The Worrywart & The Rearranger

Last week I talked about The Collector—the passionate gardener who has to have one of everything, to the detriment of their landscape design. Today I want to address two more kinds of crazy plant people and the mistakes they make: The Worrywart and The Rearranger. Do either of these sound familiar?

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Don’t Wait. Plant Now.

Plants for sale @Lowe's-CS_2008aug02_LAH_5093If the cooler weather and turning leaves haven’t alerted you, the calendar can’t lie. Tomorrow is the first day of autumn. Can our first frost be far behind? It’s tempting to let the change of seasons put a stop to gardening for the year, but there’s still much to do. (See my previous post on “Putting Your Garden to Bed” for ideas.) Of course we know that many spring-blooming bulbs go in the ground now. But how about perennials, shrubs, and even trees? Can we plant (or transplant) them now? Even for those of us who live in places with cold winters, fall is a terrific time to plant.

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How to Grow a Houseplant: Containers & Repotting

pots-for-sale-santafegreenhouses-20089jun28-lah-132Note: This is Part 3 of a three-part series on How to Grow a Houseplant. Part 1 covered light & temperature requirements, Part 2 was about feeding and watering.

Containers
A bird has a cage and a gecko has a terrarium. Plants need a special places to live too.

You have a lot of latitude in choosing a container for your plant. Consider not only made-for-plants pots, but other bowls, cans, and even shoes. However, there are a few requisites. Drainage is paramount. If your chosen pot doesn’t have a drain hole, add one.

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Starting Seeds: Growing Transplants

Congratulations. You are the proud parent of a tray (or more) of baby plants. Remember, though, with parenting comes responsibility.

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These are just the “seed leaves”

Once your seedlings are up and growing, they’ll require almost daily attention. If your potting mix did not contain fertilizer, you’ll need to start a feeding schedule. Wait until the first true leaves appear. (The initial “seed leaves” are the cotyledons, which contain plenty of food to get the baby off to a good start.) Use any liquid all-purpose fertilizer at half-strength, twice as often as the directions tell you.

And speaking of water, don’t let them dry out! At this stage, wilting is fatal, Even if your plants survive, they will suffer the effects of this trauma all their days. The ultimate crop yield will be smaller, and won’t taste as good, compared to plants that grew unchecked.  Continue to water from the bottom, using water that is room temperature or lukewarm. You don’t want to shock their little roots with ice water!

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