Category Archives: Indoor Gardening

Helpful indoor gardening tips and articles!

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How-To: FORCE BULBS

Force bulbs in winter weather to turn your home into a flowery oasis. Follow these steps to have tulip, iris, and hyacinth bulbs blooming indoors in no time.

When you determine which bulbs you want to force you will want to buy the largest version of their variety possible. Bulbs need a period of chilling in order to root and flower. Plant bulbs in a pot without letting them touch and cover the bulbs with potting soil. Water the bulbs and place in cool, dark surroundings to chill them.

Keep the pot’s soil damp, but not wet. Roots will begin peeking out the bottom of the pot, while green sprouts will emerge from the top when chilling is complete. At this time you can move the pot to a warm room. As flowers begin to blossom you may move the pot to an area of direct sunlight and enjoy gorgeous flowers for their blooming duration.

Once withered and worn away, you can toss the entire pot into your compost pile to breakdown and provide nutrients for future gardening. Forced bulbs are generally unable to bloom again like their seasonal counterparts because they have expended all their energy in such a small amount of time.

Whether you’re forcing bulbs or planting spring blooming or summer blooming bulbs, you’re now equipped with the information and tips to grow gorgeous flowers indoors and outdoors!

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All About Bulbs: WATER BULBS

There are a few water bulbs that can be planted indoors and will be sprouting in no time with the use of a jar, pebbles and water. Amaryllis and paperwhite bulbs are the perfect for keeping your green thumb exercised during cold winter months!

Let’s get started! Fill a shallow container with rocks or pebbles. Create a small dip in the rocks and place the bulb in the dip. The bulb’s roots will tangle through the rocks or pebbles and find a water source.

Once the bulb is in place, fill the container with water. Pour the water so that it covers a few millimeters of the bulb’s base. We like to place moss or foliage on top to create a “compost” of sorts. This also helps keep moisture in.

Keep an eye on the water line of the container, as the plant grows it will pull moisture from the water source. You will need to add water every few days to keep your plant growing.

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How-To: Grow a Holiday Amaryllis

The amaryllis flower is a beautiful holiday houseplant that is low maintenance and easy to grow. With varying colors available – red, pink, white, and shades in between – there is an amaryllis type everyone would enjoy!

Head over to your local garden center and purchase an amaryllis bulb. These bulbs can be small or large (about the size of your fist), but all will grow the same.

We prefer to create a planting environment for amaryllis that is similar to hydroponics. Fill a shallow container with rocks or pebbles. Create a small dip in the rocks and place the bulb in the dip. The bulb’s roots will tangle through the rocks or pebbles and find a water source.

Once the bulb is in place, fill the container with water. Pour the water so that it covers a few millimeters of the bulb’s base. We like to place moss or foliage on top to create a “compost” of sorts. This will help keep moisture in.

Keep an eye on the water line of the container, as the amaryllis grows it will pull moisture from the water source. You will need to add water every few days to keep your amaryllis growing.

Plant a few bulbs in separate containers for a fun and live centerpiece for your holiday or New Year’s dinner party!

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Holiday Tablescapes!

Add flair and zest to your holiday meal by creating an environment that embraces the season! Your dining room, with the right holiday tablescape, can become a winter wonderland that will be enjoyed by guests while eating and socializing.

Using textured table linens and items from around your home, a table can become a visual centerpiece. Place a cloth on your table that will be the base of your décor. In the center use candles, greens, and holiday themed knick-knacks such as ornaments, crystals, or plants to adorn the table.

Stack dishes for each person to save space and place cutlery and glasses in their respective positions. Fun place cards can be made using our seed paper ornament recipe, or place a pinecone ornament labeled with each guest’s name on their plate.

For an added wonderland feel, look beyond the table. Place motorized wind spinners above your table to create a feeling of sitting below a falling snow. Guests will marvel in the scene as they enjoy their holiday meal!

Enjoy this holiday season by filling your home with a festive and seasonal vibe. Using the ideas above and your own personal touches you’ll be creating a holiday space ready to entertain in no time!

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Using Artificial Light for Your Houseplants

Outdoor plants are thankful to spend winter months inside where conditions are less harsh and they can get the attention they need. Being indoors presents a few challenges such as moisture, or lack of moisture, in the air as well as lighting. Natural light for long periods of time is not always possible when plants are indoors, so thankfully there are alternatives!

Artificial lights serve plants well when natural light isn’t an option. Fluorescent bulbs, which are inexpensive and easy to obtain, can be placed above plants to provide them light. Keep about a foot distance between the light and plants and be sure to watch any signs of discoloration or stunted growth within the first week. If you are keeping your light on too long your plant may become faded or burnt.

A few tips to consider:

  1. If you are using a lamp on your plant, place a mirror opposite the light to create more reflection and light
  2. Rotate your plant regularly to make sure that equal light spectrums are being supplied to the plant
  3. If one lamp is not enough consider adding more bulbs. You should match the indoor lighting to the outdoor lighting requirements a plant needs.

What challenges do you have when bringing your houseplants indoors? Is it watering? Lighting? Air quality? Share with us in the comments below!

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Decorative Houseplants 101

Houseplants offer a variety of benefits including air purification and increased oxygen in our homes, but they’re also capable of beautifying an indoor space. Decorative houseplants can add pops of color and touches of texture to a room in your home. With low cost and low maintenance plants available, you can easily add floral décor to your home. Let’s review a few options that will work for your home or lifestyle.

Low-Light Plants

There are often places in our homes and offices that do not get ample light and therefore are often reserved for lamps, bookshelves, etc. Luckily, there are plant varieties that grow and sometimes thrive best in low-light situations.

