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Monstera adansonii: 2020’s Top Trending Houseplant

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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

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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

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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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Houseplants That Improve Air Quality

We all love to breathe fresh air, but if you’re stuck inside a lot, you might not be getting as much as you’d like. Besides being stuck with recycled indoor air, there’s a chance that some less-than-desirable chemical particles are floating around in your air. Things like paint fumes, the adhesives used for flooring, and the chemicals used to treat upholstery fabric can off-gas chemicals that aren’t exactly beneficial for your lungs. 

The NASA Experiment

But, thanks to NASA, you don’t have to be stuck breathing in stale recycled air. In the ’80s, NASA built a fully bio-sealed home model—the kind of thing you might need to live in if you decided to move to Mars. But, to make this “space house” functional, the home had to be made entirely of synthetic products. People who entered the facility started to complain about sore eyes and breathing problems right away. The last thing anyone wants is for their home to make them sick! So NASA added some air-cleaning plants and did a study. Within just a few days, people could enter the facility without symptoms.  

Why was this so effective? Plants breathe, just like we do, but their “breathing” process is called transpiration. When they take in the air with toxic chemical particles, those chemicals are pulled down into their root systems. Bacteria and beneficial microbes in the soil can feed on these toxins, and in turn, keep the plants healthy. So, in addition to consuming carbon dioxide, some houseplants remove toxins and put out clean and healthy oxygen. Plus, plants can help reduce stress levels and improve your mood.

NASA’s study included 12 different houseplants, but these are our top 5 favorites:

  1. Areca Palm, or Butterfly palm, is a pretty palm with big frondy leaves. They’re often grown in clumps of several stalks that resemble bamboo. Areca palm does require a lot of light, but it can’t handle much direct sunshine. They’ll do best near a south or west-facing window with a sheer curtain to protect them from direct sun. Palms need good drainage and are vulnerable to overwatering, so let the top of the soil dry before watering again.

  1. Rubber plants are an easy houseplant to grow. Their large, waxy leaves are minimalist and architectural. It likes lots of bright light and can handle morning sun, though they should be shaded during the hottest part of the day. Rubber plant likes evenly moist soil, so don’t forget to water this one regularly.
  2. Janet Craig Dracaena has broad, glossy green leaves. It can tolerate lower light situations, although if it doesn’t have enough light, the new leaves will be much narrower than others. This dracaena likes evenly moist soil, but good drainage. It will suffer if overwatered, but if the tips start to get brown, go ahead and water it a tad more often. 

  1. Philodendron is super easy to grow and can also tolerate relatively low-light. Its heart-shaped leaves look beautiful on its long, trailing vines. There are several different varieties of philodendron available, and they’re all pretty tough. They do need good drainage, and the top of the soil should be dry before you water.
  2. Dwarf date palm has arching fronds densely packed with narrow leaves. This unique palm does very well indoors and can tolerate quite low light. It’s an excellent choice for offices. During spring and summer, the soil should be kept evenly moist, and during the winter months, the surface should dry out a bit.

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Adding houseplants to your home give it a welcoming feel, and having plants around makes us happier, not to mention all that wonderful oxygen production! If you’d like to add some houseplants to your home, give us a call. You can order online, or give us a call for concierge shopping. We’ll get everything you need ready, from plants to pots to soil, and arrange for curbside pickup. Alternatively, we can now deliver to you within the Des Moines metro area. 

 

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How to Create a Meditation Room with Houseplants

Meditation and mindfulness are habits that can help us relax, lower stress and blood pressure, and give us a little escape from our daily frustrations. If you haven’t meditated before, there’s no time like the present to get started. 

Meditation for Beginners

Not sure how to meditate? It can be helpful to set up a designated space that feels calming and relaxing for you. If you’ve got an extra room, it can be nice to set it up as a designated meditation space. However, even if you don’t have a whole room to dedicate to your meditation practice, you can set up a small space somewhere in your home that is reserved for calm, quiet reflection. 

Learning to meditate doesn’t have to be scary or intimidating. There are several apps and websites available, many of them free, that can guide you through the process of learning to meditate. Many meditation apps have beginner programs with guided meditations that you can listen to whenever you feel like you need a break. 

Creating a Meditation Room 

Before setting up your meditation room, choose a space that has a simple, non-distracting view. It can be nice to have a window that looks out onto a green space, or a calming piece of art, or even a blank wall. Aim for a space with calming colors, like pale blues, greens, grays, or tans. Vibrant colors can be quite jarring and can make it hard to focus and calm your thoughts.

