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5 Indoor Plant Trends For 2021

philodendron birkin plant

The houseplant obsession is still growing this year. Hopefully, it’ll be a little easier to get your hands on the indoor plants that are trending this year. Here’s what houseplants are topping the trends lists for 2021. Snap up these indoor plants when you see them, so you don’t miss adding them to your collection

Indoor Plant Trends for 2021

alocasia houseplant

Alocasia, or African Mask, was hard to get last year, and as many people discovered, they’re pretty particular about the care they like. This year we’re seeing a few more exciting varieties and color trends as they become more common in 2021. This family of plants is quite large, and there are so many different ones, from the classic dwarf Amazonica, with striking white veins on nearly black leaves that only gets to about 12″ tall, to the regular Alocasia Amazonica, which has the potential to get up to 6′ tall. However, that’s probably only in tropical climates and probably not as an indoor plant. Here in Iowa, they’re more likely to max out around 3 feet tall in the average home. 

Olive Trees are charming people as a unique indoor plant for 2021. Generally, a Mediterranean plant, olive trees, will need lots of heat and at least 6 hours of sun per day. Olive trees are a popular indoor plant trend because they have gorgeous sage green leaves and grow into beautiful trees. Luckily, they’re well suited to an environment with relatively dry air, common in homes, especially through the winter. There are ornamental olive trees and fruiting ones, so if you want actual olives, make sure you get a fruiting type. Getting them to actually produce fruit might be a little more complicated than just keeping them as a houseplant, though.

peperomia prostrata houseplant

Peperomias have developed quite a committed fan base, and it’s easy to see just why they’re on the trends list. Peperomias are generally relatively easy to care for, and in terms of looks, they’re one of the most diverse families of indoor plants out there. You could have a collection of just peperomia in your home, and because they’re all so different, from Ruby Cascade to Monstera Ginny to String of Turtles, most people wouldn’t even guess they were all related. 

 

 

Pothos has been a dependable, predictable indoor plant for many years, and as houseplant trends grow, more and more varieties with unique coloring are being developed. Marble Queen Pothos is a classic, but don’t miss out on beautiful options like Pearls & Jade, Neon, Jessina, Green, and Silver Pictus Pothos.

philodendron micans houseplant

Last but not least, on the trends list for 2021, Philodendron is also seeing a revival in popularity, with plenty of beautiful colorways, sizes, and styles available. Philo’s are a great indoor plant to give as a gift or add to your own collection. They’re pretty tough, they tolerate surprisingly low light, and they’re pretty forgiving if you forget to water them occasionally. Don’t miss Painted Lady, Silver Sword, Variegated Burle Marx, Birkin, Green, Brasil, and Micans Philodendron.

Did you jump on the houseplant parent trends last year? Or have you always been a dedicated indoor plant lover? Whenever you joined the global family of plant lovers, it’s pretty exciting to see them becoming more and more popular and to see so many unique variations becoming more available. 

When you’re ready to add some new green friends to your collection, stop by the garden center for a visit. We’ve got new indoor plants from the latest trends coming in all the time, as well as all the supplies you need to take great care of them. 

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14 Romantic Houseplants for Your Valentine’s Date

jasmine plant blooming in white

Valentine’s Day is right around the corner. Have you decided what gift you want to get for your partner, best friend, or yourself? Why not pick out a gorgeous houseplant this year for a long-lasting gift that will remind them, or yourself, of your love for years to come?

Here are a few of the most romantic houseplants you can give for Valentine’s Day this year. 

Flowering Plants

If your sweetie loves flowers, they’ll love these romantic plants with lasting blooms!

African Violets stay quite compact, have cute fuzzy succulent leaves, and have pretty flowers for several months each year. These relatively easy to care for plants like to be root bound, need their soil to dry out between watering, and like monthly fertilizer.

african violet and anthurium

Anthurium features striking, unusual flowers in vibrant colors and lush deep green leaves. These low maintenance plants make a gorgeous statement!

Bromeliads are unique tropical beauties that come in a wide range of colors, with large spiky flowers lasting for several months. These easy-care plants like to hold their water in the cup of their leaves.

Calla Lily is a beautifully elegant flower. They come in almost every color, and these gorgeous minimalist plants are an excellent potted plant that can go out onto the patio for the summer.

calla lily and cyclamen

Cyclamen’s cute little butterfly-like flowers float above large, heart-shaped leaves with beautiful patterning. They bloom for many months and come in shades of pink, white, and purple.

Hoya Kerri (Sweetheart Hoya), this gorgeous plant, has large heart-shaped leaves. It grows relatively slow, but over time it may grow a vine, although some don’t. Mature plants produce clumps of pretty white flowers with red centers in the summer.

hoya kerrii and hyacinth

Hyacinth features large cones of pink, purple, or white flowers that almost look like ice cream cones. These pretty harbingers of spring are beautiful and easy to care for. 

Jasmine has elegant green leaves and blooms with delicate white flowers with an intoxicating scent several times a year. These gorgeous and calming plants grow well as houseplants with lots of light and good drainage. 

Miniature Roses might be even better than normal roses for Valentine’s Day because they have lots of gorgeous blooms in many different colors, and the flowers will keep blooming for months. 

miniature roses and moth orchid

Moth Orchids, also known as phalaenopsis orchids, are one of the most elegant and long-lasting flowers you can buy for your sweetie. Orchid flowers will hang on for months looking beautiful, and they’re plants that don’t need to be watered very often. 

