Houseplant Care Series: Water & Humidity

Houseplant Care Series: Water & Humidity

While MOST indoor plants need water about once a week, it can vary depending on how old the plant’s root system is, what kind of container/pot it is in, where the plant is placed in your home (and how much sunlight/heat it gets), and also what variety of houseplant it is. Plants placed in a window will get dry faster than those exposed to less direct sunlight.

How do I know my plants need watering? 

Check to see if the soil looks dry, then stick your finger into the soil just about an inch (or to the first joint of your finger) to see if the soil feels moist. While plants should become a little dry between watering, don’t let the plant wilt, that’s way too dry!

Don’t want to get dirt under your fingernails? 

Use a moisture meter to check the moisture level of your plant.  This handy gadget immediately tells you if your soil is dry, moist or wet.  Click here to see how easy and simple it is to tell when your plants need watering.

How do I water my plants?

Use a long-spout watering can to reach all sides of your pot with ease (and to avoid spills). Saturate the soil around each plant with water and continue adding until it begins to run out the drainage hole on the bottom of the pot. Let the plant drain, then dump the excess water from the saucer.

Quick Tip: If the potting mix you use dries out too much, it won’t hold water properly, so the moisture immediately runs out the drainage hole and is not absorbed. If this happens, add the water slowly, giving the potting mix a chance to absorb the moisture.

Benefits of misting my plants?

Because so many houseplants originated from jungles and areas with moist air, they do best when the humidity level is between 30-40% humidity – enough to make your hair frizz! For plants that really need a little extra moisture, misting can be a great way to provide that extra water.

Using tepid (not hot, but not cold) water, mist your humidity-loving houseplants in the morning – so the leaves can dry out during the day. You’ll want to mist on the tops and undersides of the leaves, leaving a ‘dewy’ look to them when you’re done. Some plants can be misted daily, while others only need it once or twice a week. Make sure to research your new houseplant addition to find out what schedule applies to you!

Increasing Humidity for your plant. 

MOST plants thrive in high humidity environments; however, most homes are usually VERY dry in comparison to the outside air.

Here’s the best way to combat this: Place a tray or saucer under your houseplants and fill it with pebbles. Then, add water until the water line is just below the top of the pebbles (not more than this, you don’t want to keep the plant’s ‘feet’ wet) As the water evaporates, it will increase the humidity level around the plant.

Fall Container Ideas

Fall Container Ideas

Fall is an excellent time to show off your seasonal favorites like mums, pansies, violas, and flowering kale or cabbage. Play with colorful and dynamic combos of perennials, annuals and grasses to create stunning containers.

Photo Credit: Southern Living
Photo Credit: Southern Living

Use solid colored Pansies in orange and velvety black to make the perfect Hallow’s Eve arrangement. Place in a black or silver container for a super spooky addition to your front porch Jack O’Lanterns.

Photo Credit: Southern Living

Use a variety of colorful Pansies as a filler against an evergreen, like an Arborvitae or a Blue Point Juniper, with a classical ivy, like English Ivy for a formal arrangement.

Photo Credit: Southern Living

Use different varieties of Dianthus to create a full container – pair with a neutral pot to really show off the bold colors.

Photo Credit: Southern Living

Make a MUM-KIN! Cut out the top of a pumpkin and plant your favorite fall Mum. Use orange or yellow for a consistent color scheme or add pink or purple for a deep contrast against the orange of your pumpkin!

Photo Credit: Southern Living

Strawberry Jar Planters can be used in more ways than one! Plant Violas in different shades for an incredible ‘spill’ effect.

Photo Credit: Southern Living

Create a sunny disposition, even in fall! Plant yellow Pansies (with and without a ‘face’) to create a trio of gold on your porch. Add a fountain grass for a ‘thriller’ to really draw attention!

Photo Credit: Southern Living

Have stairs leading up to your home? Create a stair-step quattro of planters with Violas. Use different style pots with the same variety of Violas to create a stunning look on your stairs!

Photo Credit: Southern Living

Have fun with Succulents in fall too! Just like our Mum-kin (pictured above) plant succulents in pumpkins and spray paint the pumpkins in neutral tones to make these desert gems stand out.

Houseplant Care Series: All About Light & Sun

Houseplant Care Series: All About Light & Sun

While all plants need light, the amount of the light they each need varies. This depends on where the plant originally came from, for example, most houseplants are natives of the jungle floor that have evolved to thrive on filtered light (like the light that makes its way through jungle canopies).  Light-sensitive houseplants may develop scorched leaves in bright light.

East- and west-facing windows generally receive partial sun and work well for plants that don’t need as much light. Darker locations that face north are best for low-light plants or closet plants.

Here are some key ways to tell if your plant is getting too much, or too little sunlight:

Too LITTLE Sunlight

  • The plant dramatically starts to lean towards the light.
  • Lower and/or interior leaves on the plants simply fall off.
  • Leaves curl upwards.
  • New growth is much smaller than original leaves and may have less color.
  • Plants grow spindly with elongated stems.
  • Flowering plants stop producing blooms.

Too MUCH Sunlight

  • The plant develops brown or sunburned spots on its leaves.
  • Leaves begin to yellow and fall.
  • Plants with colorful foliage will begin to fade.
  • The entire plant looks scorched.
6 Uses for Ornamental Grass

6 Uses for Ornamental Grass

Late summer and Fall is the time Ornamental Grasses put on their show.  Now is the time while to pick out your favorites to add to your landscape.