Ferns: Many fern varieties grow heartily in low-light conditions. White Rabbits Foot fern and Bird’s Nest Fern are excellent candidates.

Aechmea Bromeliads: This flowering tropical plant performs well in poor light conditions.

Lucky Bamboo: This good fortune bringing plant survives well in a glass container with a base of pebbles and a few inches of water.

Low-Water Plants

Keeping houseplants watered is usually the first thing people worry about when deciding which plants to host. Some decorative houseplants don’t require daily watering, but grow better when watered only a few times a week.

Chinese Evergreen: A well-drained container to prevent overwatering will keep this plant healthy. This cold temperature tolerant plant is low maintenance.

Philodendron: Although this tropical plant prefers warm moist air, it can go days without being watered.

Peace Lily: When in need of water this flowering plant’s leaves will wilt letting you know hydration is necessary.

Popular Flowering Plants

To add color to your home you can look to flowering houseplants. Various plants offer a wide range of colors and shapes that can add visual interest to tables, floors, and windowsills!

African Violet: Blooming year round is easy for this plant when placed on a sunny windowsill. Tons of colors are available which make it perfect for any décor scheme.

Oxalis: Not only are the blooms colorful, but the purple hued triangular leaves are gorgeous. Small bulbs make dividing this plant an easy task.

Gloxinia: Huge bell-shaped flowers bloom in late winter or early spring and offer rich colors to dress up a room.

Whether you’re going for texture or color, houseplants can offer an inexpensive and low maintenance solution. Visit your local garden center to learn more about which decorative houseplants would fare well in your home, as well as how much water and sunlight they need.

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Maintain Plant Moisture with Ice Cubes

With this squelching hot weather, it’s natural to want to hibernate away indoors with air conditioning or lounge in cooler, shaded areas… but what about your plants? Finding it tough to keep up with watering your container gardens in this heat or keeping your plants from drying out too quickly?  Try adding ice cubes!

Adding several ice cubes to the base of your plants will allow your hanging baskets or container gardens to be watered slowly, as the ice melts into the soil.  This nifty little trick helps to keep you from overwatering your plants and allows the soil to retain moisture over a period of time.  Plants don’t like to be shocked by the cold, though, so be careful to keep the ice away from the actual plant, just resting on top of the soil.  It is important to pay attention to your plants when you first start watering with ice cubes, to know how many pieces of ice to use per plant, being cautious to not overwater them when all of the ice melts.

If you are looking for a more long-term solution to maintain a proper routine of watering your plants while you are at work all day, or plan to leave town for a few days on vacation, check out our CobraCo® Plant Sitters for your plants! The CobraCo® plant sitter system provides a healthy-well balanced diet of water and fertilizer for your plants. With busy work schedules, family activities, vacations and business trips, life can get rather hectic. That doesn’t mean your plants have to wither from infrequent attention… take advantage of today’s innovative plant sitter systems. Plant sitters take the guesswork out of nourishing plants, giving you one less thing to worry about. The ceramic plant moisture sensors fit inside virtually any planter and irrigate plants for up to 2 weeks from our 1-quart reservoir (duration depends on plant size).  No more wilting plants with brown edges from under watering and no more oddly light-colored leaves from too much water; just healthy, happy plants!

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Top 10 Indoor Plants

If you love your foliage and are stuck inside because of the cold, don’t worry, you can still have your plants and grow them too!

Here is a list of the top 10 indoor plants to help you get through the cold winter months.

1. Peace lily – This is a great indoor plant that is small enough to be placed on your table top or anywhere you like. It has long stems and elegant white flowers, perfect for any décor!

2. Philodendron – If you’re thumb isn’t the greenest, this average sized plant is perfect foryou! It requires little light and works well in hallways or darker areas.

3. Weeping fig – This is one tough little tree, but great for indoors. Its leaves are small and shiny and is sometimes available in other forms such as a ‘lollipop’ tree.

4. Dracaena ‘Happy Plant’ – This plant needs moderate watering and does best in spaces with medium light.

5. Syngonium – Not keen on bugs, consider this insect resistant plant! The Syngonium loves humidity and loves to be misted regularly.

6. Silver queen (a.k.a. Chinese evergreen) – Very attractive indoor plant that normally runs on the small side, enjoys a mild climate and does well in low light.

7. Lady palm – This plant sounds high maintenance, but you’ll be surprised! Keep it watered and out of direct light, and its happy. Keep in mind it grows very slow and can be quite pricey.

8. Stromanthe – Double your pleasure with this gorgeous mult-color plant. The leaves are a deep green and underneath present a rich purple hue. This plant loves bright light and misting.

9. Rubber plant – This plant is great for households that might have children eager to touch plants and explore. It is bred for toughness and survives in low light. It tends to grow on the large size and is content in a dry environment.

10. Kentia palm – Very elegant, and quite tall, this plant has feather-like fronds and survives in low light as well as brighter areas.

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Don’t Let Your Plants Get Thirsty…

Do you have problems keeping your house plants watered?  Not sure what to do with your house plants when you are on vacation?

Now on sale, the CobraCo® Plant Sitter™ Water System is a patented automatic watering system that provides a healthy well-balanced diet of water & fertilizer for your plants.  Includes a 1 quart tank and ceramic sensor and fits almost any planter.

The CobraCo® Plant Sitter™ provides drip irrigation for a houseplant up to 3 weeks, so it’s ideal for when you are away from home on vacation. This patented automatic watering system includes replacement sensors. And right now you can save $10 with your purchase.