Choose a seat for your meditation space. Select something that feels comfortable to you. Meditation doesn’t have to happen while cross-legged on the hard floor. It is good to sit with good upright posture if you can, so choose a chair or cushion that is fairly comfortable and promotes good posture.

Add some calming elements to your space to remind you to relax. Lighting can help create a sense of calm in your meditation space. Usually, dimmer light on the warm side of the color spectrum is more calming, but you can use any lighting option that makes you feel most at ease. Candles, string lights, and fairy lights are great options. 

Using Houseplants in Your Design

Houseplants are a perfect addition to a meditation space. They can give you a sense of calm and a connection to nature. Plants with beautiful leaves can also be used as a bit of a screen to provide you with some privacy. If you don’t have a separate room, but you do have large potted plants, you can set a few around your chosen space to create separation from the rest of the room. 

If you have smaller plants and a small bookcase, you can use the bookcase as a small wall to give your space some privacy. Line up some plants along the top of the bookcase to create that connection with nature while giving yourself a privacy screen. 

If you like aromatherapy, consider adding scented plants to your meditation room, like jasmine, scented geraniums, or herbs. If you don’t have scented houseplants, you can use other aromatherapy options in your space as well. 

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Find yourself a quiet space that you can retreat to for meditating in your home, and make it a comfortable and calming space with houseplants, candles, and items that are special to you. Setting up a small space dedicated to self-care is a great way to ease anxiety and stress levels, and help find some peace in your days. If you’d like to add some houseplants to your new space, remember that our garden center has online and concierge shopping available, as well as curbside pickup or free local delivery for orders of $50 or more within the Des Moines metro area.

 

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Repotting: The Signs To Watch For And How To Do It

Repotting houseplants seems like a pretty straightforward task, and we’re often tempted to repot our new plants as soon as we get them home. However, repotting can be a somewhat traumatic experience for plants, and some are more sensitive to this disruption than others. The journey from the garden center to your home is quite an adjustment for your plants, and they should be given a little time to rest before repotting.

When Should I Repot My Houseplants?

Repotting houseplants is best done when the plants are actively growing, which happens from April through August here in Iowa. After this time, plants go dormant, and repotting should be avoided unless the plant is showing signs of being severely rootbound. If you’ve brought a new houseplant home, give it about 3-5 days to rest and adjust to its new environment before you repot it.

A Bigger Plant Pot is Not Always Better

Overplanting is a common problem with houseplants. Overplanting happens when plants are repotted into containers that are too large, leaving a small root system sitting in a large volume of potting soil. This contributes to over watering problems and can cause poor root development and root rot. Most plants like to be potted in smaller containers, and it’s okay for them to be a little rootbound. We recommend sizing up no more than one size from the current pot. This is usually done in 2” increments for pot sizes.

If you are planting a plant that prefers specific conditions, like an orchid, it may need a specialized container. Orchid containers have large holes in the side of the pot for extra air circulation around the roots. 
   


What Type of Soil Should I Use?

Most houseplants will benefit from a good quality potting mix; there are even a few available designed specifically for certain houseplants. 

Some plants, like orchids and cacti, definitely need specialty mixes. Orchid potting mix and cactus mix are both free draining, but they feature very different types of materials. Planting orchids or succulents in other media can cause disease and root rot problems from overwatering.

How Do I Deal with Rootbound Plants?

When you remove your plant out of the old container, you will often see tangled roots. When you see more roots than soil, it means the plant is rootbound or potbound. In some cases, this can require an intervention. When repotting, it’s crucial to separate these roots before planting in the new pot. Very gently, pull some of the roots apart and untangle them from each other. Take out as much of the old soil as you can at the same time. You will break some roots while you’re doing this, but that’s okay. Some broken roots will encourage the plant to grow new roots (however, orchids are an exception to this rule). Carefully place the plant roots into the new pot prepared with a layer of fresh orchid mix at the bottom, and backfill around and over the roots. Leave about half an inch of space between the lip of the pot and the top of the soil line to allow room for watering.  

 

Orchids Are The Exception

Some specialized plants have their own rules that need to be followed using the example above. Orchid roots don’t grow the way other plants do, so do your best not to damage or break any of the roots while repotting—be very delicate. Orchids also like to have some air roots, so leave some of them exposed. 

