Archive for the ‘Houseplants’ Category
After a very cold, snow laden winter and a very chilly, wet spring (since March 21, the official beginning of spring), we finally have some sunny and warmer weather. What a beautiful day it is and even though the yard looks pretty bad still with all the winter debris still lying about, there is beginning to be some growth and even a few flowers.
The fruit trees are in bloom and the tulips are doing their thing, which is being gorgeous.
I look forward to a all that’s coming in the garden, perennials coming back up, blooms beginning to pop everywhere, little tiny fruit beginning to form on the apricot, apple, plum, peach and cherry trees. I guess most of all I look forward to just being in the garden, whether working or relaxing, just being there, instead of shut up in the house.
Speaking of house, this week all the plants that had to winter over inside get to go back out and the house will return to normal. It is kind of nice have them around us when the winter is raging outside, but enough is enough and the house always seems so much larger after they are all returned to their outdoor places. They’ll be happier and we will too.
We’ve just returned from Arizona where the lemons, oranges and grapefruit are hanging heavy on the trees and it’s the middle of January.
Here in Zone 6 it’s possible to grow citrus but they have to be in large containers so they can be brought inside to protect them from the bitter cold of our winters.We grow Kumquats and Mandarin oranges in large pots and when it’s nice and warm again they will go back out into the bright sunshine.
They do well inside if there is plenty of sunshine to keep them healthy and thriving.
This spring they will be transplanted into much larger pots so next winter it will be a challenge to bring them inside. Where there’s a will, there’s a way.
I think ALL PLACES look better with plants.
This includes patios and decks. Plants create a more welcoming atmosphere along with adding beauty and interest. Sometimes it’s hard to find potted plants or the deck or patio. You can do bedding plants, but if you want something larger, you almost need a shrub or a tree.
There are a lot of plants sold as houseplants that would do very well outside, in the right conditions. Unless you live in the tropics, most of them would have to come in for the winter, but then your house is beautiful all winter. See http://wp.me/p1OXDF-Bo Of course, you don’t have to have as many as we do…I just kind of get carried away.
There are plants that can get tall, and some are medium sized, so you’re not limited to the size of bedding plants or worrying that in a couple of years the shrub or tree is going to be way to big for your area.
Check out these 50 house plants to consider http://wp.me/P1OXDF-13K . Learn a little bit about the ones that appeal to you and then, head to Lowe’s or your local garden center and check out the varieties available there. As you check the information tags on each one, you’ll know if it needs shade or can tolerate some sunshine. You’ll know if it needs to be kept moist or can tolerate drying out between waterings.
Some of these plants are long lived and can be a good investment, both for your home or for your outside living areas.
Before the “real” gardening season gets underway, I wanted to take time to posts some pictures of some of the most amazing orchids we saw for sale in a garden center in California in February.
I like orchids, but I’ve only seen them grown seriously once. Most people may grow one potted orchid, trying to keep it alive and blooming as long as possible. When I lived in zone 8, I visited the greenhouse of an orchid grower. He had some beautiful plants, very healthy. See http://wp.me/P1OXDF-1cd.
I have never seen the variety that was available for sale when we were in southern Ca. The colors were unbelievable and the plants were so large and healthy. And, they were much less expensive than the ones I see for sale here in zone 6.
It made me want to try to have at least one.
Since the cold winter weather has set in, the gardening activities have come to an end…or have they? If you have house plants, then you can keep your green thumbs working until spring and warm weather returns.
If you’re lucky enough to have large windows, which can provide lots of nice, bright, filtered light, then you can grow quite a few different plants, some will even flower in the house. If you need to though, you can arrange “grow lights” that provide the necessary light for plants to grow.
It is nice to have something green around you during the dreary winter months.
Early last December I wrote about houseplants and promised more information. See: http://wp.me/p1OXDF-YE
For information on growing house plants and a list of the 50 best house plants, as well as information on each one check out the “Container Gardening” tab at the top of the page. See http://wp.me/P1OXDF-13K
I’m sure you’ll recognize some of your favorites in the list and maybe some you haven’t tried before that you might like to grow.
