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22 Aug 2019

Why Does My ZZ Plant Have Yellow Leaves? [LEARN WHY]


Zamioculcas zamiifolia or the ZZ plant is a remarkably easy-care plant similar to cacti, succulents, or orchids when it comes to care.

These plants like a light, airy, breathable growing medium and they cannot tolerate wet feet.

Unlike orchids, succulents, and cacti, the ZZ plants thrives in low light settings.

You’ll have very few problems with this plant, but yellowing leaves are a common symptom which will tell you when problems are present.

There are several reasons why the leaves of your ZZ plant may begin to turn yellow.

In this article, we review the causes of this common problem and share advice to help you avoid or treat it. Read on to learn more.


Overwatering

When you overwater ZZ plants, as with most plants, root rot may ensue.

When this happens, the roots can no longer uptake nourishment properly, and this causes yellow leaves.

To determine whether overwatering is the cause of your problem, simply check your soil.

If you poke your finger into the top inch of soil, and it is wet, overwatering is likely to be your problem.

To water your ZZ’s correctly, you should allow the top 1” inch of growth medium to dry completely.

Pour water through the soil just as you would with a cactus or succulent.

Don’t allow the plant to stand in water for any significant period.

Be sure to tip any excess water out of the plant’s drainage saucer.


Under-Watering

Even though drought-resistant ZZ plants don’t need a lot of water, they do need some!

If you have neglected your plant for an extremely long time and the soil has become completely dry, your plant will suffer and will let you know with yellow leaves.

Soil feeling dry to the touch and a pot feeling abnormally light when you lift it indicates a need for water.

Give your plants a good soaking, but don’t fertilize excessively dry soil.

If you want to provide fertilizer, wait until the next appropriate watering time and use a diluted (half strength) solution.


What Is The Right Amount Of Water for A ZZ Plant?

It’s not possible to recommend a precise schedule because every situation and the setting is different.

The amount you will need to water your plant depends a great deal on some factors including:

  • Air Circulation
  • Temperature
  • Container
  • Humidity
  • Light
  • Soil

The more light, heat, and air circulation your plant receives, the more water it will need.

Dimly lit, humid; still settings will require less water.

If the soil you are using is heavier than is ideal, your plant will need less moisture.

If you have an ideal, light, airy substrate for your plant, you’ll need to water a little more often.

Generally speaking, weekly watering during the plants growing season (spring, summer, and autumn) and twice-monthly watering during the winter should be all right.


Improper Nutrition Can Cause Yellowing Leaves

Zamioculcas is hardy and undemanding, but they do need a bit of fertilizer from time-to-time.

Choose a water-soluble, balanced houseplant fertilizer and mix it up at half strength.

Apply it no more than once a month.

Fertilizing a couple of times a year (once early in the spring and once around mid-summer) is an ideal schedule.

Yellowing leaves are sometimes caused by too much nutrition or too little.

If you have been fertilizing your plant excessively, give it a rest.

Give your plant a thorough watering allowing fresh, clean water to flow through the soil for several minutes to rinse out excessive fertilizer.

If it’s been a while since you’ve repotted your ZZ, starting over again with the fresh, new potting soil will also take care of problems caused by either under fertilizing or over-fertilizing.

More on Zamioculcas zamiifolia –> Is The ZZ Plant Poisonous?


Zamioculcas Zamiifolia Is A Shady Place Plant

Another cause of yellowing leaves is excessive light.

Zamioculcas like to be in partial shade or areas with moderate indirect sunlight.

If your plant is receiving more than four hours daily of direct sunlight, it’s too much.

This will cause sunburn and yellowing leaves.

If you believe excessive light is causing your plant’s problem, naturally you should relocate it to a setting providing gentler lighting.

Alternately, if relocating the plant is not possible, you may wish to put a sheer or lace curtain over the offending window to provide some shade.


Temperature Extremes Can Cause Yellowing Leaves On Zamioculcas

ZZ plants are winter hardy in USDA hardiness zones 9 through 10.

These plants can tolerate temperatures ranging from 50° – 90° degrees Fahrenheit (10° – 32° C), but wildly fluctuating temperatures will cause the plant to suffer and the leaves to yellow.

Ideally, you should keep your plant at comfortable room temperature during the day and don’t allow the temperature to drop below 50° degrees Fahrenheit (10° C) at night.


