Not There Plant Care

December 1, 2015

Going out of town for the holidays? Unless you have some really great neighbors or relatives, there will come a time

when you need to know how to care for your plants while you are away. And sometimes, even though you are home, you just get busy and forget to water. There are several easy ways to help care for your plants when you can’t be home or when you don’t have time for routine maintenance.  Start by evaluating your plant and learning what its specific needs are. Plants vary greatly. There are cacti and succulents that go weeks without anything but light. Other plants may need water almost daily.

Watering
• Give the plants a thorough soaking just before you leave. Submerge the whole root system in water until air bubbles stop coming to the surface.
• Make sure your plant is growing in a good soil mix.

  • Leave a little
  • There are several designs of self-watering containers. They have a water reserve at the bottom of the pot that can water the plant root as needed. A good self-watering container can provide water for several weeks at a time.

Providing Light
• You can increase the amount of natural light available to your plant by making sure the drapes are wide open and the plant is as close to the window as possible. In winter, keep the plants at least a few inches away from the cold glass. Also, make sure one plant isn’t being shaded by another. If you’d rather not leave your drapes open, you can use artificial lights. Wash the windows regularly – It can make a significant difference in the amount of light that comes through to your plants.

General Tips
• If it will only be a short time, simply water and move the plant to a shadier area.
• Plastic pots dry out less quickly than clay containers.water in a saucer under your plant. This isn’t a good practice on a regular basis, but it won’t hurt once and a while.

Enjoy your trip and happy holidays from our family to yours!  www.insideplants.net

Fantastic Foliage Houseplants

November 24, 2015

From frilly fronds to big, bold, brightly colored leaves, foliage houseplants set the tone in any room. Choose from the selection of attractive tropical beauties described here to dress up your home.

Iron-Cross Begonia
Wondering where this plant got its name? Look for the dark brown markings on its leaves and you’ll notice a cross pattern. It doesn’t mind being a little potbound, but do stop it from completely drying out.

Peacock Plant
Peacock plant is one of the more commonly available types of Calathea, but you’re likely to find several other species in shops. All have silver and green markings on upper leaf surfaces with a reddish purple reverse, making them attractive when viewed from above or below. Give peacock plant warm temperatures and high humidity for best results.

Prayer Plant
Green prayer plant is sometimes called rabbit tracks for its purplish brown leaf markings. Closely related red prayer plant(Maranta leuconeura erythroneura) has bright red leaf veins along with the markings. Leaves of both forms fold together in the dark, creating the impression of praying hands. Prayer plant appreciates high humidity and even soil moisture except in winter when it goes semi-dormant and need slightly drier conditions.

Ti Plant
Colorful strap-like leaves emerge from a central stalk on ti plant, which is also called good luck plant and sometimes classified asC. terminalis. As the plant ages, it loses its lower leaves to show off a woody trunk. It’s easy to propagate; just place sections of the trunk horizontally on moist potting soil. Then be patient: It may take several months for new shoots to sprout.

China Doll
China doll has a fine texture, even though individual leaves can be 2 feet long. It is usually sold with several plants in one container to give it a fuller appearance. Pinch or prune shoots regularly to keep plants lush and full.

Blushing Bromeliad
Although small purple flowers form in the center of blushing bromeliad’s vase, the variegated foliage is the star attraction and source of its common name. Leaves have saw-tooth edges, so take care when handling theplant. Water the central vase rather than the soil.  www.insideplants.net

Finding Fall Colors Indoors

November 17, 2015

crotonIn fall, brilliant yellows, reds, and oranges dot the landscape, enticing us to bring that same look indoors. While branches of autumn leaves make wonderful short-lived arrangements, you can have sensational long-lasting color with a host of houseplants. Put together a great-looking assortment–it’s simple.

Peruse the houseplant selection with a seasonal eye, and you’ll be surprised by how many options exist. Here are a few plant choices and tips for their care.

