Posted on Leave a comment

Planning a Garden

By: Joseph Masabni
Source: Texas A&M AgriLife Extension
Photos & Table Source: Texas A&M AgriLife Extension

A good plan is the first step in establishing a flourishing home vegetable garden. Planning includes selecting the garden location; deciding on the size of the garden; determining the types and varieties of vegetables to plant; and planning where, when, and how much of each vegetable to plant in the garden.

Site selection

  • Choose a place where the soil is loose, rich, level, and well-drained.
  • Do not choose low areas where water stands or the soil stays wet. Vegetables will not grow in poorly drained areas.
  • Do not plant where weeds do not grow; vegetables will not grow well there either.
  • Vegetables need sunlight to grow well. Do not plant where buildings, trees or shrubs will shade the garden. Most vegetables need at least 6 hours of sunlight daily.
  • Do not plant vegetables under the branches of large trees or near shrubs because they rob vegetables of food and water.
  • Plant the garden near a water supply if possible. In many areas a garden can grow without watering, but it is more likely to be successful if it is irrigated. Water is needed especially during long dry periods or when planting seeds.
  • Few people have the perfect garden location, so look for the best spot possible. 

Figure 1. A successful garden begins with a good design.

Garden size

Making the garden too large is one of the most common mistakes of enthusiastic, first-time gardeners. A garden that is too large will be too much work. When determining the size of your garden, consider these factors:

  • Available room. For apartment dwellers, the garden may be a planter box. In a suburban or rural area, however, there may be plenty of ground space for a garden.
  • Available time. If the only time you have for gardening is after work or school, or on weekends, there may not be enough time to care for a large garden.
  • Family size. If gardening is a family activity, a large space can be cared for. A larger family also can use more vegetables.
  • Reason for gardening. If the garden is purely a recreational activity, a container or flower bed garden may be big enough. If you want to grow vegetables for canning or freezing, a bigger area is needed.
  • Types of vegetables to be grown. Some vegetables take a lot of room. Most need at least 3 feet of space between rows. If you want to plant ten rows of vegetables, the garden must be 30 feet wide.

Deciding what to grow

What to grow in the garden is as big a decision as where to locate it. Consider the following points in selecting vegetables:

Space available. Do not plant watermelons in a small garden. They take up too much room. Other vine crops such as cucumbers and cantaloupes can be grown in small gardens by trellising them on a fence some other structure.

Expected production from the crop. The smaller the garden, the more important it is to get high production from each row. Small, fast-maturing crops such as radishes, turnips and beets yield quickly and do not require much space. Tomatoes, bush beans, squash and peppers require more space but produce over a long season.

Cost of vegetables if purchased. Plant vegetables that are expensive to buy at the grocery store. Broccoli is usually one of the more expensive vegetables that can be grown in most home gardens.

Food value of vegetables. All vegetables are good, but some are more nutritious than others. Grow different kinds of vegetables to put more variety in your diet.

Personal preference. This is especially important if the garden is purely for recreation or personal enjoyment. Grow vegetables your family likes to eat.

vegetable choice

Location of vegetables in the garden

Arrange vegetables in a way that makes the most efficient use of space and light. Group tall vegetables such as okra, corn and tomatoes together on the north side of the garden where they won’t shade shorter vegetables such as bush beans. Also, group vegetables according to maturity. This makes it easier to replant after removing an early crop such as lettuce or beets (Fig. 2).

Figure 2. Plant tall vegetables where they won’t shade shorter plants.

Plant small, fast-maturing vegetables between larger ones. Plant vine crops near a fence or trellis if possible.

Make a drawing on paper to show the location and spacing of vegetables in the garden (Fig. 3.)

Figure 3. A garden planting guide.

Timing of planting

Vegetables are divided into two general groups—warm season and cool season. Cool-season crops can stand lower temperatures; plant them before the soil warms in the spring. They also can be planted in late summer to harvest after the first frost in the fall.

Warm-season crops cannot tolerate frost and will not grow when the soil temperature is cool. Plant them after the last frost in the spring and early enough to mature before frost in the fall.

Temperature classification of some vegetables

season guide

How much to plant

Some vegetables produce more than others so fewer plants will be needed. The amount to plant depends on family size, expected production, and whether or not you plan to do any freezing or canning. Do not plant too much. Over-planting is wasteful and takes too much work.

Amount to Plant Per Person

amount per person

Where will you be growing your garden this year (State & City)? What will you be growing in your garden this year and why?

Share your comments with the community by posting them below. Share the wealth of health with your friends and family by sharing this article with 3 people today. As always you are the best part of what we do. Keep sharing!

If these articles have been helpful to you and yours, give a donation to Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook Ezine today.

Posted on Leave a comment

How To Care for a Spider Plant Like a Pro

Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook Spider Plant

These easy-care plants are just what your home needs right now
Source: Country Living

Arricca Elin Sansone
Country Living

JAN 10, 2021
Feature Photo Source: Unsplash, Lucian Alexe

The spider plant has been popular for decades as a low-maintenance houseplant with plenty of personality. With its strappy arching leaves, it looks equally pretty on a tabletop or in a hanging basket where its draping form is highlighted. They’re forgiving houseplants that can live for many years with the right conditions, and they also generate cute baby plants, called plantlets, that dangle from long stems. “It’s an endearing plant, it’s easy to find, and it’s inexpensive, so it’s a great addition to any home,” says Lisa Eldred Steinkopf, author of Houseplant Party and “There are many different varieties available as well.”

