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Miss Chen
03月16日
Miss Chen
Iresine herbstii is a relatively uncommon plant, but one that's gorgeous in any garden or as a houseplant. In all, there are about 30 species of Iresine plants in the genus, all of them native to South America, especially Brazil. They range from small to medium-sized shrubs, and most are perennial. The flowers on these plants are unremarkable, consisting of small greenish or white flowers on small stems, but instead, they are commonly grown for their striking foliage. Aside from their interesting foliage, these plants are notable for the range of their common names. Besides blood leaf, they are known as the chicken gizzard plant, the beefsteak plant, and other descriptive names. They are more common in the Southern Hemisphere, which makes them novelties in the northern hemisphere.
Botanical Name Iresine herbstii Common Name Bloodleaf, chicken gizzard, beefsteak plant Plant Type Herbaceous perennial Mature Size 12 to 18 inches tall when potted Sun Exposure Full sun, partial shade Soil Type Loamy, soil-based potting mixture Soil pH 5.6 to 5.9 Bloom Time Flowers not showy Flower Color Green-white Hardiness Zones 10 to 12 Native Area Brazil Iresine Care Although Iresine can be planted both outside and indoors, it gets quite finicky outdoors. It's hardy to USDA Zones 10 to 12, and it needs a lot of heat and humidity. If you live in an area that's prone to cooler temperatures, either grow Iresine as a houseplant or keep it in a container and move it indoors when the temperature drops. In its native habitat or when grown outdoors in the right conditions, the plant can grow to be 5 feet tall with a 3-foot spread. However, indoors, it's more likely to stay between 12 and 18 inches tall, with red leaves that are up to 4 inches long. Light Smaller plants tend to thrive in partial shade, but as they grow they can tolerate more light. They are margin plants by nature, meaning they grow on the edge of forests and can withstand varied light levels.​ They can tolerate less light in the winter months, so don't place them too close to a window. If the plant is getting leggy, however, it's probably not getting enough light. Soil When growing the plant outdoors, Iresine prefers organically rich, well-draining soil. For indoor growth, though, use a loamy, soil-based potting mixture.
Water Regular moisture is essential, especially during the growing season. They aren't water plants, so don't waterlog them, but plants without adequate moisture will begin to develop brown leaf margins and dropping leaves. During the winter months, you can cut back on waterings, but aim to keep the soil moist. Temperature and Humidity These are "warm house" plants and cannot tolerate lower temperatures or cold, dry air. The plant requires a temperature of at least 50 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Indoors, they are best grown in window boxes or bathrooms, which often have warmth and humidity. If you have a glasshouse, they will thrive there. Due to their low tolerance for cold, dry air, they will need to be frequently misted and provided with adequate heat during the winter. Fertilizer Feed with a high-nitrogen liquid fertilizer every two to three weeks throughout the growing season. Potting and Repotting Iresine should be repotted annually until it reaches its mature size, then it can be repotted every other year or propagated to create new stock and discarded. In the tropical landscape, it is often used as bedding plants, so it's a nice effect to grow a small clump of them in a container or to grow them in a mixed container with other tropical plants. Propagating Iresine They can also be easily propagated from fleshy stem-tip cuttings. For best success, take cuttings early in the season, use a rooting hormone, and provide bottom warmth and very high humidity. Seal the pot inside a plastic bag to keep the moisture in, and remove it when the plant shows signs of new growth. Varieties of Iresine There are dozens of species of Iresine herbstii, but only a few are grown for ornamental purposes. Iresine herbstii 'Brilliantissima': Bright red leaves with pink veins Iresine herbstii 'Aueoreticulata': Green leaves with yellow veins Iresine herbstii 'Blazin Rose': Deep red-purple leaves with pinkish-red veins Iresine herbstii 'Acuminata': Dark maroon leaves with pinkish-red veins Pruning Iresine plants will put out small, pale green-white flowers, but they're not showy. Therefore, most gardeners choose to pinch off the buds, so that the plant can divert its energy into growing its beautiful foliage. Common Pests and Diseases Iresine doesn't have any significant pest or disease problems, but it is vulnerable to pests including aphids, mealy bugs, scale, and whitefly. If possible, identify the infestation as early as possible and treat with the least toxic option.
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Miss Chen
03月13日
Miss Chen
Bonsai is the ancient Japanese art form of growing ornamental miniature or artificially dwarfed trees in containers using cultivation techniques to mimic the shape and scale of full-sized trees. The stunning blossoms and delicate foliage of the cherry tree make it a favorite among bonsai enthusiasts and amateur growers alike. While cherry trees are technically native to China, their blossoms have become a symbol of Japan and it is generally believed that cherry trees symbolize friendship. Beyond their alluring appearance, cherry trees lend themselves well to the art of bonsai. They adapt well to pruning and training and are generally low-maintenance specimens. Botanical Name Prunus Bonsai Common Name Cherry tree bonsai Plant Type Deciduous tree Mature Size 10-15 inches tall Sun Exposure Partial sun Soil Type Well-draining, bonsai soil Soil pH 5.5 - 6.5 Bloom Time Spring Flower Color Pink, white Native Area China Cherry Tree Bonsai Care Compared to other bonsai specimens, cherry tree bonsai require less light, and they adapt very well to training and shaping. An important part of growing and shaping a healthy pine bonsai tree is proper wiring. Wiring is the practice of wrapping a wire around the branches of the bonsai tree in order to reposition the branches to achieve a desired shape. Cherry tree bonsai can be wired at any time of the year, although it is best done in the fall or winter months so as to not damage the delicate buds and new growth in the spring or summer months. The wiring should never be left on for more than six months at a time. Light Cherry tree bonsai appreciate partial sun and cannot tolerate full sun conditions as the delicate blooms and leaves can be easily burnt. A location that receives dappled morning and evening light, but is protected from the afternoon sun is best. Soil When it comes to the soil for cherry tree bonsai, above all else, adequate drainage is of the utmost importance. Using a commercially available bonsai soil is usually best as these potting mixtures are formulated especially for bonsai trees. Cherry tree bonsai appreciate soil that is slightly acidic with a pH between 5.5 and 6.5 Water Cherry tree bonsai require consistently moist and humid conditions and benefit from being watered with distilled water rather than hard tap water. The soil should be kept evenly moist but never waterlogged. As a general rule, allow the top inch of soil to dry out slightly between waterings. These trees will need to be watered more frequently during the spring and summer months when they are in their active growing period. Never allow a cherry tree bonsai to dry out completely. Temperature and Humidity Generally, cherry tree bonsai appreciate warm spring and summer temperatures, humidity, and cool winter temperatures. For that reason, as with most bonsai species, they are best grown outdoors throughout the year. While they are considered moderately frost-tolerant and can tolerate short periods of freezing conditions, these trees should be protected from intense frost and harsh winter climates. Fertilizer Feed your cherry tree bonsai every two weeks throughout the growing season (spring and summer) with a balanced fertilizer. Older trees may require less frequent fertilizing than younger trees that are still developing. In the fall and winter, they will only need to be fertilized once throughout each season. Pruning Regular pruning and shaping are extremely important for the health and overall aesthetic of the cherry tree bonsai. Wait until the tree has finished blooming to begin pruning - usually in the summer months.
