Monday, 13 October 2014

How to Grow and Care for Christmas Cactus Plants

Christmas Cactus Plants (Schlumbergera)

Christmas Cactus Plants (Schlumbergera) are thermo-photoperiodic. That means that their bloom set timing is triggered by a combination of day length and temperature.
The genus was named after Frederic Schlumberger, a 19th century French cactus collector who discovered the original Christmas Cactus, Schlumbergera buckleyi. Schlumbergera are epiphytic plants with flattened, 2" leaf-like stem segments. In nature, they reside cordially with the Orchids and Epiphyllums in the crotches and branches of their host jungle trees.

Growing Requirements for Christmas Cactus Plants

The Christmas Cactus Plants (Schlumbergera) can grow with very little light and that's why they make good house plants, however, for good flower production your Christmas Cactus will require bright light or full sun in the fall months.
Plant them in a soil mix consisting of 3 parts peat moss, 1 part loam and 1 part coarse sand or perlite.
Schlumbergeras bloom best when they are somewhat rootbound and crowded. Plant them in a pot that is wider than it is tall.
When repotting, only move up one size of planter.
The soil should be kept moist during the spring and summer. Fertilize every 2 weeks during this time with a diluted, ½ strength houseplant fertilizer.
In the fall, reduce watering and keep your Christmas Cactus cooler 60°-65° at night. Protect from artificial light during night time hours.
Increase watering and resume feeding when the flower buds appear. Christmas Cactus and other Holiday Cactus do not like to be moved to a different location once they set their buds.
Environmental changes can cause the flowers to rapidly drop.

Propagating Christmas Cactus Plants

Christmas Cactus 'Schlumbergera' are easily propagated by cuttings taken in the spring or summer. Cut (or twist off) single or multiple segments from the tips of the branches. Keep track of which end is 'up'. Set the segments in a cool, dry location for a week to let the cuts callous over. Insert the base of the cutting ½" deep in moist sand or vermiculite mix. When the new roots are well established, move your new Christmas Cactus to an appropriate container.

Thursday, 9 October 2014

How to Grow and Care for Venus Fly Traps

Venus Fly Trap (Dionaea muscipula):

The Venus Fly Trap (Dionaea muscipula) is the most well known species of carnivorous plants.
These insectivorous plants lure their prey using a sweet smelling nectar. When an insect lands on the head of the fly trap, they seek the source of the nectar, and if the plant is lucky, it will touch one of the many trigger hairs located within the jaws of the trap. Once triggered, the trap snaps closed, trapping the victim.
The plant then secretes an enzyme which essentially 'dissolves' the insect, turning it into a digestible dinner.
After a few days, the fly trap will re-open, to await it's next victim.

Growing Requirements of Venus Fly Trap Plants:

Venus Fly Traps are quite easy to grow, as long as they are given the proper growing conditions.
Flytrap plants should be grown in very bright light, but not in direct, hot sun. A
warm, humid environment, with a constant supply of moisture,
like you would find in a terrarium is ideal.

The potting mixture should consist of a mix of 70% peat or sphagnum moss and 30% perlite or coarse pumice. Venus FlyTraps are extremely sensitive to chemicals, so you should only use distilled water or rain water. If it is absolutely necessary to use tap water, allow it to set for 24-48 hours in an open container, to allow the chlorine and any other chemicals to dissipate. Fly Trap plants do not need fertilizer, the insects which they consume provide them with all the nutrients they need.

Venus Fly Trap Growing Tips:

If your plant is not grown in a terrarium, it is a good idea to place a pie pan or large saucer, with about an inch of water in it, under the pot. (Elevate the pot by placing pebbles under it so that the base of the pot is barely in contact with the water, not submerged... the growing medium must stay moist, but never soggy!)
This will keep the humidity around the plant higher and it will ensure that the plant has a constant source of moisture.
If your plant is growing in a terrarium, you will have to provide it's food.
Your Fly Trap will consume 2 or 3 small insects each month. Dead flies and insects can be used, provided that they died of natural causes and not by poisons.
Never, never, never feed your Venus Fly Trap any hamburger. The fat content in burger will be fatal to your plant..
Artificially springing the trap, i.e. poking it with your finger, drains the FlyTrap's energy. If this is done too often, the fly trap head will become less sensitive and possibly die.
Always keep dead leaves and heads cut off to prevent fungal infections.
Dead leaves and heads are a part of a Fly Trap's life cycle, and do not necessarily mean that the plant is unhealthy.