Pitcher Plants have a unique look, often with beautiful coloring. The colors often include pink, white, red, and purple, and the variegated patterns are striking. These carnivorous plants are the perfect eccentric Valentine’s gift. 

With its pink spotted leaves, Polka Dot Plant is a super cute choice for Valentine’s Day. These pretty plants stay relatively small when mature, so they’re perfect for terrariums.

polka dot plant and string of hearts

String of Hearts is one of the most beautiful and romantic plants you’ll find for Valentine’s. The succulent leaves are heart-shaped and variegated white and green, and they hang down on long delicate stems. When they’re happy, they produce tiny light purple tubular flowers that are so pretty. 

Tulips are a spring classic. You can’t go wrong with a pot of tulips for Valentine’s. With so many different colors and styles available, they’ll keep everyone smiling as long as they keep blooming. 

Add something a little extra to your Valentines gifts this year with houseplants. You can even gift them together with traditional cut flowers if you can’t quite decide with is the best option for your Valentine. Stop by the garden center on Saturday, February 6, or Saturday, February 13, from 9-5, to pick up a unique gift for your Valentine.

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Christmas Cactus Care

The dramatically beautiful flowers of Christmas cactus are a popular element of the holiday season around the world. The vibrant colors and unique shapes of these succulent houseplants brighten up the shortest days of the year. 

 

Not every blooming cactus is a Christmas cactus, though. Commonly they’re all referred to as “Christmas cactus,” but there are also Easter and Thanksgiving cactuses. When your cactus blooms depends on what kind of cactus it is and whether it receives the right care to encourage blooming. 

How Do I know if I have a Christmas Cactus?

The differences between Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas cactus can be pretty subtle. Here are a few basic differences:

  • Thanksgiving cactus has conical leaves with sharp pointy teeth and usually has yellow pollen. The tubular flowers generally grow horizontally and are not symmetrical. They typically bloom between the end of September to mid-December.
  • Christmas cactus has conical leaves with scalloped edges free of sharp points, and the flowers usually have pink pollen. They typically bloom between October and January and may bloom again between March and May. The tubular flowers are symmetrical and grow downward.  
  • Easter cactus has oval-shaped leaves with slightly scalloped edges. They usually bloom in spring, around Easter. The flowers have a more spiky open shape.

Regardless of which cactus you have, they all require similar care, and they all flower beautifully.

Caring for Christmas Cactus

While we call them Christmas cactus, they’re not quite the same as the cacti that live in the deserts. Holiday cacti are native to the tropical rainforests of Brazil. So, while they do like to have drier soil than other plants, they won’t last as long without water as the other cacti species commonly kept as houseplants.

How Do You Keep A Christmas Cactus Alive?

Keeping a Christmas cactus alive isn’t as complicated as you might have heard. They like soil that drains well, so choose a soil specifically for cacti. They love humidity, so use a pebble tray or set up a humidifier nearby. They also need to be watered more frequently than other cacti.

How Often Do You Water a Christmas Cactus?

You should water your Christmas cactus when the top inch of soil feels dry, making sure to empty any remaining water from the drip tray after an hour or two. Blooming does require a little more water, so check if the soil feels damp or dry every couple of days when your Christmas cactus starts to make flower buds.

Do Christmas Cactus Need A Lot Of Sun?

Christmas cactus need bright light, but too much direct sun can actually burn their leaves. They’ll be happiest in a room with a sunny window. Either keep a sheer curtain between them and the window to diffuse direct sunlight, or keep them a few feet back from the window so that they don’t get too much sun.

How Do You Get A Christmas Cactus To Bloom?

Christmas cactus bloom in reaction to typical seasonal light and temperature changes in the fall. If your Christmas cactus won’t bloom at all, it might be because it doesn’t get cold enough or experience sufficient periods of darkness. 

Christmas cactuses need nighttime temperatures around 50º-60ºF, and 13 hours of darkness per night to start blooming. If the room where you’ve placed your Christmas cactus gets a lot of ambient light from outside, close the curtains or blinds, or cover the cactus with a dark-colored sheet. If you lower the overnight temperature in your house and start covering your Christmas cactus overnight in early October, it should bloom on time for the holidays. Once you see buds forming, you can stop covering it at night. 

Holiday cacti, whether Easter, Thanksgiving, or Christmas, will live for years if lovingly cared for! Our garden center is now closed for the season, but we look forward to seeing you again in January. Happy Holidays from our team at Ted Lare Design & Build!

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Poinsettia Care and History

Poinsettias have become such an icon of Christmas that it might be surprising that they have a long history before ever being associated with Christmas. Poinsettias are native to Mexico and Guatemala, where they grow wild and can become large trees. They were used as a medicinal plant by the Aztecs to reduce fevers and are also used to create red and purple fabric dyes.

In 1827 Joel Poinsett brought a few back to the US and started propagating them. In the early 1900s, Albert Ecke, a farmer displaced by Hollywood’s rapid growth, saw the potential in growing these plants. He moved his farm to Encinitas and started growing Poinsettias. In the 1960s, his son, Paul Ecke, took over the farm. Paul turned Poinsettias into the Christmas icon that it is today with some savvy marketing and hard work. At one point, they had a 90% monopoly on the worldwide Poinsettia market. When the farm was sold in 2012, the Paul Ecke Ranch still held 50% of the global market share for Poinsettias.