12 Steps To Treat A ZZ Plant With Yellow Leaves

  • Begin by removing the damaged plant from its pot. This is especially true if the problem has been caused by excessive water, but a repotting into fresh soil can benefit any ailing ZZ plant.
  • Carefully shake and brush the old soil away from the plant’s root ball and throw the old soil away. If your problem is caused by root rot, you don’t want to reuse soil infected with fungus.
  • Examine the plant’s roots under good lighting. If you find any soft, mushy areas clip them away with sharp, sterilized pruning shears. Dispose of this fungus-infected tissue properly. Don’t throw it in your compost, toss it in the trash.
  • Sterilize your shears and examine the leaves and stems of the plant. Clip off any yellowed foliage. If you find yellowed stems, clip them off at the point where the stem emerges from the tuber.
  • If you have found root rot is your problem, drench the tuber and the roots thoroughly with a solution of thiophanate – methyl, or other fungicidal treatment. No matter what sort of product you choose, be sure to follow packaging directions very carefully.
  • Have a brand-new container ready. The best containers for ZZ plants provide good air circulation to the roots and tubers. The best materials are terra-cotta or hypertufa pots. Even with these porous materials, the container you choose must also have ample drainage holes.
  • Use fresh, light, airy houseplant potting mix. A good mixture is half perlite and half succulent potting mix. Put a layer of pebbles or packaging peanuts on the bottom of the pot for extra drainage. Add a layer of your potting medium. Place the plant in the container and backfill around the roots and tuber with fresh growing medium.
  • Place the recovering plant in a setting where it will remain consistently warm with low, indirect lighting for about a week. During this time, do not water. Allow the plant to stay dry so the fungicide you have applied will have a chance to work.
  • When your plant has had a week to recover from its ordeal, place it in the best setting possible. Ideally, your ZeeZee plant will be happiest with consistent temperatures between 80° – 87° degrees Fahrenheit (27° – 30° C), bright indirect lighting, and good air circulation.
  • Begin a responsible and effective watering schedule by giving your recovering plant a complete watering. Remember not to water again until the top 1″ inch of soil is dry.
  • Your plant will not need fertilizer at this time because it is in fresh soil. Depending upon the time of year, you may not need to fertilize until early in the upcoming springtime. Remember not to fertilize any more frequently than once a month, and no less than two times yearly.
  • If you are able to give your ZZ plant a vacation outdoors in the spring and summer, do so. Your plants will thrive in a protected outdoor setting providing bright, indirect natural lighting and fresh air.





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07 Aug 2019

Asbestos In The Garden: What Should You Do


Could your beautiful garden be hiding a very deadly
hazardous material? Asbestos is a well-known hazardous material that was widely
used in building construction decades ago. If your home was built before the
late 1980s, when asbestos was banned, or is a newer home built on an old home
site, asbestos could have found its way into your soil. In addition, a good
percentage of old sheds and outbuildings may have been constructed with
asbestos; even if the shed or outbuilding has been removed, asbestos could
remain.

The most common use for asbestos was in the roof,
walls and around pipes as insulation, both in homes and outbuildings. However,
asbestos was also sometimes mixed in with cement, making it very hard to
detect. Likewise, some carpet underlayment that was manufactured and installed
before the 1970s was manufactured from bags that had previously transported raw
asbestos. If old carpeting or carpet underlay has been disposed of on your
property, that is another potential source of asbestos.

What You Should Do if You Have Found
Asbestos in Your Garden

If you suspect there may be asbestos in your garden, don’t panic. The first thing you should do if you think there is asbestos in your garden is to call a professional for an asbestos test. A professional can examine any potential asbestos, and if necessary, send it to a lab to confirm whether or not it really is asbestos. The results will provide you with the knowledge you need to take the next step.

Often, if the asbestos is in good shape and is not
likely to be disturbed, it can be left alone. However, asbestos is dangerous to
both human and animal health if it’s disturbed and the fibers are released into
the atmosphere, where they can be inhaled into the lungs. It can be nearly
impossible for the average person to differentiate between asbestos and
similar-looking materials.

While as a homeowner, you can legally remove small amounts of asbestos from your property, you must follow all the safety and health measures that apply to the disposal of asbestos. If you are uncomfortable doing this yourself and are unsure of the safety procedures, it’s recommended that you call for licensed asbestos removal professionals; for example, Asbestos Removal Adelaide. Also, if you plan to tear down an old shed, it is highly advisable to have professionals check the site for asbestos before anything is removed or disturbed.

Any sort of renovation or demolition project on your
property should have an asbestos inspection before proceeding. This is
absolutely true of any type of building built during or before the 1980s, when
the use of asbestos was finally banned. If necessary, contact a professional
asbestos removal Adelaide to perform both an asbestos test, and to remove any
asbestos found anywhere on your property.