How to Grow and Care for Your Wandering Jew Plant

Growing Wandering Jews as House Plants:

In the home, Wandering Jews are most often grown as a hanging plant, but they can also be trained to grow up a small trellis or used to create a topiary statue.

Wandering Jews grow best when they are exposed to in full sun or bright, indirect light.
Water moderately but regularly, keeping the soil evenly moist when this plant is actively growing.
Allow the soil to dry completely before watering during the dormant cycle.

Pruning and Propagating Wandering Jews:

When your Wandering Jew begins to get leggy it can be cut back as severely as necessary.
Wandering Jews are very easy to propagate with 4"-6" tip cuttings struck into soil or kept in a glass of water, or by simple layering.

Layering is easily accomplished by pinning the stem onto the surface of a rooting medium.
Roots will grow at each point where a node is in contact with the medium.
Once rooted, each node will produce a new plant that can be severed from the parent plant and planted in its own container.

Friday, 3 October 2014

How to Grow, Propagate and Care for Wax Begonias

Begonia Semperflorens

Wax Begonias area unit fibrous frozen, mound forming, tender perennial plants that area unit most frequently full-grown as annual bedding plants.
Dwarf sorts of begonia grow from 6"-8" tall. Tall varieties grow from 10"-12" tall.
They have succulent stems and waxy, deep inexperienced to dark mahogany coloured foliage, and that they manufacture loose clusters of single or double, white, pink or red flowers from might till October.
Wax Begonias is full-grown within the garden, in planters, or as a house plant, if their cultural necessities area unit met.

Growing Requirements for Wax Begonia Plants

Wax Begonias area unit solely hardy in Agriculture zones September 11, elsewhere they're big as annual plants or inside.
They should be planted in wealthy, well-drained garden soil that has been ready by adding
generous amounts of compost or alternative organic relate facilitate retain wet.
Depending on the range, they'll be big fully sun to shade,
but most cultivars can grow o.k. in partial shade.
Bronze leafed varieties area unit additional tolerant of full sun.
Other sorts are developed that thrive fully shade also.
Wax Begonias can tolerate short periods of drought, except for the most effective results
you should water often and completely, keeping the soil equally wet.
Container big plants may be crop within the fall and overwintered inside in a very cool location.

Growing Wax Begonias as House Plants

With correct care, your Begonia semperflorens can live and bloom for 4-5 years once full-grown as a house plant.
Indoors, Wax Begonias grow best in bright indirect daylight returning from a south, east or west window.
Fluorescent grow light-weights are a wonderful various to natural light for these plants.
They should be planted in an exceedingly porous, slightly acidic planting combine that contains some sphagnum and mold.
African Violet potting mixes work well for Begonias.
Allow the soil to dry before watering, then water completely. Overwatering will cause root rot!
Always use temperature water once watering house plants.
Feed actively growing plants monthly with a decent, general-purpose fertiliser.
Wax Begonia plants thrive with daytime temperatures of 70°-75° and 60°-65° at nighttime.
Begonias fancy a damp surroundings and appreciate periodic mistings.
Provide extra wetness by setting the plants on shallow trays stuffed with moistened pebbles,
especially throughout the winter months.
Pinch back leggy growth to take care of a compact kind and induce branching.

Propagating Begonia semperflorens Plants and Growing then from Seed

Wax Begonias ar terribly simple to propagate with 3"-4" tip cuttings taken from a mature plant and affected 2" deep in growing medium, once removing the lower leaves.
Place the cuttings wherever they'll receive light-weight sun or bright light-weight and keep the growing medium dampish whereas the roots ar developing.

Begonia has extraordinarily little seeds that need light-weight for germination,
so don't cowl them!
Start seeds inside twelve weeks before your last killing frost date.
Maintain a temperature of 70°-75° at intervals the growing medium till germination, that takes 15-20 days.
Set plants within the garden once last frost date, spacing dwarf varieties 8" apart and tall varieties at 12".