Pinch back any fresh shoots to shape and encourage branching, and reserve any heavy pruning of main branches or stems for the winter months. While you want to prune the new growth, be careful that you aren’t removing all of it. Some of the new shoots should always be left to ensure that the tree can continue growing. Keep in mind that heavy pruning may cause the following year’s bloom to suffer. Potting and Repotting Cherry tree bonsai should be repotted every two years, although older trees can be repotted every three to five years. Repotting is best done in the spring months before the tree has bloomed. When choosing a new pot for your cherry tree bonsai, there are several things to consider. Bonsai pots are designed to complement the appearance of the tree, provide adequate drainage, restrict root growth, and they even have wiring holes to aid in wiring the branches. Keep in mind that, according to the rules of bonsai, a pot's height and width should not be more than ⅔ that of the tree, both for function (root restriction) and for aesthetic and design. After you have repotted a cherry tree bonsai, ensure that it is kept in a partially sheltered location until the tree has become established. Freshly repotted cherry tree bonsai are especially susceptible to over-exposure. Varieties of Cherry Trees for Bonsai There are many different varieties of cherry trees that can be used for bonsai, although the most famous variety that is most associated with the stunning cherry blossoms of Japan is the Prunus serrulata (commonly called sakura). Other popular varieties include: Prunus x yedoensis (Yoshino cherry) Prunus ‘Kanzan’ Common Pests/Diseases Healthy cherry tree bonsai are not susceptible to many common pests or diseases. However, keep an eye out for aphids and caterpillars, which may travel to the tree from other plants in your garden. Although they are rare, watch for diseases such as peach leaf curl, blossom wilt, and taphrina wiesneri.
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Miss Chen
03月11日
Miss Chen
Chilled pineapple banana custard sounds delicious, right? That is the flavor and the texture profile that many people are reminded of when they first taste the fruit of the tropical evergreen tree commonly known and the Cherimoya (Annona cherimola). Native to South America, but quickly naturalized throughout the world to other tropic and sub-tropic regions, it has become quite legendary. Unfortunately, growing the Cherimoya tree to produce this delicious fruit can be done only in one select region of the United States, and it will not grow well in containers. For those who live in the magical Goldilocks zone, Zone 10, it's not all smooth sailing. It will take quite a bit of tending to this tree to produce fruit, but Mark Twain once called the fruit "the most delicious fruit known to men," so it might just be worth the effort. Common Name Cherimoya, Custard Apple Botanical Name Annona cherimola Family Annonaceae Plant Type Tropical evergreen Mature Size 30 ft. tall, 30 ft. wide Sun Exposure Full sun Soil Type Compost-rich, Loamy soil Soil pH 6.5 to 7.6 Bloom Time May to October Flower Color Green, Pink Hardiness Zones USDA 10-11 (Will only fruit in 10) Native Area Ecuador, Colombia, and Bolivia
Cherimoya Care Other than requiring a particular climate, the overall care of the tree is pretty painless. If you are lucky enough to live in an area that supports the cherimoya, it can be planted by transplant or direct seedling with the knowledge that fruiting will not happen until 3 to 5 years after maturity. Patience is always a virtue when planting fruit trees. Until the tree matures, you'll be learning about hand pollinating from experience: If you want fruit, you will have to learn how to hand pollinate its flowers. The beetle known to pollinate the cherimoya tree is not native to the United States, so hand-pollinating is how it has to be accomplished. If you have geographic luck, some patience, a little knowledge, and some paintbrushes for hand pollinating, there shouldn't be too much trouble when it comes to caring for your tree, unless you want to get fancy about it. The cherimoya does not have very much ornamental value, so aesthetic pruning is not a huge concern, unless you are interested in training it into an espalier, which it handles quite nicely. If you want to take on planting this tree so that you can grow your own delicious "ice cream" fruit, then look below for all the specifics on how to get the most out of your tree. Light The cherimoya tree requires full sun but is prone to having its leaves burn. To prevent this, think about placing your tree in a spot where it gets a good amount of bright morning sunlight followed by afternoon shade. Soil Testing your soil before planting your tree is a good idea. The cherimoya likes rich loamy soil with good drainage that falls into a pH range of 6.5-7.6. If you use an easy test on your soil and the results show that the soil you have does not match up with these requirements, then you know you can amend it. Adding in some good compost or manure can help increase the soil's richness, and amending it with perlite can increase the soil's ability to drain water. Water While the tree is in its growing season, you will want to keep the Cherimoya tree's soil moist but not wet. Cherimoyas are susceptible to root rot in soil that stays soaked, so overwatering needs to be avoided, and soil consistency is key. Temperature and Humidity Though the cherimoya is a tropical tree, it does not enjoy hot, dry climates but prefers cool summers that you expect along coastlines. If you are planting for fruit, and really that is the only reason you would plant the cherimoya, you should plant it in an area that would chill during the winter to allow for fruiting. It will not set fruit without 50 to 100 or so hours below 43 degrees but above 25 degrees. The tree will suffer damage at temperatures below 25 degrees. Fertilizer During the growing season, it is a good idea to fertilize your plant often. Every three months is about right, with a general-purpose 10-10-10 fertilizer at the dripline. Pollinating Cherimoya The only reason people will look to growing the cherimoya is for its delicious fruit. Unfortunately, it takes some effort to get the tree to actually produce the fruit since the tree isn't pollinated by insects that are native locally. That is where you become the pollinator! You will be collecting and dispersing the pollen with a regular old artist's paintbrush. Cherimoya trees are monoecious, meaning it has both male and female flowers. The first step is to collect the pollen from the anthers of the male flowers and disperse it onto the open female flowers. Occasionally the female flowers and male flowers do not open at the same time. If this is the case, collect the pollen and store it in an airtight, watertight container in the refrigerator and pollinate the female flowers when they open. Repeat the process often while the tree is in bloom to ensure pollination, and you will enjoy the fruit of your labor in no time.
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Miss Chen
03月09日
Miss Chen
A larger-than-life succulent, the century plant is a visually stunning agave species. It can grow up to ten feet wide and six feet tall with fleshy, arching leaves in grey-green or variegated colors. To protect itself, the leaves are tipped with sharp spines that ward off intruding pets or people. The sap of the plant is considered mildly toxic1. Also known as the American aloe, the plant’s name is a misnomer. It was once believed that it took 100 years for this plant to bloom, but we now know that it blooms after two or three decades of storing up energy to send up a single stalk, topped with an inflorescence of small yellow blossoms. A monocarpic species, the flower display is the plant’s final act before dying. Common Name Century plant, American aloe, maguey Botanical Name Agave americana Family Asparagaceae Plant Type Succulent Mature Size Three to six feet tall, six to ten feet wide Sun Exposure Full Soil Type Sandy, well-drained Soil pH Acidic, neutral, alkaline Bloom Time Summer (rarely blooms) Flower Color Yellow Hardiness Zones 8-11, USDA Native Area Texas and Mexico Toxicity Toxic to people, toxic to pets Century Plant Care Hands-off care and patience are required for growing a century plant. These large agaves must have well-draining soil and will benefit from intermittent watering, depending on climate conditions. As you wait a decade (and likely more) for the flower stalk to emerge, you can expect these plants to produce plenty of offshoots, which can be left to grow as part of a large colony or transplanted to new locations. Be vigilant towards the appearance of agave snout weevils, which can damage a plant beyond recovery.