Your garden should be the most beautiful and relaxing
place on your property. Don’t let lingering doubts about asbestos spoil your
enjoyment of your home and garden.



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23 Jul 2019

What Is The Best Bougainvillea Fertilizer?


The beautiful Bougainvillea plant is a genus of tropical plants, thorny, shrub-like perennial vines of the Nyctaginaceae family.

Beautiful in a hanging basket and some growers have formed them as a bonsai.

The plants are native to South America and are available in more than 300 varieties and a wide range of colors, such as:

  • White
  • Yellow
  • Lavender
  • Orange
  • Purple
  • Red
  • Shades of pink

But, there’s an interesting and a lesser-known fact about bougainvillea plants – what are often considered flowers are modified leaves called bracts.

Since the bracts are immensely showy and encircle the tiny, white-colored real flowers, almost hiding them, they are often mistaken for flowers.

The plants have two distinctive growth cycles; a period of vegetative green growth and a growing season or blooming period.

Bougainvillea blooms are not as heavy in South Florida during the summer months (June – August) because of the long days and excessive rainfall.

Although, somewhere like Texas where it’s mostly hot and dry they grow beautifully.

Bougainvilleas are heavy feeders and need to be fertilized regularly throughout the blooming season to ensure proper production of flowers.

They grow best in warm weather and need to be protected from frost and very cold weather.

The plants are known by different names in different parts of the world.

Some alternative names for bougainvillea are:

  • Buganvilla (Spain)
  • Pokok bunga kertas (Indonesia and Malaysia)
  • Bugambilia (Mexico, Cuba, Guatemala, and the Philippines)
  • Jahanamiya (Arab World)
  • Primavera (Brazil)

Best Bougainvillea Fertilizer

A growing bougainvillea plant needs phosphate and nitrogen plant food to flower, so make sure to use a fertilizer containing these elements to ensure proper blooming.

A small amount of iron (chelated) can help your bougainvillea plants maintain their beautiful and vibrant colors.

Do not use a generalized fertilizer for bougainvillea species.

To ensure abundant flowering plants and good overall health of plants, use a balanced, slow-release fertilizer containing nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium (N-P-K) in equal ratios, such as 5-5-5 or 10-10-10, and don’t forget this when repotting.

If repotting make sure you dig up as much as the root ball as possible before moving.

It is critical to use a slow-release fertilizer on this houseplant because the excessive supply of nitrogen inhibits blooming and promotes new growth to be vegetative.

Following specialty plant food fertilizers are known to work best for bougainvillea plants:

  • NutriStar
  • BOUGAIN (6-8-10)
  • Dr. Earth Exotic Blend

Many plant experts and home gardeners also recommend using a hibiscus fertilizer, if a fertilizer specially formulated for bougainvilleas is not available.

Adding about a tablespoon of Epsom salt at the time of fertilization may also be beneficial.


When or How to Fertilize Bougainvillea

Feed your bougainvillea with a fertilizer containing nitrogen and phosphate, once a month, during the bloomer period i.e., from early spring to mid-summer.

For bougainvillea vines growing in the ground, use half a cup of granular fertilizer per 4’ feet of the plant height and lightly scratch it into the soil surface using a trowel or a hand cultivator.

Plant the water thoroughly after fertilizing, if potted make sure there are good drainage holes.

Use a half-strength, liquid plant fertilizer, and water-soluble fertilizer for plants growing in containers.

Dissolve one tablespoon of fertilizer in a gallon of water and water the soil mix.

Make sure to avoid too much water as Bougainvillea bloom and grow best when the soil is kept a little dry and too much watering will lead to root rot.

Bougainvillea care tip: Do not fertilize the species of this perennial flowering vine in fall and winter, if you live in a cool area, and reduce watering to a minimum too.

If you live in the northern states, it’s too cold to grow bougainvillea in the Fall unless they’re housed in warm greenhouses

Only resume feeding when the plant is returned to the outdoor, under full sun or direct sunlight, in the following spring.

Prune any suckers grown at the base of the plant or by pinching them off to encourage more growth at the top.

This is because the plants are not winter-hardy and become semi-dormant in cold weather.

Once the plant becomes established it’s drought-tolerant and they tend to bloom year-round.

USDA hardiness zone 10 – 11.


Fertilizing Young Bougainvillea

Apply a high-nitrogen fertilizer on young plants until they have grown well and become established.

Once they are well-established and have significant vegetative growth, switch to a high-potassium fertilizer to encourage blooming.

Important: Never feed your bougainvillea plants when their root system is dry. If the soil is too dry and it’s time for fertilization, water the plant and then wait for one day before feeding.





