If you haven't taken the time to take an inventory of your fall garden containers, then now is the time to do so. Do the flowers look spent, or the veggies given up and the grasses no fared well in the winter wind gusts? Then it's time to transition them into winter items that will hold up to the cold and harsh weather that is coming.
The first thing you need to do is toss all the plants and replace the potting soil. Now is not the time to try to salvage anything. Pick new plant materials that can with stand the harsh conditions coming in the colors and textures that will easily mix up and create a beautiful arrangement. Add color with painted sticks, berry branches or colorful shades of greens and yellows.
Fill your winter containers with Birch Branches. They look lovely when clustered together and add a depth of texture to a garden container that is lovely for many months. Ever seen colored branches like dogwood? They come in red to yellow and you can find other textured branches like reeds or thin sticks that come in brown and can be woven and displayed beautifully.
When it comes to plants try evergreens like boxwood that can be made into topiary. Conifers of all sorts will work wonderfully. Any kind of greenery that can handle the cold will be stunning covered in a light snowfall.
Berried branches like winterberry and dried seed pots add an artistic touch that really upgrades any garden container. Ornamental grasses add height to the center of a planter and trailing ivy flows over the pots sides, draping the planter in color.
Don't wait till it's too cold to transition your planters. Now is the time to make the most of the remaining weather.
Have you ever tried to propagate a plant? How about a succulent? Everyone knows that it's easy to propagate a plant during summer. All you have to do is stick a leaf cutting in dirt and walk away. When it comes to succulents in many cases just a dropped leaf will root themselves in dirt without any help from you.
However, to propagate during winter takes a few more steps. It's different not difficult. If you have a window ledge next to a south facing window where succulents leaves can be placed. It's a cold spot that gets sun and moisture from condensation on the window. Just lay them on the sill
After a few weeks they leaves will start to put out new growth and the roots become fuller. These cuttings didn't get any special care. If for some reason you want them to root faster, try dipping the cut end into rooting hormone before putting it by the window.
Finally when it comes to taking cuttings from succulents it's really esy. Carefully break or cut off a piece of the leaf or stem and there you go.
So you have cleaned up your garden, patio and porch area and prepared for the coming winter months ahead. Everything is locked down for the cold. How are your houseplant pots doing? Have you taken any steps to help the indoor pots survive the changing season? Well, we have a few tips to share that we think now would be a good time of year to implement. Take a peek...
Believe it or not, just because your potted plants are indoors doesn't mean they can't be negatively affected come winter. The air dries out more, dust collects and daylight is at a minimum. All of these combined make it very difficult for indoor potted houseplants to maintain their health and beauty.
Keep em clean: Dusting a home is never a fun way to spend your spare time but did you know that all indoor potted houseplants have tiny pores on the surface of their leaves that breathe. If they become clogged with dust and dirt particles growth slows down and the plants start to show stress. Indoor pot plants need as much sunlight as possible and dust blocks out it out. Also it just doesn't look good does it!
Take the time to clean the leaves with a soft cloth or sponge dipped in warm water. Hold the houseplants leaf for support and don't press hard. For hairy leaves try a small toothbrush or cotton ball. Lastly do the underside. It gets dusty too.
Watering times and amounts will change come winter also. Indoor heating can produce dry warm air that is not the best for indoor pots. Try misting your houseplants to create some humidity. Coat the stems and the leaves with misty droplets. Now would be a good time to group them together so that they can benefit each other with the moisture they will expel.
Finally let them rest. Now is the time for everything in nature to slow down and refresh. While your indoor houseplants rest the growth slows or stops so their watering and feeding schedule can change. Fertilize lightly once you are sure that growth has slowed down.
So, spend a few minutes tending to your indoor potted houseplants to prep them for winter and we think you will notice they will weather this harsh season much easier.
Try to get some of these fall garden chores done before winter arrives. If you spend the time to do these chores now then you will be well on the way for a Spring garden that will shine! These aren't hard garden chores to do but just simple things that will make your garden easier to manage.
Clear out all dead or dying plants, flowers or shrubs. Cleaning up dead leaves and flower head is easy to do and so important. Dead plants attract bugs and other unwanted pests. These pests like slugs are always looking for a warm spot to weather the winter so keep dead plants and leaves up off the soil and ground. Also now is the time to deadhead any remaining plants in your garden pottery that are still growing. Clean around the top of the pots taking out leaves and weeds that may have grown. Keeping everything clean is good for your garden and planters.
If you see any sick or dead plants take them out. Don't leave anything that will attract bugs. Don't compost them but toss them in the trash. If your potting soil looks spent toss it out and clean out the pot for next year. Don't keep soil that may have had diseased plans in them or show any kind of weeds or pests. If you are keeping the soil then clean it up taking out any dead object and cover with rocks, pot toppers or hay. This will keep the soil in good condition for next Spring plantings. Plan on adding some fresh soil next season.
Now is the time to bring in any pots that won't survive being outside for Winter. Move all fragile garden pots to the garage. If that isn't an option then move under eves next to the house and cover with a tarp. Not an option, cover the soil with hay, rocks, broken pots materials or anything that will help to keep water from getting inside the pot and freezing. The frozen water is what causes the cracks.
Any remaining decorative garden items can now be stored and put away. Clean everything up so that you will have a fresh start next year. Many painted items don't like the cold freezing weather and could have flaking or fading issues so take them inside.
