be for a while after they’re planted.

Tip 3. Give these babies some light! Succulents don’t need direct sunlight, but they definitely do not do well in the dark corner of your living room.

Tip 4. Remember, these green guys are alive. That means they need food in order to survive. Pick up some succulent food and use every time you water your plants.

Tip 5. Like all living things, succulents are small when they’re young. Usually, when we purchase succulents, they’re so cute and tiny! We love them that way. But remember that most plants will eventually need to be repotted after a year or so in order to lead healthy, long lives.

Questions? Concerns? Never fear. Garden Supply Company can help. Visit us with any questions you might have about succulents or any other plants.

How to make your own holiday accent bows

DSC_0127Accent bows. They are the focal point of the wreaths on our front doors. They’re at the tops of our Christmas trees and grace all of our windows with perfect symmetry. They seem so elegant in their simplicity. And they are simple. Holiday accent bows can be just as easy to create as they are easy on the eye. Can you tie them in a knot? Then you can tie them in a bow.

So gather your ribbons from the attic or drop by to see us. (We have an entire wall filled with holiday ribbon!) Pick a traditional red felt or go all out with hues of blue or glitter galore. The choice is up to you! While you’re out, pick up a spool of floral wire and wire cutters (if you don’t already own a pair).

Here’s how it’s done.

Step 1. Furrow the brow. Put a smirk in the lip and get your Martha Stewart face on. Confidence is key. Get ready to rock these ribbons!

Step 2. Pump up the holiday jams. Let’s get inspired. Now, decide just how large you want your bow. Take the end piece of your ribbon and create a loop. Pinch and twist. Wrap the cinched center with your floral wire.

Step 3. Repeat step two, creating another loop approximately the same size. Place it opposite of the first loop. Once you’ve pinched and twisted, repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat…until you are satisfied with the fullness of your accent bow.

Step 4. Fasten the center of the bow with floral wire by wrapping several times. Once you feel it’s secure, twist at the back leaving enough wire to later use to fasten your bow to a wreath, window or tree.

Step 5. Fluff it up and hang your unique, hand-made accent bow in your place of choice.

Think you’ll be needing a little extra hands-on help in the accent bow department? Join us Thursday, November 19 from 6:00-7:30pm for our Holiday Wine and Design Workshop and get ready to knock your neighbor’s socks off. For details, click here.

DIY: How to make your own terrarium in seven easy steps

Terrariums are so in right now! But they can cost a pretty penny if you decide to purchase a pre-made terrarium off of the shelf. So why not save a few bucks and create something that’s truly your own?

TerrariumWhat you’ll need:
-Glass container
-Potting soil
-Stones or glass
-Decorative pieces*
-Small plants

* = Optional

Here’s how it’s done.

Step 1. Select your glass container. You can use anything so let your imagination grow wild! Search your attic. Find an old mason jar. Or come see us at Garden Supply Company. We have a wide assortment of glass containers to choose from.

Step 2. Once you’ve selected your container, create your first drainage layer by pouring the stones or glass pieces you purchased into the bottom of it. Pour so that the depth of this layer is about 1” to 2” from the bottom. This will provide a place for any water not absorbed by the plants to settle.

Step 3. Adding activated charcoal is the secret step in keeping bacteria, odors and fungus out of your terrarium. It can be a bit messy so this is where your gloves may come in handy. Scoop a handful into your glass container. Just enough to cover the rocks is perfect.

Step 4. Keep your gloves on! Now it’s time to add your soil. Select a soil that’s appropriate for the type of plants you’ve picked. Succulents require a different composition than your other smaller house plants. Try not to mix the two in your container. Add 1” to 3” of soil just on top of the charcoal, depending on your container size. Just be sure there’s enough room for the roots of your plants.

Step 5. Remove plants from the plastic containers they came in and break up the root ball with your fingers. If the roots are especially long, you can trim them back with the scissors slightly to fit the container. Use your fingers to create room for your plants. Place them accordingly.