Here’s everything you need to know to care for the spider plant.

How much light does my spider plant need?

Spider plants do best in medium to bright light. They’ll take low light but won’t look great because they tend to get leggy and floppy in time, says Steinkopf. They’re happiest in east-or west-facing windows, and they’ll do fine in south-facing windows. But don’t put them in direct sunlight, which will cause burns. If your house is too dark, get an inexpensive LED grow light to give them what they need.

How often should I water my spider plant?

Spider plants like steady moisture. That doesn’t mean you should drench your plant, but spider plants do like soil that’s evenly moist. If your home is super-dry, especially in winter, place your plant on a tray filled with pebbles. Keep water in the tray to boost the humidity level around the plants. Misting isn’t necessary, but go ahead and do it if it makes you feel better! You also can get a small humidifier to run or group several other plants together, which will increase overall humidity in the area.

Should I fertilize my spider plant?

As long as your plant is getting adequate light, it’s making its own food. But it doesn’t hurt to feed it occasionally, if you like. Remember that like outdoor plants, your plant isn’t growing much in winter, so feed it only from spring to fall. Choose any general all-purpose houseplant fertilizer, and apply it at ¼ to ½ strength the package directions.

Why does my spider plant have brown tips on the leaves?

Don’t worry! It’s very common with spider plants and doesn’t mean you’re a bad plant parent. There are many different reasons these occur, such as inconsistent watering or minerals in your tap water, which can build up in the soil. Trim off the brown bits into a pointed shape, then try watering with distilled water, filtered water, or rain water from now on, suggests Steinkopf. It also may help to flush the pot occasionally by watering until it runs out the drain holes.

You can make new spider plants from the “babies.”

When you see little root nubs on the babies, trim the plantlet off and place in another pot of soil. Use a bent paper clip to keep it in contact with the soil, water as usual, and that’s it! Or you can set a smaller pot next to the big plant, and place the plantlet in the soil of the smaller pot while still attached to the mother plant. That way, it’s getting nutrients until it’s rooted, when you can cut the stem from the original plant. It’s also fine to leave the babies in place if you like the looks of them.

Which plants are your favorite indoor / houseplants? Why? Which plants are you growing in your home this fall and winter? Are they herbs or fruit bearing?

Share your comments with the community by posting them below. Share the wealth of health with your friends and family by sharing this article with 3 people today. As always you are the best part of what we do. Keep sharing!

If these articles have been helpful to you and yours, give a donation to Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook Ezine today.

Posted on Leave a comment

Marigold & Parsley

Parsley and Marigold Plant Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook

When we brought our African Marigold flower and Parsley Plant in for the winter we were not sure how quickly and successfully they would transition from being outside to being inside. We are happy to report that parsley seems to be doing very well. We will be clipping her soon and adding her to a dish.

Marigold on the other hand grew very tall and bent way over as she reached for the sun. The single stalk that carries her bountiful blossom weighed down heavy as we tried to straighten her stem out by rotating her pot. When we rotated her pot she bent back to reach for the sun, as plants do, and bent her stalk. She is still repairing under a straw cut down the center and placed around her stem as a brace. We will let you know how she recovers.

What plants have you brought in for the winter? How are they doing? Where are you located? What is the climate like where you are?

Share your comments with the community by posting them below. Share the wealth of health with your friends and family by sharing this article with 3 people today. As always you are the best part of what we do. Keep sharing!

If these articles have been helpful to you and yours, give a donation to Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook Ezine today.

Posted on Leave a comment

How to Keep a Christmas Cactus Alive Forever

Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook

Elizabeth Yuko
12/26/20 9:00AM
Source: Life Hacker
Feature Photo Source: Unsplash, Aaron Burden

When you’re going grocery shopping this time of year, it makes sense to want to get in and out as quickly as possible. So if you’ve breezed past the seasonal plants that usually live at the front of the store near the shopping carts and hit the aisles Supermarket Sweep-style, there’s a good chance that you’ve missed the Christmas cacti. (They’re the ones that aren’t poinsettias.)

They may not look very Christmassy—especially since many of them are varying shades of pinks, oranges and yellows—but that’s actually a good thing, because these plants deserve a spot on your windowsill year-round. Actually, there are reports of Christmas cacti living more than 100 years, so there’s a chance that grocery store plant could outlive you. Here are some tips for making that happen (or at least keeping it healthy).Use Chopsticks to Aerate the Soil of Your Houseplants

Whether you’re more of a casual houseplant owner who’s happy if you remember to water it, or are so

How to care for a Christmas cactus

If you picked up or were given a Christmas cactus this year, don’t throw it out at the beginning of the year, as you might a live Christmas tree. It’s basically part of your family now, so it’s time to learn how to take care of it.

In an interview with Tulsa WorldDr. Tom Ingram, a horticulturalist at Oklahoma State University, shared some tips for keeping that colorful cactus alive. (Which probably takes more effort than you think).

First of all, Ingram explains that Christmas cacti are what those in the plant business call “short day plants”—meaning that for them to produce flower buds, they need reduced sunlight and cooler temperatures. This works outdoors in Brazil, where the cacti are native, but not so much indoors in the winter. But there are ways to make it work. Per Ingram:

  • Keep the cactus in a cool, bright indoor location where daytime temps are between 65-70 degrees and evening temps are between 55-65 degrees. (That might mean on a drafty windowsill or somewhere that doesn’t get as much heat as the rest of your place.)
  • If the cactus is kept somewhere that doesn’t get down to around 55 degrees at night, it will need a minimum of 12 hours of darkness each night for about six weeks before they will bloom.
  • Make sure the pot has good drainage. Don’t overwater, but also keep in mind that this type of cactus doesn’t retain water like its succulent colleagues.
  • Re-pot your plant approximately every three years, but not more frequently than that. (They like to set down roots.)