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08 Jul 2019

7 Tips For Keeping Your Garden Pond Healthy


A pond in the backyard can make for hours of fun for kids and adults alike. Like all water elements, ponds are relaxing and lovely,reflecting sky and nearby plants. They can also attract frogs and beneficial insects, like dragonflies, that lay their eggs in water. Maintaining a healthy pond isn’t as complex as it may sound.Here are seven simple tips to get you started.

1. Create a happy mess. If you want crystal clear water and manicured plantings, a pond is probably not the way to go. Backyard wildlife ponds should be messy, with an imprecise combination of mud, twigs and leaves to house wildlife. Don’t over-manage if you want to encourage a healthy habitat.

2. Build in shade. Sun is fine and helps aquatic plants with photosynthesis. But don’t put your pond in full sun. It doesn’t matter how many hidey-holes you include for reptiles and animals, plants bear the full brunt of the rays. A mix of shade and sun works best to keep plants growing without excessive organic buildup.

3. Plant politics. Mix your plants and aim for diversity. You’ll want some that float, some that grow up and out of the water,and some that stay submerged. Don’t forget to include plants around the pond edges as well. This provides many habitats for different critters. Look out for and avoid non-native aquatics that can become invasive and block out the others.

4. Deeper isn’t always better. Use the same principal of diversity for the depth of your pond. Mix shallow areas and deep water to give aquatic plants and animals different types of habitat. For small ponds, 12 inches (30 cm.) is deep enough to allow wild things to thrive.

5. No tap water. Don’t fill your pond with tapwater unless you are looking to attract algae, which nobody is. Water from the sink or hose usually contains more nitrates than are good for a pond and turn it dirty green from algae levels. Rain water works best, so wait for it or store it up.

6. Remember runoff. If you use toxins on soil near your pond, they may end up in the pond as water drains. This includes pesticides, fertilizers and any other chemicals. Likewise, sprays drift. Any and all of these can negatively impact your plants and animals.

7. To fish or not to fish. Fish are fun in a pond, and kids love to watch them. But fish don’t always work well with other wildlife like frogs, salamanders and newts. Inviting fish into the space will limit other animals.

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23 Jun 2019

Growing & Care Of Hollyhock Flowers (Alcea Rosea)


Alcea Rosea [al-KEE-uh, ROH-see-uh] the hollyhock plant is a genus of about 60 species of flowering plants in the Mallow (Malvaceae) family originating from southwestern China and exported to Europe in the 15th century.

When it became popular in Europe, William Turner, a renowned herbalist of the time, named the plant.

The Hollyhock plant fits the definition of old-fashioned garden plants.

They’re closely related to okra, cotton, and hibiscus.

The plant comes in a wide variety of colors: red, white, blue, pink, yellow, purple, and even black.


Common Hollyhock Plant Care

Size and Growth

Common Hollyhock grows tall with an average height of 6′ – 8′ feet tall.

It spreads around 1′ – 2′ feet, allow ample room for it to grow properly in your garden.

The hairy leaves of the Hollyhock are borne in clumps reaching 6″ – 8” inches across.

Blooms start at the base of the stem and continue to move upward 1′ – 2′ feet.

This ensures the entire stem is covered in bloom when the growing season starts.

Hollyhock flowers grow 2″ – 4″ inches in width.

Flowering and Fragrance

The Alcea rosea has a two-year life cycle, known as biennial plants.

Many of the available hollyhock varieties are biennials.

Depending on the soil and care, it will be annual or a short-lived perennial.

The first year is spent growing foliage and storing energy.

The second year or last year flowers bloom in late summer, seeds form, and flower stalks shoot up.

This species is a hermaphrodite (having both female and male organs).

It can have spires of single flowers and double flowers.

They have numerous stamens, and the stalks grow together.

The large, showy blooms attract hummingbirds, butterflies, and bees.

They have no particular scent.

Light and Temperature

Hollyhock plants need full sun and cannot grow in the shade.

A warm sunny location sheltered from the wind is ideal.

The plant is tolerant of the cold, but their flowers can become damaged by frost.

Seeds of the Hollyhock plant need to be sown from March-June in well-drained soil.

They should plant in large plug cells, and a pH level of 5.8-6.0 should be maintained.

For optimum germination, you need 55° – 60° degrees Fahrenheit (13° C – 16° C).

Germination can take place in up to 8 – 10 days.

After this occurs, you need a day temperature of about 65° – 70° degrees Fahrenheit (18° C – 21° C) while the night temperature should be 55° – 60° degrees Fahrenheit (13° C – 16° C).