Poinsettias are relatively easy to care for, and you can keep them all year long as a houseplant.


A common myth circulates every year at Christmas that Poinsettias are poisonous, but it’s just that, a myth.
This favorite holiday houseplant is not toxic for people or pets! If your dog eats an entire plant, they’ll probably have an upset stomach, but the plant is not actually poisonous. 

How Do You Take Care of a Poinsettia After Christmas?

Poinsettias are relatively easy to care for, and you can keep them all year long as a houseplant. With a little bit of extra attention next fall, you can enjoy its holiday blooms again for next Christmas. 

Poinsettias need:

  • Bright light.
  • Cooler temperatures, around 65-68°.
  • To be watered when the pot feels light or the soil is dry to the touch.
  • Poinsettias do not need fertilizer while they’re blooming.

How to Water Poinsettias

Remove your Poinsettia from its foil wrapper or decorative pot and place it in a few inches of tepid water in the sink. Allow it to soak until the soil on top feels moist, about 20-30 minutes. Empty the sink and let the Poinsettia drain for 15-20 minutes before returning it to the decorative pot or foil wrapper.

Don’t Throw Your Poinsettia Away

You can keep your Poinsettia for next year, just keep it somewhere bright and continue watering it as usual. In late spring, April or May, prune back one-third of the plant, leaving 2-3 leaves per stem, and then repot it into well-draining soil in a slightly larger pot with drainage holes. Apply a balanced fertilizer, or a 20-10-10 fertilizer, every two weeks from April to September. Prune it back again in early August to encourage bushier growth, but don’t prune after September if you want it to bloom.

How Do You Get A Poinsettia To Rebloom?

Poinsettias bloom in response to long periods of darkness at night. Starting at the beginning of October, your Poinsettia needs a minimum of 13-15 hours of complete darkness every single night, followed by 9-11 hours of very bright light. It needs this process for eight weeks. 

You can either move your Poinsettia into a closet at night, a room with blackout blinds, or even put a large cardboard box or dark sheet over it and then move it back to a south-facing window during the day. It’s probably easiest to set alarms on your phone to remind you every day. 

Once your Poinsettia has fully transformed, which should happen by about eight weeks, you can stop covering it at night and go back to regular care routines. 

We’ll See You At Ted Lare in The New Year!

Our garden center closed for the season on December 6th, so we can all enjoy a little downtime with our families. But, we’ll be back in 2021 for another year of epic landscaping projects, all the hottest houseplants, and gardening galore. Sign up for our newsletter to find out when the garden center will be reopening, so you can get started with your garden planning for 2021.

Happy Holidays from all of us at Ted Lare Design & Build!

 

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Favorite Holiday Houseplants

There are quite a few houseplants that have come to be associated with the holidays. Most of these are plants that, in their natural habitat, would bloom towards the end of the year. While most of them are tropical, they happily grow as houseplants and help brighten our homes during winter. 

Christmas & Thanksgiving Cactus

Holiday cacti are from south-eastern Brazil, where they grow in cool and shady locations with high humidity. They were popular in the early 1800s, prized for their fall and winter blooms, but then fell out of fashion. They regained popularity again in the 1950s. 

Want a fun home-grown Christmas gift for friends and family next year? Take cuttings of your Christmas cactus next spring, and give them as presents next Christmas!

Holiday cactus want bright light but no direct sun. Water your Christmas or Thanksgiving, or Easter cactus when the soil feels dry about an inch deep. Keep them away from drafts and heating vents. They need 12-14 hours of full darkness starting in October to help them bloom for the holidays

 

While most of these plants are tropical, they can happily grow as houseplants and help brighten our homes during winter! 

Cyclamen

Cyclamen originate from the Mediterranean basin in Europe. They’re a member of the primrose family, and they grow from tubers. While we often associate them with Christmas, since they may bloom in winter in temperate climates, they can bloom any month of the year. 

They are happy to grow as houseplants and are easy to care for. Indoors they want lots of bright, filtered light. Outdoors they’ll be best if protected from the sun for the afternoon in the summer months. 

Poinsettias 

These classic flowers of Christmas are native to Central America and southern Mexico, they can grow into large trees, turning bright red in the winter! They were brought to the US by Joel Roberts Poinsett, which is why we call them Poinsettia. Originally they were mostly sold in the US as cut flowers. A family in Southern California was quite likely the first grower to sell them as whole plants in the early 1900s, and the same family is still one of the largest producers of them today. 

You’d be forgiven for thinking the colorful red or pink parts of the poinsettia are its flowers, but they’re actually bracts, which just means modified leaves. The flower is a tiny yellow bloom, usually found right in the middle of the colorful bracts. 

Poinsettias often get a bad rap for being a poisonous plant for humans and animals.  While the white sap in the plant can cause skin or digestive irritation, it would have to be consumed in massive quantities for it to be deadly.

Poinsettias need 12-14 hours of darkness starting in October to develop their colorful bracts by Christmas. If you’re buying a new one, make sure to wrap it up very well when bringing it home, because they’re very susceptible to cold temperatures.