Lastly, take a final look over. Clean up any thing you may have second thoughts about. Know in your heart that the next planting season will come soon enough and all the work you are doing know will pay off.
As the years go by you find yourself collecting more and more garden planters. Many of them are very expensive or just ones that you love very much. So of course you want to protect them from Winters cold and damage. Here are a few tips that may help ease your discomfort.
Before anything you need to clean them out and clean them up. Of course this is only for garden pottery that is empty and being stored. Start by dumping the soil into a compost pile or recycle can. You will not be using it again so it has to go. You do not want to pass on any bugs, mold or fungus that may be growing in the soil so get rid of it and start fresh next season.
Use a wire or stiff bristle brush to scrub off any chunks of soil that are sticking to the insideof the flowerpot. Then mix a bucket of 1 part bleach to 10 parts water. Now scrub the inside with the bleach mix to disinfect the pot and make sure any thing that may be still attached to the insides are killed or removed. Let the pots dry completely before storing them in the garage or shed.
Ideally all garden pottery and planters should be stored indoors over the winter months. May planters are frost resistant but not frost proof. This means they can handle light frost but not freezing weather. If there is standing water from rain or drip system in the soil and the soil freezes, the water will expand and crack the planter.
If you are leaving the empty planters outdoors, try flipping them over and use bricks, pot feet or wood to keep them off the ground. You can cover the empty containers with a large garbage bag to keep the water off or cover with burlap wrap. If you can't flip them then just fill them with hay or mulch to protect them from the water and cold.
If you can't move the garden planters and need to keep them planted then you need to top the pots with mulch to keep the water out and the roots from freezing. We like wrapping the planter with burlap and string to help. Plastic bubble wrap works etc. We know it's not the most beautiful look but if it saves your planters from cracking it's well worth it.
The only exception for all the above information is a terra cotta flower pot. Terra cotta is porous and absorbs water like a sponge. This is healthy for the plants but obviously bad for freezing water conditions. If you can't bring them in, get the pots off the ground, wrap in a waterproof bag or tarp and move them under a roof eave so water doesn't directly hit them. If you can't do any of that then at least lay down a thick layer of mulch or hay to protect the top soil.
Hope this helps and you find some of these tips for protecting your garden planters from freezing during Winter work.
Feeling the winter blahs yet? Head to the local garden center and get yourself some seasonal leafy greens. These grow great during the winter months and having them fill up those empty flowerpots you have sitting around your home and patio areas is a great plus.
Here's a few suggestions for greens that love winter!
1. Kale - Toss bit sized pieces with fresh lemon juice, garlic and extra virgin olive oil, then saute quickly until just tender. Pair with ancient whole grains such as quinoa or sorghum for a satisfying and nourishing meal. These will fill out a garden planter with curly thick leaves and stems. Many times the underside of the leaf is purple which adds a lot of color to your winter landscape.
2. Collards: A nutritional powerhouse of green goodness, collards make a smart addition to hearty soups. Toss chopped pieces into the pot toward the end of a soup's cooking time, and simmer until soft and tender. Another deep green colorful plant that has large leaves and will fill out any garden planter with no worries. Nice straight leaves with a white vein these are wonderful.
3. Swiss Chard or Lettuce: A relative of the beet family, this hardy veggies comes in a rainbow varieties that bring welcome color to winter dishes. For brunch, stem leaves lightly, then use as a base for poached eggs. Yummy! We really like this green potted up. It has deep purple stems & veins which off set the deep green semi curly leaves. Color wise they are a beautiful in a garden container as any flower or house plant that we have seen. Check them out.
We hope we gave you some great ideas on how to turn winters starkness into a lush and healthy time.
Now that Winter is here and it's really cold outside, its time to focus on your indoor potted houseplants. How are they looking? Will you be adding to them this Season? Here are a few easy tips on watering and fertilizing them that may help them out a bit.
When it comes to watering a potted houseplant they really don't need that much. Not even close to what it's like during Summer when the inside of the home can get very warm. Start to slow down the watering process in Autumn so that by Winters cold they are getting use to less water.
It's time for those potted plants to take a rest and hibernate till next Spring when everything comes back to life. Make sure to water the soil and not the plants leaves. This would be a good time to give those leaves a cleaning off. Make sure the dust and dirt that collects all year long gets gently lifted off.
Fertilizing your potted houseplants will work similar to the watering program. Start slowing down the feeding in Fall so by Winter you can completely stop. There is not much growth happening at this time and it's a good time for your houseplants to rest and go dormant. Come Spring it's time to start up again.
It doesn't take much to keep your potted houseplants looking good, just remember to go for it in Spring and let them sleep throughout Winter. Easy Peasy!
Listed below are a few types of houseplants that can do double duty by coming indoors for Winter and moving outdoors for Summer. We fondly refer to them as Indoor-Outdoor Plants!
These double duty potted plants add a lively touch to your indoors during the Winter months. Bring them in and place in a sunny window and they will add a green, pleasing touch to your interior decor. When summer rolls around it's time to move them outdoors. This will encourage new growth and help keep the plants healthy and happy.
Listed below are the plants that will do best in this type of dual environment and they are diverse in color and styles. A few points to remember is to take care when watering. Once outside the soil tends to dry out faster so you will need to water more. Once you move the potted plants back indoors be sure to wash each plants leaves to remove pests.
Here is the list:
Ficus - They like large plant containers so there is plenty of room. Use a good potting mix and let the soil dry out between watering. Fertilize in Summer. