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Monthly Archives: January 2017

Tips to Take Care for Orchids

Orchids are perceived everywhere throughout the world as images of affection and excellence (no big surprise they make such extraordinary endowments). To such an extent, that they frequently advance onto the wrists of prom-dates and as focus pieces at extraordinary occasions.

Most orchids are tropical plants living as epiphytes – this implies they develop on trees and between rocks, not straightforwardly in the dirt.

Orchids are for the most part strong and easy to develop and keep up, yet are a wonderful expansion to the home or garden. The Orchid family (Orchidaceae) comprises of more than 750 genera, and more than 30,000 distinct species to browse, which is developing in number year on year.

Here is some counsel to develop orchids effectively in your home and additionally a prologue to explore different avenues regarding all the more difficult types of orchid accessible both from this nation and further abroad.

Choose Your Orchid Species

We strongly advise that you purchase flowering orchids as buying from seed can result in a long wait as it can take as long as five years for a flower to be produced from a seedling. Also, ensure that you always check the label for each species requirements before you purchase to ensure you are considering a good match for your house or garden. Below are three of the most house-friendly species easy to find at your local supermarket, garden centre or florist.

  1. Phalaenopsis are indoor orchids that are often referred to as moth orchids and produce vibrant flowers that stay fresh for months. They begin flowering at the end of winter to spring time so now is a great time to pick up an orchid for your home.
  2. Cattleyas require twice the light that Phalaenopsis need in order to do well in the home. They usually last between two to six weeks and flower once a year in the spring or autumn. They are beautiful flowers commonly used in corsages.
  3. Dendrobiums are beautiful orchids that typically flower white or lavender or a combination, and do so in autumn and winter. The flowers can bloom for three to four weeks and are perfect for the home and very easier to look after.

Consider Your Orchid’s Environment

To care properly for your orchid you will firstly need to be certain you can offer the environment to which it is best suited, to ensure it can grow and bloom to its full potential.

You will need to consider whether you have enough room allocated to your orchid for it to grow fully in, and if not, whether you have a second suitable location to move it to (this is greatly dependant on specie size).

Secondly, depending on the species of course, orchids can require either cool, intermediate or warm temperatures to grow, so make sure that you can offer the correct temperature requirements for your chosen species.

Light

Avoid strong, direct sunlight, if you are growing them on a south-facing window make sure it is well shaded.

Temperature

A cool room temperature is best, avoid placing orchids near heat sources, such as radiators. Ideally aim to maintain a temperature between 65-85f (18-30c), with as few sudden temperature changes as possible. Be wary of colder days as low temperatures can result in the leaves of your orchid turning yellow in colour and proceeding to drop off. If this happens remove dead foliage and continue caring as normal.

Air Circulation & Humidity

Orchids prefer humid climates and atmospheres. Place the pot on a tray or saucer filled with gravel and water. Remember to keep the saucer topped up with water, but not so it is in contact with the base of the pot.  Humidity can also be increased by misting your orchid with water from a spray bottle or a product such as Miracle-Gro Orchid Mist.

The health of your orchid can be hugely improved by simply ensuring your maintain a good air circulation in the room. A well air circulated room can also aid any pest of fungal infection your orchid may contract.

In the summer months try to keep windows open to allow gentle sunlight to reach your orchid(s), encourage a bust of crisp carbon dioxide, and promote water evaporation.

Compost for Orchids

Orchids are not grown in ordinary compost. They need an open structure, mainly consisting of bark with added peat. This will help hold the orchids upright, without allowing the roots to become too damp, which can cause root rot.

Watering Orchids

Orchids don’t need a lot of water in the compost, and prefer to be kept on the dry side. Never leave an orchid sitting in water, this is the easiest way to kill it. Water should run through the pot and drain away. If you choose to water by submersing the pot, make sure the plant fully drains before returning it to its growing position.

For best results check the label for the plant’s water requirements and act accordingly. Aim to ensure that the plant is evenly moist at all times and not wet. A general guideline is to water your orchids every five to twelve days depending on species.