Light Like other agave species, century plants do best with full sun, so plant them in a location that receives at least six to eight hours of sunlight each day. However, it is possible to grow these plants in light shade if your site doesn’t meet the requirements for full sun. Soil These plants do best in dry, sandy soil. They can tolerate a range of other soil types, including clay soil, but well-draining soil is an absolute requirement. Century plants in overly moist soil can develop root rot. Water The long and fleshy leaves of the century plant are designed to store water during times of drought, so don’t hover around these plants with a watering can. However, these plants appreciate regular watering during the spring and summer growing season. Water deeply but then allow the soil to dry thoroughly in between watering sessions; this might be an interval of a week to a month, depending on climate conditions. Temperature and Humidity The century plant is native to Mexico and Texas, providing an insight into the plant’s preferred temperature and humidity conditions. Warm temperatures with low humidity levels make for ideal climate conditions. Take note that the century plant is hardy to about 20 degrees Fahrenheit, but is likely to suffer damage from frost. Fertilizer It’s typically not necessary to fertilize a century plant. They do fine in sandy, nutrient-sparse soil. Like other agave species, these plants die after blooming so feeding with a fertilizer and accelerating the process only serves to shorten the plant’s lifecycle. Types of Century Plants ‘Marginata’: Also sometimes known as a variegated century plant, this variety has cream-to-yellow margins along each side of the leaves, providing visual interest. ‘Mediopicta alba’: A slightly smaller cultivar variety, ‘Mediopicta alba’ features gray-green leaf margins with a single central stripe of creamy-white. It typically matures to a height of three to four feet, with a four- to six-foot spread. ‘Mediopicta aurea’: Similar to other mediopicta varieties of Agave americana, this cultivar matures to a smaller size at six feet tall and wide. It features variegated leaves with a bright yellow central stripe. It is generally also considered to fare better in light shade than some other agave varieties. Propagating Century Plants Like other agave species, century plants are most easily propagated from offsets. Also known as pups, these clones of the parent plant can easily be separated and planted independently. You won’t need many tools, because you can pull away the pups from the parent plant by hand in most cases. However, a small trowel can be useful and gloves will protect your hands from the spines of the parent plant. You will want to have a container or garden site ready with well-draining soil. Then, follow these steps to propagate: After protecting your hands and arms, locate a pup at the base of the parent plant. In some cases, there can be a few pups growing close together. Use the trowel to gently loosen and separate the pups. Grasp the pup at the base and wiggle it loose from the parent plant and soil. If necessary, use the trowel to separate the plant from the soil and roots attached to the parent plant. Leave a portion of the stem that connected to the offset to the parent, along with the pup’s root bundle. A bare base on the pup will be a challenging start to generating root growth. Pups can be planted directly in the ground or in a container. In both instances, be sure to use well-draining soil. How to Grow Century Plants From Seed Growing a century plant from seed is fairly uncommon because the plant only flowers once in its lifetime only after several decades of growth. The much more common way to propagate a century plant is from offshoots, which it will regularly produce throughout its lifetime. Potting and Repotting Century Plants Century plants can be grown in pots, but keep in mind that these plants will mature to a very large size. Some gardeners choose to keep them in pots until the size of the plant (and its spiky leaves) makes it more practical to plant it in a permanent location in the ground. If you choose to plant Agave americana in a container, choose a large pot and soil that offers excellent drainage. A combination of soil materials, such as an even mixture of compost, potting soil, and gravel or sand, is a good blend. You could also use a pre-mixed blend of succulent potting soil. Fortunately, century plants are relatively slow-growing. You likely will only need to repot the plant every other year or so. When it's time to replant, wear protective gear like gloves, a long-sleeved shirt, and pants to protect your skin from sharp spines. Replace the potting soil with a fresh mixture and choose a larger pot that will allow for the continued growth of your century plant. Overwintering The century plant is not frost tolerant, so it must be brought indoors to survive winter weather outside of its growing zones. If you have cold but relatively dry winters, you can overwinter a mature agave plant by providing it with a measure of protection from the elements. Plant it in a location that is well-draining and sheltered from northern exposures. Another option is to situate the plant next to a large rock, which will radiate heat after the sun goes down. If overnight temperatures reach the lower limit of this plant’s tolerance, cover it with a cotton sheet for additional protection. How to Get Century Plants to Bloom The most challenging part of getting a century plant to bloom is waiting for it to happen. In most cases, it will take 20 to 30 years before the plant sends up a single branched stalk with blossoms, reaching 20 feet or more in height. Fertilized or rapidly maturing plants might blossom in as little as ten years, but this is the exception rather than the rule. These plants only bloom once in their lifecycle, after which the plant dies. After the century plant blooms, the leaves will collapse and the parent plant will die. However, because these plants are prolific producers of pups, a colony of offshoots will continue to thrive in the location. Common Problems With Century Plants The century plant is a healthy, vigorous plant that grows well when provided with the right growing conditions. However, it can face challenges in overly-moist conditions and gardeners must be vigilant in warding off the plant’s primary nemesis: the agave snout weevil. Wilting or discolored leaves If the leaves of the century plant become squishy, wilted, or discolored, this is a likely indicator of the most common problem to affect century plants: root rot, which is caused by overly moist soil conditions due to excess rainfall or watering. If the plant is manageable in size to dig out of the ground, you can examine the roots and cut away any black, slimy parts. Treat the remaining roots with a copper fungicide. Replant it in a drier location or amend the soil to improve drainage, perhaps with pumice, gravel, or sand. Weak or foul-smelling plant Typically, the large-growing century plant is steady and won’t easily be budged from side-to-side. However, if you notice that your plant is tilting or leaning or if a foul smell is coming from the plant, these are indications of an agave snout weevil infestation. These species of weevil feasts on large agave species, like the century plant. They weaken the plant by burrowing into the leaves to lay eggs. Once hatched, the larvae feed on the plant’s tissue. Compounding the problem, bacteria enters the plant through the holes left by the weevil and the plant begins to decay, resulting in the foul smell. Once the visible signs of an agave snout weevil infestation are present, it’s often too late to save the plant. The best option is to protect century plants from weevils and other plants through a regular application of neem oil or other insecticide.
FAQ Do century plants live for 100 years? No. Despite the name, these plants have a lifespan of 25 to 30 years on average. When does a century plant bloom? A century plant will bloom once in its lifetime, usually between 25 and 30 years. Well-fertilized plants may bloom as soon as ten years, but most people avoid speeding up the blooming process, because the plant dies soon after blooming. Are century plants easy to take care of? These plants don't require regular maintenance and will grow with little hands-on care. It is important that they have well-draining soil and don’t receive too much moisture.