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Even though ferns seem like such light and delicate plants, they can be pretty tough and grow in some pretty harsh climates. I’ve always loved ferns because I think they add such an airy feel to the garden and for the longest time, they were the only houseplants that I had. There are a few things to understand about ferns that will make growing them much easier and more successful, whether the fern is in our home or garden.
I’ve found that one of the most forgiving ferns, especially in the garden
and in hanging baskets outside, is the asparagus fern. It has tiny needles and resembles the asparagus plant. Its fronds will cascade down like a green waterfall and it is perennial in warmer climates, at least it was for me in zone 8. Here in zone 6 I do bring them inside for the winter though. The best qualities of this fern is how drought and sunlight tolerant it is. Most ferns, especially those in hanging baskets, will suffer and shed leaves if even a hint of drought is detected, but the asparagus
fern doesn’t seem to notice. Under our grape arbor, because the grape vines haven’t yet completely covered the top, some of the hanging baskets get quite a bit of sun during the day, but they do just as well as the ones in almost total shade. I’ve also used it (in zone 8 ) as a ground cover under palm trees and it was gorgeous. So if you want to grow ferns, the kind of fern you choose can be important.
The following is taken from the Smithsonian Gardens site and is well worth checking out for more information. It is found at: http://gardens.si.edu/horticulture/res_ed/fctsht/fern.html
WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT GROWING FERNS
The following is a partial list of likes and dislikes of most ferns (indoor and outdoor).
Dryness at Root-zone
Protection from high winds
Enough space to grow to mature size
Undisturbed root environment
FERNS AS CONTAINER PLANTS
Many people are familiar with the use of ferns as indoor houseplants; you can even buy them in the grocery store! Some ferns will thrive as houseplants if their environmental requirements are satisfied.
LIGHT: Indoor ferns need bright light. Direct sun would scorch the leaves; however, a southern exposure, with a light curtain or that is shaded by an outdoor tree should provide sufficient light during the winter months. During the summer months this light would be too harsh for the ferns, so we suggest moving them to a northern or eastern location that receives unfiltered light (free of tree branches or curtains).
WATER & HUMIDITY: Container ferns should be watered when the soil surface feels dry to the touch. Allow water to run freely from the bottom of the container but do not allow the pot to sit in standing water.
As one would expect, growing ferns indoors requires extra effort on the part of the grower to provide a humid environment. Home growers often use the following techniques:
Grouping ferns together
Setting containers on gravel-filled trays filled with water
FERNS IN THE LANDSCAPE
Most wild ferns prefer a moist woodland habitat with high humidity. However, there are ferns suited for all environments from rock cliffs to swampy bogs. Through research you can find the right fern for your landscape.
ENVIRONMENT and CULTURE: Ferns thrive in open, shaded areas—in the filtered light found under a canopy of mature trees. The North side of the house works equally as well. In areas that experience cold, wet winters, the best time for planting is in the springtime. Because ferns are sensitive to excess fertilizers, spreading slow-release fertilizer or well-rotted organic matter is recommended. Ferns prefer slightly acidic soils with a high percentage of humus which aids in water retention and proper drainage.
PESTS and CONTROL: Ferns are sensitive to insecticides; therefore, it is better to attack pest problems in non-toxic ways to insure healthy plants. Slugs and snails are a fern’s worst enemy in the garden. To prevent slug and snail damage try some of the following tactics:
· Scatter shallow dishes of beer throughout the garden.
· Use overturned grapefruit shells.
· Remove debris that could harbor pests and diseases.
TIPS FOR FERN CARE IN THE GARDEN
1. Keep the rhizome/crown above or at surface level.
2. Do not damage crowns – this is where the fronds and roots develop.
3. Do not use rakes or hoes around fern plantings.
4. Create a path between ferns so that you do not damage fern crowns by walking on them.
5. Mulch with fine pine bark, pine needles, or compost – apply a new layer every year.
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