Feeding Orchids

For best results, feed your orchid every 2-4 weeks. Ensure that you do not overfeed your orchid as that can cause damage. We recommend using a fertilizer that contains nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium, such as Miracle-Gro Orchid Plant Food Concentrate. It is best to use a high-nitrogen fertilizer when new shots are coming out, and one with more phosphorous and potassium later on.

Tip: Water your orchid well before feeding.

Orchid Aerial Roots

Many orchids will produce a mass of aerial roots, generally silver-green in colour. These take in moisture and help the plant ‘breathe’. Never cut these off and do not cover them with compost or moss.

Re-potting Orchids

When you re-pot your orchid remember to only go up one pot size, water well before removing from its current pot, cut any damaged or rotting roots off, then simply re-pot with a suitable compost such as Orchid Compost. Try to keep the orchid at the same height in the pot as it was before, and lightly water in.

Tip: Orchids like to grow in small cramped places in trees and between rocks, so don’t worry if they look pot bound. As a general rule re-pot every 2 to 3 years, but only go up one pot size at a time.

Tip: Standing the pot on a saucer of gravel and water removes the need for regular misting, misting can lead to water being trapped in the leaves, causing rot and disease.

Orchid Pests

Mealybugs and Scale Insects are the most common orchid pests. Cotton buds can be used to physically remove these pests, alternatively you could apply an insecticide suitable for indoor use.

About Cactus

Unfathomable and different, it is difficult to give general minding tips to the desert flora and succulent gathering. Rather, we should start by recognizing your species. From little and sensitive to bigger and all the more striking, there is a desert flora to suit each home. The most normally known identifier of desert flora plants, is their capacity to store water for drawn out stretches of time. Prickly plant are referred to numerous as one of few plants that can get by in the dry situations of sweet land. What individuals don’t know is that it isn’t as easy to care for a prickly plant as you think.

Distinguishing Your Cactus

A wide range of prickly plants are succulents, however the characterizing element of desert plants are there areoles, which are not found in succulents. It is imperative to distinguish the particular types of prickly plant you are anticipating keeping. For instance, while numerous succulents develop in low dampness, high temperature, sunny atmospheres, as found in wild west movies joined by cowhands and tumble weeds, a few succulents really develop in the rainforest, (for example, Epiphyllum). Along these lines, it is essential to be aware of the local condition in which your succulent flourishes, to give the most ideal developing conditions and accomplish the best outcomes.

Different Cactus Types

  • Aporocactus Flagelliformis – Rat’s Tail
  • Cereus Peruvianus – Peruvian Apple
  • Opuntia Microdasys – Bunny Ears
  • Schlumbergera Bridgesii – Christmas
  • Hatiora Gaertneri – Easter Cactus
  • Disocactus Ackermannii – Orchid
  • Echinocactus Grusonii – Golden Barrel Cactus

Creating the Ideal Environment for Cactus

Once you have identified your cactus type, you need to create the right environment for it. You are looking for an open and free draining pot, this will prevent waterlogging and best recreate the ideal habitat for your succulent. Cactis and succulents can be stored on a window sill all year round in the most part, however certain species such as Rhipsalis need to be positioned in a semi-shade environment, so ensure that you adhere to the requirements of your cactus. In terms of temperature, it is ideal to have a minimum of 8-10°C (46-50°F) at night time.

Watering & Feeding Your Cactus

The appropriate ways to care for your houseplant varies depending on the time of year. From April, water frequently and allow excess to drain away. In winter however, watering can be reduced. The key is to allow the compost to dry out between watering sessions, this applies all year round. If possible, water using tepid rainwater as the minerals in tap water can build up and cause deposits, damaging the leaves of succulents.

Some species of dessert-cacti can be left without water between November and February, so do your research to ensure your water correctly. During this time, winter-flowering succulents will need to be keep warm and be watered regularly, followed by a resting period in the summer. In the summer months try to provide adequate ventilation for your succulent(s). Finally, in terms of feeding, do so once a month throughout April to September.

Pruning Cacti

Depending on the specie of houseplant that you have, pruning can help you make the most out of your cacti. Not always a necessary process, but when needed pruning can help maintain a fresh shape and look to your cactus. The occasional tidy can neaten outgrown specimens and thin over crowded areas. To further look after your cactus, the occasional dust can help keep the houseplant looking fresh, use a clean dust cloth when necessary.