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Miss Chen
03月07日
Miss Chen
The Celebrity tomato is a hybrid cultivar prized for its strong plants, disease and pest resistance, and robust production of fruit. If you've ever struggled growing garden or patio tomatoes that become vulnerable to pests or just don't produce very many tomatoes, the Celebrity may be a game changer for you. These tomatoes usually weigh in at half a pound each or more, and measure four inches across: the perfect size for a slicer! Its meaty texture and smooth globe shape make it a perfect sandwich tomato, but it can also be used in salads or in sauces, or chopped and simmered with fresh herbs to serve over pasta. Among tomato-growing aficionados, this variety is known as a "semi determinate" plant, because after reaching its full height of 3-4 feet, it continues to produce fruit until frost (unlike determinate tomatoes that have a "bush" habit and finite fruiting period/single crop, or indeterminate tomato plants that continue to sprawl and produce fruit throughout their growth season (like cherry tomatoes) Because they produce such an abundance of large fruits, these plants definitely need cages or stakes to keep them upright. Even with cages, you may find you want to use some plant ties for extra support, especially as fruits grow larger. If the vines seem too heavy with fruit you can always pluck some tomatoes just before they fully ripen, and finish ripening them in a sunny windowsill (indoors, or squirrels might start snacking on them). Scientific Name Solanum lycopersicum, cultivar 'Celebrity' Common Name Celebrity tomato Plant Type Annual Mature Size 3 to 4 ft. tall Sun Exposure Full sun Soil Type Fertile, well-drained Soil pH 6.2 to 6.8 Bloom Time Early summer, fruits appear through fall Flower Color Yellow Hardiness Zones 5 to 8 (USDA) Native Areas Native to Central and South America Toxicity Green parts of plant may be toxic to dogs or cats Growing Celebrity Tomatoes Even inexperienced tomato growers may find this variety to be relatively trouble free. It's resistant to many pests and diseases, and has a robust growth habit. It also can be grown easily in containers, Use a large container that's at least five gallons, to give your plants plenty of root space, and make sure the container has good drainage. Soil Tomatoes like a rich, well-drained soil. It's important to add new soil and amendments to the garden area where tomatoes are grown each season, and to rotate nightshade crops, to benefit from optimal soil nutrition. The Celebrity tomato does best in a slightly acidic soil. You may also want to consider companion plantings best for tomatoes. Light Two words: full sun. Celebrity tomatoes should be grown in full sun. Water Watering at the base of the plant with a watering can or drip hose, instead of using a sprinkler or hose from above, is recommended to help prevent spread of blight or disease. (Rain is good too!) Water in the morning or evening on dry days, and avoid watering during the hottest part of the day in summer. Tomatoes like plenty of water, but they do not like wet feet. If your tomato plants are pot grown they will need to be watered more often. Good drainage is essential to prevent root rot and overwatering may cause leaves to turn yellow. Temperature and Humidity The ideal temperature for tomato plants to blossom, fruit and ripen falls in the 70 to 85 degree F. range.1 Being such a hardy plant, variations in temperature probably won't do too much damage to Celebrity tomato plants, but if a heat wave crops up, be sure to water with cool water in the morning and again in the evening so the foliage doesn't dry out. Too much humidity may increase susceptibility to mold or mildew, but the Celebrity has been bred to resist such problems. Even though Celebrity is more a bush type of plant, it is important to leave plenty of space between tomatoes planted in a row in the garden. Good air circulation will help prevent many of the disease problems that plague your plants. Common Pests and Diseases This hardy hybrid plant is resistant to verticillium wilt, fusarium wilt, and tobacco mosaic virus, as well as nematodes. Tomato fruits are tempting to birds and small wildlife, so you may need to protect them with netting if this is a problem in your garden.
Growing Celebrity Tomatoes from Seed With the right set up, growing tomatoes from seed is fairly straightforward. Germination will be dependent on light, heat and moisture but most tomato seeds have a good germination rate. Use a seed starting mix and follow the instructions on the seed packet. A greenhouse is ideal for starting seeds for the vegetable and flower gardens but you can grow tomatoes from seed in a sunny windowsill. Once the seedlings emerge, they will begin to reach for the sun, so remember to turn the pots regularly to keep the plants from becoming leggy. You will need to harden off your tomato seedlings before planting them in the garden. You can accomplish this by exposing them to outdoor temperatures for increasingly longer periods of time over a week or several days. Choose good-sized containers for transplanting your seedlings, or plant in your garden once the seedlings are at least six inches tall, and all danger of frost has passed. Potting and Repotting Most tomatoes grow easily in containers, with a few simple guidelines to follow, and Celebrity tomatoes are no exception. The most important tip for growing tomatoes in pots is to make sure the pots are big enough! Tomato root systems require a good amount of space and good drainage. Once transplanted a light watering will help avoid transplant shock. When you are ready to plant out in the garden, dig a deep hole and remove the seed leaves and up to several sets of lower leaves depending on the size of your seedlings. You can bury up to a third of the plant in the soil which encourages a strong root system and helps the roots take up available water.
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Miss Chen
03月05日
Miss Chen
Native to the Cebu island in the Philippines, the Cebu blue pothos (Epipremnum pinnatum 'Cebu Blue') is a unique variety of pothos that is highly sought after due to its stunning foliage. Characterized by thin and silvery green-blue leaves, this Instagram-worthy pothos is delightfully easy to keep happy indoors. Unfortunately, as a part of the Epipremnum genus, this pothos is considered toxic to both cats and dogs, so be sure to keep it out of reach if you have pets at home1. Pothos vs. Philodendron: What's the Difference? Common Name Cebu blue pothos, blue pothos Botanical Name Epipremnum pinnatum 'Cebu Blue' Family Araceae Plant Type Evergreen, vine Mature Size 8 ft. long indoors, 40 ft. long outdoors Sun Exposure Partial Soil Type Moist but well-drained Soil pH Acidic, neutral, alkaline Hardiness Zones 9-11, USA Native Area Asia Cebu Blue Pothos Care As with most of its relatives in the pothos family, the Cebu blue pothos is easy to grow and care for. While it grows naturally outdoors in the Philippines, this pothos is most commonly grown indoors as a houseplant in the United States. There are two unique growth phases of the Cebu blue pothos: juvenile and mature. The juvenile phase is the most recognizable and is characterized by the familiar small, elongated oval leaves that are silvery blue-green in color. The mature phase is usually only observed in plants that are grown outdoors and is characterized by larger green leaves that develop fenestrations over time.
