The Hard Truth about Rocks at the Bottom of Planting Containers

As we get our containers ready for planting our amazing annuals or that coveted tomato plant, conventional “wisdom” dictates we must first add an inch or so of gravel.  Problematic? You bet! Rocks in the bottom of containers do not contribute to better draining soils and healthier plants.  Instead, plant roots encounter saturated soils that…

Plants With Heart-Shaped Leaves

Nothing says “I love you” like a plant! Why not a houseplant with heart-shaped leaves for your main squeeze on Valentine’s Day? After all, roses aren’t the only romantic gift. Give the gift of romance and healthy air, all at the same time! The chenille plant (Acalypha hispida) has wonderful drooping spikes of muted red…

African violet no more!

I am a huge African violet nut.  Huge.  African violets belong to the family Gesneriaceae and belong in the genus Saintpaulia.  Until recently taxonomist have pretty much left this genus of plants alone.  At one time there was about 21 recognized species of African violets until a few years ago when the “Great Merger” occurred. …

How Much?

How much water should I give my houseplant?  Simple.  You water until it comes out of the bottom of the pot.  We often get asked to quantify the amount that is needed.  Does it need to be a cup (8 oz.), a few tablespoons, or a gallon?  Every container is different in size and the…

Dutch Amaryllis

Two weeks ago I shed some light on telling the difference between the Thanksgiving and Christmas cactus (you should check it out).  This week we are diving deeper into the holiday favorites and talking about Hippeastrum. Yes you are probably scratching your head and wondering why you haven’t heard of Hippeastrum.  Trust me you have. …

False Christmas Cactus

Growing up my mom always called her Christmas cactus a Thanksgiving cactus because it would be in full flower by the end of November.  Being the good son, I never questioned Mom or try to correct her.  Twenty something years and a few advance degrees later, Mom was right.  The popular plant that’s now arriving…

3 Things to Know about Fungus Gnats

When you bring in those potted plants, you may not be bringing in just your photosynthetic pals! Many different kinds of arthropods may take up residence in the potting medium, one of the most annoying of which is the fungus gnat. Fungus gnats are small flies that infest potting mixtures, soil, and anything else that…