Step 6. Now it’s time to rock your little world! Add miniature accessories like moss, figurines or marbles. Want to make it festive? This is where it gets fun! It’s getting close to the holidays, so why not add mini holiday knick-knacks to your terrarium that you can replace after the holidays?

Step 7. Chances are, your terrarium is still a little bit of a mess. So dust it off and wipe any dirt from the sides of your container. Water your cute little indoor garden with just a little bit of water. Your new terrarium doesn’t need as much water as most house plants so water sparingly!

Still think you need a little help? No worries! We have the perfect DIY event for you. Join us Sunday, November 15 for our Holiday Terrariums workshop. Want to find out more? Click here.

Caring for mums: Easy gardening tips for maximized fall color

MumsA pop of color. It’s what gives flavor to our landscapes in the fall. Mums–formally known as chrysanthemums–add much-needed color to our porches, decks and yards after our bright summer annuals have faded.

Mums are a fall favorite. Get the most bloom for your buck with these gardening tips:

Mums bloom for about a month. When selecting plants, choose those that still have plenty of buds that haven’t opened yet to maximize the color you get to enjoy in your yard.

Mums love sun. While they can survive in a partially sunny area of the yard, they may grow leggy reaching for light if they aren’t getting enough sun and have fewer buds and blooms than those that get full sun.
Mums actually do best if planted in the spring so that they can establish their root systems prior to blooming. However, most mums are purchased in the fall since it’s the time when they are in full color. Just be sure to plant yours prior to the first hard frost.

Whether your mums are planted within the landscape or in container gardens, be sure that the soil is well-drained. Water every day when it’s dry. Keep the soil moist but not wet.

Remove or deadhead browned flowers by pinching or cutting them off above the leaves on the stem. Some say pinching may damage the stem so cutting the dead flowers may be your best bet.

Chances are you just purchased your mums. And in this case, they have plenty of fertilizer in the soil already. When your mums grow back in the spring, feed them monthly until August.

Many people purchase new mums each year, but did you know that mums come back each year if overwintered properly? Once your blooms have all browned along with the stems, allow them to go through several hard frosts as they are. Even if they aren’t too pretty on the eyes! Your mums will come back larger next season if you wait until spring to remove the browned portions of the plants. But you can always cut them back after a few frosts if this is your preference and cover them with about three inches of mulch.

Pinching Back
Come spring, you’ll begin to see green shoots peeping from the mulch. Pinch back the new growth until mid-July to increase the number of side shoots and maximize blooms.

Want to learn more about gardening with confidence? Join renowned author and garden expert, Helen Yoest, at Garden Supply Company this Friday, October 31 at 10am. Learn more.

Planting Trees and Shrubs in the Fall

Spring isn’t the only time to get your hands in the dirt. Believe it or not, fall is the best time of year to plant trees and shrubs in North Carolina. So if you’re thinking of adding on to your landscape, now is the time to pick your plants and get out the shovel.

During the spring and summer, trees and shrubs are expending most of their energy reproducing by creating buds and fruit. Come fall, these plants can concentrate on establishing their foundation–their roots. So you’ll likely see more success by planting in these cooler autumn temperatures when trees are going through a dormant season above ground. With a well-established and larger root system, your plants will thrive in the spring and summer maximizing your foliage. They’ll also be stronger and less susceptible to diseases and other stressors.

Here are a few classic staples we carry at Garden Supply Company:

Encore Azaleas

Encore Azaleas are a genetically modified variety of the traditional shrubs that bloom in the spring, summer and fall. Full sun to partial shade.

Dwarf curly leaf ligustrum

Dwarf Curly Leaf Ligustrum is a dark evergreen shrub with unique leaves that work beautifully when cut for flower arrangements. Partial to full sun.


Podocarpus creates an ideal hedge when planted around the border of a property. Partial to full sun.


Fatsia is the perfect way to bring a tropical look to a partially shaded landscape. Partial shade to partial sun.

Japanese Maple

Japanese Maples are beautiful accents to any landscape with foliage that brightens in early fall. Light requirements vary.

Swing by Garden Supply Company to design your landscape today!