Norfolk Pine

Norfolk pine is a unique evergreen tree that grows happily as a houseplant and has gained popularity as a living Christmas tree. Despite their name, they’re not a pine tree at all. 

Norfolk Pine is native to Norfolk Island, near New Zealand. In its native habitat, the trees can get as big as 200 feet tall, with trunks up to 10 feet in diameter! The wood is excellent for woodturning and is extensively used by Hawaiian artisans. 

They’re also not cold hardy since they are a tropical plant. They’re one houseplant that loves lots of light, so if you’ve got a big south-facing window, it’ll be happy where it can get a few hours of sunshine. Norfolk Pines enjoy lots of humidity, so use a pebble tray or a humidifier. Water them when the top of the soil feels dry to the touch, and fertilize with general houseplant fertilizer in spring and summer. 

Kalanchoe 

Kalanchoe is a popular blooming plant around Christmas, and they’re actually a succulent. They’re a tropical plant and are native to countries in Africa, Asia, and Madagascar.

Kalanchoe was imported to France in 1927, and later breeders in Denmark and the Netherlands helped it become popular in the 1980s. These plants were taken to the Soviet space station in 1971!

They’re relatively easy to propagate, and are available with flowers in a wide range of colors. Kalanchoe may bloom for up to 6 months! 

Kalanchoe is pretty easy to grow and doesn’t require much maintenance. They like bright light, but too much direct sun can burn their leaves. They want a deep watering and then allowing the soil to dry out completely before watering again. They need 12-14 hours of darkness, from October, to bloom again.

Amaryllis 

What we commonly call Amaryllis are actually hippeastrum, a cousin of amaryllis. But, since the name has widely become associated with hippeastrum, it’s been accepted as normal.

What is sold as Amaryllis originates from eastern brazil, though they also grow in Peru, Bolivia, and Argentina in the wild. There are 90 different species of over 600 amaryllis hybrids and cultivars. They’ve been popular for a long time and have been bred and cultivated since the early 19th century. 

Amaryllis are quite easy to grow, but they need lots of bright light. Plant them in a pot that’s not much bigger than the bulb that has good drainage. Then place them close to a south-facing window, and make sure to turn them about 1/4 turn every week, so they grow straight instead of leaning over towards the window. 

If you start them in early to mid-October, they should bloom in time for Christmas. 

Orchids

Orchids are a popular holiday plant because they’re relatively easy to care for, and their blooms last forever. They come in an endless array of colors. 

There are more than 25,000 different types of orchids, and there are orchids that occur naturally worldwide. Initially, they’re believed to have been native to Asia, Australia, the Himalayas, and the Philippines. 

Orchids are epiphytic, meaning they attach themselves to another plant, like a tree, and absorb their nutrients and water from humid air. 

Orchids do best in a chunky bark mixture, so if you get one in moss, it’s a good idea to repot it into something that drains better. They love humidity, so a pebble tray or humidifier is excellent. Orchids often suffer from being overwatered, and it can be challenging to figure out how much they like. Generally speaking, you can soak an orchid well until water runs out of the bottom of its pot, then let it drain, and don’t water again until its growing medium is dry. If you’ve kept yours in moss, don’t water it until the moss starts to feel crunchy. 

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Is Your Houseplant Dying or Dormant?

dying dormant houseplant Ted Lare

Many plants have periods of dormancy in the year, most often over the winter. Just like we need sleep, most plants need a period of dormancy to rest. Knowing whether your plants are dormant or dying can be a bit tricky since many of the symptoms are the same. 

The typical traits going into dormancy include wilting, dropping leaves, and even looking utterly dead for some plants. For others, it may just mean not putting out any new growth over the winter.

Dormancy can be caused by seasonal changes or environmental stress. When the weather gets colder and days get shorter in the fall, it signals to outdoor plants that they should go into dormancy before winter hits Iowa. Environmental stress like lack of water, cold temperatures, or lack of nutrients can also cause plants to go into dormancy to conserve their energy in order to grow again if or when their living conditions improve.

Houseplants experience a bit of both seasonal change and environmental stress in winter. The amount of light they get goes way down, and while they don’t usually experience extreme temperature fluctuations, they do experience a pretty drastic change in humidity when we turn our furnaces on.

save dying or dormant houseplant Ted Lare

How to Check if Your Plants are Dormant or Dying

If your houseplants have played a dramatic tragedy lately and dropped all their leaves, you can check if they’re dying or just having a bit of winter rest. 

Try the Snap or Scratch Test

The scratch test is the simplest. Using a sharp knife or your fingernail, scrape away a small portion of the outer layer of skin or bark on a stem. If it scratches away fairly easily, and underneath is damp and greenish, it’s still alive. If it’s brown and hard to scrape, it may be dying. Check a little further down on a lower limb or the main stem. If you discover green lower down, cut off the dead parts a few inches above the signs of life.

For the snap test, try to bend a section of a limb or stem near the tip. If it’s flexible and bends back on itself or cracks open to show flexible white or green tissue, it’s likely still alive and dormant. If it snaps off easy, that part is dead. But, like with the scratch test, there may still be life further down, so keep checking. Just maybe don’t keep checking with the snap test, because if you do get to where there’s life and it doesn’t snap cleanly, you put your plant at risk of disease or pest infestations. Switch to the scratch test as it’s a bit less invasive.

