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Picture Perfect Peperomias: 3 Adorable & Easy Varieties

Ruby Cascade Peperomia Ted Lare

Peperomias are quickly stealing the houseplant spotlight. They’re beautiful, easy to take care of, and there are over 1,000 varieties in the world! These succulent-type plants have thick fleshy leaves that make them drought-tolerant, so they’ll be just fine if you forget to water them for a little while. 

With so many different types of peperomia available, you could have a whole collection, and each plant could have a completely unique look and growing habit. There is so much variation amongst different peperomia that some of them don’t even look like they belong to the same family.

While there are many peperomia to choose from, we’ve got a few favorites. Here are 3 plants that we think you might want to add to your houseplant collection. 

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Ruby Cascade

Peperomia Ruby Cascade is a beautiful trailing type of peperomia. It features leaves that are a rich dark green on top and a gorgeous ruby red on the bottom. The stems are also dark red. 

Ruby cascade is one of the smaller types of peperomia; the leaves only get to about half an inch across. While the leaves are small, the vines are very vigorous, and with the right light, they can grow several feet long. 

This peperomia is perfect for a hanging pot or sitting on a high shelf near a north, west, or east-facing window. It does need bright light, but it doesn’t like direct sunlight on its leaves. This peperomia is a fairly fast grower, and it’s tough. You don’t need to water it very often; you can let the soil dry out before watering. If the soil feels damp, wait, and check again in a few days or a week.

 

Variegated Peperomia Ted Lare

Variegated Peperomia

Officially, the name of this plant is Peperomia obtusifolia Variegata. Commonly, it’s often called Variegated Peperomia, or Variegated Baby Rubber Plant. It features large amazing leaves with a thick, waxy feel. The variegation on each leaf is unique, featuring a different pattern and combination of shades of green, from dark green to a lovely creamy pale green. 

Variegated peperomia features larger leaves than Ruby Cascade, with leaves getting as big as 3 inches long and wide, in an oval shape. This peperomia grows a bit more slowly than other types, but will eventually develop itself into a bushy plant. 

This is a low-light dream plant. It does not like direct sunlight, and will happily thrive in a room with a window or under artificial light. 

Also drought tolerant, this peperomia does not need water very frequently. Check the soil first, and make sure it’s dry before giving it more water. 

 

Pilea Peperomiodes Ted Lare

Pilea Peperomioides

This last one is technically not part of the peperomia plant family, but it has similar appearances and care requirements as peperomia, and it’s also super popular. The Peperomioides part of the name means that it resembles peperomias. Also known as Chinese money plant, coin plant, pancake plant, friendship plant, UFO plant, and simply: pilea, it is a unique and easy care plant. 

Pilea features large, perfectly round leaves on long slender stems in a rich, vibrant green shade. These plants do like a bit more bright light, but they also don’t like direct sunlight. They’re quite drought-tolerant but will probably need slightly more frequent watering than peperomias because their leaves and stems are a bit thinner. Check the soil, and if it feels dry to the touch on top, give it a watering. 

Pilea Peperomiodes close up Ted Lare

Pilea’s are often called friendship plants because they put up new plant pups around the base on the regular. If your plant does this, you can either leave the pups to grow, creating a fuller-looking bushy pot of plants, or you can remove them. 

To remove pilea pups, wait until they are at least an inch or two tall, then carefully remove the plant and all the soil out of the pot. With a clean, sharp knife, cut down between the pup and mother plant to separate them, making sure the pup has a chunk of root with it. Then repot them both and let them get back to growing. 

If you’d like to add either of these peperomias or a pilea to your houseplant collection, stop by the garden center for a visit. We’ve got a wide selection of gorgeous houseplants available. 

 

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Monstera adansonii: 2020’s Top Trending Houseplant

monstera adansonii ted lare

Monstera adansonii has quickly become the top trending houseplant for 2020. Everyone wants one, and they can be tricky to find. If you’re thinking “hang on, wasn’t Monstera the top trending plant of 2019 as well?” You’d be correct, but that was a different type of Monstera!

Last year, Monstera deliciosa was everybody’s favorite. While they’re both commonly called Swiss Cheese Plant, they’re a little bit different. Monstera deliciosa gets up to 8 feet tall indoors, with leaves up to 2 feet long, while Monstera adansonii is much smaller yet still features the bold perforated leaves.

Monstera adansonii still allows you to have the bold, beautiful foliage of Monstera, even in a tiny apartment. Adansonii is great for hanging baskets or a trellis. While it may be shorter, with smaller leaves, this Monstera can still take up space with vines that can reach up to 20 feet long!