Watering and Feeding

Alceas Roseas are heavy feeders and need high maintenance.

You will need to apply potassium nitrate and calcium at a rate of 75-100 ppm constant feed.

Don’t allow the soil to dry out since Hollyhocks need the ground to be evenly moist.

Soil and Transplanting

Hollyhocks are hardy to USDA Hardiness Zone 6.

They’re temperamental plants so transplanting is often discouraged.

They have large tap roots making them a challenge to dig up.

However, you may be able to do it successfully if you are careful enough.

Hollyhock seeds shouldn’t be moved until they have at least 4 leaves and the day temperature is more than 50° degrees Fahrenheit (10° C).

The soil where you plant Hollyhocks should be mixed with clay, sand, and plenty of compost.

Remove the seedling from its pot gently and crumble the soil from the root ball.

If it was growing in the ground, use a trowel to dig it out gently.

Plant Hollyhock seeds in a hole prepared with composted soil and slide the roots of the seedling into it.

Press the soil down with your hands but don’t cover the crown where the stem meets the roots.

If you do, the plant will rot.

Hollyhocks will readily self-seed new plants if not maintained.

While planting Hollyhock locate them where this won’t be a nuisance.

Growing Hollyhocks Grooming and Maintenance

The foliage of the plant needs to be kept trimmed and free from insects.

Remove any yellow leaves by hand.

High fertilizer levels also need to be maintained to prevent yellowing of lower leaves.

Do not use ammonium nitrate, it will produce cabbage-like leaves.

If proper maintenance isn’t conducted, the foliage becomes unkempt and tattered.


How to Propagate Alcea Rosea

Hollyhocks propagate by seed and by division.

Sow seeds outdoors about a week before the last frost.

For same year growth, sow throughout the growing season until 2 months before the first expected fall frost.

In non-blooming seasons, loosen the ground around full-grown plants and pull out the stalks.

Retain their long roots and place them in water.

Grow new plants in early spring, they need 4 months to mature, this is key to their summer colors.

If you missed this year’s spring it may be worth waiting until next spring.


Pests and Diseases of Hollyhocks

Anthracnose can damage the foliage, leaf spot, and rust.

Hollyhock rust is treated with proper ventilation and fungicide.

Prevent rust by watering from below, providing good air circulation and giving a thorough late fall cleanup.

Japanese beetles and spider mites feast on the leaves.

If unprotected from the wind, it needs staking.

Snails and slugs feed on seedlings.


Suggested Alcea Rosea Uses

Common Hollyhocks provide great architectural height which looks great against old cottage gardens.

They grow well against fences and walls.

In herbal medicine, the Alcea Rosea is used as a laxative and emollient.

It’s often used to control inflammation and bedwetting.

Some cultures use it as a mouthwash to prevent bleeding gums.

The young leaves can be eaten raw or cooked.

They have a mild flavor and textured leaves are desirable.

Chop them up and throw them in your salad.

The root has a nutritious starch which is good for your health.

The petals are often used to make a refreshing tea or extract oil.





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08 Jun 2019

Top 5 Composting Problems and How to Fix Them


Composting is a thing of beauty, unless it’s not. Many folks run into problems when composting. It’s okay, you’ve come to the right place. Here are the top 5 composting problems people come across and how to fix them.

1. Compost isn’t getting hot. Probably the number one problem with composting is that the pile doesn’t heat up, thus it’s doing a whole lot of nothing. There are several reasons for compost not heating up. First off, the pile might be too small. Secondly, the pile may not contain enough moisture. Turn the pile while adding water. Allow it to sit for a few hours and then check it. If need be, add more water until a handful when squeezed contains beads of water. Turning the pile is necessary to help it decompose as is enough nitrogen in the form of grass clippings or food waste. On the other hand, compost that gets too hot can be problematic too.

2. Compost smells bad. Another issue with composting is that the pile smells, which is never pleasant. The nasty odor rotten eggs may be the result of lack of air due to compacting or excess moisture. Turn the pile to add air and dry out. Also, add wood chips or some other carbon bulk to increase air space. If the pile smells more like ammonia, there is probably too much nitrogen in it. The solution is to add carbon material such as leaves or straw.

3. Compost takes too long to decompose. Let’s face it, we’re not always patient and composting takes time. That said, the process will take much less time if proper maintenance is achieved – this includes managing factors such as proper carbon to nitrogen ratio (browns and greens), surface area, aeration, moisture and temperature. Keeping compost ingredients smaller can help with quicker decomposition too.

