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Brian Minter: Options are endless for the gardener on your shopping list

Organic Gardening - Fri, 2022-12-09 12:00
Brian MInter suggests that a gift card their favourite gardening store might be the best gift possible
Categories: Organic Gardening

Peace Lily Failure

Organic Gardening 2 - Fri, 2022-12-09 08:00

Despite having quite a bit of garden experience, growing indoor plants has always been very difficult. In my small home, there was very little space available for containers. Though I had tried to grow several smaller species of ornamental plants indoors, most all of them met the same untimely fate. It wasn’t until I received my very first peace lily plant that I was able to find some success. Still, my experience was far from perfect.

Growing a Peace Lily

Peace lily plants are specifically known for their ease of growth. This exceptionally forgiving plant is ideal for those who have very little experience caring for indoor plants. Peace lilies are also quite beautiful. Growing rapidly to fit their containers, these plants display thick, glossy leaves. Seasonally, this tropical plant will produce large white spathes, which are more commonly referred to as flowers. These highly-ornamental structures stand tall above the plant’s foliage. In addition to their hardy nature, peace lily plants are purported to be useful in purifying indoor air and may even help to regulate humidity.

Growing my first peace lily was quite exciting. Even in my low-light living room, the plant grew quickly to fill its container. As time passed, I made certain to establish a routine watering and fertilization schedule. When spring approached, I was eager to see my plant begin to produce its first blooms. The warmer days of summer seemed to pass slowly, as I waited through an entire season of active growth without a single flower bud. After some brief reading, I was able to determine a few potential causes for its lack of flowering.

Why Peace Lilies Won’t Bloom

As I had made certain to care for the plant to the best of my ability over the year in which I’d received it, I was interested to learn whether or not I had overlooked one of its essential needs. With my application of a well-balanced fertilizer, I was able to conclude that a lack of nutrients or appropriate watering was not the problem.

Next, I examined the recommended light requirements and temperature. As it would turn out, many peace lily plants may not bloom under low-light conditions. Since the amount of light had always been a concern of mine, I made the decision to move the plant closer to a south-facing window. In doing so, regular temperatures which the plant received also increased during the coldest months of the year. This was ideal, as peace lilies will not tolerate temperatures below about 60 F (15 C).

Like most plants, peace lilies will need a certain period of time to become established. My peace lily plant was propagated and given to me by a friend and was still quite small when I received it. Though it had grown quite well and filled its container, this explanation seemed to be most logical in determining why my peace lily plant had failed to bloom. Though the plants are relatively long-lived, older peace lily plants may also fail to bloom due to age.

After another season, I would soon learn that patience, in life and in gardening, is a virtue. The next spring and summer, I was finally rewarded with gorgeous, crisp-white flowers that I had been waiting for.

The post Peace Lily Failure appeared first on Gardening Know How's Blog.

Categories: Organic Gardening

Pothos Tops My List

Organic Gardening 2 - Thu, 2022-12-08 08:00

I live in a house filled with easy-care, low-maintenance, survivor houseplants. That is no coincidence, since I have found most of them sitting beside garbage cans in San Francisco. In order to survive, these neglected plants had to be tough.

Like parents refuse to say which child they like best, plant owners generally keep silent about their favorites. But I don’t think any of my plants will be offended to hear that golden pothos tops my list.

Rescue Plants Are Tough Cookies

It’s hard to believe how many houseplants are tossed in San Francisco. You have to wonder what people thought when they were buying them. Maybe they mistook “low-care” for “no-care”. Maybe they just got busier than they thought they would be. But whatever the issue, the results are there to see. I find plants by garbage cans almost every day.

Now many of these plants are dead. Fancy ferns and big-leafed plants tend to wither and die without water and humidity, and although I have tried to coax some of these back to life, I haven’t succeeded with many of them.

Certain houseplants make it through however, and these are the one that fill my house. They are the tough cookies of the plant world, ranging from almost indestructible snake plant to succulents (that stock water in their chubby leaves) to pothos.

Pothos Tops My List

All of my survivor plants are important to me, and I love them all. But somehow, golden pothos (Epipremnum aureum), with its bright, rounded, trailing leaves, has a special place in my heart.

