Growing Succulents Indoors

Growing Succulents Indoors

For more than eleven years I have been growing succulents. Yes, even before they were on the cover of every household magazine in the supermarket! Growing succulents indoors is one area that is particularly challenging, but also oh-so-gratifying. The folks at SucculentMarket.com sent me a box of succulents specifically for indoors. I truly think plant selection is one of the keys to growing succulents indoors successfully. Look through any gardening website, decorating magazine or go crazy on Pinterest to see the designs and uses for this group of plants. From containers to wreaths to temporary installations, succulents have compelling shapes and colors that make them ideal for a wide range of displays.  This article will provide concepts for basic care and design uses that can easily be incorporated into your home and will flourish in low light levels. Haworthia zebrina Care for Succulents Indoors Not surprisingly, succulents will require less frequent watering than most interior plants. Plants that are continually overwatered will be prone to rot, disease and a general decrease in plant vigor. I like to maintain succulents by monitoring the turgidity, or the stiffness of the leaves.  Turgidity is the plant having ample water to keep the leaves full or turgid, resulting in the swollen and dense feeling of a healthy plant.  When succulents first experience water stress the leaves will be slightly soft, indicating that the plant needs water. So go ahead and give those leaves a little squeeze! It will help you determine when you should water– by the plant’s needs and not a calendar. Soil for Succulents To keep plants dry, good drainage is key for long-lived succulents. I do not recommend special cactus or succulent mixes as necessary if watering can be closely monitored.  A high quality, lightweight potting soil does well if plants are to be permanently installed.  In my experience, adding generous amounts of Turface, or calcined clay mix, will help to maintain a very light soil well also increasing drainage.  For some reason, the pervasive habit is to add sand to soil, resulting is a very heavy and dense mix that is detrimental to succulent health. Additionally, the very fibrous, small root systems of succulents makes them ideal for dropping the pot into existing container displays. Fairy’s Washboard Plant, Haworthia limifolia Plant Selection The variety of jewel-toned succulents that are available can be mesmerizing. From oranges and chartreuse to deep purples and reds, there is a variety of succulent for almost color of the rainbow.  Almost all of these will succeed given high level light conditions and low humidity.  But what if you have less than ideal conditions?  Low light levels can be challenging, and under these conditions it is hard to maintain the deep oranges and yellows of many of these plants.  So it may be worthwhile to consider some of the other very architectural succulents that can tolerate low light. Succulents that tolerate low light levels include Haworthia, Gasteria, Sedum, Aloes and even Kalanchoes. The folks at SucculentMarket.com have even put together an assortment perfect for your dark apartment. These varieties will thrive in darker areas, making them ideal for inside the home.  These plants will maintain their growth and serve as long term plants. Gasteria Take time to consider adding a top dressing to your plants.  Whether in containers or in larger plantings, this will help to keep the plants clean and also set off  designs.  Are you looking for a more contemporary look? Polished pebbles keep the clean lines you are looking to achieve. Tumbled glass, stone, and seashells are a few options to complete your look with a very professional appearance. Given the popularity of succulents, succeeding with these plants is a trend that you can achieve. Haworthia...
3 Sure Fire Ways To Make Your Garden More Sustainable

3 Sure Fire Ways To Make Your Garden More Sustainable

If you are an avid gardener, the chances are that you are also a bit of an eco-warrior. However, it can be challenging to create a bountiful garden full of flora and fauna without some pesticide usage to manage pests or without utilizing plenty of water during long hot summers. If you are keen to make your garden more eco-friendly, you need to look at recycling materials, reusing items, and reducing your wastage. Take a look at these 3 sure fire ways to make your garden more sustainable. Go Organic Organic food has seen a surge in popularity recently, as people are more keen than ever to know what exactly goes into the food and meals. Going organic can be challenging if you are used to using manmade fertilizer to encourage rapid growth for your tomatoes, butternut squash, and brassicas. If you want to go organic, think about generating your own compost. Your food waste from meals such as cooked veg, banana skins, and apple peels, can mulch down to create a beneficial organic feed. This also saves your food waste from going to landfill, having a larger sustainable impact on your wider lifestyle.  And don’t forget to water your plants regularly. The better the watering regime that you have in place, the more consistent growth you will see in your vegetables and plants. Don’t always use the mains water from your home. Consider installing one of the many poly water tanks available to collect rainwater that you can then reuse to design an irrigation routine for your planting. Think Of Your Flowers To help out the wildlife in your local area, consider setting aside a section of your garden and dedicating it to wildflowers. Many flowers such as honeysuckles and clovers are great to attract pollinators like bees. Bees are endangered across the globe, so giving them the chance to collect nectar within your garden will allow you to do your bit for insects and bugs. Other flowers and trees will attract birds and mammals, such as hedgehogs, foxes and badgers. If you plant some wild grasses and barleys, these longer grasses will form a great habitat for fox families and badger setts. Stop Using Power Tools That powerful leaf blower or petrol mower can cause untold damage to the environment, producing toxic fumes that damage the atmosphere. Rather than contribute to this, look for alternatives. While it may take a little longer, sweeping up the leaves in your garden can be a greener way to clear your lawn. You can also reconnect to nature in a more calm and gentle way. Many mowers are now electric, running off a solar-powered battery. While they were once substandard to their petrol counterparts, they now have the power and battery life to rival the most gas-guzzling machines. Forget about creating a garden merely for aesthetics and image. As a gardener, you should be showing off your green-fingered credentials. Look to the functionality of your garden and make it sustainable and...
A Simple Guide To Removing Pests From Your Garden