 

Swiss cheese plant in hanging basket and close up of monstera adansonii leaves ted lare

How To Care for Monstera Adansonii

Most Monsteras that are sold as houseplants have pretty similar care requirements: lots of bright light, lots of humidity, and they like to have their soil to dry out a bit between waterings. This is mostly true for adansonii, although it prefers indirect sunlight. Keep your adansonii near a window, but don’t let it get too much sun on its leaves. You can even send it outside for summer vacation, if you want, just keep it somewhere with a bit of shade.

If the air in your home is dry, the best thing you can do for your Monstera is run a humidifier close by. A pebble tray can help as well, but a humidifier is the most effective option. If misting is your only option, do it, but you’ll need to mist the air around your Monstera many times a day. 

There are plenty of choices for potting your Monstera, but a terra cotta pot with a drainage hole is one of the best options. Terra cotta’s porous material helps to wick moisture away from the roots. Monstera’s don’t like to have soggy bottoms. 

Like most plants, you can’t really water your Monstera on an exact schedule. How frequently it needs to be watered varies depending on the season, how much light it gets, how humid and warm your home is, and how rootbound the plant is. 

The best way to know if your Monstera needs water is to stick your finger in the soil, up to your second knuckle. If it feels just barely damp, it’s time to water. Adansonii doesn’t like to dry out quite as much as other varieties. Be sure to check the soil at least once a week. 

 

monstera adansonii climbing on a pole ted lare

Supporting Monstera Adansonii

Monstera Adansonii loves to climb. It is beautiful in a hanging basket, and that might be the best way to keep it from crawling all over your walls. If you prefer to see it climbing, you can give it some support. 

You can support a Monstera adansonii with a trellis or lattice, plant stakes, or even a moss pole. Moss poles are great because you can regularly saturate them with water, which helps raise the humidity level for your plant. A trellis can work wonders as well because it makes it easy to train the vines where you want to create a beautiful display of those dramatic leaves. 

You can also let adansonii’s free spirit go wherever it wants. They have strong roots along the vine that cling to nearly anything, even a bare wall. The only problem with this method is that those little roots are really strong, and there’s a good chance they’ll pull little specks of paint off your walls if you ever decide to move it. 

 

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If you’ve been wishing you had space for a Monstera, here’s your chance! Stop by the garden center or shop online to add a Monstera adansonii to your houseplant collection.

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5 Best Low-Light Tolerant Houseplants For North Windows

houseplants ted lare

Having houseplants in our homes has a multitude of benefits. They can help boost our mood, improve concentration, and inspire creativity. They add life and personality to our homes and give us a connection to nature. When choosing houseplants for your home, it’s important to consider how much light each room in your home gets.  

All houseplants need light, but some are better suited to low-light locations than others. How do you know what is considered low-light? Well, in our homes, the only areas that can be regarded as bright light are right next to a large south-facing window. Just a few feet back from the window, in the middle of a room, we’re already at medium-light. And the opposite wall is the beginning of low-light.  

But don’t let that discourage you from keeping plants in rooms with North, East, or West facing windows. While all plants need light, some houseplants can thrive surprisingly well in very low-light locations, like near north-facing windows. Some plants can also thrive quite well under artificial light, as long as the lights are on for a solid 14-16 hours per day.  

Here are some of the best low-light tolerant houseplants to add to your home in Des Moines. These options are tolerant of very low-light, so you can include these even in rooms with only north-facing windows, or that have artificial light on all day. 

 

zz plant, calathea, and nerve plant ted lare

ZZ Plant 

ZZ Plant a popular low-light houseplant because it is one of the most resilient plants. It can even survive in a location with only artificial light. While it can survive in these conditions, it will be happier in an area with a window. Somewhere near a window is perfect for a ZZ Plant, though it does not like direct sunlight. ZZ Plant is super easy to care for as well, only requiring watering once every 3-4 weeks.   

Calathea 

Calatheas, also known as Prayer Plants, add gorgeous color and unique leaf patterns to your houseplant collection. Prayer plants are also different in that they move quite a bit, folding up their leaves every evening, like hands folding in prayer. With many different species available, you’ve got tons of options. Calathea are pretty low-maintenance, they like their soil to dry out a bit between watering, and will do best near a north- or east-facing window, or far enough back from a south- or west-facing window so they don’t get direct sun on their leaves.

 

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Nerve Plant 

Nerve Plant, or Fittonia, is another easy-care low-light plant, with a little more visual interest. Fittonia features small leaves with veins in either bright white or bright red. Their high-contrast leaves are beautiful to look at. Nerve plant is fairly low growing and will live happily near any window. They’ll flourish particularly well in a high-humidity environment. 

