Plant Care Guides and Handouts

PLANT CARE

General Plant Care

PLANT CARE A Checklist for Pond Care in Fall and WinterBefore the leaves begin to fall, cover your pond with leaf netting. These come in various sizes and can be a real time saver. Leaves are much easier to keep out of the pond than to remove them from the cold water!If time and weather permit this is a great time to divide and repot the hardy plants.Remove tropical plants. These will only decay and foul the water over the winter. (Water Hyacinths, Water Lettuce, Tropical Lilies, etc.)Cut back the foliage of the hardy plants. Lower the pots to the …
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PLANT CARE Cold Weather CompostingKeeping the compost cooking through winter in any region.The sight of steam rising from a compost pile on a cold winter day is sure to warm the heart of every gardener. It’s a sign that when spring comes, you’ll have a batch of fresh compost to use for getting seeds and transplants off to a healthy start in your garden. Frigid weather outside can slow the decomposition process, but you can maintain an essential core of heat, which indicates that crucial microbial activity is occurring inside the pile. “The outside layer of the pile will be …
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PLANT CARE Benefits of CompostingCompost enriches soilsIt has the ability to help regenerate poor soils. The composting process encourages the production of beneficial micro-organisms (mainly bacteria and fungi) which in turn break down organic matter to create humus. Humus–a rich nutrient-filled material–increases the nutrient content in soils and helps soils retain moisture. Compost has also been shown to suppress plant diseases and pests, reduce or eliminate the need for chemical fertilizers, and promote higher yields of agricultural crops.Compost helps cleanup contaminated soilThe composting process has been shown to absorb odors and treat semivolatile and volatile organic compounds (VOCs), including heating …
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PLANT CARE Ohio Department of Wildlife Invasive SpeciesTargeted Species (13)Garlic mustard (Alliaria petiolata)Autumn olive (Elaeagnus umbellata)Japanese honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica)Amur honeysuckle (Lonicera maackii)Morrow honeysuckle (Lonicera morrowii)Tatarian honeysuckle (Lonicera tatarica)Purple loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria)Well-established Species (38)Quack grass (Agropyron repens)Tree-of-heaven (Ailanthus altissima)Japanese barberry (Berberis thunbergii)Smooth brome (Bromus inermis)Flowering-rush (Butomus umbellatus)Asian bittersweet (Celastrus orbiculatus)Canada thistle (Cirsium arvense)Poison hemlock (Conium maculatum)Field bindweed (Convolvulus arvensis)Crown-vetch (Coronilla varia)Queen Anne’s lace (Daucus carota)Air-potato (Dioscorea batatas)Cut-leaved teasel (Dipsacus laciniatus)Common teasel (Dipsacus sylvestris)Russian olive (Elaeagnus angustifolia)Hairy willow-herb (Epilobium hirsutum)Small-flowered hairy willow-herb      (Epilobium parviflorum)Winged euonymus (Euonymus alatus)Wintercreeper (Euonymus fortunei)Watch List Species (14)Porcelain-berry     (Ampelopsis brevipedunculata)Nodding thistle (Carduus nutans)Spotted knapweed (Centaurea maculosa)Leafy spurge (Euphorbia …
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PLANT CARE Native Plants of West Central Ohio or Eastern North America Plants listed here are either native to west central Ohio or they are native to eastern North America and have displayed hardiness in our area. Some plants native to eastern Ohio may not be listed, because they prefer or need the acid soils of that part of Ohio. Some plants native to other parts of North America, though hardy here, are not listed. The genus and species are listed here. Look for that information on our signs. The cultivars that we grow and carry have the same hardiness …
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PLANT CARE Poison Plant List In the Case of suspected plant poisoning please call: Ohio Poison Hotline 800-222-1222 Toxicity Class (third column in table below) Major Toxicity: These plants may cause serious illness or death. If ingested, immediately call the Poison Control Center or your doctor. Minor Toxicity: Ingestion of these plants may cause minor illnesses such as vomiting or diarrhea. If ingested, call the Poison Control Center or your doctor. Oxalates: The juice or sap of these plants contains oxalate crystals. These needle-shaped crystals can irritate the skin, mouth, tongue, and throat, resulting in throat swelling, breathing difficulties, burning …
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PLANT CARE Plant Care GuideThe Siebenthaler Company believes the care you give your new landscape plantings is just as important as the design and installation. Learning how to properly maintain your plants is the key to enjoying your landscape investment for years to come.WATERINGOnce your plants are installed, watering becomes the owners’ responsibility. We cannot stress how important watering is – especially during the first full growing season of your plants. It is very difficult to tell an owner or maintenance person how and when to water plants. The reason for this is that no two landscape situations are exactly …
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PLANT CARE Compost Happens – With a little help from you!Composting is the decomposition of plant remains and other once-living materials to make an earthy, dark, crumbly substance that is excellent for adding to houseplants or enriching soil. www.howtocompost.org Composting is an excellent way to avoid both wasting useful, natural resources and creating environmental problems, while at the same time producing a high quality and inexpensive soil amendment.According to the US EPA, yard trimmings and food residuals together constitute 24% of the U.S. municipal solid waste stream.Composting occurs quickly or slowly, depending on the process used.  A pile of organic waste …
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Trees

PLANT CARE Watering – This is the number one reason for plant loss. Too much water may be as harmful to your new tree as too little water.  Do not over-water or leave the soil saturated for a long period of time.  One inch of water/rain per week for newly planted trees is the general rule.  To determine actual moisture content, dig four to eight inches into the soil close to the root mass with a trowel or shovel.  If the soil is dry at this depth, it is time to irrigate!  A general guideline is 3 waterings for the …
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PLANT CARE Planting Under Black Walnut Tree Vines Perennials Clematis Dicentra – Bleeding Heart Tartarian Honeysuckle Doronicum – Leopard’s Bane Virginia Creeper Dryopteris cristata – Crested Wood Fern Morning Glory Galium – Sweet Woodruff Geranium sanguineum Annuals Grasses (most) Calendula Hemerocallis – Daylily Begonia Heuchera – Coralbells Pansy Hosta lancifolia Zinnia Hosta fortunei Hosta marginata Vegetables & Fruits Hosta undulata Black Raspberry Siberian Iris Squashes Monarda – Beebalm Melons Oenotherea – Sundrop/Buttercups Beans Onoclea sensibilis – Sensitive Fern Carrots Osmunda cinnamomea – Cinnamon Fern Corn Peony Phlox Fruit Trees Polemonium – Jacob’s Ladder Peach Polygonatum – Solomon’s Seal Nectarine Polyanthus …