A Simple Guide To Removing Pests From Your Garden

Picture Are you worried about planting a new garden this summer because you tend to have lots of pests in your local area? Do you want to avoid wasting money on plants and flowers only to discover bugs and insects are eating them? Then take a few minutes to read this post, and put some of the advice to good use.  At the end of the day, there are always going to be some pests you won’t catch. However, there is also a lot you can do to protect your plant life and ensure the chances of pests becoming a significant problem are slim.  Use organic pesticides Many people are concerned about using pesticides in their garden for good reason as you can learn if you click here or online. The chemicals used in some solutions can be harmful to humans, and they could also damage your outdoor space. Thankfully, there are lots of organic pesticides on the market these days that are much safer than the alternatives, and so you just need to select the right one for you.  Take some time to read online reviews, and check forum posts from avid gardeners for tips and advice too. In most instances, you only have to use the pesticide once or twice to keep those unwanted creatures away from your beautiful plants and flowers. So, it’s not a time-consuming job, but it could make all the difference.  Invest in a mole repellent Lots of people have issues with moles in their gardens and vegetable patches, and that is especially the case if you live near to farms or open land. There are hundreds of different ways folks will tell you to get rid of moles, and many of them will not produce the desired results.  Still, you can read here or search online to learn more about specialist products that will get rid of moles without damaging the environment or causing any harm to the creature. Sound waves are a useful tool for encouraging small animals and rodents to move away from an area, and there are some fantastic sonic mole repeller products available these days.  Check for infested plants Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, you need to keep a close eye on all the plants in your garden. If one flower becomes infested with pests, it will only take a couple of days for them to breed and spread to everything else in your garden.  As with the recent pandemic, quarantine is usually the best solution. Remove the infected plant from your garden and either destroy it or place it somewhere far away from everything else. That should assist in preventing an outbreak before it has a chance to take hold.  Use the advice from this page during the next few months, and you should manage to keep those unwanted pests and critters far away from your flower beds and lawn. Of course, new products hit the market every day, and so it’s always worth speaking to experts at your local garden centre if you have any concerns or struggle to produce the desired results. They won’t mind pointing you in the right...
Repotting Orchids: Oncidiums

Repotting Orchids: Oncidiums

I’m long overdue to spend some time repotting orchids. Don’t believe me? Just look at this poor oncidium orchid! It “jumped” off the shelf last year breaking the pot, the roots are growing everywhere, and I haven’t done a darn thing about it. Until today. I know I should be embarrassed by this, and I am, slightly! Just look at all of these roots growing out in the air! I laughed at the fact that when we were in Florida I grew my orchids in trees so I never had to repot any of them! My first step was to remove this massive plant from its (broken) pot. It came out fairly easily and left me with a few decisions for repotting orchids. Options for repotting orchids: Leave the entire plant as one and find a larger pot. For oncidiums only, I have the option to cut and split to two pots.Remove older pseudobulbs (the bulbous section at the bottom of the leaf) and keep in a similar sized pot. I decided to use a sharp knife to cut this into two parts. They are not even, but there seemed to be a natural break in here where I wouldn’t have to cut much. I used fresh orchid bark in the bottom of the pot and to hold these orchids in place. Orchids do not use potting soil. I know this seems obvious to some, but trust me this is apparently not common sense. I chose pots that were just large enough to jam the plants in and get a little bit of bark around the outside. Orchids like to be pot bound, so there isn’t a benefit to increasing the size more than necessary. I tucked the roots down in the orchid bark a little bit to help encourage them to grow in there. I have a feeling the previous pine bark was so broken down that they weren’t getting enough air in there before. I left them sitting a little big high to make sure they have the oxygen they need and that the pseudobulbs are visible. This plant hasn’t flowered in a couple of years and hopefully the time spent repotting orchids will change that this...
Candling call duck eggs

Candling call duck eggs

Candling call duck eggs is just like candling eggs of any type, except more exciting because they are call duck eggs! I get a few questions about how to know if eggs are still good or not, especially if a duck gets off of her nest. The best way to tell is to candle the eggs by shining a bright light through them. This can be done with a special candler or even just by using the light on your cell phone. This photo shows me using the built in candling light on my Nature Right 360 incubator. I can tell you that I definitely look at my eggs a lot more than I ever have with this because it’s right there and so darn easy to just take a little peak! This egg is just 5 days along. I couldn’t resist. Now if you don’t see any veins or anything at this point DO NOT THROW IT OUT. This is a very early stage and it is best to wait until 10 days to decide if any eggs haven’t been fertilized. Have you ever seen a developing call duck egg move while candling it? It’s pretty cool. This short video shows what it looks like. Yes, it’s on TikTok 🙂 The folks at Metzer Farms have put together a great example of what you should see from day 1 through 28. You can find their excellent photos of candling call duck eggs here. Is there anything specific you want to know on this topic? Leave me a question and I will do my best to...
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