How to Keep an Indoor Plant Alive

Keeping an indoor plant alive means providing it with what it needs on a long-term basis. Keeping…Read moreSubscribe to our newsletter!Type your emailSign me upBy subscribing you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

Ingram offers more detailed advice in the article, but if nothing else, these tips will keep you from putting your Christmas cactus on top of the radiator because you assume it wants as much heat as possible and pretend like it is at home in a desert.Elizabeth YukoPostsTwitter

Dr. Elizabeth Yuko is a bioethicist and adjunct professor of ethics at Fordham University. She has written for The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Atlantic, Rolling Stone & CNN.

How was this article helpful? What works best for you with your house plants? Why? Why not?

Share your comments with the community by posting them below. Share the wealth of health with your friends and family by sharing this article with 3 people today. As always you are the best part of what we do. Keep sharing!

If these articles have been helpful to you and yours, give a donation to Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook Ezine today.

Posted on Leave a comment

The 8 Best Indoor Plants: Top Picks From Plant Experts

Leah Koenig, Contributor
Source: Forbes

When it comes to caring for house plants, some folks are born with a green thumb while others swear they could kill a cactus. As a member of the latter category (or so I thought), I understand the hesitation that goes along with becoming a plant parent. I loved the idea of filling my space with the best indoor plants, but I was scared to end up with a bunch of dead foliage.

Indoor house plants from The Sill
Source: Forbes
Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook

Then two years ago, a friend (who is also a gardening teacher) brought over a plant clipping to my apartment. She helped me settle it in a pot and shared advice on how to care for it. That gifted plant ushered me into the wide world of indoor greenery—my collection has grown to 11 house plants spread over three window sills—brightening my home and offering fulfillment along the way.

For aspiring plant parents who feel apprehensive about embarking on their own plant journeys like I once did, know that there are plenty of great indoor plant options for every skill level and environment. I sought out the advice of a few notable plant experts: Eliza Blank and Erin Marino, founder and marketing director, respectively, of The Sill; Christan Summers, CEO and co-founder of Tula Plants & Design; and Summer Rayne Oakes, founder of Homestead Brooklyn and Plant One On Me. They not only shared their extensive flora wisdom, but they also offered their picks for the best indoor plants, for beginners, less than hospitable conditions and beyond.

Check out their recommendations below, then read on for their expert tips on how to care for all your indoor plants.

  • Best Low Maintenance Indoor Plant: Marble Queen Pothos
  • Best Indoor Plant For Low Light: ZZ Plant
  • Best Indoor Plant For Small Spaces: Snake Plant
  • Best Flowering Indoor Plant: Anthurium
  • Best Indoor Plant for Clean Air: Parlor Palm
  • Best Indoor Plant For Pet Owners: Bird’s Nest Fern
  • Best Indoor Plant to Build Confidence: Philodendron
  • Best “Next Level” Indoor Plant: Monstera

Best Low Maintenance Indoor Plant

Known to be one of the easiest house plants to grow, the Marble Queen Pothos has lovely heart shaped leaves and growing vines that will quickly fill your plant shelf with beauty. Because it can thrive in low-light environments and with less-than-ideal watering practices, this very undemanding species is excellent for beginners or for anyone who is less than diligent about their plant care.

Best Indoor Plant For Low Light

The Zamioculcas zamiifolia, better known as the ZZ plant, is another reliable house plant option for beginners. It can withstand all sorts of less than ideal factors, like infrequent watering or dry air. And, most importantly for apartment dwellers or those who live in other shady spaces, they can easily tolerate low light environments. Attractive as a standalone or grouped with other plants, the ZZ plant is a happy option for the kitchen or bathroom.

Best Indoor Plant For Small Spaces

Available in a number of different varieties, this cheery succulent grows straight up, which makes it a great choice for people with small spaces. Snake plants are also said to purify indoor air, so some folks like them for their supposed purification qualities too. Group a few in different sizes near a bedroom window and you’ll have a nice arrangement to bring a little green to your sleeping space.

Best Flowering Indoor Plant

Known for their lipstick red (or dusky pink) lily pad–like blooms, anthurium are gaining traction on the list of best house plants. “They have a retro, ‘Mad Men’ vibe to them,” Marino says. “And the flowers are actually a modified leaf so the plant is in bloom year round.” Use your anthurium as an entryway or living room centerpiece, or add it to a green collection for a pretty pop of color.

Best Indoor Plant For Clean Air

The Parlor Palm is a tropical choice that’s often touted for it’s ability to clear out benzene and trichloroethylene, two chemicals that are commonly spread from furniture off-gassing. It’s also really low maintenance, thriving in indirect to low light and only requiring watering once every one to two weeks, and pet-friendly, so you don’t have to worry about keeping it locked up away from your fur babies.

While the science is still out on whether or not plants really purify the air—one study says that you’d need to have about 93 of them to really notice a significant difference—there’s something about being surrounded by greenery that just makes things feel cleaner and fresher.