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PLANT CARE How to Plant  a Tree Planting Locate all underground utilities prior to planting! Dig a bowl shaped planting hole (sloping soil to grade) at least nine inches wider than the sides of the root ball on trees up to two and one-half inches in diameter. Dig the hole at least fifteen inches wider than the sides of the root ball for trees over two and one-half inches in diameter. Loosen or rough up the sides of the hole so roots can easily penetrate into the surrounding soil. The hole should only be deep enough so the top of …
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Shrubs

PLANT CARE Rose Gardening Calendar Early April Uncover your roses, removing all mulch or other material you placed around them for winter protection. Prune the roses, cutting off any canes that have not greened up and removing any canes or stems smaller in diameter than a pencil. Top-dress your beds or around single rose plants using a combination of topsoil, compost, and manure in equal parts. Begin a watering and fertilizing program. Roses require the equivalent of an inch of rainfall per week during the growing season. You must provide what nature does not. For beds, a soaker hose is …
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PLANT CARE Winter Protection for Roses Winterizing roses is a very important maintenance practice to ensure vigorous growth from year to year. There are several things you can do to make sure your roses surviveOhiowinters long before the cold winds blow.First, choose the most winter hardy roses available to plant in your rose bed.Make sure your roses are healthy and not under stress because they have a better chance of surviving winter than weak plants.Reduce stress on roses going into the dormant season by irrigating adequately in late autumn if rain is minimal and discontinuing nitrogen fertilizer applications in late …
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Perennials

PLANT CARE How to Grow Successful Hostas Bed PrepHostas do their best in a moisture retentive and highly organic soil.  To achieve this mix three inches of equal parts organic compost, manure and sphagnum peat moss should be added to every 6-8” of tilled soil.  Feed your newly planted Hostas with a starter fertilizer blended around the roots.  Mulch lightly, no more than 1-2”.  Water regularly, preferably with a soaker hose. Light RequirementsAlthough Hostas are synonymous with shade gardens, they all appreciate a ‘little’ sunshine, some more than others.  Ideally, morning sun is best, since if left to fry in afternoon …
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PLANT CARE Ornamental Grasses One of the toughest and most versatile groups of perennials is the ornamental grasses. Whether sunny or shady, wet or dry, windy or calm site and you need a grass within a certain height range, there will be a one for your needs. Grasses help soften the landscape among the bolder foliage of the woody shrubs as they gently sway in any whisper of wind. Most are attractive through winter, brightening any landscape at a time we need it the most. Growth Habits Growth habits of grasses need to be considered when choosing one for your …
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PLANT CARE Perennials to Prune in the Late Summer and Fall Readying your garden for winter is important to the health of your plants. How and when you cut things back is determined by the individual needs of your plants, your desire to provide food and cover for wildlife, and your appreciation for winter interest. Below is a guideline on which perennials to prune in the late summer and fall: Bearded Iris The tall foliage of bearded iris can begin to flop early in the season. Creating cover for iris borers and fugal diseases. Cut back late in the summer …
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PLANT CARE Perennials for Moist Soils Perennials for Moist Soil in Sun Botanical Name Common Name  Botanical Name Common Name Acorus Japanese Sweet Flag Iris Iris Aegopodium Bishop’s Weed Lysimachia Gooseneck Loosestrife Amsonia Blue Star Mentha Mint Astrantia Great Masterwort Miscanthus Japanese Silver Grass Boltonia Boltonia Monarda Bee Balm Calamagrostis Feather Reed Grass Pharlaris Ribbon Grass Eupatorium Joe Pye Weed Phlox Tall Garden Phlox Filipendula  Queen of the Meadow Physostegia Obedient Plant Hibiscus Rose Mallow Ranunculus Creeping Buttercup Helenium Sneezeweed Tradescantia Spiderwort Houttuynia Chameleon  Veronia Ironweed Perennials for Wet Soils in Shade Botanical Name Common Name Botanical Name Common Name …
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PLANT CARE Winterizing Perennials Southwestern Ohiowinters are impossible to predict. We can range from a low of 15 degrees above zero to a low of 15 degrees below zero. We can receive no snow or 18” of snow. The best way to care for your perennials is to be prepared for the worst! Keep in mind that there are some perennials that are practically evergreen. Shasta daisies, coralbells, armeria, candytuft, creeping phlox, dianthus and some groundcover sedums are a few. They are wonderful to see during the cold gray days…. adding a bit of color to the garden. There are …
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PLANT CARE Hosta and Sun Tolerance Hostas do not always have to be relegated to the shadiest parts of the garden. Many varieties will tolerate sun to some degree. Our suggestions are no guarantee as to the plant’s performance. They will not look as good in afternoon sun as the same variety planted in dappled shade or morning sun. In very hot, dry summers they may have a duller look or have some burning. Additional irrigation will benefit them through long hot weeks. Keep in mind that reflected light from surrounding structures could burn a hosta, too. The general rule is: All  …
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PLANT CARE Bulbs Not Blooming Here’s a checklist for you to look at. See if anything fits your situation: Bulbs have not been ‘fed’ in a couple of years: a broadcast of 5-10-10 granules at planting, when leaves emerge, and again at bloom is a reasonable feeding schedule. Feeding has been with a high-nitrogen fertilizer. This encourages production of leaves, but seems to quell the plant’s need for flowers. Bulbs are planted in a shady area. Daffodils need a half-day of sun, at least, to produce flowers. Bulbs are in competition for food with other plants. Planting under evergreen trees …
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Lawn Care

PLANT CARE Fall Lawn Care Tips The fall is the best time to repair holes, brown areas and general damage to lawn. Lawn seeds germinate better during the cool season. By over seeding in the fall, the grass will have at least 2-3 months to establish healthy roots before winter arrives. By following the tips below, next spring your lawn will have more time to grow and fill in before the heat and stress of the summer. Mow/cut warm season lawns as low as possible without cutting below the green. Rake out any dead grass from the damaged areas and …
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PLANT CARE Mushrooms in Lawns Mushrooms, also known as “toadstools”, are the spore-producing structures of some kinds of fungi. Most of these fungi are beneficial, as they break down organic matter and release nutrients that are necessary for plant growth. In fall, as the weather begins to cool, mushrooms often pop up in lawns, causing people to wonder where they’re coming from and how to control them. Mushrooms produce tiny seed-like bodies called spores, which easily blow about in the wind. When these spores reach a favorable place to grow, they germinate and send out long, thin threadlike growths called …
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PLANT CARE Preparing Lawns for Winter There are a few details to take care of for the lawn and prepare it for the coming winter months. A little foresight now will give the lawn a strong start in the spring. Mowing Lower the height of your mower. The lawn should enter winter with no tender young growth. This soft growth will burn easily with the first hard frosts and will give the entire lawn a brownish cast for the entire season. It will also provide a place for winter diseases like snow mold to develop. As late fall approaches gradually lower the …
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PLANT CARE Rust in Lawns Rust, caused by Puccinia spp., is not seen every year, but sometimes becomes severe on susceptible varieties during hot periods of the summer when grass growth is reduced. When rust is severe, the lawn may have a yellowish to reddish-orange appearance. A red-orange dust fills the air when the grass is mowed and also collects on shoes and clothing. Individual blades of grass will have slightly elongated yellow-orange to red-orange spots or pustules (filled with a rusty colored powder — the spores of the rust fungus) that break through the leaf surface. When rust is …
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Houseplants

PLANT CARE How To Water Houseplants If you’ve enjoyed indoor houseplants for any length of time, you’ve probably lost a plant or two. Insufficient and excessive watering is among many reasons a plant might fail despite what seems like pampered conditions. In some cases, pampering may be precisely the problem. Water serves as an important transport medium, allowing nutrients to travel from soil to plant cell. But too much water in the soil layer forces air from the root zone, reducing the plant’s oxygen supply. Unfortunately, there is no simple rule dictating how often houseplants should be watered. Some plants, adapted to …
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PLANT CARE Indoor Houseplant Watering Guide One of the most popular questions we hear is “When do I water my houseplants?” Many houseplants have differing water needs. The water requirement for plants is based on the light, temperature, air circulation and stage of plant growth. This means a plant’s water needs will change seasonally and depending on the size of the plant and it’s root mass. With the aid of a water meter and this guide, judging the watering needs of your plants will be easier. Simply place the end of the meter into the soil. The ideal location is …
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PLANT CARE Indoor Air Pollution The most common harmful airborne chemicals found in the average home or office is formaldehyde, benzene, trichloroethylene and carbon monoxide. Even in low concentrations these chemicals can cause a variety of health problems.Formaldehyde … is found in virtually all indoor environments:Office or household furniture made of particle board or pressed wood productsConsumer paper products: grocery bags, paper towels, facial tissuesAdhesive binders in floor covering, carpet backingMany common household cleaning agentsNatural gas from gas stoves and keroseneTobacco smokePermanent-press clothes, water repellent, fire retardantsBenzene … is used in:Commonly used solventsThe manufacture of detergentsSome pharmaceuticalsOilsPaintsPlasticsRubberDyesSynthetic fibersInksTrichloroethylene … is …
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PLANT CARE 20 Popular Houseplants with Toxicity Status Houseplants are popular additions to many rooms. Usually people, plants and pets live together harmoniously, although some curious children and pets will venture to take a little taste. Listed below are 20 of the most popular houseplants and their levels of toxicity. Philodendron. Mildly toxic. Chewing or ingesting can result in irritation of the mouth and throat. Drooling and vomiting may also occur. Boston Fern. Non-toxic African Violet. Non-toxic Ficus. Mildly toxic. Contact with the plant can result in skin irritation. Chewing or ingestion can result in vomiting and diarrhea. Mother-in-Laws Tongue …
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PLANT CARE Poinsettia Re-Blooming Getting poinsettias to re-bloom is not easy, but with some patience and care it can be done. Late Winter – Early Spring You will want to cut back each of the old flowering stems to 4 to 6 inches in height. Do this in March or April. This will promote new growth. Late Spring – Summer Repot into a pot 2-3” larger than the original. Be sure the soil is moistened and place in a sunny window. When all danger of frost has passed and night temperature is above 60°F the plant can be placed outdoors …
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PLANT CARE Orchid Care and Tips Q: How often should I water my orchid?The general rule of thumb for orchids grown in the home is to water every 5 to 12 days, depending on the type of orchid, the temperature the plant is grown in, and the time of year. During the warm summer months when days are long, more frequent watering is required than in the cooler, shorter days of winter.Varieties to keep evenly moist (not soggy or wet) at all times: Paphiopedilum, Miltonia, Cymbidium, Odontoglossum Varieties to keep evenly moist during active growth, allowed to dry out between …
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PLANT CARE Norfolk Island Pine Needs TLC The Norfolk Island pine has grown in popularity as a live indoor Christmas tree. Its lush green twigs of soft needles provide a lovely backdrop for festive holiday ornaments. Garden centers and mass merchandisers have an impressive selection, ranging from compact desktop plants to large floor plants rivaling a traditional holiday tree! Unlike most pines that are familiar to Midwesterners, the Norfolk Island pine is far too tender to plant outdoors in our climate. But the good news is that it makes an elegant houseplant when given proper care. The ideal indoor climate …
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PLANT CARE How Plants Clean the Air Experiments with Plants …The National Aeronautics and Space Administration was instrumental in determining that house plants improve the quality of air that we breathe while they were researching ways to clean the air in space stations. Scientists discovered that there were 300 volatile organic chemicals in the air occupied by the crew. Dr. B.C. Wolverton, a research scientist, headed a team that experimented with plants to determine which were best at purifying the air. In 1996 he published the results on 50 plants in his book “Eco Friendly House Plants”. The following information …
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PLANT CARE Forcing Bulbs for Indoor Beauty October is the time of the year to begin potting your favorite spring bulbs to prepare them for winter flowering. Tulips, narcissus (daffodils), hyacinths, crocus, scillas, grape hyacinths, and lily of the valley can be forced into flower in late winter and early spring. A pot of tulips on the windowsill in February can make a winter-worn gardener renew the desire to survive the winter. Only top quality, good-sized bulbs should be used. Your neighborhood greenhouse operator will tell you the varieties that are best suited for forcing. Don’t mix varieties in the …