Snake Plant 

Snake plants, in all their beautiful variations, are another popular option. They’re a beautiful structural plant that also prefer indirect light. From the short wide leaves of birds nest snake plant to the taller tubular leaves of Sansevieria cylyndrica, or the gracefully arching leaves of Sansevieria gracilis, or the beautiful Sansevieria trifasciata ‘Laurentii.’ Snake plants are another easy-care succulent type, only requiring water every few weeks.  

 

snake plant and spider plant ted lare

Spider Plant 

Spider plants are also a resilient houseplant that can survive quite low-light situations and still happily grow. Spider plants will do better in a higher-humidity location. They come in a few different varieties, with plain green leaves, or variegated white and green. There are also different leaf styles, from the long and straight to the gorgeous curly varieties.   

If you’re looking for some houseplants to add to your home, stop by the garden center and have a look through our wide selection. 

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How to Grow Brilliant Begonias Indoors: Care 101

begonia leaves-ted-lare

Begonias are as gorgeous as they are versatile. With flowers and foliage that work just as well in hanging baskets, porch pots, or garden beds, they’re a workhorse of the gardening world! Most of us think of their luscious tropical-looking flowers when we imagine Begonias in our minds. However, the kinds that people keep indoors as houseplants are not quite the same as those with the showy flowers that thrive outside. 

Begonias fall into three main types, with many sub-categories, and over 1,000 species worldwide. They are primarily classified based on their root system, either tuberous, fibrous, or rhizomatous. Fibrous and rhizomatous Begonias are usually the easiest to grow indoors. They have showy leaves, but less significant flowers. Tuberous Begonias are the ones with the big showy blossoms that do best outside. 

If you’re eager to enjoy fibrous or rhizomatous Begonia as a houseplant, it’s always best to review the care needs of the specific variety you have your eye on. In general, however, you can follow these rules of thumb for taking care of these colorful, elegant, low-maintenance plants indoors!

Best Location For Begonias in Your Home

All Begonias need bright, indirect light. This means the indoor varieties prefer a spot near a large window with a sheer curtain to protect them from any direct sunlight. Direct sun can burn their leaves. However, the light levels in our homes are drastically reduced compared to outside, so they also won’t do well in a dark corner.

During the winter, you may need to provide extra light from a lamp with a full spectrum bulb for about 14 hours per day.

Begonias like consistent temperatures between 60-70°, so keep them away from drafty doors and windows.

 

Humidity & Water for Begonias

Begonias are native to places where the humidity is high, so they do not push water to the edges of their leaves as well as other plants would. This characteristic makes them ideal for terrariums. The drier prairie air here in Iowa can be a challenge for humidity-loving plants, especially during colder months. Make sure to provide a pebble tray under the pot or a nearby humidifier when the air is dry.

The best way to know when to water your Begonia is to check the soil with your finger every few days. Begonias like evenly moist soil, but they prefer to dry out just a bit between waterings. Stick your finger in the soil up to the first knuckle—if it’s dry, water it. When watering your Begonia, opt for distilled water or rainwater if possible, as the plant can be sensitive to the dissolved salts in tap water. This sensitivity can cause some browning of the leaves, which is typically not fatal to the plant, but can detract from your Begonia’s appearance.


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Make sure your Begonias have ample drainage so that their roots are never sitting in standing water. Soggy roots will cause them to drop leaves and can make them susceptible to root rot, pests, and other diseases. If there is still water in the catch tray 30 minutes after watering, dump it out. 

Provide fertilizer according to package directions when your plant is actively growing, which is typically during the summer months.

 

When to Re-pot Your Begonia

Begonias prefer to be root-bound, so don’t put them in a big pot! If the soil stays damp for several days after watering, you may need to re-pot down a pot size. When you bring a new Begonia home, only put it into a larger pot if it is already root-bound in its nursery pot. If it’s not yet root-bound, put it in a pot the same size as the nursery pot. 

Whichever variety you choose, Begonias are excellent houseplants with an incredible ability to bounce back from the brink of death. We’ve been shocked many times by how tough and adaptable these delicate-looking plants truly are! With a little bit of care and a good location, your Begonia will thrive for many years.

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How to Give Your Houseplants a Summer Vacation

We love to feel those soft summer breezes, the warm sunshine, and that refreshing, cool air after a summer rainstorm. Houseplants enjoy those same things just as much as we do! Most of our houseplants would do well with a little outdoor summer vacation in Des Moines every year. There’s nothing like being outdoors to give houseplants a little boost during their growing season and help them load up on good healthy energy for the rest of the year. 