4. Compost has bugs. Another complaint is that the pile is attracting bugs, typically flies. Well, assuming you are composting in the great outdoors, for the most part this is normal. To minimize the insect issue, turn the pile from the outside toward the inside so it heats up and keep the pile just moist enough so that beads of water can be seen when you do the squeeze test.

5. Compost attracts animals. Lastly, when rats and other animals are interested in the pile, this can become a problem. This means that you have food sources to close to the surface of the pile. Things like food waste should be buried between several inches of carbon material. Also, don’t add waste such as oil, fat, dairy, bones or meat to the pile. The aroma sends a clear signal to wildlife that dinner is served.



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24 May 2019

Tips For Growing The Peruvian Old Man Cactus


Espostoa lanata [es-POS-toh-uh la-NA-tuh] is a columnar type cactus belonging to the genus Espostoa and the family Cactaceae.

The genus name honors Peruvian botanist Nicolas E. Esposto. The specific epithet, lanata, means woolly.

This cactus hails from Peru and Ecuador and is also known as:

  • Peruvian Old Man Cactus
  • Cotton Ball Cactus
  • Snowball Old Man
  • Woolish Espostoa
  • Snowball Cactus

Peruvian Old Man Cactus is quite similar to another columnar cactus known as the Old Man Cactus (Cephalocereus senilis), and care instructions for these two types of cactus are interchangeable.

The main difference between these two cacti is that Peruvian Old Man has spiny thorns and the Old Man of Mexico does not.

Espostoa – garden plants


Espostoa Lanata Care

Size & Growth

When young, this cactus grows very rapidly. When it reaches two years of age, growth slows quite a bit.

While it is still young, Woolish Espostoa grows as a strictly columnar plant. As it matures, it may begin to branch out.

Outdoors, Peruvian Old Man Cactus grows to be about 8” inches in diameter and as high as 23’ feet tall.

If kept indoors, growth will naturally be somewhat controlled.

Even so, if you get one of these cacti to keep as a houseplant you may want to have a backup plan in place in case it outgrows your setting.

Flowering & Fragrance

Mature plants (at least two years old) produce nocturnal flowers in shades of white, lavender and purple in the late spring and early summer.

The flowers are large and showy and can be a couple of inches across.

When the plant becomes very mature, it may stop producing flowers if kept indoors.

Outdoor plants will continue to grow vigorously and bloom even in maturity.

Foliage

Peruvian old man cactus is covered by a thick, woolly coat of white hair.

This outer covering is so soft that people in Peru have actually used it as a filling for pillows.

Underneath its soft, fluffy coat, this cactus has between 18 and 25 ribs, each bearing sharp thorns.

Light & Temperature

Lighting should be bright in the wintertime and quite sunny throughout the summer. As a desert dweller, this cactus does well in full sun.

These cacti can tolerate temperatures as low as 10° degrees Fahrenheit. However, they will do better if protected from freezing.

Watering & Feeding

The plant should be watered well during the hot months of the summer, but leave plenty of time for the soil to dry out thoroughly between waterings. A cactus fertilizer used monthly is appreciated. During the wintertime, your cactus should be kept dry.

Soil & Transplanting

Cotton ball cactus does best when kept in well-draining, fertile soil. It can do well with a pH level ranging from 6.1 to 7.8.

If you’re keeping your Peruvian Old Man as a houseplant, use a combination of perlite and peat moss as your potting medium, here is another cactus soil recipe.

Alternately, you can use a packaged cactus mix.

Be sure to use an unglazed pot with ample drainage to prevent problems with root rot.

Grooming & Maintenance

Pruning is not necessary, but you may wish to carefully comb the Old Man’s furry coat from time-to-time.


How To Propagate Espostoa Lanata

This cactus may be grown from seed direct sown into the soil immediately following the last frost.

Alternately, it can easily be grown from cuttings.

As with all cacti, remember to allow the cut surface to dry for a few days before planting it in perlite or sand.

Avoid exposing the cutting to soil until it has begun to develop roots.

Keep your cutting in a warm, airy location with bright, indirect lighting until it has rooted.

Once you begin to see new growth, repot the plant into the cactus mix and treat it as a mature plant.


Peruvian Old Man Cactus Pests or Diseases

Because of its thick coat, Old Man Cactus may tend to harbor pests such as scale and mealybugs.

The best way to avoid problems with this is to keep the cactus healthy by avoiding overwatering.

Examine the plant periodically to be sure there are no problems lurking under its luxuriant coat.

Is Snowball Cactus Considered Toxic or Poisonous to People, Kids, Pets?

Espostoa lanata is not toxic, but it can be rather dangerous due to its hidden thorns.

Is Espostoa Cactus Considered Invasive?