Best Indoor Plant For Pet Owners

While ZZ plants and snake plants are inarguably great choices for beginners, they are unfortunately toxic to animals. “If you have a curious kitty or doggy, then I would recommend keeping those plants away from them,” Oakes explains. Instead, choose a Bird’s Nest Fern, a tropical houseplant with ruffle-edged leaves that provides a splash of green while being safe to furry friends.

Best Indoor Plant to Build Confidence

There is nothing like a healthy, quickly growing plant to amp up a new plant owner’s confidence. Philodendron vines deliver on this front, sprouting robust trails of vines dangling with heart-shaped leaves. “Philodendrons are easy to propagate, so before long you can take a cutting and make another plant,” Summers says. “Getting that positive affirmation makes you feel like a pro.”

Best “Next Level” Indoor Plant

Once you unlock your inner house plant mojo, Blank recommends graduating to a Monstera. The vibrantly green leaves are speckled with natural holes and lend a tropical vibe to the room. “They are still relatively easy but have a wonderful texture,” Blank says.

How to Care For Indoor Plants

Each expert I spoke with began with the same basic mantra: Light is food for plants. “Fertilizer offers extra nutrients and water helps, but your plant needs light to survive,” says Marino. She suggests standing near the window in your house or apartment around noon and noticing how hot and bright it feels. “You should be able to estimate if your apartment is relatively low light, medium light or high light at midday,” she explains. Assessing your home’s light situations serves as a guide for which plants you should choose to populate your sill (or mantle, shelf or desk).

“We think of plant buying a bit like matchmaking,” says Blank. We want your plants to fit your home, your style and your lifestyle.” Set yourself up for success by starting with low maintenance plant varieties, like a Marble Queen Pothos or ZZ plant, that can withstand a little accidental neglect while you travel up the learning curve.

Plants need good care in order to thrive, but new plant parents have the tendency to over-care for their plants. “Over-watering is the easiest way to kill your plant,” says Blank. “It’s easier to bounce back from under-watering than from over-watering.” Marino adds, “some people go into diagnosis mode the second they see a browning tip or yellowing leaf.” Her advice: don’t panic. “Just prune it right off and know that shedding is a natural part of the growth process.”MORE FROM FORBES14 Easy Indoor Herb Garden Kits, Plus Expert Tips For Growing SuccessBy Rachel Klein

Summers, meanwhile, advises against repotting plants too frequently. Some plant owners see a plant growing well and think that’s the time to switch it into a roomier pot. But that well-meaning impulse can backfire. “Repotting disrupts the plant’s root system, which means it has to focus on reestablishing its system instead of on new growth. You’re making it work harder than it needs to,” she says. Instead let your plants thrive in their current pots. “When you’re getting absolutely no growth — especially in spring and summer — then it is time,” Summers says. 

Just because some plants don’t need frequent watering doesn’t mean you should forget about them for too long. Take some time each day to touch base with your plant babies. “Developing a routine and ritual is important,” says Oakes. “If you get up to check on your plants when your coffee is brewing or tea is steeping, then you’re on the right path.” 

From YouTube and gardening books, to walking into a shop and chatting up the staff, there are endless sources to continue educating yourself about the house plants in your life. For those who can’t make it to a store, Tula offers robust educational resources like a plant care library. The Sill offers online workshops that answer burning plant care questions. And Oakes recently launched a 12-part mini course called Houseplant Basics that teaches the fundamentals of plant care. 

Which plant do you like for your home? Why? How was this article helpful?

Share your comments with the community by posting them below. Share the wealth of health with your friends and family by sharing this article with 3 people today. As always you are the best part of what we do. Keep sharing!

If these articles have been helpful to you and yours, give a donation to Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook Ezine today.

Posted on Leave a comment

Growing in Autumn

Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook Echinacea

Its amazing how much people know about this site without ever, as stated, coming to the site. Nonetheless, one of the plants we sent out continues to do well even in the impending autumn and winter. The owner will soon be in the process of bringing her plant indoors. Echinacea requires much patience as it is reported to take up to 2 years to bloom. The medicinal properties of this tall plant are several. Keep growing!

What plants are you bringing indoors? How is it going? Have you made any adjustments?

Share your comments with the community by posting them below. Share the wealth of health with your friends and family by sharing this article with 3 people today. As always you are the best part of what we do. Keep sharing!

If these articles have been helpful to you and yours, give a donation to Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook Ezine today.

Posted on Leave a comment

Medicinal Properties of Echinacea

echinacea plant shidonna raven garden and cook

Source: Healthline

With the oncoming winter and the lingering pandemic, taking advantage of the medicinal properties of echinacea is beneficial. Be careful to read the below medicinal benefits of echinacea. Use the below lose leaf tea to enjoy the medicinal benefits of echinacea. Stay healthy!

Echinacea Tea

Echinacea tea is an extremely popular remedy that’s said to prevent and shorten the common cold.

Evidence has shown that echinacea may help boost the immune system, which could help the body fight off viruses or infections (33Trusted Source).

Many studies have found that echinacea can shorten the duration of the common cold, lessen the severity of its symptoms or even prevent it (33Trusted Source).

However, results are conflicting, and most studies have not been well designed. This makes it difficult to tell if positive results are due to echinacea or random chance.

Therefore, it’s not possible to say definitively that taking echinacea will help with the common cold.

At the very least, this warm herbal drink may help soothe your sore throat or clear up your stuffy nose if you do feel a cold coming on (34Trusted Source).