But, it’s not quite as simple as carting them out to the yard and setting them down for the season. You’ll need to transition your houseplants outdoors for the summer, and then back indoors at the end of the season. The transition process for sending them outside is called hardening off, and it’s critical for your houseplants, especially for tropical varieties. 

Why Harden Off Houseplants?

You might think your plants near a south-facing window get plenty of sunshine, so they should be fine to go out into the sun. But that’s not true. Our windows, especially in newer homes, block quite a lot of the strength of the sun getting through to our plants. Taking them directly outside is going to be shocking, and will cause your houseplants significant stress. 

Before you send your houseplants outdoors for the summer, do some research to find out what sort of environment they prefer in the wild, and try to find a location in your yard that replicates that. Then, check if any of them need repotting. Many of them will put on a growth spurt once they get outside, so they’re showing signs of being rootbound, give them a little bit more room by going up one container size. 

We do not recommend moving moth orchids or African violets outside as they may be a bit too tender for the weather fluctuations in Des Moines. 

 

Hardening Off For Houseplants

Hardening off your houseplants is the process of slowly transitioning them to full exposure outdoors. Don’t start this process until we’re a minimum of two weeks past the last frost. Hardening off is a gradual process that can take 10-14 days. 

Start by finding a spot that is shady and protected from the wind. Place your houseplants in that space for 30 minutes to an hour the first day, then bring them back inside. The next day, add a little bit more time, and every day you can leave them out a little bit longer. Shade or low-light plants should stay in a shady location for the summer. Sun-loving plants should be eased into full sun locations the same way you slowly transitioned them outside. Start with half an hour to an hour of sun exposure on the second day, then gradually increase time in the sun as you increase the time outside. 

It might seem like a fun idea to pop houseplants here and there throughout the garden as accents for different areas. But, keep in mind your houseplants will need more regular watering through the summer than other plants. Watering will be easiest if you can keep groups of your houseplants close together. You’ll want to make sure you check the soil in pots every day. Houseplants that have been in the same container for a long time are probably a bit rootbound and will drink up water fast. On really hot days, you may need to water twice.

 

Tips for Transitioning Your Houseplants Back Indoors

You’ll want to start transitioning your plants back to indoor life sometime in early to mid-September. If you’ve got really delicate tropicals, start early in the month. Transitioning them back indoors shouldn’t take as long as hardening off, but its still a good idea to do it over a few days. There are also a few other essential things to keep an eye out for. 

  1. Check every plant thoroughly for pests. While they’re outside for the summer, houseplants can pick up common outdoor pests like aphids, gnats, or slugs. If possible, quarantine the plants you’re bringing in, away from plants that stayed inside, for two weeks, to make sure no one is infested with pests. Before you bring them inside, check the bottoms of the containers for slugs.
  2. Transition to lower light locations gradually. The light levels in the house are drastically lower than outside, so it’s a shock for plants to move immediately. Over 4-5 days, slowly move your plants back to a shady and sheltered location, like the spot where you started your hardening off process. 
  3. Watch your watering. With no wind and less direct sun, your houseplants won’t use up water as quickly, so make sure to adjust your watering schedule accordingly. It’s still a good idea to check the soil moisture level daily for the first week that they’re back indoors. 

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If you need any tips or advice, or tools or materials for transitioning your houseplants outside for the summer, give us a call at the garden center. We’ve got all the supplies you might need, from soil to pots to plant stands. 

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Calathea: Your Guide to Collecting & Caring for Them

Calatheas have become an incredibly popular houseplant in recent years, and it’s easy to see why! They are beautifully colorful, often featuring striking patterns of green, white, pink, and purple. There are many different Calathea varieties available, each with their unique pattern, color scheme, and leaf shape. People also love the way the leaves fold up at night, like hands folding in prayer—a fairly unique feature since most plants don’t move much on their own! They also tend to be low-maintenance houseplants in that most varieties can tolerate fairly low-light situations and don’t need frequent watering. 

Prayer Plants Have So Many Names

There’s sometimes a little confusion about the common names of plants in this family. Prayer Plants are the overall large family of plants. The scientific name for the family is Marantaceae, which is also known as ‘Arrowroot’ because some varieties are grown to make arrowroot powder. Within the family of Marantaceae, or Prayer Plants, are several different genera that include Calathea, Stromanthe, Ctenanthe, and Maranta. There are actually 29 different genera in the Marantaceae family, and each of those genera has many species in it. In total, there are over 500 known species in the Prayer Plant family. So all Calathea are Prayer Plants, but not all Prayer Plants are not necessarily Calathea.