Potential Cactus Problems

There are a number of things to look out for when growing cacti and actions you can take to limit potential problems. Here are the most common:

Cactus Planting Conditions

As emphasised throughout this article, the conditions in which you grow and care for your cactus greatly affect their health. Watering especially deserves particular attention, for example, too heavy watering can cause stunted growth and cause blistering. While, not watering enough can result in limited growth and shrivelling.

As well as temperature and watering routines, humidity and brightness should also be monitored to prevent potential problems. In situations where humidity is too high or the area is too bright, Cactus Corky Scab can be a result. Signs such as brown patches are an indicator, these then gradually shrink and form a scab. To prevent further scabbing, subtly reduce the humidity and light – however do not do so abruptly as this can cause undesirable affects.

Cactus Pests & Diseases

White patches may indicate Mealybug, while bronzed patches may be indicative of glass house red spider mite. Scale insects can be spotted on sighting of patching visible on the stems and leaves. Rot is a common problems amongst the succulent family, with diseases such as Erwinia, fusarium and botrytis often causing infection in under or over watered plants. Another cause can be cold temperatures. If you suspect your cactus may have contracted one of these common diseases, treat with a fungicide as soon as possible.

How to Watering Your Houseplants?

Watering your houseplants is a simple employment to do, however did you realize that it’s really the most widely recognized reason for plant passings. This is brought on by a lot of water being emptied routinely into the fertilizer, which can bring about plant roots to suffocate and decay.

The principal thing you have to do is to ensure you inquire about the houseplants you have. They won’t really all like a similar watering administration so find them and discover what each unique plant favors. Some may should be watered every day while others may lean toward somewhat drought in the middle of their waterings.

Just a couple plants require for all time wet conditions. These incorporate azalea, umbrella plant (Cyperus) and Acorus.

Before you start watering your plant, make sure you always use tepid water that has been allowed to gradually come to room temperature. Don’t use freezing cold water straight from the tap.

Azaleas, citrus trees, heaths and heathers are lime haters and in hard water districts try to use rainwater. Alternatively, add a teaspoon of vinegar to a gallon of hard tap water and allow to stand overnight before watering ericaceous specimens. It is also a great idea to collect rainwater using a water **** which will fit nicely into most gardens and are great for the environment.

Before You Start Watering

Always check the plants soil before you water it, do this by gently pushing your fingers into the soil to a depth of 2cm, making sure not to do any damage to the roots. The chances are if it’s moist then it doesn’t need a drink and you’ll be doing more harm than good by watering it again. But the golden rule is, check what that particular plant prefer. If it’s a cactus after all, dry might be just what it needs! Keep in mind, that by overwatering your houseplants, you can cause the roots to rot.

Check the water in your area. Some tap water is softened and this may contain too much salt, other water is too hard. The water you’re using may also be too cold as most houseplants do like room temperature water. Consider using rainwater that you’ve collected or even distilled water.

Most plants with stems can be watered from above in the normal way. However, some plants grow better when watered from below. The stems of African violets, for example, are soft, flesh and hairy, and the growing crown can easily rot off if regularly wetted.

Similarly the tops of cyclamen tubers should be kept dry to reduce the risk of grey mould disease attacking flower and leaf stalks. These plants are best watered from the saucer below, tipping away any excess after 15 minutes.

Before you start watering your plant, make sure you always use tepid water that has been allowed to gradually come to room temperature. Don’t use freezing cold water straight from the tap, as this will harm the roots of the plant, especially if it originates from a tropical climate.

Watering From Above: Ideal for Most Plants

Equip yourself with a good watering can with a long spout.

  1. Place the pot in a saucer and pour tepid water onto the compost.
  2. After 15 minutes tip away any excess water left in the saucer under the pot.

Watering From Below: Ideal for African Violet, Gloxinia and Cyclamen

  1. Pour tepid water into the saucer below the pot.
  2. Leave until the surface becomes moist (approx. 15 minutes), then tip away any remaining water.