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PLANT CARE Common Symptoms of Poor Health of Indoor Plants Living plants are being used in great numbers and variety in all types of indoor environments. Although most indoor environments are satisfactory for the maintenance of the health of plants for relatively long periods, problems do occasionally occur. Most of the problems are not due to infectious diseases, caused by fungi, bacteria, etc., but result instead from imbalances in the environment or from care practices that give rise to plant stress. Inability to recognize symptoms, determine the causes of stress and promptly initiate corrective care techniques can result in unhealthy …
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PLANT CARE Christmas Cactus Care Christmas cactus (Schlumbergera bridgesii) is a popular, winter-flowering houseplant native to Brazil, available in a wide variety of colors including red, purple, oranges, pinks and creams. *Christmas cactus is a member of a group sold as holiday cacti that includes the Thanksgiving cactus (Schlumbergera truncata) and the Easter cactus (Rhipsalidopsis gaertneri). When grown under normal night length conditions, Thanksgiving cacti normally flower near Thanksgiving approximately a month before Christmas cacti. The Easter cactus flowers primarily in the spring and sporadically throughout the year. All of the holiday cacti have similar cultural requirements. CULTURE Light and …
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PLANT CARE Bringing Tropical Plants Indoors Many gardeners like to try over-wintering their tropical plants in the house so they can use them outside again the following spring. A tropical plant is one that will not survive our winters here in Ohio, but prefer the mild winters of Florida, Southern California and the tropics. This includes the non-blooming plants we usually think of as “houseplants”, and also the blooming “tropicals” such as hibiscus, Mandeville, gardenia and bougainvillea. Because our weather stays pleasant till mid-October we have a tendency to leave our tropicals outside until the weatherman calls for a hard …
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PLANT CARE Care of Amaryllis Large bell-shaped or lily-like flowers of the amaryllis (Hippeastrum species) and its hybrids make excellent garden and potted plants and come in a wide range of colors: red, white, pink, orange, salmon or bicolor, they typically have 2-6 flowers per stalk. Most bulbs are Dutch or South African grown hybrids that will flower without special treatment when first purchased. Planting and care is the same for amaryllis bulbs, whether repotting an old bulb or a new one just purchased. With old bulbs, cut off the old dried leaves before replanting. Soil Mix and Container: Amaryllis …
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PLANT CARE ZZ Plant Tips and Care Zamioculcas zamiifolia is commonly called the “ZZ plant”. Interior plantscapers are finding the ZZ to be an exceptional performer in any light. Especially the low light levels where few plants perform well.This plant has very dark green, shiny foliage. In fact you would think that the plant has been shined. It is very upright in growth habit, and prefers to be pot-bound. They tend to get a bit floppy if placed in too big of a pot.Fertilize with a general houseplant fertilizer, following the recommendations on the package. The soil should be a …
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PLANT CARE How to Make A Terrarium A Terrarium is a collection of compatible plants grown in an enclosed, clear container. Creating a terrarium is a practical and fun way to have a miniature landscape inside your home. Their easy care is ideal for people who are too busy to spend a lot of time caring for plants. Materials Needed: Clear container Plants Pebbles, pea gravel, or very coarse sand Charcoal Sphagum moss Potting soil Accent pieces (optional) Setting Up Your Terrarium: Start with a clean container. There are containers specifically designed for terrariums or you can use jars, fishbowls, …
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PLANT CARE Schefflera Tips and Care The Schefflera is a popular houseplant. There is one big leaf variety called ‘Amate’ and several smaller leafed varieties, some green and a couple variegated. They come in bush form or tree form. Some trees have braided trunks, which are very attractive. All Scheffs like bright indirect light. Direct sun, coming through a window, will burn the leaves rather quickly. They will not tolerate a low light situation. Water well and allow the plant to dry slightly before the next watering. If you see leaves turning black and dropping off it’s a good signal …
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PLANT CARE Ponytail Palm Tips and Care Beaucarnea recurvata Considered extremely hardy, the Ponytail Palm enjoys lots of sunlight. The foliage is a nice green, graceful and attractive. Because of this tree’s ability to store water in the trunk, it is very drought tolerate. Typically, allow the soil to dry out in between water and if you begin to notice any yellow on the foliage, aloe several days to pass before watering again. Choose good quality soil with a neutral pH level of 6.6 to 7.5. Fertilize with a general houseplant fertilizer a few times per year. If the tips …
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PLANT CARE Philodendron Tips and Care This diverse group of plants ranges from vines with 3-inch heart shaped green leaves to vines with leaves 3 feet long. Some types have glossy solid green leaves, others have velvet textured patterned leaves, while some have deep red leaves and stems. While the most common types of philodendrons are vining, some are self-heading. Self-headers send out leaves from a heavy clump of growth at their base. These often have dramatically large leaves in a variety of shapes. Most philodendrons prefer indirect or curtain-filtered sunlight but will tolerate low light. The common heartleaf philodendron …
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PLANT CARE Money Tree/Pachira Tips and Care It is often called Money Tree and is a favorite plant of feng-shui decorators. It is grown to bring good luck and money into your home. You will find Money Trees in many sizes, from bonsai to large trees. Most of the trees will have their trunks braided. The rationale in braiding the trunks is also based on the feng shui theory. The leaves will bring in the money and the braided trunks will act as a cage where money gets trapped into their home. Pachira needs plenty of light; however avoid direct …
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PLANT CARE Lucky Bamboo Tips and Care Known for centuries as Lucky Bamboo, the plant is not a bamboo at all (botanical name: Dracaena) but a resilient member of the lily family that grows in the dark, tropical rainforests of Southeast Asia and Africa. Keep water fresh by changing it every week, and always keep water levels at approximately an inch from the base of the canes. Lucky Bamboo prefers plenty of indirect sunlight and room temperatures at 65-70o. Although opinions differ on feeding, your Lucky Bamboo is a living organism, so it makes sense to occasionally add a mild …