Crotons contain the full spectrum of fall color within each leaf. This heat-loving plant requires bright light and flourishes with a few hours of direct sun in early morning. Keep the soil moist–dryness causes leaves to drop.

  • A reminder: Small pots dry out quickly and require more attention than larger ones.
  • Bromeliads are easy to arrange and grow. Their long-lasting, sculptural blooms range from yellows to shades of orange, red, and burgundy. Numerous selections are available, so choose an assortment of flowers along with different pot sizes. These plants require bright light but not direct sun. Keep the soil moist, and avoid the popular practice of filling the plants’ cups, or centers, with water.
  • Dracaenas bring slender, pointy foliage to the mix, with leaves ranging from colorful stripes to burgundy. Bright light is a must; moisten the soil when it is dry.

Put It Together
Resist the temptation to buy one of every neat plant you see. Choose no more than three different types, and purchase multiples of these. Vary pot size, leaf shape, and color for an artful balance of scale and texture. www.insideplants.net

Horticultural Holiday Fun

November 10, 2015

growing-basil-basilLooking for something fun to do with the family during the holiday break? We have a treat for you!

You don’t need fancy containers—or soil—to enjoy beautiful houseplants or even an indoor herb garden all year long.

  • Step 1—Pick your plant. Herbs are particularly well suited to indoor hydroponics. Some herbs grow so fast in water, you see a new leaf almost every day.Mints and oreganos grow fastest, followed by basil and rosemary. As for houseplants,any type of ivy (English ivy is a favorite), philodendron, wandering Jew, purple passion, and coleus. Even many flowering plants such begonias or impatiens will thrive in water.
  • Step 2—Root it. Once you’ve decided what to grow, clip a segment off the existing plant and place it in a glass jar, as you would if you were planning to root the cutting and plant it in soil. Always make sure you cut just below a leaf. That’s the “leaf node” and it’s where most of the rooting hormone within the plant is already active. If you don’t have any houseplants or an herb garden, you can always ask friends for cuttings from their plants.

Step 3—Water it. The type of water you use is key, city water is filtered, then it’s chlorinated it’s okay to drink, but it’s void of any nutrients. Instead, use bottled spring water or well water, if you happen to have a private well, as water from the ground has the highest levels of minerals in it. As for containers, use any glass jar you have lying around, as long as it’s see-through. 10And that’s pretty much it. You’ll just have to replenish the water about once a month, whenever half the water in your container has evaporated. There’s no need to worry about stagnant or smelly water, as this happens with cut flowers. Cut flowers are just rotting and dying in water, whereas when you’re growing plants in water, they’re in the process of living. If the plant is healthy, the water stays clean. So you don’t develop algae, there’s no yuck, and there’s no odor.

Oh yes, Step 4—Reassess in a year. At around the one-year mark your water may start to look murky and will need to be changed. Also, the roots will have grown a good deal, so they need to be trimmed back so they don’t choke the plant. If you’re growing herbs, you may need to replace your cutting altogether after a year, depending on which herb you chose. The woodier or stronger the stem, the more time it will last in water. For instance, rosemary might live up to six years in water, but basil may only last a year.

P.S. This is fun to do with your holiday veggie trimmings as well. Try it and report back!  www.insideplants.net

Detox Your Home and Work

November 3, 2015

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), indoor air quality is one of the top five risks to public health. This is a result of home products made with toxic chemicals, such as vinyl flooring and air fresheners. If you don’t want to stop using these products and leaving the windows open all the time isn’t an option, there are plants that can help detoxify your indoor air. Here are some of the more effective.

Aloe vera
You may know this plant as a sunburn soother, but it’s also a wonderful air purifier. Aloe actually absorbs chemicals from cleaning products and even gives you a warning sign by developing brown spots if the chemicals reach a high level.