SUMMARY: Echinacea tea is commonly used to prevent or shorten the duration of the common cold. While several studies have found it to be effective for this use, the evidence on the matter is conflicting.

What medicinal benefits are beneficial to you? How well do you think echinacea will help with preventing and curing a cold? How useful is echinacea during the autumn and winter months and during a pandemic?

Share your comments with the community by posting them below. Share the wealth of health with your friends and family by sharing this article with 3 people today. As always you are the best part of what we do. Keep sharing!

If these articles have been helpful to you and yours, give a donation to Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook Ezine today.

Posted on Leave a comment

5 tips for taking care of your houseplants and patio plants during the winter

Plant Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook

By ALEX GROVES | | The Press-Enterprise
PUBLISHED: November 30, 2020 at 8:43 a.m. | UPDATED: November 30, 2020 at 8:53 a.m.
Source: OCR Register
Feature Photo Source: Unsplash, Toa-Heftiba

Houseplant parenthood has been a trend accelerated by the novel coronavirus pandemic, but to quote Ned Stark from “Game of Thrones”: “Winter is Coming.”

Even in Southern California, where “winter” is a relative term, plant experts say there are a list of considerations to think about in a time period when there’s less light, drier air and chillier temperatures to contend with, even with indoor plants.

Here are their tips for what to do with your plants when the days are short:

1. Know when to move plants

Danae Horst, owner of Folia Collective in Eagle Rock and author of the book “Houseplants for All: How to Fill Any Home with Happy Plants,” said that lots of houseplants such as monsteras, cactus and succulents require a lot of bright filtered light in order to thrive and as winter time approaches the shorter days mean that there’s less of that bright light indoors.

For a lot of houseplants that means that their growth might slow down and they might even lose some of their leaves because they’re not getting enough light to feed themselves through photosynthesis. Cactuses may take on unusual growth pattern where they stretch themselves out looking for light and might even get to a point where they can’t support themselves.

Horst said that sometimes determining where the best source of light in your home is and moving the plants there, is a good solution.

“For instance, if you have one south or southwestern facing window, that’s going to be a good place for plants no matter what time of year and you may end up needing to put a bunch more of your northern or eastern facing plants in a different window just for the few months where the days are much shorter,” she said.

While some houseplants are more finicky and may need to be moved, others are a little more carefree, Horst said, including the low-light tolerant sansevierias (snake plants) and Zamioculcas zamiifolias(ZZ plants).

Spider plants, pothos and Chinese evergreen are other plants that are hardy in the darker conditions, according to Nehemias de Leon-Martin, a manager at Planta Nursery in Highland Park.

2. Be prepared to water less

Mackenna Rowley, owner of Riverside plant store Piep, said that how much water plants use is based on the amount of light that they are receiving. Less light means less water is needed.

Rowley said that a common issue she sees with her customers is that they might be watering their houseplants on a schedule and the plant will do well for a while and then suddenly in the fall — when light hours are decreasing — its leaves start turning yellow.

“It’s because they’re giving it more water than it needs for the amount of light that it’s getting,” she said.

Rowley said it’s generally a better idea to not water on set schedule but rather to keep tabs on how dry the plant’s soil is and water according to that.

3. Maintain humidity  

Colder air is generally drier and that could have an impact on plants, but so can turning on your gas or electric heater — that can really dry out the air, too, according to Horst.

Rowley recommends seeing where your plants are in relation to heat sources.

“As you start turning on your heat, do a quick check throughout your whole house, then notice where the vents are and make sure the plants aren’t directly under them or within two or three feet.” Rowley said.

For plants that need elevated humidity even during the non-winter months — such as calatheas, ferns and marantas — humidity is going to be particularly important. Horst recommends using a humidifier to keep the air less dry but does not recommend other methods such as misting the plants. She says the amount of humidity that adds is fairly limited and the lingering moisture on leaves can lead to things like fungal infections and leaf spot disorders.

de Leon-Martin said one of his tricks is to group plants together and in doing so that locks the humidity into one place as the plants share humid air among themselves.

“If you group them, they kind of help each other,” he said.

4. Know when to bring plants indoors

Whether you bring plants inside or not generally depends on the type of plant and how established it is.

Rowley said there are some plants that can live outdoors in Southern California all year long, especially once they’ve become big and established. These include plants such as birds of paradise and succulents.

“But generally under about 40 degrees and they’re not going to love it,” she said. “It’s only if you have a large, hearty plant, that they’re going to be able to thrive.”

Gary Jones, Armstrong Garden Centers’ chief horticulturist & training manager, said that smaller tropical plants should be brought inside if there’s the potential for frost.

If a plant is too big to bring in, “just simply covering tropical plants or a house plant with any kind of a lightweight cloth makes a huge difference,” he said.

But there are some things to think about before bringing plants indoors.

Horst said that there’s always the possibility that the plants might have picked up some pests from being outside, such as spider mites, mealybugs and thrips. She said it’s important to examine plants to see if they have these bugs and appropriately quarantine them so the bugs don’t spread to other plants.

It’s also important to make sure that you’re giving the plants as much light as possible since they were likely receiving a lot of light, Horst said.

5. What to do if your patio plants get damage 

If your patio plants receive frost damage on their leaves, your first instinct may be to cut the plant way back, but Jones says it’s better to wait.

“Most people cut off good growth,” he said. “It looks bad but it actually is just fine, so they’re cutting back way more than they need to. The plant will recover.”

Jones said to wait a couple weeks until you see new growth and then you can cut the plant to that point.