 

Calathea General Requirements

For the most part, different varieties of Calathea have similar care requirements. Some species have more specific needs, so make sure to check the care requirements before deciding which type you’d like to buy.

In general, Prayer Plants prefer bright indirect light. This sort of location might be on the windowsill of a north or east-facing window, or possibly a yard or two from a south- or west-facing window. They also can be placed closer to sunny windows with a sheer curtain, which protects the plant from direct sunlight. If you don’t have a sheer curtain, make sure to position your Calathea far enough back that it doesn’t get direct sunlight on its leaves. 

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Knowing how to water Prayer Plants takes a bit of practice. Overwatering will do more harm than drying out, but allowing it to dry out completely isn’t good either. They like soil that is moist, it should feel like a sponge that has been wrung out well. Because Prayer Plants grow from rhizomes, they store quite a lot of water in their root system, so they can last quite a while before needing water. Get in the habit of pushing your finger into the soil about once a week. If the soil feels dry, water your Calathea. If it feels quite damp, check again in a couple of days. They do like a lot of humidity, so if you can provide a humidifier nearby or a pebble tray, they’ll be happier for it.

Interesting Varieties of Calathea

With over 500 known species of Prayer Plants, it can be fun to start a collection! They’re some of the most visually interesting houseplants out there, and their moving leaves seem to take on their own personality! Prayer Plants are also capable of blooming, but it happens pretty infrequently. We carry several unique Calatheas available for you to start building up your collection.

Our first option is one of the more common varieties of Prayer Plant Calathea. It’s fun to watch its leaves fold straight up in the evening! The leaf pattern featuring different shades of green and bright red striping makes this plant a popular choice. 

Calathea Starshine features a wide border of really light green with dark green edges and centers, with a lighter stripe right in the middle of the leaves.

Calathea lacifolia, also known as Rattlesnake Calathea, has unique dark green dots on its narrow ruffled leaves.

Calathea Zebrina features beautiful bright green veins on dark leaves and is one of the easiest varieties of Calathea to care for.

Stromanthe Trio Star is not a Calathea, but, it is a beautiful member of the Prayer Plant family. It features variegated leaves with combinations of white, green, pink, and dark red. It has similar requirements to Calathea, and it is also fairly low-maintenance. 

If you’re ready to start a Calathea collection or add a new member to the family, you can choose your favorite from our online store. We’re offering curbside pickup or delivery within Des Moines metro area, and contactless payment. 

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Top 15 Delightful Houseplants for 2020

Houseplants have seen a surge in popularity across the states in the last few years, and they’re just as popular in Iowa as anywhere else. With 2020 around the corner, the houseplant trend isn’t going anywhere.

In 2019, the list of most popular houseplants in Iowa was dominated by tropical beauties that are super easy to grow, like Snake Plant and ZZ Plant. Now that people have gotten a taste of the joys of houseplants, it looks like they’re starting to branch out a bit and take on plants that are a little more challenging, like African Mask. Plant sharing is becoming more popular too, so things that are easy to propagate, like Chinese Money Plant, are still on the list.

Here are 15 gorgeous houseplants that are about to be wildly popular in 2020.

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Swiss Cheese Plant

Swiss Cheese Plant, or Monstera deliciosa, has the potential to grow to a massive scale. In their native environment, from Southern Mexico to Panama, they grow up to 30′ tall. It’s dramatic split leaves are visually striking, adding drama to any room. Swiss Cheese Plant is a statement piece. They will tolerate low light fairly well, but they grow faster in a bright room. Native to the dappled shade of the rainforest, Swiss Cheese Plant can’t tolerate direct sun, so don’t get them too close to south-facing windows. Now and then, wipe the leaves with a damp cloth or sponge to clean the dust off. There is a smaller, apartment friendly version of Swiss Cheese plant, Monstera adansonii. You can find monstera adansonii for sale from most garden centers.

String of Pearls

String of Pearls are unique succulents that looks beautiful when trailing over the edges of hanging pots. It genuinely resembles a string of green pearls. This popular succulent is pretty easy to care for, too. It needs well-draining soil, like a cactus mix, in a shallow pot. Fertilizer can cause root burn, so don’t fertilize more than once a year in spring. This succulent likes bright light, but not direct sun, which can be too intense for this delicate plant. If it’s struggling near a south window, move it away. It doesn’t need much water; the soil should be dry before watering again. String of Pearls is very easy to propagate—just snip off a section of pearls and tuck the cut end into the soil.