When it comes to care, the biggest difference between these two phases is the growth habit—while all Cebu blue pothos can be trained to grow up a moss pole or trellis, mature Cebu blue pothos are vigorous climbers and do not grow well without support. Otherwise, both juvenile and mature Cebu blue pothos are relatively easy to grow. Light To encourage strong, healthy growth, choose a location for your Cebu blue pothos that receives medium to bright indirect light. Unlike other varieties of pothos such as golden pothos or jade pothos, Cebu blue pothos do not do well in low light for extended periods of time. It is also best to avoid direct sunlight as their leaves burn easily. Soil Like all pothos plants, the Cebu blue pothos requires moist but well-draining soil. A mixture of one part potting soil, one part orchid bark, and one part perlite provides the perfect amount of drainage. Water Allow the top 1 to 2 inches of soil to dry between waterings and then water thoroughly, allowing the excess water to drain from the bottom of the pot. The Cebu blue pothos can handle some extended periods between watering if needed but it will grow best with regular watering. Keep in mind that in the winter months, you should cut back on watering slightly to avoid overwatering while the plant is dormant. Temperature and Humidity While the Cebu blue pothos is native to the tropical climate of the Philippines, it does surprisingly well growing indoors. If possible, provide your Cebu blue pothos with extra humidity which will encourage vigorous growth. Placing a humidifier nearby is one of the best ways to increase humidity around a plant, or you can choose a naturally humid location such as a bathroom, laundry room, or kitchen to display your plant. This pothos does not tolerate cold temperatures, so avoid drafty windows in the winter. Fertilizer During the spring and summer, apply a balanced liquid fertilizer once a month. Stop fertilizing in the early fall months as the pothos begins to enter dormancy. Propagating Cebu Blue Pothos Cebu blue pothos are easy and fun to propagate. Propagating is a great way to repurpose stem cuttings from pruning, or encourage a fuller growth habit. Since these plants can be difficult to come by, propagating is also a great way to create new plants to share with friends or fellow plant lovers. There are two ways to propagate Cebu blue pothos: in water and in sphagnum moss. To propagate this pothos in water, follow these steps: Take cuttings from your plant using a pair of sharp pruning shears or scissors. Ensure there are at least 5 to 6 leaves on each stem cutting. Remove the lower 2 to 3 leaves from the fresh cuttings to expose the nodes along the stem. Place the stem cuttings in water, submerging the exposed nodes while leaving the remaining leaves above water. Change the water every week to keep it fresh. Roots should begin growing within 2-3 weeks. Once the roots are at least 1 to 2 inches long, the cuttings can be transferred to soil. Fill a small pot with a well-draining potting mixture and moisten the soil slightly. Transfer the rooted cuttings into the pot and place it in a location that receives medium to bright indirect light. Keep the soil evenly moist for the first 1 to 2 weeks to help the roots acclimate, and then resume a regular watering schedule. To propagate a Cebu blue pothos in sphagnum moss, follow these steps: Before you start, place your sphagnum moss in a bowl of water to soak for 10 to 15 minutes. While the moss is soaking, take cuttings from your plant using a pair of sharp pruning shears or scissors. Ensure there are at least 5 to 6 leaves on each stem cutting. Remove the lower 2 to 3 leaves from the fresh cuttings to expose the nodes along the stem. Drain the water from the sphagnum moss and squeeze the leftover water from the moss—then place the moss in a small pot or container (clear plastic pots are great for this). Place the fresh cuttings in the sphagnum moss—ensuring that the exposed nodes are fully covered by moss while the leaves of the cuttings are exposed to air. To help increase humidity around the moss, cover the pot or container with a plastic resealable bag, ensuring that the leaves are left out of the bag. Keep the moss evenly moist (but not soaking) by misting it every week. Roots should begin to form within 2 to 3 weeks. Resist the urge to check in on the roots too early to avoid damaging them. Once the roots are at least 1 to 2 inches long, you can begin transferring the cuttings to soil. Gently remove the cuttings from the sphagnum moss. Don’t worry too much about picking any moss off that is stuck to the roots as they are delicate. Any leftover moss will get mixed in with the new soil mixture. Fill a small pot with a well-draining potting mixture and moisten the soil slightly. Transfer the rooted cuttings into the pot and place it in a location that receives medium to bright indirect light. Keep the soil evenly moist for the first 1 to 2 weeks to help the roots acclimate, and then resume a regular watering schedule. Common Pests This pothos is susceptible to some common houseplant pests that you should keep an eye out for. Mealybugs and scale are sap-sucking pests that damage the leaves of the plant over time. They both leave a sticky residue on the leaves and stem of a plant which is one of the first indications that you are dealing with an infestation. Fungus gnats are another common houseplant pest that are attracted to pothos plants thanks to their moist soil. These flying pests lay their eggs in the soil, and their larvae feed on the plant’s root system. Common Problems With Cebu Blue Pothos The most common problems with Cebu blue pothos arise from improper watering or light conditions. For the most part however, these pothos are relatively problem-free. Leaves Turning Yellow One of the most common problems with Cebu blue pothos is yellowing leaves. Unfortunately, yellow leaves can be the result of a number of different problems—from too much light, underwatering, and to lack of humidity. It is best to assess your plant’s unique growing situation to figure out what the root cause of the yellowing leaves may be.
Wilting or Curled Leaves If your Cebu blue pothos is exhibiting wilting or curled leaves, it most likely needs a good watering. The leaves should return to normal a few hours after being watered. If the leaves don’t perk back up, it may mean that the roots of the plant have dried up due to underwatering, and you should check the root system to be sure. If the roots are dried and shriveled, you can propagate the healthy stems of the plant to bring your pothos back to life. Slow Growth The most common cause of delayed growth for Cebu blue pothos is lack of light. Try moving your plant to a location that receives bright, indirect light to encourage more vigorous growth. FAQ Do Cebu blue pothos grow fast? Cebu blue pothos are considered fast growers under the right conditions. If you feel that your pothos is growing slowly, ensure that it is receiving enough light and water to support healthy growth. Why does my Cebu blue pothos have yellow leaves? Unfortunately, yellow leaves can be the result of a number of different problems—from too much light to underwatering, to lack of humidity. It is best to assess your plant’s unique growing situation to figure out what the root cause of the yellowing leaves may be. Learn More: Why Are My Pothos Leaves Turning Yellow? Do Cebu blue pothos climb? Cebu blue pothos, like all types of pothos, are vining epiphytes that naturally climb trees and large plants in their native environment. Juvenile Cebu blue pothos can also be successfully grown in hanging planters, but mature plants are vigorous climbers that require a pole or trellis in order to thrive. Learn More: How to Create a Moss Pole for Your Indoor Plants
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Miss Chen
03月03日
Miss Chen
If you want to add a bit of spice to your garden, the cayenne pepper plant might be the perfect choice. These plants are a Capsicum annuum species cultivar. The species includes many other common pepper varieties, including bell peppers, Serrano peppers, and jalapeños, although the cayenne packs more of a punch when it comes to heat. The peppers themselves measure around 4-6 inches long, have a long, tapering shape with a curved tip, and are most commonly red. The plants also produce flowers that are white to slightly purple and are shaped like a bell. These frost-tender perennials can be grown as annuals in temperate areas, but they grow best in warm regions that closely mimic the conditions of their native sub-tropical and tropical regions in South and Central America. They can be planted in spring after any danger of frost has passed, and they usually take around three months to produce a mature harvest. Botanical Name Capsicum annuum 'Cayenne' Common Name Cayenne pepper Plant Type Perennial/annual Mature Size Pepper: 4-6 inches; plant: up to 4 ft. tall Sun Exposure Full sun Soil Type Moist, well-drained Soil pH Neutral pH Bloom Time Spring/summer Flower Color White/purple Hardiness Zones 9-11 (USDA) Native Area Tropical South and Central America How to Plant Cayenne Pepper Plants Positioning and spacing are vitally important for a successful harvest of Cayenne peppers. Space the plants around 24 inches apart (just allowing for light contact), and if the seeds are started indoors, they shouldn't be planted out until a couple of weeks after the last frost and the soil is suitably warmed. Make sure you select a location that hasn't been used by other members of the Solanaceae family, such as tomatoes or potatoes, in several years. Cayenne Pepper Plant Care Light The cayenne pepper plant will grow best when exposed to full sunlight for at least eight hours per day.
Soil Cayenne pepper plants require moist, well-drained, fertile soil with a neutral pH. More acidic soil can produce peppers that are spicier than normal. If you are unsure, it may be worth conducting a soil pH level test. Water Watering cayenne pepper plants can be a delicate process. They do require moist soil, but overwatering is a problem too. If the soil becomes either too dry or too saturated, the plant's foliage can turn yellow. A deep watering every few days at the base of the plant is generally beneficial. Mulching around the plant can be a helpful way to conserve moisture. Temperature and Humidity The cayenne pepper plant is a warm-weather species native to tropical regions, and it requires consistently warm temperatures to survive. These plants cannot withstand extremes in temperatures, either heat or cold. Temperatures consistently below 55 degrees Fahrenheit will result in slow growth and leaf discoloration. Temperatures below 32 degrees Fahrenheit will damage or kill the plants, and nighttime temperatures above 75 degrees Fahrenheit can impact pepper production levels. Fertilizer Cayenne peppers will grow well in rich, fertile soil. If your soil is not particularly rich and you plant to use a fertilizer, make sure it isn't one with high nitrogen levels. This will direct energy towards impressive foliar growth rather than fruit production.