Repotting After Care Tips

Tropicals and foliage plants should be soaked deeply right after repotting. 

Cacti should not have their watering schedule adjusted when repotted—place them in the new pot and don’t water them until they’re due for a drink. 

Should I Fertilize After Repotting?

It may be tempting to break out the fertilizer after repotting. However, it’s best to wait at least a month before fertilizing. Fresh potting soil is loaded with the nutrients your plant needs to get a good head start on growing new roots, so fertilizer shouldn’t be required for up to 3 months depending on your mix.

Whatever you need for repotting your houseplants this spring, we’ve got you covered. Stop by our garden center today, and we’ll send you home with everything you need to make repotting as trauma-free as possible for your houseplants. 

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If you’re looking to add some exotic, strange, or straight-up strange-looking plants to your home, stop by our garden center. We’ve got plenty of weird and wonderful houseplants for you to discover! 

 

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5 Houseplants with the Most Amazing Leaves

It’s always exciting to bring a new houseplant home. But if you’re tired of the same old plain green leaves, why not look for something more exotic the next time you shop for indoor plants? There are plenty of intriguing species we can grow indoors with unique leaves packed with personality! Here are a few of our favorite striking indoor plants for Iowa

Fittonia, often called Nerve Plants, are dramatic in more ways than one. They have striking dark green leaves with bright red or white veins. They’re beautiful to look at, and they can tolerate fairly low-light situations. However, they’re very dramatic about being watered. If you let their soil dry, they’ll wilt and collapse as if the world has ended. Luckily, it hasn’t (unless you leave them like that for days on end!). Give them a thorough soaking, and they’ll perk back up within a few hours like nothing ever happened.

Lithops, often called Living Stones, are an unusual family of succulents that actually look like rocks! They’re native to very dry areas of southern Africa, and some even survive in areas that get less than 2″ of rain each year. They stay small and low-profile, and they can go months without water. However, they do need full direct sunlight for a minimum of 5 hours per day. A bit of extra shade in the heat of the afternoon is helpful. 

The warning to NOT overwater these guys is super important. Lithops are dormant for spring and summer, so don’t water them then unless the leaves start to shrivel. At that time, only offer a small amount, just enough to moisten the top of the soil. They start growing again in August or September, and plants that are at least three years old may bloom in the fall, producing cute little spiky flowers. 

In the fall, you can give them one deep watering, but make sure they have good drainage. Cactus soil is ideal, as it prevents them from staying wet for very long. Stop watering altogether by the end of September. They grow through the winter, but they need the soil to be very dry to complete their growing cycle. Do not be tempted to water if the old leaves start to shrivel; this is a normal part of their growth and reproduction process.

Staghorn Ferns have recently become more popular for their large leaves that look like moose antlers. Staghorns are epiphytic, which means that in the wild, they attach themselves to other plants and don’t grow in soil. They do best when mounted on a hanging platform of some sort, or in a hanging wire or mesh basket with little to no soil. An orchid bark mix would be well suited for staghorn. 

So, how do you water a staghorn? There are two primary ways to make sure your fern is getting enough moisture. They like humidity, so if your home is dry, you may need to mist even once per day during the driest parts of the year. The higher the humidity in the area, the less frequently you’ll need to mist or water. 

The second watering method is to soak the roots. You can dunk the entire root ball into a bowl or sink of room temperature water for a minute or two. You’ll have to pay attention to your fern to figure out how it likes to be watered. Fronds beginning to go black or brown at the base means it’s getting overwatered. Wilty fronds with brown tips are telling you the plant needs a bit more frequent watering.

Sensitive Plant has leaves that may not be that exciting to look at from a distance, but they are truly fascinating when you get closer. Kids and adults alike love to interact with this plant, because as soon as you touch its tiny leaves, they fold up and move away from your finger, only to reopen a few minutes later. This amazing reaction is a defense mechanism to keep the plant from being eaten by herbivores. Don’t touch it too often, though, as the constant folding/unfolding is stressful and weakens the plant.

The sensitive plant likes bright light, with some direct sun in the morning and high humidity. It is poisonous, so keep the plant out of reach of kids and pets and watch closely when allowing kids to interact with the leaves. Let the top of the soil dry before watering again, but don’t ever let the whole pot dry out completely. Sensitive plants can benefit from a few applications of all-purpose houseplant fertilizer during its growing season. 