String of Hearts

String of Hearts, or Rosary Vine, is another popular trailing plant. It has delightful soft green heart-shaped leaves with white veins. It looks beautiful in a hanging pot. String of Hearts loves heat, but not direct sun. It thrives near a west-facing window. While not technically a succulent, it likes similar care to succulents like String of Pearls, and the soil should dry out between watering. This plant is sensitive to overwatering.

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Rubber Tree 

Rubber Tree, or Ficus elastica, is another popular house plant with the potential to grow big and bold. It has shiny dark green leaves and is an excellent complement to minimalist decor. Rubber Tree isn’t actually made of rubber, but it is very easy to care for! Keep yours in a bright room but out of direct sunlight. Don’t water until the top inch or two of soil is completely dry. You can keep their size in check with regular pruning, but if left to its own devices, this plant will grow and grow. The sap from Rubber Tree is a known skin irritant, so wear gloves when pruning or repotting.

Ruby Rubber Tree

Ruby Rubber Tree, or Variegated Rubber Tree, has variegated leaves with green centers, white edges, and hints of pink. Often the middle stem of leaves will be red. Ruby has similar care requirements to the standard Rubber Tree, although its need for bright indirect light is even more critical. Poor lighting will cause the vibrant colors of this variety to fade.

Rubber Tree Tineke

Tineke Rubber Tree, or Burgundy Rubber Tree, is very similar to Ruby, but it is a little more compact with deeper red tones. It has the same care requirements as Ruby, and bright indirect light is very important for color retention. Love what you’re reading? Sign up to our email newsletter, and get inspiration delivered straight to your inbox.

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ZZ Black Raven 

ZZ Plant is probably the easiest low-light plant to care for. With its recent resurgence in popularity, more varieties of ZZ Plant are available than ever. Black Raven is a favorite because of its extremely dark, nearly black leaves. It’s a striking contrast to the classic brighter greens of most house plants. Black Raven ZZ Plant should not get direct sun. Although it does need some light, it will grow well in offices or bathrooms with less light. The new leaves emerge in a shade of vibrant green and shift to deep purple-black over time. 

Raindrop Peperomia

Raindrop Peperomia, also known as Peperomia polybotrya, Owl Eye Peperomia, or Coin Leaf Peperomia, commonly gets mistaken for Chinese Money plant, but the leaves have slightly different shapes. Raindrop Peperomia’s leaves are a distinct water droplet shape. It is suitable for smaller spaces as it won’t usually get more than 1′ tall. It needs bright light but should be kept out of the direct afternoon sun. Raindrop Peperomia is a succulent, so let the soil dry out between waterings. 

Sansevieria

Sansevieria, also known as Snake Plant, Mother-in-Law’s Tongue, or Viper’s Bowstring Hemp, might tie with the ZZ plant for the title of “easiest plant to care for.” You can forget to water Sansevieria for weeks, and they don’t seem to care. In fact, they’re more sensitive to overwatering than infrequent watering. They’ll do well in low light situations, and are also easy to propagate from cuttings. There are many different varieties available with beautiful patterns and colors. 

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Starfish Snake Plant

Sansevieria Starfish, or Starfish Snake Plant, has thick cylindrical leaves that spread out in all directions like the legs of a starfish. The leaves have stripes of alternating light and dark green. Their care requirements are the same as all other Sansevieria.

Fernwood Snake Plant

Sansevieria Fernwood, or Fernwood Snake Plant, also has cylindrical leaves, with slightly wider strips than Starfish. The leaves grow in a tight cluster that arch out a little as they get taller. The care requirements are the same as all other Sansevieria.

Rattlesnake Plant 

Rattlesnake Plant, or Rattlesnake Prayer Plant, has light green leaves with dark purple stripes and spots, and purple undersides. The leaves have slightly ruffled edges, giving the plant an intriguing appearance. Rattlesnake Plants prefer medium to low-light locations; direct sun will burn the leaves. It likes damp, but not waterlogged, soil. Overwatering will cause it the leaves to wilt, and if it’s left dry for too long, the leaves will start to curl and may turn brown.

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Calathea Orbifolia

Calathea Orbifolia is another popular variety of Prayer Plant. It has large bright green leaves with dazzling silvery-blue stripes. This variety is a little harder to find, but it’s a beautiful addition to any home. Like Rattlesnake Plant, Calathea Orbifolia prefers medium to low-light conditions and evenly damp soil.

Chinese Money Plant

Chinese Money Plant, or Pilea peperomioides, is also a super easy-care low-light plant that happens to be absolutely adorable. It has pretty round leaves at the top of long skinny stems. Chinese Money Plant is an excellent plant for sharing with friends because it regularly sends up new little baby plants all around its base. This cheerful plant will start to turn yellow or brown if exposed to too much water or direct sunlight.