Harvesting Cayenne peppers are usually ready to harvest anywhere from 70 to 100 days after planting. Ripe peppers will generally be red, around 4-6 inches long, have a waxy skin, and be firm to the touch. Overripe specimens that are soft will not be edible, and although you can eat the peppers when they are still green, they won't have such a pleasant or intense flavor. Though the peppers can be pulled from the stem, it's recommended to snip the peppers from the plant to help prevent any damage. This is important because, when well maintained, you can continue to harvest peppers until the first fall frost. Once picked, your peppers can be kept in the refrigerator. It is best to use them within a week of harvesting to appreciate the best flavor and nutritional value. The peppers can also be dried and ground into a powdered seasoning for use in an array of cuisines. Growing Cayenne Peppers From Seeds If you want to grow cayenne peppers in your own garden, and you happen to have a longer growing season and plenty of sun, you can sow the seeds directly into the soil 10 to 14 days before the final frost of the year.
However, when starting your cayenne pepper plant, you'll likely have the most success by planting them indoors or, better yet, in a greenhouse. The seedlings are delicate and cannot tolerate either overly hot or cold conditions. When starting your plants indoors, place the container in a sunny location in a room that will maintain a temperature of at least 60 degrees Fahrenheit. The seeds should be planted in light, well-drained soil and usually sprout in about 16 to 20 days. Plant the growing seedlings into flats spaced a few inches apart or in individual pots, and then allow them to gradually acclimate to outdoor temperatures before transplanting about six to eight weeks later (assuming that all danger of frost has passed). Transplanting is a shock for cayenne pepper seedlings, so take care to minimize the trauma. If you choose to transplant prior to the final frost of the season, you can protect them with hot caps, row covers, or black plastic. Common Pests/Diseases A few pests are attracted to peppers—they also tend to be problematic for other members of the nightshade family (like tomatoes). However, with attentive care, it would be rare for them to impact your harvest significantly. Keep an eye out for aphids, mites, pepper hornworms, pill bugs and leafminers. Fungal diseases like leaf spot, fusarium wilt, and anthracnose can occasionally be a problem, especially in humid weather conditions. Proper spacing, good soil draining, and watering from the plant base can all help minimize the chances of these diseases becoming an issue.
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Miss Chen
03月01日
Miss Chen
Cauliflower (Brassica oleracea, Botrytis group) is one of the many cabbage-related cole crops that revel in cool weather. Mark Twain called it "a cabbage with a college education," but it's more than just a cabbage with airs. Cauliflower has a very distinct nuttiness and is similar to broccoli in flavor. The main edible part of both cauliflower and broccoli is the flower bud, making them both edible flowers. Cauliflower is not the easiest vegetable to grow, because it is very sensitive to temperature changes. However, with a little TLC, it can be a very rewarding vegetable for your garden. You'll have many more variety options if you start your cauliflower from seed. The white varieties need to be blanched, by covering the head with its leaves. The purple varieties get their color from anthocyanin, an antioxidant. Unfortunately, both the color and the benefits disappear with cooking. Orange cauliflower is the result of a happy accident (a mutation). It gets its color from a relatively high content of beta-carotene. Cauliflower has thick, oval leaves with pronounced mid-ribs and veins. The leaves and stem of cauliflower are both edible. The cauliflower head is composed of tightly packed flower buds, often referred to as curds. The actual flowers of the cauliflower are the familiar 4 petals in a cross shape that give this family of vegetables the name cruciferous. Cauliflower plants like cool (but not cold) weather and are best planted in early spring (for an early summer harvest) or in midsummer (for a fall harvest). They have a moderately slow growth rate and are ready to harvest in two to three months from planting, depending on the type.
Botanical Name Brassica oleracea (Botrytis group) Common Name Cauliflower Plant Type Biennial, grown as an annual Mature Size 12 to 30 inches tall, 12 to 24 inches wide Sun Exposure Full Sun Soil Type Rich, well-draining Soil pH Neutral (6.0 to 7.0) Bloom Time Spring, fall Flower Color White, orange, purple, green Hardiness Zones 2 to 11 Native Area Europe How to Plant Cauliflower Start seeds indoors about four to six weeks before your average last frost date. Cauliflower doesn't like having it's roots disturbed, so peat or paper pots are recommended. Plant seeds about 1/2 inch deep, and keep the soil moist. They will sprout faster if they are kept warm, at 65 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Whether you are planting your own seedlings or some purchased from the store, be sure to harden off your transplants before setting them out in the garden. Space plants about 18 to 24 inches apart, to give the outer leaves plenty of room. Cauliflower plants are biennial plants typically grown as annuals. However, if you want to save seeds, you will need to leave some plants unharvested, perhaps over the winter, with some protection from the cold. Cauliflower Care Light Cauliflower plants grow best in full sun, although a little partial shade can help to prevent them from bolting in warmer weather. Soil Cauliflower needs a soil rich in organic matter, with a soil pH between 6.0 and 7.0. The soil should be well-draining, but cauliflower needs consistent moisture, to prevent buttoning (growth of very small flower heads in place of a single large head). Water Cauliflower needs consistent moisture and plenty of it. Without sufficient water, the heads turn bitter. Provide at least 1 inch of water per week, and make sure it is soaking 6 to 8 inches into the soil. Leaving the soil dry in hot weather will cause the buds to open slightly, making the heads "​ricey" rather than forming tight curds.
Temperature and Humidity Cauliflower likes cool weather but is sensitive to frost. It begins to suffer in temperatures above 80 degrees Fahrenheit, which is why it's typically planted in spring or fall and harvested before or after the hottest days of summer. Mulch the plants at planting time, to keep the soil cool and help retain moisture.​ Fertilizer Since cauliflower takes so long to mature, some supplemental feeding will be necessary. Feed every two to four weeks with an organic fertilizer, such as kelp or fish emulsion. Cauliflower Varieties It seems plant breeders like to play with cauliflower because new varieties are always being introduced. Do some sleuthing at your local cooperative extension office, to find varieties that do especially well in your area. Green goddess f1: Lime green varieties with nice flavor and no blanching required; matures in 60 to 65 days Snow crown f1: One of the easier-to-grow white varieties with some frost-tolerance and a short season; matures in 50 to 55 days Di sicilia violetta: Also called violetta of Sicily or some other derivation; beautiful purple, Italian heirloom with a sweet, nutty flavor; matures in 70 to 80 days Cheddar f1: Pretty orange heads that are slow to bolt; matures in 55 to 60 days Standard White vs. Colored Cauliflower Orange cauliflowers have been bred from a genetic mutation that was discovered in 1970. The orange coloring come from beta-carotene, the same source of orange in carrots. It's not a GMO, just the result of a fluke mutation that has been used to make hybrid varieties. You might see it marketed as 'Cheddar' cauliflower, but it does not taste like cheese. It tastes like a sweet, nutty cauliflower. Purple cauliflowers have been around for generations. There are several heirloom varieties, such as the popular 'Purple of Sicily', and some recent hybrids. They all get their purple color from the antioxidant anthocyanin, as does red cabbage, red grapes, and red wine. Unfortunately, most purple vegetables lose their color when cooked, and purple cauliflower is not ​an exception. Another unusual variety in the Botrytis group is the alien-looking vegetable commonly known as Romanesco broccoli. It's probably a cross between cauliflower and broccoli, and it is not the easiest vegetable to grow. It's worth a try, though. The florets develop in a fractal pattern. Besides being beautiful, it has a wonderful nutty texture and flavor. Blanching Cauliflower White cauliflower will need to be blanched if you want it to remain white. The flavor isn't terribly altered if you allow it to turn its natural yellowish-brown, but it does seem to remain a little sweeter and a lot more appealing if blanched. Begin blanching the heads when they are about the size of a large egg. Start the process when the plants are fully dry, to prevent rotting. The traditional way to blanch is to fold some of the larger leaves over the head and tuck or secure them on the other side. You can hold them down with a rock or tie them in place. Don't fit the leaves too tightly; block the light but leave room for the head to expand. Once the leaves are in place, try not to get them wet and check under them periodically to make sure insects aren't using them as a hideout.