Mother of 1000s is a variety of kalanchoe. Its thick triangular leaves propagate little baby plantlets all along the edges. This is another succulent species, so it needs excellent drainage; cactus soil is best. In the tropics, Mother of 1000’s can become invasive because the babies simply drop off when they’re ready and can quickly fill in an area. 

Mother of 1000’s likes plenty of indirect light, so they should be close to a window with a sheer curtain to protect the plant from direct sunlight. Thanks to its succulent leaves, it doesn’t need to be watered too frequently. Allow the top 2 inches of soil to dry out before watering. 

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If you’re looking to add some exotic, strange, or straight-up strange-looking plants to your home, stop by our garden center. We’ve got plenty of weird and wonderful houseplants for you to discover! 

 

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Decoding Houseplant Fertilizer: What, When, & How Much

It may seem like fertilizing your houseplants is too complicated, so it’s just easier to skip it. However, fertilizer is the only way for houseplants to get the nutrients they need in their small, controlled environments. Since houseplants are kept in pots, soil nutrients don’t get replenished in the soil the way it does outdoors. By leaving fertilizing out of your houseplant maintenance routine, you may be missing out on the true potential of your favorite plants!

As we head into spring in Iowa, it’s the perfect time to start thinking about giving your houseplants a boost as they begin to come out of their winter rest period.

What is in Fertilizer?

Fertilizer is most commonly a mix of nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K). The amounts of each of these nutrients are called the NPK ratio. They’re commonly seen on fertilizer packaging as numeric ratios, like 10-10-10, or 6-12-4. Most fertilizers also include trace amounts of other minerals and nutrients that your plants need. Most houseplants do best with a balanced (i.e., 10-10-10 or 20-20-20) fertilizer specifically designed for houseplants, or a formula with a higher nitrogen number. But, houseplants that flower need a fertilizer with a higher phosphorus number to support blooming. Some of the more finicky bloomers, like African Violets, have specific fertilizers formulated just for them. Higher nitrogen promotes more greenery and lush leaves, high phosphorus promotes more blooms.

 


What Type of Fertilizer is Best?

There are so many fertilizer options available, it can be hard to decide on the right one. We recommend two guidelines when choosing fertilizer:

  1. Make sure it says on the packaging that it’s specifically for houseplants.
  2. Consider an organic brand if possible.

The reason for these guidelines is that fertilizer for outdoor plants or lawns has different ratios of nutrients and minerals because indoor and outdoor plants have different nutrient needs. 

We recommend organic fertilizers because they’re healthier for your plant’s soil, and our planet, in the long term. Organic fertilizers are created from organic compounds in things like seaweed, compost, or worm castings. Synthetic fertilizers are often created from inorganic compounds that are a byproduct of the petroleum industry. These products deliver nutrients, but that’s where the benefits end. Organic products give your plants and soil a boost by adding organic matter that helps to repair nutrient-depleted soil, along with beneficial microbes that contribute to healthier soil over time. 

If you do prefer synthetic fertilizers, we recommend Scott’s Osmocote for houseplants. It comes in a pellet form that dissolves slowly, and you only need to use more every four months. It makes fertilizing houseplants super quick and simple. 

The organic fertilizer line we recommend is Espoma. Espoma’s products are of excellent quality, and they have a variety of different organic fertilizer options, including easy-to-use liquid formulas. 

 


How to Fertilizer Your Houseplants

Here are a few essential tips to remember when you fertilize your houseplants.

  • Only fertilize during the growing season (once you start seeing signs of new growth, or in mid-March), avoid fertilizing your houseplants in winter.
  • Be conservative in the spring and fall and dilute the fertilizer to half the recommended strength.
  • Taper off fertilizer applications. Starting in mid-August, diluting to half-strength again, and fertilizing less frequently.
  • Liquid fertilizers should usually be applied every 2 weeks. Always water plants with plain water before applying liquid fertilizer.
  • Granular fertilizers are usually applied once a month.
  • Slow-release fertilizers are usually applied once every 4 months.
  • Some fertilizers can be applied as a spray to the leaves, check the bottle for instructions.

We don’t recommend fertilizing succulents and cacti. It can be tricky to make sure they get the right amount, and too much fertilizer might kill them!

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Fertilizing your houseplants is pretty simple, and it’s not something to avoid. Your houseplants will thank you for feeding them with healthy, vigorous growth during their growing season! If you’ve got any questions at all, stop by our garden center and ask our expert staff. We can help you figure out which product is best for you and explain how to use it.