Elephant Ear Alocasia

African Mask, also known as Alocasia sanderiana or Elephant Ear plant, is a bit higher maintenance than others on this list, but its exotic colors are worth the effort. It has arrowhead-shaped, nearly black leaves with striking white veins. It offers an exciting contrast to more common houseplant varieties. Elephant Ears require bright but indirect light, and moist, but well-draining soil. It’s best to water this plant in the morning. They need plenty of humidity and warmth, and regular fertilizer during the spring and summer growing season.

If you haven’t tried any of these gorgeous houseplants, visit our garden center in Cumming, Iowa. You’ll love browsing our selection of the most popular houseplants for 2020, along with gorgeous pots to go with them.

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Fiddle-Leaf Figs

close-up image of fiddle leaf

“Style is something each of us already has, all we need to do is find it.”
– Diane von Furstenberg

The Fiddle-Leaf Fig has become the hallmark of classic style and grace in the contemporary home. It’s become the newest, designer “it” plant, and it isn’t hard to see why everyone is so in love.
This fig brings an elegant atmosphere to whatever room it’s in, all while maintaining a cool and tropical undertone with its luscious, deep green leaves. They take center-stage in any well-lit room, but can also transform your patio into a luxury oasis in spring and summer.

Getting the Fiddle-Leaf Look:

Like any fashion icon worth their salt, these plants might need a little nurturing to look their best, but your efforts will be well-rewarded. With any sunny room, though, you’re already on your way to bringing home the designer beauty of a fiddle leaf fig.

fiddle-leaf figs placed indoors

Light:

Enough of the right kind of light is the key to keeping a fiddle-leaf looking fabulous. These elegant beauties aren’t meant for sprucing up the basement – they thrive best in a bright room with some South or West exposure. The trick is that, while your fig loves light, its luxurious leaves are quite sensitive to burning and will scorch under direct sunbeams.

If your fig isn’t getting enough light, it will certainly let you know, though without much warning, by dropping leaves. While many fig owners panic at the idea of their beloved plants suddenly balding, it’s just their way of telling you that they need more light to keep looking their best.

Once your fig is comfortable in their spot, try not to move it. While redecorating is always tempting, these plants prefer to keep things consistent once they find a location they like. The one exception to this rule is rotating your plant if it’s getting all its light from one side. Gently turn your fig every few months if it starts reaching across the room towards the light.

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Water and Fertilizer:

The amount that you water your fig very much depends on how much light it is getting, but no matter what, it never wants to be soggy. Wait to water until the soil is dry to the touch. When you do water, do it thoroughly until the water flows out of the bottom of the container, washing away any salts before they accumulate on the fig’s sensitive roots. Remember to empty the water dish when you’re done so your beautiful plant isn’t sitting in water that could rot its roots.

While figs aren’t big feeders, a little touch of nutrition will help keep them vibrant, lush, and ready to impress. When your fig is growing (spring through fall), it’ll love a pick-me-up with a monthly dose of all-purpose fertilizer. Keep the fertilizer at half strength to give your plant a gentle boost, rather than a kick, of nutrients. In winter, your fig will hibernate and it won’t grow nearly as much, so it won’t need the added fuel for growth.

Growth and Transplanting:

A happy fig will grow quickly if it is given the chance, sometimes reaching eight or nine feet tall, and, eventually, it is bound to outgrow its pot.
Your fiddle-leaf will make it pretty obvious when it has outgrown its current home and needs a larger container. When the roots start to wrap around the inner edge of the pot, it’s time to transplant to something larger. The best time to move your fig is in the spring when the growing season has it primed and ready to fill out its new container. Sometimes you can’t wait, though. If the roots start to grow out of the bottom drainage, you’ll need to transplant right away.

Only jump one pot size at a time (aim for growing 2” larger in diameter). If you move more than that, the outer soil could end up water logged and damage your fig’s delicate, fibrous roots.

fiddle-leaf fig plant

For a consistent indoor look, consider keeping your fig in a pot with good drainage inside a more decorative container that is a few sizes larger. You’ll get to keep the same aesthetic for multiple container changes, and your fig will get all the healthy drainage it needs, without impeding on your style.

Other Tips for Fiddle-Leaf Figs:

We absolutely adore the fiddle leaf’s luscious, tropical leaves – especially in the midst of our chilly Iowa winters – but they are just as good at catching dust as they are at catching sun rays. A build-up of too much dust is not only unattractive but can prevent your fig from photosynthesizing as it needs. Clean up their leaves every few months with a clean, damp cloth to keep it looking and performing its best.