 

Dormant plants still need care, though generally a lot less than when they’re actively growing.

Check the Roots

Even if your plant appears to be entirely dead above the surface, there might still be life in the roots. Remove your plant from its pot and check the roots. If they’re healthy, they’ll be light-colored, supple, and full of moisture. 

If they’re dead, you’ll probably smell it, and they’ll be squishy or shriveled up and rotting. But even if some roots are rotting, it doesn’t mean they are all rotten. A dormant plant may let outer roots die off to conserve energy, so the primary roots at the center may still be alive. If this is the case, it’s a good idea to remove the rotting sections of roots with a pair of sanitized clippers and put them into fresh, barely damp soil.

save dying or dormant houseplant Ted Lare

What to Do with Your Dormant Plants?

Dormant plants still need care, though generally a lot less than when they’re actively growing. You should keep the soil lightly moist for dormant plants. How often you’ll need to water dormant plants will vary a lot. The only reliable way to know is to check the soil with your finger. Feel the soil; if it’s damp an inch down, leave it be. If it’s dry an inch down, it could use some water, but just give it a light watering, don’t soak the pot.

 

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If you think your plants are going dormant because of environmental circumstances like not enough water, not enough light, or low humidity, you can do your best to remedy the situation. You could add a humidifier, grow lights, and adjust your watering schedule. Or, you can cut back your watering to suit a dormancy period and let them take a break from growing for the winter. 

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Bringing a Wall to Life with Greenery

greenery wall Ted Lare

If you’ve been building up a plant collection, you might be running out of spaces in your home to set more plant pots. It’s frustrating to feel like you don’t have room to integrate any more of your green friends. Or, maybe you don’t love the esthetic of most of your plants being on the same level. Adding height and variation can elevate the style in a room and highlight each unique plant you have. 

Instead of looking for more flat surfaces to set your plants on, consider going vertical with your houseplant displays. Here are some ways to use the vertical space in your home to show off your awesome plant collection.

greenery wall shelves Ted Lare

Shelves

One of the first options for using vertical space is to add shelves to your walls. Shelves are a great way to add plant space and give trailing or vining plants room to do their thing. 

Shelves can also really add to your home decor. There are many different styles of shelves, from industrial metal to antique wood to classic minimalist white or black. If you choose to mount shelves on the wall, make sure you anchor them properly in the studs and check the total weight capacity before loading them up with plant pots. 

For floating shelves, it’s a good idea to stick to smaller or lighter plastic pots, so you don’t weigh it down too much. 

Pro tip: weigh all your plants right after they’ve been watered, when all the soil is damp. Then you’ll know how many of your plants you can put on a shelf.

Free-standing shelves are also a great choice if you can’t install wall mounted shelves. 

greenery wall hanging planters Ted Lare

Hanging Planters

Adding hanging planters is also an excellent way to take advantage of your vertical space, and it gives your trailing plants lots of room to hang down as far as they like. There are a few different ways you can add hanging planters to your home.

Another way to take advantage of wall space is to give vining plants something to climb.

Ceiling hooks are surprisingly simple to install in a drywall ceiling. Just make sure you buy a hook and ceiling drywall anchor that can handle the weight of your hanging plants. This is another time when knowing the heaviest weight is important just after they’ve been watered. 

Another popular idea is to install a curtain rod across your windows. Use appropriate mounting brackets and a strong rod. A 1.5 to 2-inch thick diameter piece of wood dowling is an excellent option. It’s also essential to keep weight in mind when doing this. Hang lighter plants near the middle and any heavier ones near the mounting brackets. The wider the window (like an expansive living room window), the less weight your rod will be able to support across the span, so be careful. Don’t overload it!

Ted Lare vine houseplant

Encouraging Vining Plants

Another way to take advantage of wall space is to give vining plants something to climb. There are a few different ways you can do this, and you’ll want to keep an eye on these plants, as things like Pothos or Philodendron can remove small pieces of paint from the wall if they are allowed to climb it. You can prevent this by managing the climbing.    

You can encourage vining plants to climb various things, from trellis to rope to moss poles. If you have a plant that already has long vines, the tiny clear 3M sticky hooks can be a great way to arrange the vine on your wall. If your plant doesn’t have any long vines yet, but you’d like to encourage it to grow, you can use the clear 3M hooks or tiny nails and string fishing line tightly between them. With this technique, you can create unique patterns and turn your plants into natural artwork. 

 

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Wallygro Planters

Wallygro planters are an awesome option for taking advantage of vertical wall space. Wallygrow features several different planters, including the Hanging Felt Pocket Planters that fit several plants, the Individual Loop Planters with a cute and easy hanging system, and the classic Eco Wall Planter that fits 2-3 plants. All of Wallygro’s products are made of 100% recycled products.  

Wallygro planters come with everything you need to hang them, including the drywall anchors. Their innovative system makes it super easy to build your very own green wall. They remind buyers of the Felt Pocket Planter that if they are using them indoors, it’s a good idea to hang a transparent plastic sheet (like a shower curtain), behind the pocket to ensure an extra layer of protection since the felt does absorb some water. 

