Monthly Archives: March 2014

The Best Houseplants

At the Garden Centre, we’re feeling more and more like spring is in the air.

However at home, I’m staring out the window at where my (6 foot tall!) cedars should be, where my lawn furniture should be, where my dwarf lilacs should be, and all I’m seeing is piles and piles of snow!  Fortunately for my mental health, we have quite a few indoor plants, and watering them is keeping me satisfied until we begin to thaw.

When it comes to indoor plants, there are SO many options.  Whether you are a veteran indoor gardener, or someone who claims to have the blackest of thumbs, there’s bound to be something that will be a perfect addition to your indoor space.

 

If you are new to houseplants, or are looking for something that will require minimal care, my best suggestion is a Sansevieria, also known as “snake plant”.  We have two at home, one small one and one big one.  We rarely water them, and keep them in our north-facing living room where they receive lots of light, but no direct sunlight.  They are thriving!

If you’re looking for a conversation-starting showstopper, a giant Kentia Palm would be a great option! They can grow quite tall (last year we sold some that were up to 8 feet tall!), but grow slowly, so won’t soon outgrow your space. They require more watering and light than a sansevieria, but aren’t particularly strenuous to care for.

 

 

If you’re an active follower of home décor trends, you may have noticed that the 70’s are seeming to be the decade to recall.  Along with retro style furniture, we’re seeing the return of macramé plant hangers. A traditional spider plant is a great choice to hang in a sunny corner. The spider plant is also a great air purifier, and its satellite “babies” provide a great way to increase your plant collection.

 

If you’re looking for a great resource for caring for your indoor gardens, check out: Costa Farms Plant Library.  It provides a detailed list of tons of plants, how to best care for them, and under what conditions they are most likely to thrive.  They are one of our suppliers of tropical plants!

http://www.costafarms.com/Public/PlantLibrary.aspx

If you’re still not convinced that plants really do make a home more beautiful, check out this roundup of spaces with plants on apartmenttherapy.com:

http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/love-living-green-inspiration-roundup-of-beautiful-rooms-with-plants-200901

 

How to Start Seeds Indoors

Spring has sprung; or it is about to anyway! We’ve started some seeding and planting as of last week, and things are starting to pick up at the greenhouse.  Some of our plants are started from seed (such as Basil, and Rudbeckia), but most actually arrive at our door as “seeded plugs” or “rooted cuttings” which are essentially tiny baby plants.  They come in a flat of and are transplanted either by hand, or by a transplant machine. Now, since you won’t be ordering plugs, and probably don’t have a transplant machine hiding in your garage, Canadian Gardening Magazine offered these great tips for starting seeds at home:

  • Annuals and vegetables are the easiest to grow.

Tip from Lacoste: basil, pansies and petunias are the best options for beginners in early spring; beans and marigolds are great for later spring planting

  • Propagating kits include four or six cell packs, a tray to hold the packs and a plastic lid. Newly sprouted seedlings may look alike, so label containers as you sow!

Tip from Lacoste: consider using “plantable” containers, that you can simple pop into the ground when it is time to move your plants outside

  • Use fresh, sterile seed-starting mixture. Moisten mixture about an hour before sowing; it shouldn’t be soggy, just as damp as a wrung-out sponge.

Tip from Lacoste: Using a proper seeding mix will greatly reduce the chances of fungus forming on the soil. We sell the same bags in the store that we use for our planting

  • Seed packets contain information on timing, lighting requirements, sowing depth, and optimal germination and growing temperatures.

Tip from Lacoste:  include microrhyse (“Myke”) to encourage exceptional root development

  • Lightly water freshly sown flats, and then cover with plastic dome lid. At the first signs of germination, uncover or remove from plastic bag.  
  • When the top of the soil looks dry, water carefully using a small watering can with a fine spray. Avoid overwatering: soggy soil and poor air circulation can lead to damping off, a fungal disease that can kill baby plants. Prevention is best, but the fungicide No Damp can also help.

Tip from Lacoste: a sprinkling of cinnamon, or watering with chamomile tea is another option to prevent damping off

  • A bright window works, but grow lights or cool fluorescent tubes are better. Keep seedlings about eight to 10 centimetres from light source to prevent plants from becoming too spindly.
  • When seedlings have two sets of true leaves (the first leaves are called cotyledons—or seed leaves—so wait for the true ones), start feeding once a week with a balanced (20-20-20), water-soluble fertilizer at half-strength, working up to full strength after a few weeks.
  • Plants grown indoors need hardening off before they are planted outdoors. After the last frost date, start by setting them outside in a shady, sheltered spot, initially for half a day, then gradually leaving them out all day. Progressively move them into sunnier and windier areas to acclimatize to garden conditions.

Starting seeds at home can be a fun and simple way to get ready for spring but may require a little practice, and a little patience. Fortunately here in Winnipeg, we’ve been practicing patience all through this cold cold winter!:)