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PLANT CARE Hoya Tips and Care Hoyas are beautiful, carefree plants wonderful for hanging baskets in well-lit, bright locations. Allow these plants to get dry between waterings. Their thicker leaves allow for water storage so it is very easy to over water. Foliage wrinkles when under watered, and turns yellow or gets brown spotting if over watered. If dry pieces of the vine occur, it hasn’t had enough water. Cut those pieces back to healthy vine or to the soil. Feed consistently during active growth. Use a general houseplant fertilizer, following the directions on the package. Save repotting for when …
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PLANT CARE Gardenia Tips and Care Gardenias have a well-earned reputation for being difficult specimens for even the experienced indoor gardener. But the success of having them bloom indoors is worth the effort you put into them. Gardenias prefer plenty of bright light; preferably direct sunshine, for at least half a day. Winter will likely be the most difficult time to keep high light intensity due to short, gloomy days. Moving plants closer to southern-exposure windows and/or supplementing with plant grow lights will help. Gardenias thrive in moderately humid air, but maintaining proper relative humidity is a challenge, particularly during …
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PLANT CARE Easter Lily Tips and Care The Easter Lily is a bulbous plant which should not be considered a permanent house plant. They are perfectly hardy in our zone however, and may be planted outside in a sunny location for enjoyment year after year. Indoors, Easter Lilies prefer to be in a spot with good bright light but not direct hot sun. The soil should be kept moist and the temperature, particularly at night, should be kept cool. If you allow the soil to dry out or the temperatures to get too high, the flowers won’t last as long …
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PLANT CARE Coffee Plant Care Sheet The coffee plant, cultivated on farms for its beans, is also commonly grown as a houseplant for its dark green, glossy foliage. Although it is not practical to grow indoors solely for coffee, the plant does flower and produce enough beans for a pot or two of coffee after three or four years. How to Care for a Coffee Plant Give a coffee plant the medium light of a somewhat shady window. A little direct sun is fine, but not more than an hour per day of direct sun. Place the plant in a …
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PLANT CARE Cactus and Succulent Tips and Care Bright or filtered light is best for all cactus and succulents. Direct sun through a window is fine, but some locations may be too hot and will burn the plants. Watch them carefully for signs of sunscald, especially in the summer. Water once every 2 – 3 weeks, or when soil is dry. Plants near a sunny window might need more frequent watering. Cacti and succulents are able to withstand drought better than wet soil. Let the soil dry out between watering, as drenching an already damp pot may result in rot …
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PLANT CARE Aglaonema Tips and Care Aglaonema, which is also known as Chinese Evergreen, can be grown anywhere in almost any conditions. If you need to give a housewarming gift without having seen the house, this is the perfect plant. Low-light is not a problem, and though it prefers a higher humidity, it will adapt to lower. Aglaonema has a few requirements that need to be kept in mind. Though the soil can almost dry out between waterings, it should not become bone dry, nor should it be moist all the time. It’s also important to gently clean the leaves …
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PLANT CARE Yucca Tips and Care The Yucca plant is a tough houseplant that can tolerate a broad range of growing conditions. It prefers high light and will do its best there. It will tolerate low light but you’ll need to make sure you water properly as it will not dry out as fast under those conditions. In bright or high light settings, allow the top 1/3 of soil to dry out before watering well. In low-light settings indoors, allow 3/4 of the soil to dry down between waterings. When you water do not let the plant sit in a …
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PLANT CARE Spider Plants Tips and Care Spider plants are one of the most popular and one of the easiest plants to care for. They are excellent in hanging baskets but may be grown in pots on a table. Mature plants will soon form runners…or baby plantlets. They form graceful arching shoots and hang down the side of the pot-hence the name spider plant. Spider plants are also known for their ability to absorb dangerous chemicals from the air. Spider Plants prefer a well-lit bright location with indirect sun. If you wish to hang it outside for the summer, find …
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PLANT CARE Pleomele “Song of India” Tips and Care (Dracaena reflexa) A member of the Dracaena family, this versatile plant can be grown in low, moderate or bright light (where it flourishes!). In any light, its soil must dry out completely between thorough soaking waterings. It tolerates low humidity well extremely well. Fertilize in the spring & summer months (March through October) when plant is actively growing. Use a general houseplant fertilizer following the directions on the package. This is an extremely sturdy & reliable plant! If it likes the environment it is growing in it can get quite large …
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PLANT CARE Peperomia Tips and Care Grow peperomias with all green leaves in bright light, but not direct sunlight. A west window or east an window shaded by a transparent curtain works best. Peperomias with variegated leaves can tolerate more light and need more light to generate bright colors. These plants can be grown in an unshaded east window or a shaded south window. Give peperomias warm temperatures of at least 55 degrees Fahrenheit. Peperomias will tolerate most temperatures above 55 degrees Fahrenheit, but prefer temperatures no higher than 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Treat a peperomia like a tropical plant. It …
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PLANT CARE Mini-Roses Tips and Care To bloom and stay healthy, Miniature Roses need bright light all day long and several hours of direct sunlight. If needed, supplement what is naturally available with artificial full-spectrum lights. It is important to keep the soil evenly moist while they are actively growing and blooming. After they have finished their bloom cycle, water can be cut back and the soil allowed to dry slightly between watering. Miniature roses will grow best in a cool location, especially during the winter. If temperatures exceed 75º in the summer, be sure to increase the humidity. They …
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PLANT CARE Ficus Tips and Care The Ficus, or Weeping Fig, has graceful weeping branches and thick, shiny dark green foliage that form a dense treetop above the smooth grey bark. There are many varieties available, some with bright green leaves, some with dark bluish-green leaves. They come with straight natural trunks, braided or spiraled. You will find them in bush and tree form. They make wonderful bonsai! Ficus provide us with a pleasant indoor environment and are ideal for cleaning the indoor air clean of pollutants. Ficus prefer lots of light indoors and will grow thin and spindly in …