Pothos looks like it should be delicate, but it is tough as nails. Maybe it is this contradiction that appeals to me.

The color is fresh and tender, a yellowy green. The leaves are halfway between round and heart-shaped. The branches cascade over the edge of the container like so many curls. But this is perhaps the easiest houseplant to care for of any I have ever had.

More About Pothos

Pothos is a wonderful and attractive houseplant all year long. It grows quickly, sometimes adding up to 18 inches (45.7 cm.) in one month. You can train it up a stake in the center of the container, but I personally love the way the branches spill over the side of the container.

I once had a pothos with vines growing to 10 feet (3 m.) and have heard reports of some three times that long. But pothos accepts trimming without blinking an eye, and it is easy to root clippings to create another plant.

What about light exposure? They are happy with almost any kind of exposure you give them. Bright, indirect light is what the experts recommend, but I just don’t have much in my San Francisco apartment. I can assure you that pothos thrives in low-light areas as well as offices with only fluorescent lighting. They are the perfect plant when our kids head off to college dorms, asking little, yet helping clear the air of toxins.
In short, pothos plants have a lot to offer and don’t ask for much in return. How’s that for a friendly houseplant?

The post Pothos Tops My List appeared first on Gardening Know How's Blog.

Categories: Organic Gardening

Low Maintenance Houseplants: Aloe Vera

Organic Gardening 2 - Wed, 2022-12-07 08:00

Despite my experience as an outdoor gardener, learning to grow and care for houseplants has been a constant struggle. So much so that I had all but given up on the idea of keeping containers of any kind indoors throughout the winter. Determined to successfully manage my own indoor garden, I gradually added several species of easy to grow potted plants. Among the most forgiving of the plants grown inside my home is a small collection of succulents. Without doubt, my favorite among them is the aloe vera.

Why Grow Aloe Vera?

I was initially drawn to aloe vera for its many purported benefits. Known for its use in skin care, the plant is also believed to help purify and remove toxins from indoor air. As a succulent, its uniquely erect leaves stand tall in their pots, which makes them an immensely attractive accent piece when used in home décor. As there are hundreds of species of aloe vera plant available to gardeners, selecting the ideal cultivar will require a little research. Though many types of aloe vera will remain quite small and are well-suited for growth in pots, others may grow to become exceptionally large.

How to Grow Aloe Vera Indoors

To keep aloe vera plants looking their best, gardeners should consider requirements such as light, temperature, and water needs. Aloe plants should be situated near a bright sunny window, making certain to avoid direct exposure. Provided that the plant receives enough light, aloe vera plants should maintain a full, glossy appearance. On occasion, the plant may need to be turned in order to promote more even growth. As aloe vera grows best when conditions are warm, avoid placing the plant where the temperature could fall below 60 degrees F. (15 C.). Cold drafts, ventilation systems, or other inconsistencies in temperature may cause the plants to become stressed, especially during the winter months.

As a succulent, the regulation of moisture within the container is among the most important aspects of caring for aloe vera plants indoors. Aloe vera plants are able to store water in their leaves, as well as their roots. Excess watering will often result in noticeable damage to the plant. Therefore, best practices suggest that aloe vera containers should be watered only seldomly. This is ideal for many growers, like me, who may have the tendency to forget to water plants for short periods of time. Before watering, the top soil of each aloe vera container should be allowed to dry completely.

Should You Repot Aloe Vera?

Aloe vera plants are also unique in their preference for growth in small containers. Suggested pot sizes for aloe vera plants are generally those which are only somewhat larger than the root ball of the plant. In fact, even larger aloes seem to prefer tightness of the roots within the growing container. In general, aloe vera plants will only need to be repotted once every several years. A good rule of thumb is that growers should watch for the roots of the plant to begin growing through the bottom drainage hole before repotting. In monitoring my own aloe plants, this seems to occur once every three to five years, depending upon the species.

The post Low Maintenance Houseplants: Aloe Vera appeared first on Gardening Know How's Blog.

Categories: Organic Gardening


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