If this sounds like too much effort, you can simply cover them with an overturned bucket. Or take an even easier route and grow one of the colored varieties, which do not need to be blanched. Harvesting Most cauliflower varieties require about two months to mature, although some are a little quicker, and others can take up to three months. Since they will not form heads in warm weather and can handle only a light frost, be sure to choose a variety that will have enough time to mature in your climate. That means a fast-maturing variety if your spring or fall is short. Longer-maturing varieties are good choices for gardeners with mild or late winters. Gardeners in cold climates often have better luck putting out transplants in mid to late summer and harvesting in the fall. Harvest when the heads reach the desired size and while the buds are still tight. Don't leave them too long, or the flowers will open. It would be better to cut them when mature and freeze them for later use. Another option is to lift the whole plant and store it, roots, stem and all intact, in a cool, dry place. Common Pests and Diseases Unfortunately, cauliflower is susceptible to all the usual cole crop pests, and there are many, including cabbage maggots, cabbage loopers, and cabbage worms. Young transplants are also attractive to aphids and flea beetles, especially if grown in the spring. Groundhogs are exceptionally fond of cole crops. Fencing or caging is the best deterrence for the rodents.
Cole crops are also problem-prone when it come to diseases, with blackleg, black rot, and club root leading the pack. It's very important to not plant cole crops in the same place, year after year, and to clean up all debris at the end of the season, to prevent diseases overwintering in the soil. Another common cauliflower problem is leaf tip dieback and distortion. This is generally caused by a lack of boron in the soil. Kelp or seaweed fertilizer should help prevent this.
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Miss Chen
02月28日
Miss Chen
Catnip (Nepeta cataria) is a herbaceous perennial that thrives in much of North America and is very easy to grow. It has a clump-forming growth habit with square stems and triangular to oval, gray-green leaves with toothed edges that stretch around 3 inches long. Flower spikes appear in the late spring to early fall, bearing clusters of small blooms that are white with light purple markings. This plant is a fast grower and can quickly spread throughout the landscape if not kept in check. It will reach its mature size in a single season and should be planted in the spring. Note that, while many cats enjoy catnip, the oils of the plant are technically toxic to them.1 Common Name Catnip, catmint Botanical Name Nepeta cataria Family Lamiaceae Plant Type Perennial, herb Size 2–3 ft. tall and wide Sun Exposure Full sun Soil Type Loamy, sandy, well-drained Soil pH Acidic, neutral, alkaline (6.1 to 7.8) Bloom Time Spring, summer, fall Hardiness Zones 3–7 (USDA) Native Area Europe, Asia Toxicity Oil is toxic to cats How to Plant Catnip When to Plant Plant catnip in the spring after the threat of frost has passed in your area. Start catnip seeds indoors around six weeks prior to your projected last frost date. Selecting a Planting Site The ideal garden location for catnip will get lots of sunlight and have well-drained soil. Make sure no taller plants nearby are creating too much shade for the catnip throughout the day. However, if you live in a hot climate, catnip will appreciate some afternoon shade. Catnip also grows well in containers. In fact, a planting site with some kind of boundary, such as a pot, raised garden bed, or stone wall, will help to contain catnip's spread. Spacing, Depth, and Support Space catnip plants 18 to 24 inches apart in the garden. Position nursery plants and seedlings at the same depth they were in their previous container. Lightly cover seeds with soil. A support structure is typically not necessary for catnip. Catnip Plant Care Light Catnip prefers full sun, meaning at least six hours of direct sunlight on most days. Too little light can cause leggy growth with sparse foliage. However, catnip does struggle in extreme heat. So if you live in a hot climate, give your catnip a little shade from the strong afternoon sun. Soil These plants aren’t fussy about their soil as long as they have good drainage. They can tolerate poor, rocky, and dry soils. A well-draining sandy or loamy soil is best with a slightly acidic to slightly alkaline soil pH. Water Catnip is a very drought-tolerant plant, and sitting in waterlogged soil can kill it. Keep the soil of seedlings lightly moist but not soggy. Mature plants likely won’t need watering unless you have a prolonged period of drought. If the foliage is wilting, give your catnip a deep watering. Temperature and Humidity Catnip prefers temperatures between 55 and 85 degrees. The plant tends to struggle in hot, humid climates. Especially in high humidity, make sure there is good air circulation around the plant to help prevent fungal growth.
Fertilizer Mix some compost into the soil at the time of planting to give your catnip a boost. After that, catnip typically won’t need additional feeding. But if you have very poor soil, you can use an all-purpose liquid plant food or a layer of compost each spring. Pollination Catnip is a self-pollinating plant. It will attract bees and other pollinators to the garden. Types of Catnip Besides Nepeta cataria, there are several plants that go by the name catnip, including: Nepeta citriodora: Known as lemon catnip, this plant grows slightly smaller than Nepeta cataria and has a lemony fragrance. Nepeta camphorata: Commonly referred to as camphor catnip, this plant remains under 2 feet tall and wide. Nepeta parnassica: Known as Greek catnip, this plant also remains smaller than 2 feet tall and wide and bears light pink flowers. Catnip vs. Catmint The catnip plant Nepeta cataria is commonly confused with the catmint plant Nepeta mussinii. Both plants have gray-green foliage on square stems. However, catmint has a longer blooming period. And its flowers are purple while catnip’s are primarily white. Moreover, catnip is the plant that attracts cats while catmint does not. Catmint also generally has a nicer form, making it better for landscaping purposes. Harvesting Catnip Harvest catnip when it’s in bloom. Late morning is good time to harvest after the dew has dried but before the day heats up and potentially causes the plant to wilt. Cut off entire stems or even the whole plant if you wish. Catnip is used dried in sachets, teas, cat toys, and more. Hang the stems upside-down for drying in a dark, dry, well-ventilated space as soon as possible after harvesting. Once they’ve dried out, which usually takes two to three weeks, the leaves and flowers can be crumbled for use. How to Grow Catnip in Pots Growing catnip in a pot is a good option because it will prevent the plant from spreading into unwanted places. Use a container that’s at least 12 inches in diameter, and make sure it has a drainage hole. An unglazed clay container is ideal because it will allow excess soil moisture to escape through its walls. Use a well-draining potting mix, and plant your catnip at the same depth it was in its previous container. Pruning Pruning catnip is primarily to limit its spread and tidy up its growth. To minimize its spread, prune off the flowers as they’re starting to degrade and before they go to seed. This also can encourage further blooming. Also, cut down new sprouts from underground runners as they appear if you don’t want the plant to spread. Furthermore, pinch back the stems on young plants to encourage bushier growth. And after the first frost in the fall, cut back mature plants to just a few inches from the soil. They will regenerate in the spring with fresh growth. Propagating Catnip Catnip will readily spread on its own. But it’s also easy to propagate the plant via cuttings. Not only is this an inexpensive way to get a new plant, but cutting back the stems can also promote bushier growth on the parent plant. The best time to take cuttings is in the spring or early summer. Here’s how: Cut off a 4- to 6-inch piece of stem at a 45-degree angle just below a leaf node. Remove the leaves on the lower half of the cutting. Place the cutting either in a small container of water or moist soilless potting mix. A healthy root system will typically form in either scenario. Put the container in a warm spot with bright, indirect light. Change the container water each day, or continue to keep the potting mix moist. Roots should appear within a week. Once the plant has produced new foliage growth, it’s ready to be transplanted. Mature catnip also can be propagated via division. This is a great way to reinvigorate an overgrown plant. Here’s how: Dig up the plant, aiming to keep its roots as intact as possible. Use shears or a sharp spade to divide the clump in half. Replant the separate clumps at the same depth they were previously growing. How to Grow Catnip From Seed Start seeds indoors about six weeks prior to your projected last frost date in the spring. First, place them in a freezer overnight, and then soak them in water for 24 hours. This stratification process can encourage germination. Then, plant the seeds about 1/8 inch deep in a tray filled with moistened seed-starting mix. Place the tray in a warm, bright spot. Continue to keep the soil moist, and germination should occur within two weeks. Plant the seedlings outside after frost is out of the forecast. Potting and Repotting Catnip Potted catnip plants will generally need more water and food than those grown in the ground. However, make sure the container does not become waterlogged. Plan to repot your catnip when you see roots growing out of the drainage holes and popping up above the soil line. Choose one container size up, and replant with fresh potting mix. Even if your plant doesn’t need a larger container, it’s ideal to refresh it with new potting mix every couple of years. Overwintering Catnip typically does fine over the winter within its growing zones. Cut back any tender new growth in the fall, so cold weather doesn’t damage it and weaken the plant. And be sure to stop fertilizing in the fall to avoid promoting new growth. Don’t water the plant over winter. Wet soil in the wintertime can be fatal. Common Pests and Plant Diseases Catnip isn’t prone to many pest or disease issues. If the plant sits in waterlogged soil for too long, it can succumb to rot. Another concern is the plant attracting cats, who will try to rub and roll on the foliage and potentially damage the stems. Placing some garden fencing or stakes around the plant can help to prevent this, as can growing the catnip in a container.