Keep an Eye on Your Houseplants

If they start to wilt or the leaves turn yellow or start to drop, it’s probably a sign there’s something wrong. Check everything against what you know about that plant: its soil, its position, the amount of light it’s getting and of course, how much or little you’re watering it. Also, be mindful of the quality of the air in your home.

If your houseplant has dried out too much and isn’t absorbing the water you’ll have to water it little and often until it’s reabsorbed some moisture.

Too Much Water

If you start to see the leaves wilt and turn soft, and finally look old and young leaves fall. You might also notice rotting of stems and plant crowns, or the roots are brown and rotten. Make sure that you are smart with the amount of water you are using for your plants.

Too Little Water

If you start to see leaves wilt and plant shows little growth, or leaf edges brown and dry, then you need to water your houseplant more. Old leaves will fall first if this is the case.

Things to Remember

Houseplants should bring a little joy into our lives and not be a source of stress or hard work. Make sure you spend a little bit of time learning about your houseplants as this can save you a huge amount of time and money in the long run.

Don’t let your plants become regularly stressed for example by always letting them get to wilting point before you water and don’t assume that they’re all the same. Like us, they’re different and their needs will vary from plant to plant.

Houseplants are a plant that are accessible to everyone and they’re a really great finishing touch to your home however small or large. We’d love to know how you’re getting on with your houseplants and if you’ve got any tips please share them with us on our social media sites.

 

Making Your Own Compost

Making your own particular fertilizer is getting more prevalent, because of the inexorably green-cognizant society. Home-made garden compost contains loads of supplements that plants love -, for example, nitrogen and carbon. When you add it to your garden soil, it will make a change and improve it notwithstanding to grow plants!

Fertilizing the soil your kitchen and garden waste will give you an ecologically benevolent wellspring of natural matter – and it’s free! It will take around 4 months to deliver fertilizer that is exquisite and brittle and prepared for planting your blossoms, products of the soil.

Why is Composting Important?

Waste such as food and grass, accounts for around 35% of household waste that ends up in a landfill, where it breaks down and creates the powerful greenhouse gas, methane.As well as improving the environment and freeing up space at your local landfill site, compost is extremely practical for gardeners.

Compost helps soils ability to retain moisture, improves soil fertility and the general health of plants. Compost is essentially an organic fertiliser, so you will have no need for chemicals…another important benefit!

How To Make Compost

You will need a compost bin, old dustbin or similar, with holes in the bottom and garden &/or kitchen plant waste. The worms and micro-organisms needed to break it down into compost will find you! You will also want to use a compost bin that prevents unwanted scavengers! The compost bin ideally needs to be 150-250 litres and should be easy to fill and empty.

Step 1

You’ll need a sunny corner of your garden to put your bin (or you can build your own from recycled timber – look on the internet for ideas). It needs to be placed on the soil, as you want worms and other micro-organisms to come up through the soil to help, and for any liquid to drain away. It will also need a cover to keep the warmth in and the rain out.

Step 2

This is the most important part! You’ll need to keep adding equal amounts of nitrogen-rich green waste (grass clippings, green leaves, weeds, vegetable kitchen waste) and carbon-rich woody waste (prunings, wood chippings, torn-up paper, cardboard, straw or dead leaves).

For every wheelbarrow load or bucketful of cut grass, you should mix in the same volume of sawdust, shredded cardboard or other woody waste. Avoid meat, fat and cooked food otherwise you’ll just attract foxes, rats and other vermin; also worms don’t really like an excess of citrus remains. For a more detailed list on what you should and shouldn’t compost, click here

Any large pieces of material, should be cut into smaller pieces or even shredded; the smaller the pieces, the quicker they will rot down.

 Step 3

Composting is a biochemical process whereby organic matter is decomposed by naturally-occurring micro-organisms. Keep the compost heap moist, warm (wrap with a piece of old carpet in winter) and aerated, as these are the conditions that worms and micro-organisms love. Turn your heap occasionally with a garden fork to let the air in, making sure that you mix all the outside ingredients to the inside.

If you find that your compost isn’t rotting down quickly enough – it’s always slower in winter – then add a compost accelerator.

Step 4

When the mixture is brown and crumbly and smells a bit like a damp wood, then you’re ready to use in the garden!