Swing by the garden center soon to have a look at these innovative and eco-friendly planters!

greenery wall houseplant collection Ted Lare

Curating Your Plant Collection

Last but not least, we hate to be the ones to tell you to cut back on your plant collection… But, we know, that you know, how carefully curating your decor, just like some people do their Instagram feed, can take your home from typical to magazine-worthy. 

We’re not saying you should stop buying plants. But, start to be picky about what you buy. Review your current plant collection and think hard about what you already have. 

  • Do you have duplicates of several plants? Consider giving a few away to friends; you probably don’t need 3 pots of the same variety of snake plant. 
  • Are some of your plants looking a little rough around the edges? Clean them up and give them some TLC. If they don’t perk up in a few weeks, maybe it’s time to let them go to plant heaven.
  • Is your plant collection pretty monochrome? There’s nothing wrong with monochrome, but if all your plants have similar foliage colors and shapes, try to branch out a bit. Add some plants with colorful foliage like the ZZ Raven, or the super fine-textured leaves like Asparagus Fern. Or switch it up with some really coarse texture like Dracaenas or Palms, or just something on a different scale like a Monstera deliciosa for its massive size or Living Stone plants for the smaller scale.
  • Decide what plants belong at the top of your wishlist. Identify your biggest must-haves and try to refrain from buying anything else. 

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Freaky Foliage: Spooky Houseplants for Halloween

Halloween plant decorations Ted Lare

It’s spooky season! Have you started your decorating for Halloween yet? How about leveling up your seasonal decor with some strange houseplants? The plants in this list have freaky foliage that builds on Halloween’s ambiance, making the spook factor even more natural. Like, maybe your home is always this spooky, it’s not just for Halloween? Having these houseplants around all year can keep a bit of that fun Halloween vibe going, even when everyone else has put Halloween away for another year.

venus flytrap Halloween plant decorations Ted Lare

Venus Flytraps 

Who can forget Audrey II from Little Shop of Horrors? It’s a bit silly, but worth a watch if you haven’t seen it. Technically, Audrey II was a hybrid, but most people recognize her as a Venus flytrap, one of few carnivorous plants. Venus flytraps are fun houseplants to grow as they have a unique look with their broad trap leaves featuring small bristles that resemble sharp teeth. They are one of the few plants that move very fast. When the tiny interior bristles are bumped multiple times, they’ll snap shut to capture their prey, whatever insect that might be. 

Venus flytraps can be a bit tricky to care for. They need to be warm and have bright light, but they don’t love too much direct sun. They prefer a mossy growing medium that drains well, but they also need a fair bit of humidity.

Unfortunately, venus flytraps may not be very useful for catching all those annoying houseflies, since they sometimes go months between meals.

Pitcher Plants

Pitcher plants are also a type of carnivorous plant. They feature specialized leaves that form long, often beautiful, tubes. There are many different types of pitcher plants out there in a variety of sizes. Usually, the tubes are beautiful colors, and many have pretty patterns on them as well. 

Pitcher plants do best with as much bright sun as you can give them. A large sunny south-facing window is best, and they do require winter dormancy. They need deionized or distilled water and no fertilizer. Many varieties grow in swampy areas, so most will do best in a peat-moss growing medium, with a pot sitting in about an inch of water. 

Outdoor carnivorous plants will generally keep themselves well-fed, but indoors you may need to supplement them with food like dried crickets from the pet store. 

African mask Halloween plant decorations Ted Lare

African Mask

These exotic looking plants are becoming more and more popular. They feature large arrowhead-shaped leaves, with white or light green veins that contrast sharply with the dark green leaf color. The leaves are glossy and fleshy and can add a slightly sinister feel when paired with Halloween home decor.

African Mask is a bit tricky to care for. They like filtered bright light, so no direct sun, but close to a window. They need rich and consistently moist, but not saturated, soil. The African Mask needs temperatures 65º and above-average humidity and will enjoy a pebble tray or a humidifier. 

ZZ Raven

ZZ Raven is the perfect little goth plant to match your all-black wardrobe, black eyeliner, and goth home decor. Its nearly black leaves are perfect for Halloween!

The best part about ZZ Raven is that it’s getting much easier to find these days, and it is super easy to care for. It’s a classic introverted, hermit-like goth. You can water it once a week or once a month, and it will regard you with cold indifference. ZZ plants can also tolerate surprisingly low light. They can even survive in wholly artificial light, so it’s perfect for no-window offices or basement apartments, as long as you can have a nearby lamp shining on it for 12-15 hours per day. 

Black Prince Echeveria 

Black Prince Echeveria is a striking succulent. It features large impressive rosettes with green centers and dark red to nearly black spiky–succulent leaves. Like other succulents, echeveria prefers a sunny location, sandy, well-drained soil, and only occasional watering. 

Nerve Plants

Nerve plants are another easy-care plant that can play up the spook factor in home decor. They’re a low growing plant with dark green leaves that feature highly contrasting veins of bright white or blood red. 

Nerve plants are pretty easy to care for and can thrive in surprisingly low light. They can be a bit dramatic. When they need water, they’ll wilt entirely as if the whole plant has suddenly died, and then perk up within hours of watering. It’s best to water them before they get to the point of collapsing in a temper tantrum, though. 