Areca palm
This beautiful palm tree pumps out loads of oxygen during the day and was rated by NASA as having the eighth highest removal rate for formaldehyde – a chemical often found in carpeting. Additionally, the Areca palm helps restore moisture to dry winter air at levels comparable to an electric humidifier.

Rubber plant
The thick, deep green leaves of rubber plants help filter formaldehyde, benzene and ammonia from the air – all while improving the aesthetic of your living space. This somewhat demanding plant requires high light and frequent deep watering, and should also be kept far away from animals or children, as it is poisonous when consumed.
Mother-in-law’s tongue
Complementing the Areca palm’s daytime oxygen production, this plant is an evening oxygen producer – making it an excellent plant choice for the bedroom. To sweeten the deal, this prehistoric-looking plant is perfect for those lacking a green thumb. The Mother-in-Law’s Tongue can withstand any environmental conditions from light to dark, and wet to dry.

Golden pothos
This fast-growing vine absorbs formaldehyde, benzene and xylene. Placing this plant in or near the garage is good choice since engine exhaust is a primary source of formaldehyde.  www.insideplants.net

The Positives of Pumpkin

October 27, 2015

download (2)If the only thing you have ever done with pumpkin is carve it and fill it with a candle, you are not alone. Many people tend to think of pumpkins as little more than just a holiday decoration or a pie filling, but you may want to rethink this plump orange plant.

Pumpkin is an extremely nutrient dense food, meaning it is chock-full of vitamins and minerals but low on calories. There are many creative ways pumpkin can be incorporated into your diet, including desserts, soups, salads, preserves and even as a substitute for butter. Next time pumpkin season comes around, don’t carve it, cook it up and eat it!

Consuming one cup of cooked, canned pumpkin would provide well over 100% of your daily needs for vitamin A, 20% of the daily value for vitamin C, 10% or more for vitamin E, riboflavin, potassium, copper and manganese at least 5% for thiamin, B-6, folate, pantothenic acid, niacin, iron, magnesium, and phosphorus.

Pumpkin is one of the best-known sources of beta-carotene, a powerful antioxidant known to give orange vegetables and fruits their vibrant color and which is converted to vitamin A in the body. Consuming foods rich in beta-carotene may reduce the risk of developing certain types of cancer, offer protection against asthma and heart disease, and delay aging and body degeneration.

Blood pressure: Eating pumpkin is good for the heart! The fiber, potassium and vitamin C content in pumpkin all support heart health. Consuming adequate potassium is almost as important as decreasing sodium intake for treatment of hypertension (high-blood pressure). Other foods that are high in potassium include cantaloupe, pineapple, tomatoes, oranges, spinach and bananas.

Increased potassium intakes are also associated with a reduced risk of stroke, protection against loss of muscle mass, preservation of bone mineral density and reduction in the formation of kidney stones.

Cancer: One particular type of cancer where research has shown a positive benefits of a diet rich in beta-carotene is prostate cancer, according to a study conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health’s Department of Nutrition.5 Beta-carotene has also been shown to have an inverse association with the development of colon cancer in the Japanese population.

Eye Health: The antioxidants vitamin C, vitamin E and beta-carotene (all of which pumpkin has) have been shown to support eye health and prevent degenerative damage.  A higher intake of all fruits (3 or more servings per day) has also been shown to decrease the risk of and progression of age-related macular degeneration.

Fertility: For women of child-bearing age, consuming more iron from plant sources such as spinach, beans, pumpkin, tomatoes, and beets appear to promote fertility, according Harvard Medical School’s Harvard Health Publications. The vitamin A in pumpkin (consumed as beta-carotene then converted to vitamin A in the body) is also essential during pregnancy and lactation for hormone synthesis.