Where will you put your plants when you bring them indoors? Are they near a natural light source? Do you have grow lights?

Share your comments with the community by posting them below. Share the wealth of health with your friends and family by sharing this article with 3 people today. As always you are the best part of what we do. Keep sharing!

If these articles have been helpful to you and yours, give a donation to Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook Ezine today.

Posted on Leave a comment

Tips for Bringing Outdoor Plants Indoors

Written by Marie Iannotti
Reviewed by Debra LaGattuta, Updated 11/25/20
Source: The Spruce

outdoor container plant arrangement
Source: The Spruce / Christopher Lee Foto
Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook

Good news, plant lovers: The end of the outdoor gardening season does not have to mean the end of your container plants. Although most will not survive the winter in freezing climates, they can be brought indoors as houseplants to help them make it through the colder months. Once nighttime temperatures become cooler, it’s time to think about bringing your more delicate or temperamental plants indoors (that includes any vacationing houseplants that you brought outdoors in the spring). With a bit of strategy and a little TLC, your outdoor beauties can make it through winter unscathed and ready to enjoy another season in the sunlight come spring.

Choose the Right Plants

Successfully overwintering plants indoors starts with choosing the right type of plants. Contrary to popular belief, not all plants can survive indoor growing conditions (or at the very least, not all plants can thrive indoors), especially if your home has limited light, warmth, or humidity. There’s a good chance that there are fewer sunny spots inside your house than in your yard, so you’ll have to make some tough choices about which plants are worth keeping for the season and if you can give them the care they need indoors.

Although it’s tempting to want to move every plant you’ve been growing outdoors inside for the winter, it’s also impractical. Before you get to rearranging your greenery, run through the below checklist and hang onto the plants that meet the following criteria:

  • Keep only healthy plants. If something has been struggling all summer under the best of conditions, it’s probably not going to improve indoors. Time to face reality and send it to its final resting place in the plant graveyard (aka the compost).
  • Never bring a plant indoors that has pests or diseases. Problems spread more quickly among indoor plants than in the garden, and even if you take great care to quarantine the troubled plant until it’s been coaxed back to health, there’s no guarantee that you won’t spread the issue to your other plants. Plus, there are no natural insect predators in the house, making the conditions ideal for spreading disease. Check all plants thoroughly for any signs of problems before you bring them indoors. 
  • Give priority to your favorite plants. When deciding which to bring indoors for the season (assuming you have limited space), give preference to any varietals that you’ve already invested a lot of time and energy into, like the ferns you’ve been coddling for years, anything you’ve trained into a standard, and sentimental favorites. Of course, expensive splurges are worth the effort too, if you have the room.
  • If the plant would look good as a houseplant, bring it indoors. Many homes have enough light to successfully grow several flowering varietals like winter geraniumsfuchsiabegonias, and even passion flower, all of which can bloom beautifully indoors. Sure, they might not look as lush or vibrant as they would outdoors, but it’s still nice to have something flowering in winter and the plants will be ready to start blooming again outdoors early in the spring.
  • Consider giving priority to certain vegetables, like small pepper or tomato plants. They’re actually tropical perennials and, when given enough light, will continue to produce fruits all through winter. However, some may need an especially large pot, so you’ll have more success growing compact, patio varieties—cherry tomatoes and small-fruited peppers like chilies or cherry varieties will fruit easiest and produce a higher yield. Keep in mind, there are no insects or gentle breezes indoors to pollinate your plants, so you will have to pollinate them manually.

Alternatives to Bringing Plants Indoors

It’s important not to overlook that some of your plants, like tender perennials, may actually benefit from a period of dormancy in the winter months. Plan to overwinter varietals like potted lavender and rosemary in your garage or basement—as long as the temperature doesn’t dip below 20 degrees Fahrenheit or above 40 degrees Fahrenheit, they won’t freeze but will stay dormant. Take care not to let the pots dry out or stay overly wet—water them only when the soil becomes dry a couple of inches below the surface and allow any excess to drain out.

When dividing your winter plan of attack for your plants, be realistic about your available space and winter light. Remember, even if you choose not to bring a plant indoors in its entirety, you can always start cuttings from the mother plant. They’ll take up far less space and may even do better than established plants throughout the winter because they won’t suffer the shock of having to adapt to new growing conditions. The young plants will have time to develop their root systems during winter and will be ready to be moved out into the garden and start growing early in the spring.

Once you’ve decided which plants to move indoors, give them time to acclimate to being houseplants. Bring them inside while the windows are still open and the temperature indoors is about the same as outdoors. That way, they’ll be able to adjust to the change in temperature and humidity more easily, rather than waiting until a frost is expected and then bringing them into a dry, heated home.

If the temperature outside is already different from inside, what do you do? Ask! by leaving a comment below.

Share your comments with the community by posting them below. Share the wealth of health with your friends and family by sharing this article with 3 people today. As always you are the best part of what we do. Keep sharing!

If these articles have been helpful to you and yours, give a donation to Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook Ezine today.