Crested Cacti

Crested cacti are strange and slightly creepy looking plants. Cresting happens when there is a genetic defect in the plant. They usually look a little bit like brains, or chubby hobbit fingers, or just indescribably weird. They require the same care as other cactuses, a fast-draining growing medium that’s gravelly or sandy, infrequent watering, and lots of heat and sunshine.  

living stones Halloween plant decorations Ted Lare

Living Stones

Also known as Lithops, Living stones are another decidedly odd plant. There are many varieties out there, but they all tend to resemble rocks. They’re pretty cute, but they’re also pretty weird, so adding them to your Halloween decor for the unknown factor is a no-brainer. 

Living Stones are another succulent, so similar to cacti. They need gritty, sandy soil, very infrequent watering, and a very sunny and warm place to live. Only water when the soil in the pot is fully dry, and if you see them putting out new leaves, don’t water again until the old set of leaves has entirely dried up. 

Bloody Mary Philodendron

Bloody Mary Philodendron features large super dark red, almost black, heart-shaped leaves. They’re shiny and glossy and can add some authentic goth vibes to your Halloween decor. Philodendrons are notoriously resilient and easy to care for. They are pretty forgiving if you forget to water them for a while! 

False Aralia 

False Aralia lends itself well to Halloween decor with nearly black leaves that could almost resemble bony skeleton fingers. This beautiful plant is a unique addition with long thin palm-like leaves with serrations. The dark color is an exciting contrast against greener houseplants.

False Aralia likes bright but indirect light and well-draining soil. They do like consistent moisture but be careful not to overwater them. They grow relatively slowly, so you shouldn’t need to pot them up very often.

Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma

Sometimes called the Mini Monstera, this vining plant features split leaves, much like monstera deliciosa, but on a smaller scale. It will do best with something to climb up. The uniquely shaped leaves lend themselves well to Halloween decor. 

R. tetrapserma needs lots of bright light and can even handle a bit of direct sunlight. Near a large south-facing window would be perfect. It does like consistently moist soil, but it is prone to root rot if the soil is too wet.

 

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If you’re getting started on your Halloween decor, why not stop by the garden center and see what spooky plants you could incorporate? Needing a new plant because it’s perfect for Halloween decor is the ideal excuse to get yourself some new plant babies!

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Seasons Change and So Do Your Houseplant’s Needs

Ted Lare changing care houseplants

To us, it seems like the environment in our home stays pretty consistent all year round. The temperature is usually pretty constant, and we don’t really notice changes in other indoor climate factors like humidity and changes in light. We notice that the days get shorter, but otherwise, it feels like our house stays the same. 

But it doesn’t. Our houseplants are much more sensitive than we are. They notice the temperature changes more. If you’ve got air conditioning, they notice the chill in summer. If you don’t have air conditioning, they notice the heat that creeps in from outdoors. They notice the changes in humidity levels from season to season. And in winter, they notice, most of all, the difference in light. 

Some of us might notice some of these changes in our skin, like humidity; when the furnace starts to come on, you might find you need more lotion and extra lip balm.

What all this means is that the needs of our houseplants change through the seasons. In particular, changes in humidity levels, light changes, and slowed growth can affect your houseplants’ overall health and happiness.

Ted Lare changing care houseplants

Seasonal Light Changes

The tilt of the earth’s axis means that our plants’ light exposure changes over the year. In the winter, the sun is much further south, shining directly into south-facing windows for a good chunk of the day, but only getting into east and west-facing windows for a few hours in the morning and evening. 

In the summer, the sun comes up quite a bit further north, going directly overhead, and then setting quite far in the north-west. South-facing windows may only get a few hours of sunshine, and the sun won’t reach as far into the room as it does in winter. Because the days are longer, the east and west windows may get several hours of direct sun each day. 

That means in winter, plants in rooms with west, north, or east-facing windows are getting a lot less light than they did in the summer. And plants in rooms with south windows are getting a lot more light.

In summer, it’s the opposite; south-facing rooms get less sun than usual, and east and west windows (and sometimes even north windows) get a lot more light than in winter.

 

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Move Your Houseplants to Adapt to Light Changes

Start noticing how far into a south-facing room the light hits at midday. If you had an African Violet, Philodendron, Pothos, or a ZZ Plant pretty close to a south window in the summer, you should start moving them back from the window a bit, so the leaves don’t get sunburned.

If you have low-light houseplants near the wall opposite of a window in a west, north, or east-facing room, they’ll be happier if you start to shift them closer to the window, so they’re a little closer to what daylight they’ll need through winter.

Any plants that require very bright light should be moved to rooms with south-facing windows, or you may need to invest in plant lights to compensate for the short days during the winter. 

Ideally, most plants should have about 12 hours of light per day. You can get plant lights with built-in timers or add a Christmas light timer to them. Timers make it much easier, so you don’t have to think about the task of keeping track. Just set it and forget it!

Ted Lare changing care houseplants humidifier

Give Your Houseplants Some Humidity

Summer is the most humid part of the year in Des Moines, and plants love it. Humidity levels here are pretty moderate throughout the year. Sometimes we hit 80% in December, the most humid month of the year, but usually we hover closer to 70%. But, that’s outdoor humidity.

Furnaces tend to dry out the air inside our homes. So the humidity level inside your house is likely to be a fair bit lower in the winter. If you find your plants’ leaves are getting crispy edges or flower buds dry and fall off before opening–they need more humidity. You can improve humidity for your plants in a few ways. 