Immunity: Plant foods like pumpkins that are high in both vitamin C and beta-carotene offer an immunity boost from their powerful combination of nutrients.  www.insideplants.net

Succulents are the New “It” Thing

October 20, 2015

succ2 (2)So when you think about succulents I bet you think about a barren desert or a drought resistant front yard for all of you in California. Well, my friends, not anymore! We here at Inside Plants are always scouring the internet and reading articles to keep us at the forefront of design, so we are here to tell you that succulents are the new “it” thing when it comes to design for your upcoming event. YES you heard (or rather read) correctly… I said design. Let me give you a few photo examples so you don’t think I’m pulling your leg.

And whether you’re planning a neutral desert themed affair or a bright colorful fiesta, these juicy plants are long-lasting, versatile and vibrant.

With palates ranging from greenish greys to deep purples, and a variety of shapes and sizes, succulents can be used as accents across your decor, offering a modern look to your florals, a rustic bent on your table placings or a more masculine touch to the usual floral hues.  www.insideplants.net  thanksgiving1 (2)

Planting the Scare

October 13, 2015

Put away the jack-o-lantern carving and the spooktacular costume planning for a second because it is time for a very special Top Ten. This countdown is filled with plants that put the orange, black,freaky and frightening back into Halloween.

Atropa belladonnaDeadly Nightshade (Atropa belladonna)  Fact: This plant is a member of the same family as tomatoes, potatoes, eggplants and peppers. This may not seem like a scary family of plants but the Deadly Nightshade also has some very poisonous relatives like Herbane.  How it reminds us of Halloween: In the Middle Ages, Deadly Nightshade was believed to be the devil’s favorite plant. Witches and Sorcerers would use the plant’s juices in many of their ointments and brews. Even though this plant has been used in medicine be sure to stay away, it is so toxic that even touching it can poison you!

Devils ClawDevil’s Claw (Proboscidea louisianica)  Fact: This plant shares its scientific name with an unlikely species– proboscidea is also an order of elephants! Proboscidea comes from the word proboscis, which means trunk or horn.  How it reminds us of Halloween: As this plant matures, its seed pods dry out and turn grey or brown. Eventually the pods split down the middle and begin to look like sharp hooks (or horns). Imagine having one of those stuck to you. Scary! Plus, it probably doesn’t help that it’s named after the devil…

WolfsbaneWolfsbane (Aconitum)  Fact: Some wolfsbane species are used in traditional medicines, while others are extremely toxic and can be deadly.  How it reminds us of Halloween: Wolfsbane has long been associated with werewolves. In most stories, wolfsbane has been known to keep werewolves away. However, if you ask the writer of Harry Potter, it also prevents a person from turning into a werewolf during a full moon.

Wolfs DevilPurple Devil (Solanum atropurpureum)  Fact: This relative of the Deadly Nightshade makes a very good barrier hedge. It’s not a big surprise that if you plant a few purple devils around your yard, unwanted visitors will stay away!  How it reminds us of Halloween: What’s Halloween without a few spikes? The sight of the Purple Devil’s deadly spikes would certainly make us jump in the night.

Chinese lanternChinese Lanterns (Physalis alkekengi)  Fact: Chinese Lanterns produce edible berries, which have been used in medicine to reduce fevers.  How it reminds us of Halloween: The bright orange berries of the Chinese Lanterns are protected by an orange covering that looks a little like a pumpkin. Once this cover begins to waste away it leaves behind a skeleton that looks like a spooky cage trapping the berry.

CockscombCockscomb (Celosia cristata)  Fact: Although all members of the Celosia genus have fuzzy flowers, the waviness of the cockscomb’s flowers is pretty unique. It is caused by fasciation, which develops due to infections, certain insects or growing mutations. This isn’t just a cockscomb’s problem – any other plant can develop this way.  How it reminds us of Halloween: It may be just us, but this flowering plant looks a lot like a fuzzy brain, especially when the flower is yellow. This plant would make a perfect treat for Zombies. Yum! Brains!