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PLANT CARE Dracaena Tips and Care There are many varieties within this family of plants. Most of us have at least one dracaena in our home or office as it is one of the plants that easily survive indoors even when the conditions are far from ideal. Dracaenas prefer plenty of light, filtered through a curtain, or in a semi-shaded spot on our patios and decks in the summer, because direct sunlight can damage their leaves. They require little water but do not want to sit dry for too long. Over watering will cause a root rot from which recovery …
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PLANT CARE Clivia Tips and Care Clivia are gaining popularity as a houseplant because of their beautiful blooms. However, there are conditions that must be met before they will do so in the house. Place them where they will get morning sun or bright, indirect light. They will not tolerate either direct sun coming in a south or west window or low light situations. Clivia enjoys being watered and fertilized occasionally during the spring and summer growing season. They do not like an excess of water and will rot quickly if not allowed to dry out. In late fall and …
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PLANT CARE Bromeliad Tips and Care Bromeliad is the common name for a family of plants that contain many varieties with different colored blooms and leaf sizes. Most bromeliads have leaves radiating from a central point creating a rosette that forms a water holding tank. This ability allows bromeliads in nature to survive periods of drought and, by extension, need watering only periodically in the home. Water the center cups and soil with bottled drinking or rainwater every two weeks or so. When the water in the cup dries out and/or the soil becomes pretty dry, it is time to …
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PLANT CARE African Violets Tips and Care African violets are more dependent on regular care than most other house plants. They “sulk” quite obviously when they are dry or cold. The plants flower best in bright light, but not in extreme heat and humidity. They bloom well in east or west windows or under fluorescent lights. The preferred daytime temperature is 72 degrees F. Night temperatures should not fall below 62 degrees F. Water when the soil feels dry to the touch, but before it becomes hard. Never apply cold water. It can cause irregular-shaped, white-colored spots to form on …
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PLANT CARE Wandering Jew Tips and Care Once very popular in the late 70’s to early 80’s… “Zebrina Wandering Jew” is gaining in popularity again. Place your plant in bright indirect or filtered light. Early morning and late day sunshine is ok. If only one side of the plant is getting light… rotate your plant every few days. It may be difficult to feel the soil for moisture… so water this plant by weight and color. When your Wandering Jew looses some of its color and starts to appear droopy… it’s time to water. Note the weight of the plant …
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PLANT CARE Snake Plant Tips and Care Sanseveria, or Snake Plant is one of the most versatile and hardy of the indoor plants. It is a good choice for beginners. Another, rather old-fashioned name you may hear this called by is Mother-In Law’s Tongue. These plants are very versatile in both size and in growing conditions. You can find them used in small dish gardens all the way up into 14″ containers about 42″ inches in height. They can handle sunny spots, bright indirect light or tolerate very low light. Water sparingly…. they are a close relation to succulent plants …
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PLANT CARE Prayer Plant Tips and Care Prayer plants are popular houseplants with beautiful leaves. They lay open flat during the day and fold up at night…. hence the name. Provide medium or bright filtered light, but never direct sun. They will not tolerate a low light area. Prayer plants need high humidity to do their best. Dry air will be a problem in the winter, and this is probably the cause of the brown leaf tips. Putting the plant among several other plants will help to create a more humid atmosphere. Another way to increase humidity is to fill …
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PLANT CARE Peace Lily/Spathiphyllum Tips and Care Spathiplyllum, or Peace Lily will survive low interior light but would prefer bright filtered light. Peace Lilies have been used by interior plantscapers for many years as a ground cover where the light is very low. They should NOT be placed direct sun or they will sunburn. Keep the plants evenly watered, allowing them to dry slightly between waterings. Over watering will cause the stems and leaves to yellow, then blacken. Under watering will cause the leaves to loose color, and wilt. Chlorine and fluoride in tap water can cause tip burning. Allow …
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PLANT CARE Ming Aralia Polyscias fruticosa It’s hard to think of a more elegant indoor plant. Ming aralias are graceful, bushy upright plants covered with lacy, bright-green foliage. There are several varieties of Ming aralia available and their ultimate size can vary from 2 to 4 feet. Ming aralia prefer a warm room and will suffer if the temperature drops below 65º. They also require high humidity and need high light. Placing the plants on a humidity tray can provide extra humidity. Ming aralias should be thoroughly watered and then allowed to dry slightly before they are watered again. Fertilize …
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PLANT CARE Jade Plant Tips and Care Jade plants are tough, easy-to-grow succulents. They grow well in containers and like the warm, dry conditions found in most homes. They can live for a very long time and grow into small trees or shrubs up to 5 feet tall indoors. Like many succulent plants, jades prefer the full sun or bright filtered light of a south-facing window. Jade plants do best where they get four or more hours a day of direct sunlight. They do best with temperatures between 55 – 70 F. Soil should be kept moist but not wet …
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PLANT CARE hibiscus-tips-and-care Hibiscus can be enjoyed year round. Plan on bringing the plant indoors when night temperatures are expected to be below 50 degrees. Before bringing the plant indoors for the winter, treat it for insects to prevent infesting house plants. If the plant has grown too large for the indoor area, prune it back, but not so severely as to cut into the hard bark areas. Hibiscus has a high light level requirement, so put the plant in the sunniest place possible. Artificial lights are helpful if your sunny window space is limited. Keep hibiscus evenly moist by …
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PLANT CARE Fern Tips and Care Ferns vary in their growing condition needs. Several commonly grown indoor ferns have a well-earned reputation for being finicky growers, but others are surprisingly easy. Ferns with tough, leathery foliage usually adapt better to typical household conditions than feathery, delicate types. The more delicate types of ferns will grow best where they can be given special care. A terrarium or a very humid area such as a bathroom will suit them well. Most ferns prefer moderate, indirect light inside. Close to a north-facing window is ideal. Never put ferns directly in a south or …