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

How to Grow and Care for the Plants in Your House

House Plant Care:

Most house plants square measure hybrids of plant species that grow wild, somewhere within the world, a decent rule of thumb for keeping your house plants healthy is to do to match identical surroundings from that they originated. you\'ll not be ready to match each criteria for your house plant, however each little step you\'re taking to confirm the plants comfort are going to be a large step towards keeping them healthy.
The most necessary parts required for indoor plant health square measure water, light-weight and recent air.
Most plants have dormant and active cycles, and their watering and fertilizing necessities can disagree greatly from season to season. a trifle analysis ought to be in serious trouble every of your House Plants to know their individual desires.

Watering Your House Plants

Most House Plants ought to be completely soaked as shortly because the soil dries in periods of active growth. Some plants, however, mustn't ever be allowed to dry out utterly.
There aren't any onerous and quick rules to watering, as a result of each scenario is totally different, because of temperature variations, wetness and soil varieties etc. it's higher to stay an inside plant on a rather dry aspect than over moire.
More houseplants die from over watering than the other cause! ne'er permit your House Plant to square in {an exceedingly|in a very} saucer of water for quite an hour or two! town water is treated chemically for your safety, but most House Plants detest halogen or halide, thus it is a excellent plan to permit the water to sit down in associate open instrumentation for a minimum of twenty four hours before victimisation it for watering. this is often enough time for the chemicals to dissipate and evaporate from the water and convey the water up to temperature. although my water comes from a mountain spring, I still keep a few of gallon milk bottles stuffed for watering, thus it's warm to temperature before i exploit it.

Lighting Requirements for Your House Plants

The amount and therefore the intensity of the sunshine that the plant receives dictates abundant of a plant's life cycle. Even though a plant species that will have originated in a very jungle wherever it thrives within the shade of trees, seems to be obtaining lots of lightweight, the intensity of the sunshine inside is also abundant not up to what the plant truly wants.
Insufficient lightweight sometimes manifests itself with paler foliage, lanky growth, and general lack of luster.
When this happens you need to do no matter you'll to extend the sunshine intensity for that plant. This can sometimes be corrected by moving the plant nearer to the window, or moving it to a different space with different lightweight exposure.
When you modification the sunshine drastically for a house plant, eff step by step to change them to the brighter lightweight. Plants can sunburn if they're place into too bright of a light-weight when their skins became tender from lack of sunshine. Plants ought to ne'er be placed between a curtain and therefore the window if the nights ar cold, even if they're sun lovers. it's higher to own a sheer curtain which will admit the sunshine, and have the plant within the heated space.

Growing House Plants Under Artificial Grow Lights

It isn't necessary for your plant to even apprehend that it's winter. you'll be able to dictate several of your plants functions by giving them supplemental, artificial lightweight. There square measure 'grow lightweights' on the market these days that with success imitate identical light spectrum of natural sun.

These flourescent lights are not good, and if they're the only supply of lighting, it'll be necessary to possess them on for 12-16 hours every day. it's an honest plan to possess them attack a timer in order that the sunshine hours square measure regular.

If your intent is simply to fool your plant into thinking that it's a definite season for blooming or no matter reason, you'll be able to set the timer to come back on because the lightweight begins to fade, and create your house plants day as long as you need.

Many flowering and foliage plants really grow and appearance higher inside once mature underneath artificial lights. detain mind that plants wish to rest currently then too, thus if you're victimization growing lights, cut back the hours currently then and let your plants have a short lived amount of dormancy.

Most House Plants Require a Period of Dormancy

Plants sense the natural shortening of daytime and should go dormant as they might in their natural surroundings. This is typically a time once the quantity of watering is diminished. On the opposite hand, several plants actively begin to grow or bloom, so that they should have additional water, and be fed. While plants square measure dormant they ought to solely receive a minimum quantity of water every time and solely then if the soil becomes dry to the bit an in. below the surface.

Temperature, Humidity and Fresh Air Requirements

Proper lighting and watering ar, by far, the foremost vital criteria for the health of your house plants, however temperatures and wetness can drastically have an effect on your plants health furthermore. House plants, although they'll be of a tropical nature would rather sacrifice a couple of degrees of temperature within the home than the wet within the air that they have to survive. although your plant could like a hotter state of affairs, it typically comes right down to acceptive the lesser of 2 evils; cool temps or lack of wetness.