Espostoa lanata is not considered invasive.


Uses For Peruvian Snowball Old Man

This drought-tolerant cactus is an excellent choice for xeriscaping. With its unusual looks and impressive height, it makes a very fine specimen plant.

Be sure to give it a spot off the beaten path to avoid injuries caused by accidental contact.

Peruvian Old Man Cactus grows especially well outdoors in the southwestern United States.

It can also be kept as a houseplant and makes an especially good addition to a solarium or greenhouse.

Be sure to provide good air circulation indoors to prevent problems with fungal diseases.





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09 May 2019

History Of Sedums: Learn About Sedum Stonecrop Plants


Some of my favorite low maintenance plants are sedums. I like to tuck them in amongst a rockery, along paths, in containers and even have a few as houseplants. Once established, these are the type of plant you don’t have to worry about when you go on extended holiday. They are succulents and not only useful as beautiful carefree specimens, but the history of sedums includes use as food and medicine.

Sedums can be found wild in most parts of the world. They are especially adapted to poor soils and can be very drought tolerant. They may be deciduous or evergreen, depending upon type. Additional characteristics vary by plant, with some low growing ground covers, others trailing, hanging specimens and still other varieties are taller vertical spectacles. The most common in the group have leaves that are plump and waxy with starry flower clusters that rise above the foliage – such as Autumn Joy sedum.

Sedum Plant History

The Sedum genus name comes from the Latin ‘sedo,’ meaning “to sit.” They are found in Europe, Asia, North Africa, Mexico and a few are even native to North America. Recognized species go by very colorful names such as Burro’s Tail, Gold Chain, Bird’s Bread, and Creeping Tom. The versatile plants are also in a bit of a tug-of-war surrounding their genus name. Some in the family are now classed as members of Hylotelephium, while others retain their Sedum status.

Such changes continue to occur in the botanical world as scientists unravel the genes of plants and reposition them to reflect more accurate family groups. As garden and greenhouse specimens, sedums have become popular since the early 1900s but were used by collectors as early as the 1800s.

History of Sedums as Food and Medicine

Anything you ingest should be carefully researched. This goes for the edible and medicinal varieties of sedum stonecrop plants. There are over 400 species in the family, some of which could cause illness if ingested. The juice in the succulent leaves and stems can be used topically to quell burn symptoms and on small scrapes and scratches.

One variety, Sedum sarmentosum, was reportedly used in Asia to treat inflammatory conditions. Several species of Sedum are undergoing trials as treatments for pain and swelling, with promising early results. As a food, sedums are used in salads and soups. S. sarmentosum and S. reflexum are the two most notable varieties that have a history of food use.

Fun Types of Sedum Stonecrop Plants

There are many unique forms of sedum plants. Here is a sampling of fun types to grow in your garden:

Groundcovers

  • Two-Row sedum (S. spurium) – An evergreen, mat forming species with numerous colorful cultivars
  • Broadleaf stonecrop (S. spathulifolium) – Silver to lime green leaves, branching, low, spreading plant.
  • Spanish stonecrop (S. hispanicum) – Close set, finely textured leaves that blend seamlessly into each other with blue-gray color.

Upright

  • Ice Plant stonecrop (Hylotelephium spectabile) – A vertical classic with a huge umbel of tiny starry flowers.
  • Coppertone sedum (S. nussbaumerianum) – Bronze foliage and orange-gold flowers.
  • Orpine (S. telephium syn. Hylotelephium telephium) – Bluish purple leaves and deeply hued stems.

Trailing

  • Burro’s Tail (S. morganianum) – Classic chubby, bluish green leaves reminiscent of a burro’s tail
  • Carpet sedum (S. lineare) – Tiny buttercup yellow foliage with dense growth and cascading habit.



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24 Apr 2019

Ficus Microcarpa Easy To Grow Bonsai Ficus


The Green Island Ficus – Ficus microcarpa, [FY-kus my-kro-KAR-puh] is a slow-growing plant that belongs to the fig family Moraceae.

Ficus lyrata and Ficus benjamina tree are popular indoor Ficus trees. However, the root system oofBenjamina is considered invasive.

The ‘Green Island Ficus’ is different and known for its smaller size and more ‘friendly’ root system.

Ficus microcarpa is relatively easy to grow outdoors in warm, humid regions like South Florida but requires a little more patience in cooler areas.

In 2001, the Florida Nurserymen and Growers Association (FNGLA) recognized the Green Island Ficus as the ‘Plant of the Year’.


Green Island Ficus Plant Care

A quick glance of the Ficus green island and its glossy green leaves one could mistake the plant for a jade plant at home in a tropical garden.