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PLANT CARE Dieffenbachia Tips and Care Dieffenbachias need plenty of filtered light. The average indoor temperatures are suitable for the plant but do not expose it to extreme heat or extreme cold. Most houses are low in humidity, especially during the winter months, so make sure to provide the necessary humidity to your plant. The plant is not very demanding in terms of soil but it should drain well. Water only when the soil feels dry to the touch and use plenty of water each time. Remove any excess water from the dish of the pot because, as most indoor …
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PLANT CARE Cineraria Tips and Care Here is a blooming plant for indoors that actually looks like a bouquet of flowers. The tiny daisy flowers are available in some incredible colors including pink, blue, white, red and purple. Some of the blooms are bicolor, with the petal bases a contrasting color. Each bloom has an eye that might vary in color too, making for lots of interesting combinations. They need lots of bright light, but no direct sun. Artificial lights will help. When cinerarias are in bloom, they need to stay consistently moist. Avoid allowing any water to stand in …
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PLANT CARE Aspidistra Tips and Care Known as the Cast Iron Plant, Aspidistra elatior has corn like, shiny, dark green leaves that grow to 24 inches long; it occasionally produces purple-brown small flowers near the base of the plant. The Cast Iron Plant has the ability to tolerate poor conditions both inside and out. Low light, drafts and general neglect in watering and dust accumulation does not seem to bother it. It is, however, much more attractive with proper care and will tolerate a wide range of temperatures. Evenly moist but not constantly wet is the ideal way to water …
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PLANT CARE Pothos Tips and Care Golden Pothos forms a vine that just keeps getting longer and longer, and the leaves at the end of the vine are larger than the ones near the pot. You can let these vines hang down from a hanging basket, let them crawl across a windowsill, or wrap them around a moss pole to try to keep the plant in one place. They can be grown in rooms with very low light, although the growth will not be nearly as lush as when grown in a brightly lit area. They are ideal plants for …
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PLANT CARE Piggyback Plant Tips and Care Tolmiea menziesii The Piggyback plant, orTolmiea menziesii, is a fun and interesting houseplant because of the “babies” that grow on the older leaves. They cause the foliage to hang downward, making it a wonderful basket plant. The lobed leaves are sort of hairy, darker on the top than underneath, and resemble maple leaves. It likes bright light, but no direct sun, which will burn the leaves. Keep the soil evenly moist – except in the winter when it requires less. Piggybacks also like cool to cold temperatures, so cool rooms will not bother …
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PLANT CARE Palms Tips and Care Palms are probably the most popular houseplant, and with good reason: they’re reasonably priced, easy to care for and they look great. Palms are divided into two groups: the feather palms, with long fronds divided into many segments, and the fan palms, whose leaves are shaped much like a hand with the fingers spread. Here are some important growing tips: Palms tolerate most indoor growing conditions and relatively low light levels, but will appreciate a bright location set off from a sunny window. A deep pot is best, because most of the roots grow …
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PLANT CARE Mandeville Tips and Care Bring your Mandeville indoors when the night temperatures are consistently in the upper 40’s. The best time to make the move is when you bring your houseplants inside, which is usually done when indoor temperatures are similar to that outdoors. Treat it with an insecticide so you do not bring in any pests. If you have plenty of sunlight and room you can treat your Mandeville like a houseplant and keep it inside your home over winter. Place the plant in a sunny location and water as needed. Allow it to dry out slightly …
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PLANT CARE Ivy Tips and Care Ivy varieties are many…. there are solid greens, variegated, small leafed, large leafed, curly leafed and miniature leafed. They are all easy to grow. Water thoroughly but infrequently. When the soil feels dry, water the soil until the surface is totally wet and the water drains out of the bottom of the pot. Then do not water again until the soil is almost dry. If the air is dry, raise the humidity surrounding the plants by grouping ivies together on a tray full of wet pebbles, but do not allow the ivies to stand …
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PLANT CARE Gerber Daisy Tips and Care Gerber Daisies, while normally grown outdoors for summer color, can be grown indoors to bring a bit of that color inside. If in bloom, place your “Gerber Daisy” in bright indirect or filtered light. Avoid abnormally warm areas. Keep the soil moist allowing the soils surface to dry slightly between waterings. There is no need to feed your plant. After the last flowers are spent, remove the old stems. It can now be put in a sunnier, warmer spot. Continue growing as a houseplant, fertilizing occasionally with a bloom booster fertilizer, until it …
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PLANT CARE False Aralia Tips and Care Dizygotheca elegantissima As its species name implies, this is another very elegant form of aralia. The five-fingered leaflets of this plant are very narrow and slightly serrated. When the new foliage first emerges, the leaves are glossy and almost copper colored. As the leaves mature, they darken until they are almost black. When selecting a false aralia, look for a plant with many stems. It tends to loose its older leaves as it matures, and a multi-stemmed plant will look better longer. It can grow 4-6 feet tall. False aralia prefers average indoor …
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PLANT CARE Croton Tips and Care Crotons enjoy a brightly lit, sunny area and high humidity. Find it a place near a south or west window and it will be just fine, keeping its bright colors and full shape. In its growth period water freely, allowing it to dry slightly between waterings. Apply a liquid fertilizer every 2-3 weeks. Use a general houseplant fertilizer, following the directions on the package. In winter water it sparingly with tepid water. A good way to raise the humidity is to fill the saucer with pebbles and fill with water. Set the pot on …
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PLANT CARE Calathea Tips and Care Calathea is a beautiful houseplant with mottled or striped leaves in a variety of patterns. Bright indirect light is excellent, but lower light will be tolerated. Very low light will not be. The soil for Calathea should be well drained. Use plenty of coarse material in the soil mix to help water flow through. Never allow roots to be soaked with standing water but they do enjoy a damp soil. Calathea wants high humidity and high temperatures as well. Indoors, mist several times a week to provide added humidity. You may also fill a …