6 reasons to use Ornamental Grasses

  1. These graceful plants sway in the breeze bringing movement to any area.
  2. Dwarf varieties can be used in landscape beds or in larger mixed containers.
  3. Large varieties (Pampas, Peppermint Stick) create a good screen or accent plants along fence lines, drives or large entrance ways.
  4. The plumage in late Summer and Autumn add color and interest to your yard when other plants have finished blooming.
  5. Once established they are fairly drought resistant and are not water hogs like blooming shrubs.
  6. Their upright growth habit along with their interesting colors (stripes, variegated blades) add a different texture and shape to your landscape.
When Should I Take Down My Hummingbird Feeder?

When Should I Take Down My Hummingbird Feeder?

This is a question that has 2 very different and distinct answers:

  1. Take the feeders down by mid-September
  2. Leave the feeders up until 2 weeks after you have seen the last hummer in the Fall.

Which is right? That is for you to decide for yourself, but here is the thinking behind each one.

Take the feeders down by mid-September so the hummers will leave on their migration and not stay too long because there is still an adequate food source. 

This theory is based around the birds leaving due to a dwindling food source. When the summer flowers begin to wane and there is less nectar for them to eat it triggers them to start their migration. 

If feeders are left out, this continues to give them a food source that they will rely on too long resulting in a late start to migration or worse yet not migrating at all. Birds who stay don’t make it through the winter since there is no natural food source for them.

Leave the feeders up until 2 weeks after you have seen the last hummer in the Fall so migrating birds can stop and refuel on their migration.

Scientists say that the birds leave not because of a lack of food source but because of their internal biological calendar. The shortening length of daylight in autumn triggers the hormones that cause hummingbirds to migrate. The birds become restless and the urge to migrate becomes too strong to ignore.

By leaving out feeders through September it gives them “refueling stops” on the way south.What to do? That depends upon who you talk to and what makes the most sense to you. Weigh in on your perspective, send us your thoughts by replying to the email.

6 Mistakes Homeowners Make

6 Mistakes Homeowners Make

That Landscapers HATE to Fix

Overplanting

While more MAY be better in some cases, it’s not better to have more in your landscape. Not spacing out your plants and over-filling them may offer instant gratification for the first year your new plants are in the ground, but in two years, your plants will begin to die because they’re fighting for space and nutrients. This common mistake is a HUGE WASTE of time and money.

HINT: Fill in empty spots with annual flowers until your shrubs mature!

Not Knowing Your Landscape’s Needs

You’ll want to have an idea of what your yard requires and then choose plants that fit those requirements. How much direct sunlight does your yard get daily? Is your soil clay-based, sandy, or rocky? Are there any water restrictions? Are there drainage issues? Knowing the answers to these questions can help you make the best choices for your landscape. There is NO REASON not to research and learn more about the plants you are putting in your landscape. Planting shade plants in sun, or sun plants in shade is an inexcusable snafu in any landscape.

Starting Without A Plan

Don’t go to a Garden Center with a “my heart will guide me” mentality. This will lead to over purchasing and a major loss of money. You’ll also run into issues during your landscape install that could’ve been solved by planning ahead.

Not Paying Attention To The Style Of Your House

Your landscape should complement your home and increase your curb appeal! Different landscape styles work better aesthetically, so always use the look and structure of your house when deciding on garden bed shapes (i.e. A farmhouse-style home won’t work with a formal landscape). Unsure where to start?

HINT: Use a garden hose to help aid in the process of figuring out the shape of each bed; lay out the hose on the ground and use it as your guide, it’s soft and can follow the curves of your house, leading to perfect garden bed shapes.

Planting Too Close To Your Home

When planting, you must bear in mind that bushes, trees and plants WILL get bigger! Where you plant them is SO important – typically, leaving a minimum of 1-3 feet between your plants and your house. Ignoring how large a tree or bush will get can lead to walkway, sidewalk and foundation damage – or, even worse, it can rot your siding, allowing moisture and bugs to creep into your home. Not cool.

Relying On Pinterest To Do Your Landscape

It is SO EASY to get excited and jump into a project when you scroll through Pinterest. HOWEVER, you need to keep in mind the time, resources, and money that go into the ‘simple’ photos you see online. While it can be helpful for ideas, you have to get real about where you and your yard are located zone-wise and how much the project will cost overall.

Monarch Migration

Monarch Migration

We touched on the monarch arrival back in our last newsletter, as this annual migration is a unique and amazing phenomenon in North America. The monarch butterfly is the ONLY butterfly known to make a two-way migration like birds do! Some fly as far as 3,000 miles to reach their wintertime home.

1Where are they headed, anyway? Monarchs in Eastern North America have a second home in the Sierra Madre Mountains in Mexico. These monarchs fly south using several different flyways, and then merge into one HUGE single flyway in Central Texas. It is truly amazing that these monarchs know the way to the overwintering sites even though this migrating generation has never been to Mexico!

As for those worried about the monarch population size – don’t fret! Chip Taylor of www.monarchwatch.org says that they are expecting a reasonably robust population to migrate south this fall. To aid in this effort of protecting and ensuring a successful trip, monarch waystations have been set up along the migration route – 25,131 waystations to be exact – with Texas holding the number one spot with 2,110 monarch waystations! These waystations hold a variety of milkweeds and nectar sources for these travelers to feast on.

Want to track the monarchs?

It’s super easy! Just visit journeynorth.org to see a live map of Adult Monarch Sightings throughout the country. Here’s what the sightings look like as we write this article:

2

Amazing, isn’t it?