Size and Growth

In its native regions, Ficus microcarpa can reach over twenty feet tall with a massive canopy.

The selected varieties commonly sold and cultivated in North America are a little smaller, reaching 8′ feet tall if left unattended.

The plant is typically grown as a low hedge or as a ground cover. The shape is managed by pruning to keep the Ficus at the desired height.

Some people keep it trimmed from an early age to maintain it as a small Japanese bonsai tree.

The Ficus microcarpa ‘Green Island’ features dense green foliage with small, rounded leaves. The glossy foliage is often used to help complement surrounding plants.

As a slow grower, the plant is easy to manage but the root system tends to spread quickly, which is why it shouldn’t be planted close to other vegetation or structures.

Flowering and Fragrance

The plant rarely flowers. It’s grown for its dense deep green glossy leaves, offering shade or helping to establish a perimeter.

Light and Temperature

The ficus is a tropical plant and thrives in warm, humid locations. It’s recommended for USDA hardiness zones 9 to 11.

In areas with dry or cool weather, the plant should be grown indoors or moved indoors in the fall.

Outdoors, it should receive full sun to partial shade.

Microcarpa can handle full sun and is recommended in regions with high humidity while part shade is preferred for drier areas, helping the soil retain more moisture.

When placed indoors, ensure that it gets plenty of light throughout the day.

Consider setting it in an enclosed porch as the large glass windows often help trap in more humidity compared to the rest of the house.

Watering and Feeding

This low-maintenance shrub doesn’t require frequent watering except when young.

Until mature, water two to three times per week throughout the warmer months. Fertilizer isn’t needed.

After the plant matures, it only needs infrequent watering, about once every one or two weeks.

Give it a deep thorough watering, saturating the soil without completely drowning the plant.

Soil and Transplanting

Use ordinary soil with good drainage. The ficus is an easy plant to grow and tends to take root in almost any conditions unless the air is too dry or cool.

If the plant is grown in a container throughout the year, transplant it every two years to freshen the soil or if it outgrows its home.

Transplant in the early spring before active growth starts.

Maintenance and Grooming

Grooming is the main maintenance task when caring for the Green Island Ficus. It is easy to keep small with pruning.

Always use sharp pruning tools and trim throughout the year as needed.

TIP: Remove dead branches to encourage denser growth.


How to Propagate Ficus Microcarpa ‘Green Island’

Propagation is possible with root cuttings. The root system spreads quickly, often reaching several feet.

The roots can be divided and separated to spread the plant or grow new plants.

Take a cutting from a younger plant, dip it in root hormone and plant it in its own four-inch starter container.

Don’t cover with plastic. Simply set it near a window and keep watered.

Within a few weeks, the cutting should take root, becoming its own new plant.

It can then be transplanted to the ground or kept in the container as a small bonsai.


Ficus Microcarpa Pests or Disease Problems

Green Island Microcarpa is easy to care for with no major pests or disease problems to worry about.

However, mealy bugs and scale insect pests do set up residence on the underside of leaves and along leaf axils.

Inspect plants for pests and apply Neem oil for control.


Suggested Ficus Green Island Uses

Green Island is best grown as a low hedge or as a small Ficus bonsai plant.

The plant grows easily indoors as a small house plant or outdoors. When planted in large containers and planters it makes an attractive bush when pruned for shape.

When grown from cuttings it’s easy to keep trimmed as a small bonsai tree.





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09 Apr 2019

Roca Toys Big Gardening Activity Box Giveaway


By
Shelley Pierce | April 8, 2019



Get Your Kids Excited About Gardening!

During this week’s giveaway, ROCA Toys is giving you the opportunity to win a green limited-edition curated big gardening box full of things that will help get your kids outside enjoying nature.

What’s in the Big Box

Gardening Tools with STEM Learning Guide “Good Bugs for Your Garden”

Gardening Gloves

4 Seedling Planters to grow their first plants

Garden Stickers

Bee Coloring Mask

Crayons

DIY Garden Picture Frame

How to Enter:

  1. Follow RocaToys and Gardening Know How on Instagram.
  2. Locate and “like” the Instagram post on @gardeningknowhow announcing the Roca Toys giveaway.
  3. Tag as many friends as you can on this Instagram giveaway post.  Each tagged friend is an entry!

The contest is open to U.S. participants and will end at 11:59 PM ET on Wednesday, April 10, 2019. Winner will be announced on Thursday, April 11, 2019.  Winner will be notified through Instagram messenger.  (See rules for more information.)

Connect with ROCA Toys:

http://www.rocatoys.com

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