FAQ Is catnip easy to grow? Catnip plants are quite easy to grow and can tolerate many different growing conditions. How long does it take to grow catnip? Catnip is a fast grower and will reach its mature size within one growing season. Does catnip come back every year? Catnip is a perennial plant and will come back in the garden each year.
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Miss Chen
02月26日
Miss Chen
Catmint (Nepeta) is a perennial herb that is a member of the mint family. It is an extremely easy-growing plant with few pests or problems. Nepeta has slightly aromatic gray-green foliage with a delicate, lacy appearance. Its billowing foliage is topped with spikes of flowers in early summer, with repeat blooms throughout the season. The flowers can be white, pink, or lavender-blue. Most catmint varieties have a somewhat sprawling growth habit, making them nice plants for edging planting areas and for running along paths. However, there are a few tall-growing varieties, like ‘Six Hills Giant’, with a more upright habit. As with many scented, gray-foliage plants, catmint is deer-resistant. It grows quickly and, in most climates, can be planted from spring to early fall. Botanical Name Nepeta spp. Common Name Catmint Plant Type Perennial Mature Size 10 to 24 inches tall, 1 to 2 feet wide Sun Exposure Full sun to part shade Soil Type Dry, well-draining Soil pH Acidic to alkaline (5.0 to 8.0) Bloom Time Late spring, summer Flower Color Blue, white, pink Hardiness Zones 4 to 8 (USDA) Native Area Europe, Asia, Africa How to Plant Catmint Catmint is one of those plants that thrives on neglect. Many of the newer varieties of Nepeta are sterile and produce no viable seeds. This is a plus if you don’t like the weedy, self-seeding habit of older catmint varieties, but it means you will need to either buy plants or make plants from divisions or cuttings. Choose a sunny spot with well-draining soil. A lean soil and somewhat dry growing conditions will encourage both more flowers and a stronger scent. Too much fertilizer will only make the plant grow lots of flimsy foliage. As with most plants, the mature size of catmint depends on the variety you are growing. Most catmints are floppy, bushy plants that mature at about 10 to 24 inches tall and 12 to 24 inches wide. However, there are some varieties that are more compact, and there are others that will grow 4 feet tall and 3 feet wide. New catmint varieties are being introduced regularly, so the best thing to do is to shop around and read the plant description before you buy. Expect your Nepeta to start blooming in early summer with repeat blooms throughout the growing season. Deadheading or shearing your plants will give you stockier plants and a lush second bloom. Light You will get the best flowering if you plant your catmint in full sun, however, the plants will also grow well in partial shade.
Soil Humus-rich, well-draining soil is ideal. Many species grow easily in a wide range of soil types, including dry clay and sandy or rocky soil. Water First-year plants need frequent watering, but once rooted, catmints are drought-tolerant. Temperature and Humidity Catmints like cool temperatures and benefit from afternoon shade in warm climates. They are often not tolerant of high heat and humidity. Fertilizer Add compost to the plant’s base in the fall, but once rooted it needs no further fertilization. Catmint Varieties 'Six Hills Giant’Nepeta x faassenii is one of the tallest-growing Nepetas and has lavender-blue flowers. It grows up to 36 inches tall and 30 inches wide, so be sure to give it plenty of room in your garden. Nepeta subsessilis ‘Sweet Dreams' features pink flowers with burgundy bracts. This variety likes a bit more water than most Nepetas. It grows to 2 feet tall and 3 feet wide. Nepeta racemosa ‘Walker’s Low’ has lavender-blue flowers with 8-inch spikes. This 2007 Perennial Plant of the Year reaches 2 feet tall and 2 feet wide and is one of the hardiest and most reliable Nepetas. Nepeta recemosa 'Little Titch' is a dwarf variety with pale blue flowers. It is just as long-blooming as many of its larger cousins, but its growth stops at about 8 to 10 inches tall and 15 inches wide.
Catmint vs. Catnip Catnip (Nepeta cataria) is a type of catmint and is arguably the best-known species in the Nepeta genus, at least among home gardeners. It's not the only type of catmint that makes cats loopy, but it's your best bet if that's your goal. Catnip has similar growing and care needs to other catmint plants and matures at 2 to 4 feet tall and 2 to 3 feet wide. It blooms from May to September and has white flowers spotted with pale purple. Catnip is relatively cold-hardy and grows well in zones 3 to 9. Pruning Most catmints will repeat-bloom if they are sheared back after their initial flowering. Some won’t provide much of a second show, but their foliage will be refreshed and tidied by the shearing. Propagating Catmint Catmint plants will continue to grow and bloom well for years. But if you’d like to divide them to make more plants, all Nepeta varieties respond well to division in the spring. Find a section of the plant with undeveloped shoots and a good root system, and slice it vertically with a spade. Replant the division, and keep watering it until it becomes established. Landscape Uses for Catmint Catmint is a classic choice for planting under roses. The pale colors of catmint complement most roses, and the soft, frilly foliage hides the ugly "knees" of the rose bush. Catmint is also a wonderful plant for edging, where it softens hard lines. Catmint plants will gracefully spill over walls and walkways and are great for providing contrast to spiky plants like iris and yucca. The pastel blues of many catmint flowers pair well with pink and yellow flowers, such as those of daylilies and yarrow (Achillea). Because of its similarity to lavender plants, catmint is often used as a replacement in areas where lavender does not grow well.
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