Heated rooms, naturally tend to be dry rooms, particularly if they're heated with forced air, or fire.
Even rooms that have steam or quandary beamy heat are somewhat appliance. If you would like your plants to succeed, keep your temperatures as low as attainable, while still remaining snug for yourself, however ne'er below 50°.

Generally, tropical plants fancy a ratio of 50%-70% and heat temperatures. Unfortunately, once temperatures within the home rise higher than 67° F., the wetness drops drastically, so it's going to be necessary to sacrifice a couple of degrees of heat in role of a rise within the wetness. Provide extra wetness by setting the plants on shallow trays stuffed with moistened pebbles, a humidifier or marine museum, particularly throughout the winter months. Frequent misting can facilitate significantly.

Keep in mind that as a result of glass may be a poor dielectric, the temperature close to windows are significantly colder. 
At night, make certain to shut the drapes or move the plant to a hotter a part of the space.

Some Exceptions to the foundations

Succulents being the foremost notable exception, therein they like hotter and drier conditions. At temperatures below 60°, African Violets can stop blooming, Poinsettias might drop their leaves, and therefore the leaves of Gardenias might flip yellow.

How to Grow and Care for Zebra Plants

Zebra Plants square measure extraordinarily showy evergreen plants with pairs of shiny, 6"-9", lance formed inexperienced leaves, with boldness varied with cream, white or silvery patterned veins. underneath ideal conditions, they'll be persuaded to bloom and can manufacture long lasting spikes of bright coloured yellow, waxy bracts with hollow white, yellow or orange flowers sticking from every husk. Even after they square measure out of bloom, equid Plants build terribly engaging, foliage house plants. In their native Brazil, equid Plants will mature to 6 feet tall and wide, however as a house plant they'll simply be unbroken at 12"-18" by pruning.

Zebra Plants square measure solely hardy in zones eleven & twelve. The rest folks can got to be content growing them as house plants. As with most house plants, the simplest approach of keeping your equid Plant happy and healthy is to undertake to duplicate a similar surroundings from that they originated. To be honest, it's pretty arduous to duplicate a Brazilian jungle while not a greenhouse thus you will need to contemplate shopping for your equid Plant and growing it as an annual simply to get pleasure from it for a year or 2 of beauty.

Growing Requirements for Zebra Plants

The requirements for growing equine Plants area unit way more rigid than with different house plants.
Zebras resent any changes to their surroundings and can quickly drop their lower leaves if they're exposed to drafts, moved  or repotted, or if the temperature or wetness level changes suddenly.

Aphelandras ought to be grownup in bright, indirect lightweight however ne'er fully or unfiltered sun.
Zebra Plants need several wetness, and may ne'er be allowed to dry out.
Always use temperature water that has been allowed to line open for twenty-four hours or a lot of
to allow Cl and different chemicals to dissipate.

High humidity is essential for success. Provide extra humidness by setting the plants on shallow trays stuffed with moistened pebbles, or use a humidifier, particularly throughout the winter months.
Frequent misting also will facilitate significantly. Wipe leaves typically with a humid fabric to stay them shiny. Your equid Plant can grow best in moderate summer temperatures of regarding 68°-75°
and cooler within the winter, however ne'er below 60°.

Zebra Plants do not need a dormant amount like several plants, however they ought to be a rest when blooming, with slightly cooler temperatures and reduced watering. Feed your equid Plant with a slow unharness, pelleted chemical at the start of the season, or feed monthly from spring through summer employing a strength answer of a balanced liquid chemical. Zebra Plants is trim arduous when flowering to regulate growth. Check frequently for spider mites and aphids.

Repotting Zebra Plants

Zebra Plants bloom best once they area unit unbroken moderately root sure and will solely be repotted to rejuvenate the soil within the spring.
Use a porous, well-drained potting mixture with a high bog moss content.
Potting mixes that are mixed for African Violets area unit ideal!

Propagating Zebra Plants

Zebra plants may be propagated with stem tip cuttings of aspect shoots taken within the spring or summer. The crack of plants that have lost their lower leaves can even be stop and unmoving.
Dust every cut with a ontogeny endocrine and strike in a very vegetable matter moss/perlite combine.
Hold in a very heated propagating case or a vivarium at 75°.