Posted on Leave a comment

16 Low-Maintenance Indoor Houseplants Most Likely to Survive All Year Long

Liven up your home with these winter-hardy houseplants.
By Marla Christiansen Updated August 22, 2018

On a windowsill in a dry room is the ideal location for a succulent collection. They come in a wide array of colors and styles, so you can mix and match to create a unique grouping. “One thing to keep in mind is that temperatures tend to be cooler near windows in northern climates, especially in older buildings. In scenarios like this, it can be advised to almost not water your succulents throughout the winter months,” Hill says. Some succulents may continue to grow during this time, while others will wait at a standstill until spring. When warmer weather hits, you can resume regular (yet still infrequent) watering. | CREDIT: SPROUT HOME

In many areas, winter months lend themselves to cold, snowy weather, and consequently warm, toasty homes. Keeping greenery in your home throughout the bleak months of winter is sure to brighten the spirit. But fewer hours of daylight, fluctuating temperatures, and dry air creates a challenging growing environment for most plants. In search of houseplants that are best suited to winter conditions, we reached out to several plant pros for their top picks for durable indoor houseplants likely to survive all year long.

Easy Houseplants, Chinese Evergreen
Credit: Costa Farms
Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook

1 Chinese Evergreen

Don’t be fooled by the beauty of the Chinese evergreen—beyond its handsome exterior is one tough plant. Justin Hancock, a horticulturist at Costa Farms, explains that this forgiving houseplant is great during the wintertime because it “doesn’t mind low light or inconsistent watering, as long as it doesn’t stay wet for extended periods.” Its broad, decorative leaves are woven with gorgeous patterns in colors that come in a range of glossy greens, silvers, grays, and cream. Even the least experienced gardener can successfully grow the Chinese evergreen thanks to its hardiness. Cast aside any self-doubt, as Hancock reassures, “this air-purifying houseplant powers through the winter season and looks fresh and green all year.”

Easy Houseplants ZZ Plant in living room
Credit: Costa Farms
Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook

2 ZZ Plant

This gem of a plant is virtually indestructible, looking green and healthy even after months of neglect. In fact, the zz plant will often do better if you leave it alone. “Its thick, rubbery leaves stand up well to dry winter air and don’t get brown crispy edges like less-sturdy houseplants can,” says Hancock. Since it can thrive in low-light conditions, the zz plant “continues to look good under short winter days,” says Hancock.

Easy Houseplants, Moth Orchid on Side Table
Credit: Costa Farms
Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook

3 Moth Orchid

“Orchids don’t have a reputation for being easy-to-grow,” notes Hancock, “but happily, cultivating a moth orchid can be a breeze.” Elegant, long-lasting blooms stud the tops of bright green stems on this low-maintenance houseplant. While the moth orchid is happiest in a medium to brightly lit spot, it tolerates low light very well. This plant holds up well during the winter months when you may be traveling or simply distracted by the hustle and bustle of the holidays and forget a watering or two. Thanks to its preference toward a drier climate, you can enjoy its blooms without having to shower it with attention. “Best of all,” adds Hancock, “it usually reblooms once nighttime temperatures begin to drop.”

Easy Houseplants Snake Plant
Credit: Costa Farms
Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook

4 Snake Plant

Adding architectural interest to any room, the snake plant is one of the most accommodating houseplants available. “A tried-and-true houseplant that you practically have to kill, the snake plant holds up well to the conditions that can make winters inside a challenge,” says Hancock. Low-light, drought, and insects are no match for the sturdy constitution of this houseplant. Its blade-like leaves come in a diverse range of colors and patterns that offer not just beauty but also air-purifying benefits.

Easy Houseplants Ponytail Palm in living room
Credit: Costa Farms
Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook

5 Ponytail Palm

If you’re in search of a plant that will add a little flair but will also survive a winter with the heat cranked up, look no further. According to Hancock, the ponytail palm can “survive dry soil and dry air so you can grow it without worry.” It stores a generous amount of water in its thick, textured trunk, making use of its reserves during periods of drought. Long and narrow, dark green leaves form a fountain-like cascade that flows down to the plant’s base. Resilient in nature, the ponytail palm is the perfect way to “add a festive feel to your home or desk,” says Hancock.

In a Low-Light Room: Maidenhair Fern
Credit: kf4851/Getty Images
Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook

6 Maidenhair Fern

Many varieties of fern don’t need much light because they’re used to growing on forest floors, completely shaded by a canopy of trees, says Maria de Los Angeles Rodriguez Jimenez, a floral designer for GRDN, a gardening supply shop in Brooklyn. However, while they can tolerate low levels of light, they demand high humidity and like to be watered and misted frequently, so this option isn’t for the hands-off plant owner. While many houseplants prefer to dry out in between waterings, ferns like constantly damp soil. The maidenhair fern is a pretty option with delicate, lacy leaves, and will be happy in a spot offering indirect light for at least part of the day.

In a Drafty Room: Clivia
Credit: Juliette Wade/Getty Images
Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook

7 Clivia

If you have a room that’s chilly and doesn’t get a lot of sunlight, the clivia may be its ideal match. “These durable plants actually prefer a period of cooler weather which will allow their fantastic blooms to emerge, typically in orange or sometimes a golden yellow,” explains Stephen Hill, the creative director at Sprout Home, a garden design center with locations in Chicago and Brooklyn. Not only will this beautiful plant bloom even in a drafty home, but the vibrant colors will brighten up a chilly space. Another bonus: clivia like to be kept on the dry side, so you won’t need to water them every day.

In a Drafty Room: Moss Terrarium
Credit: Sprout Home
Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook

8 Moss Terrarium

To protect your plants from a chilly breeze beside a window or near the front door, consider a miniature version of a greenhouse: the glass terrarium. “It will retain humidity within the glass as well as protect the plants from both hot and cold drafts,” says Hill. Not only does the terrarium shield the plants inside, but it also adds a stylish conversation piece to a living room. “Ideal plants for covered terrariums are mosses, ferns, and fern allies,” recommends Hill. You can try creating your own terrarium, and Sprout Home offers terrarium-building classes and online orders in Chicago and New York City.