  1. Grouping your plants closer together will create a bit of a canopy, like a rainforest. This will help keep the air around your plants a little more humid. 
  2. Close heating vents near your plants, so warm dry air isn’t flooding their living space every time the furnace comes on.
  3. Add pebble trays or run a humidifier near your plants. Pebble trays can be placed under every plant. Just fill a shallow dish with small decorative gravel, set your plant pot on top of the gravel with its drip tray underneath it, and then fill the pebble tray with water. Refill the pebble tray as it evaporates. Keep in mind not to submerge the bottom of the pot with water as you don’t want it to drown.

Ted Lare changing care houseplants

Adjust Your Watering Schedule

As the seasons shift, you should adjust your houseplant watering schedule accordingly. Essentially, you shouldn’t stick to a set schedule for watering. During the winter, most houseplants grow slower, so they use less water. But, that doesn’t just mean cutting back your watering. The other consideration is that furnaces make the air dryer in our homes, so water in the soil will evaporate faster. 

The best rule of thumb for watering is to check the soil with your finger at least once per week. If the soil is dry to a depth of about 1-1.5 inches, it’s probably a good time to water. If the soil is still damp, wait a couple more days. 

Keep in mind that small pots with hardly any soil will dry out faster than other pots, so you may need to water them more frequently than any of your other houseplants.

You should keep an eye on light changes, and adapt your watering level all year long. For humidity, you can leave pebble trays under your plants year round; it won’t hurt them. With flexible and seasonally adapted care, your houseplants will be happy all year round for a long time!

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Moving Your Tropicals Inside for the Winter the Shock-Free Way

Ted Lare Iowa how to care for indoor plants

Earlier in the year, we wrote about how to give your houseplants a dreamy summer vacation by moving them outside for the summer. If you sent your houseplants out for the season, there’s a good chance they’ve put on lots of lush new growth by now, and they loved their summer break. But as the warmer months wind down, you need to start thinking about bringing them back indoors for the winter. 

Like acclimating them to the outside in the spring, you must carefully acclimate your tropical houseplants back to living indoors for the winter. This will take some time, so get started sooner than later.

Ted Lare Iowa how to care for indoor plants

Why Your Plants Need a Transition Period from Outside In

When you think about it, it makes sense to take time moving your plants out in the spring. Protecting them from sunburn and letting them slowly adapt to the different light levels and exposure to the elements is key.

It might seem silly to do this when moving them back in because you’re taking them from a harsher environment to a more protected environment. But it can still be a stressful transition for plants. There’s a difference in light levels from outdoors, a difference in humidity levels, and a difference in air movement. There’s also possibly a significant change in temperatures from what your plants are used to outside.

Some additional risks may come into play as well, like pests, that you need to consider when bringing plants back inside after a nice summer out on the deck.

 

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How to Transition Your Tropical Plants Back Inside for Winter

Bringing your houseplants back inside doesn’t take quite as long as the move outside in the spring, but you still need to take your time with it. With a bit of extra care, you can safely bring your tropical plants back inside for the winter, and keep all of your houseplants happy and healthy.

1. Acclimate your plants gradually. Once outside temperatures at night are getting close to 50°F in Des Moines, you’ll want to start the acclimation process. Start bringing your plants inside at night, and then putting them back out in the morning. Gradually reducing the length of time they stay outside. It should take 6-10 days to transition back to living full time indoors. If you have a garage and a garden cart, this process can be a lot easier.

2. Check for pests and quarantine your plants. Plants can pick up any number of pests, like slugs, aphids, mites, scale, or even mealybugs when they’re outside for the summer. This is where a garage comes in handy again. Bringing them into the garage at night gives you a chance to inspect the foliage of every plant and its pot (slugs like to hide underneath), for any bugs and tackle any infestations. If you find pests, make sure you quarantine all the plants you’re bringing inside. Pick a room in your house and move all your indoor plants out of it. Then keep all of the plants you’re bringing inside in that room for an additional two weeks after the transition period is finished. This should be enough time to deal with any pest infestations.

Ted Lare Iowa how to care for indoor plants

3. Inspect, prune, and repot if needed. If your tropicals grew like crazy outside during the summer, they might need some pruning or a new pot if they’ve become root-bound. Trim off any dead, damaged, or diseased bits with a clean pair of shears or snips. If your plant has gotten way too big for the house, you can safely prune back up to ⅓ of the total volume of the foliage. If you want to keep it from getting too big, you can also prune back up to ⅓ of the roots. Only go up one pot size if you’re giving your plants a new pot.

4. Adjust your watering schedule. With less exposure to sunshine and wind, your plants probably won’t dry out as fast indoors, so make sure you change how often you are watering. Most plants are heading into a bit of a dormancy period at this time of year as well, so they’ll be using less water and nutrients. If you’ve been fertilizing your houseplants, indoors and out, it’s best you stop around this time of the year. Use a moisture meter or check if the soil feels moist with your finger before watering. 

Last but not least, be prepared for some leaves to turn yellow and drop off. Even with a smooth transition, moving back inside is still a significant change for your plants, so they may drop a few leaves or look unhappy for a while. Don’t worry, in a few weeks; they’ll be fully adjusted and happy to be cozy inside a warm house for the winter!