A pale and spotty fig might not be getting enough light, or could have come down with a pest. Have a careful look at your plant for any obvious problems, or move it to a brighter spot to clear up the blemishes.

We can’t blame everyone for suddenly wanting to take these gorgeous plants home – they are simply irresistible and add that accent of natural color and style to your indoor decor. We certainly understand why they’re so popular right now, and are happy to help you bring your own fiddle-leaf fig home without the hassle! Visit us in-store today to pick one up or to learn more.

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Kokedama

how to make a kokedama houseplant bonsai

Kokedama is one of the newest trends in houseplants, but its roots can be traced to sophisticated philosophy. This Japanese tradition is just as unique as the other modern gardening techniques of the same heritage. The striking aesthetic of Kokedama tells its own story and is a great choice to enrich your indoor spaces.

“There is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in.”
– Leonard Cohen

Wabi-Sabi

Wabi-Sabi is the Japanese term to describe the beauty of imperfection and transience. This aesthetic principle is guided by a focus on forms of nature that our western culture sometimes forgets: the irregular and modest. This is an intimate look at the beauty of the imperfect.

Kokedama was traditionally an expression of Wabi-Sabi with bonsai trees. Typically, the trees would be taken out of their pots and instead displayed on top of pottery, or intertwined in driftwood. The bare display and exposed roots celebrated the beauty of simplicity and the rougher parts of nature.

The practice has since evolved to an even more striking aesthetic: roots are wrapped in string and moss balls to create a natural pot for a plant. It creates a living sculpture, with strong Wabi-Sabi aesthetic that is guaranteed to catch the eye and start a conversation.

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The Basics:

Kokedama works for almost any plant you can imagine growing inside. Some of our favourites are ferns, orchids, small tropical plants and vines, succulents or even air plants.

This trend is just on the rise. Buying a ready-made piece may be difficult, but finding the supplies isn’t hard and the process is easy to do yourself. Making your own Kokedama plant promises a totally unique and personalized plant to display that exactly fits the mood and look you want for your home.

You’ll Need:

  • Potting soil and black dirt (in a 2:1 mix of potting soil to black dirt. You want the soil to hold its form – add a little more black dirt if it isn’t holding together.)
  • Sheet moss or Coco Liner
  • Cheese cloth
  • Fishing line
  • Twine/cotton thread
  • Your plant(s)

How-To:

While the statement plant of your container is typically the focal point, don’t forget that the container itself is an important part of the overall look. Different containers can help compliment your style or even be the statement piece, while also providing the plants support like moisture or heat control that they need for their best growth.

Healthy plants naturally look the best, so remember to select plants that have similar care requirements. Super aggressive growers have a tendency to swallow up less aggressive growers, if they share a container. Additionally, pairing plants with similar moisture and sunlight needs will help to avoid making compromises.

If you have your heart set on some combinations that don’t work well, don’t worry! Some conflicts can be cheated. Plants with different needs can be planted in their own individual pot that is hidden in the container itself. It might look like the plants are all together, but it’s a smart way for you reap the benefits of better control.

Make your own kokedama! See if we have a kokedama workshop coming up.

Assembly:

  1. Expose the roots of your plant. You don’t need to scrub them, but should gently remove as much soil as you can.
  2. Blend your potting soil and black soil. You’re aiming for a texture like a homemade meatball – something that doesn’t fall apart, but still has some give.
  3. Check that your soil ball is big enough to hold the roots of your plant. On average, the ball should be the size of an orange, but should ultimately reflect the size of your plant.
  4. Carefully split the soil ball in half, or make a hole in it. Gently fit the roots into it, being careful not to break them.
  5. Press the ball back together gently.
  6. (Optional) Wrap cheesecloth around the ball.
  7. Wrap the ball in sheet moss or coco-liner. Anchor the covering by pressing parts of it into the soil. The ball should be totally covered.
  8. Wrap fishing line around the ball to hold the covering in place. A second wrapping in twine will give a more wabi-sabi aesthetic, while cotton thread will eventually dissolve.

Basic Care:

Water your Kokedama plant by soaking it entirely in lukewarm water. You should water immediately after planting, and then as needed – succulents will need watering much less frequently than tropical plants.

You can display your Kokedama plant any way that you want. Some prefer to place it in a dish, but the most eye-catching option is most certainly hanging. A suspended Kokedama plant is a great statement piece that adds an element of intrigue to any room and promotes a healthier-looking plant, as well.

This growing trend is a great opportunity for a unique and personalized green and leafy element to your home that is sure to stop people and start a conversation. Take advantage of this gorgeous style to add a new element of striking Japanese tradition and aesthetic to your home.