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PLANT CARE Anthurium Tips and Care Anthuriums are relatively easy to grow, have attractive foliage and under the proper environment, produce long lasting flowers. They are durable and will survive as an indoor foliage plant for a remarkable period of time, even under adverse conditions. They grow best with day temperatures of 78 to 90 F, and night temperatures of 70 to 75 F. Night temperatures below 40 F can result in slow growth and yellowing of lower leaves. Anthuriums prefer a growing media that is coarse and well drained. The soil should be settled firmly around the roots and …
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PLANT CARE Shamrock Tips and Care Shamrock plants require direct sun for best growth and flowering. They usually bloom all winter if placed in a bright sunny window. These plants prefer soil that is kept barely moist and will do fine if the soil dries slightly between watering. Oxalis plants should be fertilized only when the plant is actively growing. Shamrock plants like cooler temperatures, especially when in bloom. These temperatures should be between 50-65 degrees F at night, and no greater than 75 degrees F during the day. Temperatures above 75 degrees F may induce dormancy. In the summer …
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Vegetables & Herbs

PLANT CARE Vegetable Container Gardening If insufficient space or an unsuitable area limits your vegetable gardening, consider the possibility of raising fresh, nutritious, homegrown vegetables in ontainers. A windowsill, a patio, a balcony or a doorstep will provide sufficient space for a productive mini-garden. Problems with soil-borne diseases, nematodes or poor soil conditions can be easily overcome by switching to a container garden. Crop Selection Almost any vegetable that will grow in a typical backyard garden will also do well as a container-grown plant. Vegetables, which are ideally suited for growing in containers, include tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, green onions, beans, …
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PLANT CARE Herbs in Containers: Scarborough Fair Who doesn’t know this song made famous by the Simon and Garfunkle song on The Graduate album from 1966? The song was originally written in the middle ages, when bards did not take credit for what they wrote, and songs were changed from town to town as the bards traveled. The town ofScarboroughon the east coast of Englandwas host to a huge 45 day trading fair, which was exceptionally long for a fair in those days. People from all overEnglandand the continent attended to do business. As the harbor declined, so did the fair, …
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PLANT CARE Tea Time Tea is one of the simple pleasures in life. Whether fixing a cup of tea to enjoy on the patio on a pleasant spring morning or brewing a pot to enjoy in front of the fire with a good book on a cold winter’s day, it is exceptionally pleasurable to know you have grown the very herbs that make your tea. The history of tea is long and varied. For thousands of years tea infusions have been used for medicinal purposes. Herbal infusions enjoyed as a refreshing tonic and beverage became popular around the same time …
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PLANT CARE Herb Container – Italian Delight Among the most popular and versatile herbs are those considered to be the “Italian” herbs. Used in most Italian recipes this group comprises what is perhaps the most well known herbs for cooking in general. Parsley It is usually recommended to use flat leaf Italian Parsley for cooking. The curly leaf variety is used for garnish or fresh in salads. It is a great mouth freshener as it masks the odor of garlic. Parsley is a biennial. Basil A fundamental seasoning ingredient in tomato sauces, soups, salads and pesto makes this the number …
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PLANT CARE Herb Container – Italian Delight Among the most popular and versatile herbs are those considered to be the “Italian” herbs. Used in most Italian recipes this group comprises what is perhaps the most well known herbs for cooking in general. Parsley It is usually recommended to use flat leaf Italian Parsley for cooking. The curly leaf variety is used for garnish or fresh in salads. It is a great mouth freshener as it masks the odor of garlic. Parsley is a biennial. Basil A fundamental seasoning ingredient in tomato sauces, soups, salads and pesto makes this the number …
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PLANT CARE Beautiful Basils Basil is native to Asia, Africa and Central and South America, but is widely believed to have first been cultivated in India. The history of basil extends to ancient Greece, where it was known as “The Herb of Kings”.  In Romania, when a man accepted a sprig of basil from a woman, he was officially engaged. The meaning in Greece was not as pleasant– it was a symbol of death and hatred! With its long a varied history it’s easy to see why this is one of the most popular herbs. Culinary Basil is a versatile …
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PLANT CARE Herbs for the Bath Herbal baths are not only good for your skin, but for your mind as well as you lay back to relax and allow the scents to surround you and diminish the stress and worries of the day. You can add herbs to invigorate and stimulate your circulation, to relax sore, tensed muscles, to help heal a skin condition, or simply to enjoy the aroma. Try to keep the water temperature around body heat. If it is hot enough make you sweat you will not absorb the therapeutic herbal properties. Very hot water will also …
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PLANT CARE A Multitude of Mint Who can resist grabbing at a handful of mint leaves as they pass by them in the garden and burying their face in them! What an extraordinary experience! An immense family of pungent plants, mints have a unique soft spot in our hearts, an ongoing love/hate relationship. Vigorous growth, extreme hardiness and a wide range of foliage texture and scents are offset only by their overly aggressive nature. Yes…once you have grown your first mint plant, within a few years you will swear to never plant another! Not the friendliest of neighbors, they will …
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PLANT CARE Growing Potatoes In the Ground Mound Planting Cultivate and loosen the soil where your potato mound will be. Add a shovel full of cow manure and mix in well. Allow a 3’ diameter circle for the plant. Plant your potato making sure the soil level in the garden is the same as it was in the pot. Watering and Care Every couple of weeks pull soil up around the base of the plant. The plant will begin growing again, stretching to find the sun. This will lengthen the fruit-producing stem of the plant and encourage more potatoes to …
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PLANT CARE Blossom End Rot Blossom end rot is a physiological disorder that is caused by a lack of calcium uptake from the soil and transfer to the fruits during dry weather. The problem is costly to many tomato growers and disappointing to home gardeners. Peppers can also be affected, although the disease is much less common on peppers than on tomatoes. Research in Florida indicates that excessive magnesium, potassium, sodium, ammonium salts or a deficiency of soluble calcium salts causes a decrease in calcium uptake, thus favoring development of the disorder.* Rapid early growth accentuates the problem because it …
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