Nearly everyone knows that houseplants grow slowly during the winter and don't require fertilizer, but what you might not know is how to tell when it is time to begin a regular routine of feeding your hungry plants.
Most sources recommend withholding fertilizer from September or October to March, but that's only a rule of thumb. You need to resume feeding your houseplants as soon as you see signs of new growth bursting forth, typically in early spring.
My houseplants have already given me the nod that it is time for fresh nutrients. My anthurirum (above), commonly referred to as a flamingo flower, is producing new leaves and beginning to flourish. At first, I attributed it to moving it to a new window where it received more light, but I don't think that is the only reason.
My mandevilla vine dropped most of its leaves earlier this winter, but has suddenly decided it is time to resume growth.
I gave them both a weakened solution of Miracle Grow this morning and expect to see a burst of new growth over the next few weeks.
I'll admit it is a little early in the year to see new growth appearing on houseplants, but sometimes they have a mind of their own. Being ready to give them what they need is the least we plant owners can do.
Personally, I am hoping it is a sign of an early spring.
Last year when we bought a new home I inherited several gorgeous peony bushes. They produced beautiful showy blooms in shades of pink and white.
I had used heavy-duty tomato cages for supports but the plants grew so big that as soon as it rained the weight of the blooms caused the branches to bend over the edges of the wire cages damaging them.
This year I have a new plan for supporting my peony plants. This is called a Hildene Star used a Hildene, the Lincoln Family Home in Manchester, Vermont. The formal garden boasts over 1,000 peony blooms and its caretakers strive to keep the garden looking as natural as possible.
These simple supports blend into the foliage and allow the blooms to shine. I'm thinking that if this plan works for them it will surely work for me. Here's what you need to know.
1. Begin with five garden stakes, preferably bamboo. Place them equidistant around the cluster of peony plants when the plants have produced the first buds.
2. Connect the stakes with natural jute or garden twine to form a star. Wrap jute at each stake so that the jute is taut.
3. Wrap the jute around the circumference of the stakes wrapping the jute around each stake as you go to form a circle.
Because the Hildene Star provides sections for individual branches it provides more support than a traditional peony cage or tomato cage that only provides support around the perimeter.
If you are a gardener you probably started dreaming of this summer's garden months ago. I know I start dreaming of the next year's garden before the frost arrives in the fall. One of the projects I want to accomplish this year is making trellises with cattle panels.The video above has inspired me. It shows you how easy it really is to create a beautiful trellis for veggies —but I don't intend to limit mine to the vegetable garden.
I have visions of one of the these trellises covered with climbing flowers with hummingbird and bird feeders suspended from the top of the arch. I see a bird and butterfly oasis that will provide hours of enjoyment and enhance the beauty of the landscape. I may even add a birdbath to the scene.
Whether you are looking to add a decorative touch to your landscape or just want to give vertical growing a try, this video will put you on the path to making an inexpensive and functional trellis.
Six Benefits of Vertical Gardening
1. Vertical gardening saves space. If you are gardening in a small space it makes sense to grow vining plants vertically. This allows you to grow more plants in the same space.
2. Vertical gardening produces healthier plants. Growing plants vertically allows for better air circulation which helps to prevent diseases, like powdery mildew. Plants dry off quicker after a rain, which is good news during wet, rainy weather. It also eliminates issues with ground-dwelling insects that can lead to disease.
3. Vertical gardening increases production. Not only will many plants produce more fruit when trellised, you will grow more fruit per foot when you allow crops to grow vertically. That means you will get more veggies in less space if you grow them vertically.
4. Vertical gardens are easier to harvest. When you grow your veggies on a tall trellis such as the cattle panel arch you don't need to stoop and bend (or search through the vines) to harvest the fruit.
5. Vertical gardening produces well-shaped and clean fruits. Because your veggies are not laying on the ground, you eliminate yellow spots and soil on the veggies. They also grow more uniform as they hang downward from the trellis. Veggies like cucumbers grow straight and beautiful.
6. Vertical gardens are attractive and add beauty to your garden and landscape.
For more nature photography, check out my photography site.