Witch hazelWitch Hazel (Hamamelis) 
Fact: Not only is this plant interesting because it blooms in the fall, it also has some pretty cool seed pods. When the seeds are ready, the pods pop and the seeds shoot outwards. In fact, this pop is so powerful that you can actually hear it!  How it reminds us of Halloween: Witch Hazel plants produce thin yellow petals that look wild and stringy. Take a look at its silhouette and you’ll know what we mean. Very creepy!

Dolls eyesDoll’s eyes (Actaea pachypoda)  Fact: This plant is pretty toxic so most herbivores avoid them. However, birds appear to be immune. By carrying the berries, birds help spread the Doll’s eyes’ seeds to new places.  How it reminds us of Halloween: This plant is named after its white berries, which look like old-fashioned doll eyes. Sure, they are berries, but we wouldn’t want to be walking alone in a forest filled with doll’s eyes on a scary night. Hundreds of little eyes watching you? Ah…no thank you!

Dracula OrchidsDracula Orchids 
Fact: Dracula orchids smell like mushrooms and look a little like them too (the “tongue”). This is done on purpose to trick fruit flies that pollinate mushrooms into pollinating them as well.  How it reminds us of Halloween: This flower looks like a vampire! When Spanish scientists first came across these orchids, they were reminded of dragons and bats.

Ghost PlantGhost Plant (Monotropa uniflora)  Fact: This plant has a symbiotic (both benefit) or parasitic (Ghost plant benefits at the other’s expense) relationship with mycorrhizal fungi. It can only exist where this fungi is present, which makes it very difficult to grow in gardens.  How it reminds us of Halloween: This plant’s name is very fitting. Not only are Ghost plants white but they also live in the dark. Unlike most plants, they don’t rely on light (photosynthesis) to grow. All that time in the dark is awfully ghostly.  www.insideplants.net

Falling into Fall

October 6, 2015

Autumn is one of the most critical times of the entire year for houseplants. Because it is at this time of year that thermostats are turned-up and the air simply becomes too hot and dry for most tropical houseplants. But, by providing adequate humidity, a good location and proper water the plants should do just fine.

The typical tropical foliage house- plants like philododendrons, ferns, spider plants, etc. should be fertilized sparingly the rest of this fall and winter. In fact, to fertilize them once every three months is enough during the fall and winter dormant season. Provide humidity and place in a bright light location in the home.

Humidity is probably the most critical part of caring for houseplants during the fall and winter seasons. Yet it is probably one of the easiest problems to correct. All one needs to do is place a glass or vase of water near the houseplants, then as the water evaporates it provides the humidity the plants need. Do not Mist with water as this will create more issues than it will help.

Almost all houseplants will need more light exposure during the fall and winter months. So select a bright light exposure for them. Flowering plants may need two to four hours of artificial light at night in order to keep them flowering during the fall and winter months.

Since most plants go into a semi-dormancy during the fall and winter months they should not require quite as much water as they do during the growing season. So check watering needs weekly to determine an exact watering schedule. One way to determine whether a houseplant needs water is to use a water metering device. Another, is to simply lift the plant, pot and all, if it is light you know it needs watering, if it is heavy then watering should be delayed a few days.  A little extra care at this time of the year will help keep your houseplants in tip-top shape this fall and winter.  www.insideplants.net

Yeah! WE DO THAT!

September 29, 2015

INSIDE PLANTS has been providing quality plants and services since 1978. Our creative designs for both home and office use living plants to bring the freshness of the outdoors inside. We offer a variety of interior plants, both live and artificial and beautiful decorative containers to compliment any interior design. Our team of professional interiorscapers, many who are certified landscape technicians, are trained in interior plant maintenance and design and will provide the best care for your plant selection.

We cover everything from your basic home and business care to rentals and party designs. Our consultations are free and we are here 5 days a week to answer all your plant questions. Call us and see for yourself the difference our service creates in your environment today! It really is that easy to hear us say, ” Yeah, we do that!”.  www.insideplants.net


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