In a Drafty Room: Jade Plant
Credit: Marcel ter Bekke/Getty Images
Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook

9 Jade Plant

“A lot of plants don’t really like the combination of cold air with hot radiator air in the winter months,” admits Maria de Los Angeles Rodriguez Jimenez. “However, some plants can tolerate it.” One of the most likely plants to survive these temperature variations is the jade plant. “The jade plant, which is a type of succulent, will be fine near an open window in the winter,” she says. It also doesn’t require much water, and can thrive with a watering once every three weeks. This plant looks like a miniature tree, so it will introduce a refreshing burst of greenery to your home, even when the trees outside are leafless.

In a Drafty Room: Christmas Cactus
Credit: White Flower Farm
Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook

10 Christmas Cactus

If you’re looking for a durable plant that will also bring a pop of color to your space, turn to the festive Christmas cactus. This plant is typically propagated for sale before Thanksgiving, but its pretty red and pink blooms hint at spring. Plus, this houseplant is undeniably low-maintenance. “They range in color, thrive on neglect, and can be kept indoors year-round or moved outside for the summer in full shade,” says Barbara Pierson, nursery manager at White Flower Farm.

In a Dry Room: Philodendrons
Credit: mykeyruna/Getty Images
Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook

11 Philodendrons

The good news is, many of the most common houseplants don’t like a lot of water, according to de Los Angeles Rodriguez Jimenez. One of her favorite drought-tolerant picks is a philodendron, like the split-leaf or the monstera, which is an on-trend choice. These plants only need to be watered once every two weeks or so. What’s the secret to knowing if your giant monstera plant is thirsty? Pick up the plant and get familiar with its typical weight. “Sometimes water evaporates much faster or much slower depending on the room temperature. So if your plant feels heavy but hasn’t been watered in two weeks, the soil is probably still very wet and watering it again will only cause it harm,” she explains.

In a Dry Room: Succulents
Credit: Sprout Home
Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook

12 Succulents

On a windowsill in a dry room is the ideal location for a succulent collection. They come in a wide array of colors and styles, so you can mix and match to create a unique grouping. “One thing to keep in mind is that temperatures tend to be cooler near windows in northern climates, especially in older buildings. In scenarios like this, it can be advised to almost not water your succulents throughout the winter months,” Hill says. Some succulents may continue to grow during this time, while others will wait at a standstill until spring. When warmer weather hits, you can resume regular (yet still infrequent) watering.

In a Dry Room: Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree
Credit: De Agostini Picture Library/Getty Images
Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook

13 Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree

One thing to remember about caring for houseplants in the winter is that many, including the popular fiddle leaf fig, experience natural growing seasons and periods of dormancy. These periods should also correspond to how often you water them, says de Los Angeles Rodriguez Jimenez. For example, the fiddle leaf fig tree should be watered once every two weeks during the growing season, but only needs water about once a month during the winter. Also keep in mind that water evaporates more slowly in a chilly room than a hot one, so pay attention to whether the room is drafty and damp or dry and hot.

In a Dry Room: Aloe
Credit: White Flower Farm
Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook

14 Aloe

If your house runs dry in the winter, but you’re too busy to water your plants regularly (let alone turn on a humidifier for them), then aloe is a great choice. This hardy succulent can store water in its sculptural leaves, allowing it to go long stretches between waterings. The only downside is that this plant won’t give you any visual clues if it’s parched. “You have to check the soil to see that it needs water—it won’t wilt!” says Pierson. While this desert plant can handle a dry environment, it also loves to sunbathe, so set it near a window that gets plenty of light.

In an Overly-Heated Room: Cacti and Desert Plants
Credit: Linda Burgess/Getty Images
Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook

15 Cacti and Desert Plants

If you live in a home with an overactive heater, cacti and desert plants will thrive there. “They love dry air and hot environments because that’s where they are naturally from,” explains Maria de Los Angeles Rodriguez Jimenez. “A piece of wood, which is a poor conductor of heat, over a radiator is the perfect place to have a small cacti desert set up, and super cute,” she says. And because many deserts are known to get chilly at night, some varieties of desert plants can handle the cold and go into winter dormancy. “They’ll drop their leaves, but appreciate the snooze from the growing season,” explains Stephen Hill.

In an Overly-Heated Room: Wax Plant
Credit: White Flower Farm
Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook

16 Wax Plant

If you keep your thermostat turned all the way up in the winter, and also tend to be an inconsistent plant waterer, the wax plant, also known as hoya, is for you. “Hoya have thick waxy leaves and rope-like stems that allow them to take hot temperatures by storing water in their succulent plant parts,” says Pierson. By reserving water in this way, the wax plant is always prepared for an unexpected drought. The hoya’s cascading leaves look stunning when suspended in a hanging woven basket, and if you forget to water it for a few weeks, this forgiving plant will bounce back quickly without getting brown leaves.

What indoor plants do you currently have? Which ones are you now interested in. How has this article helped you with your house plants?

Share your comments with the community by posting them below. Share the wealth of health with your friends and family by sharing this article with 3 people today. As always you are the best part of what we do. Keep sharing!

If these articles have been helpful to you and yours, give a donation to Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook Ezine today.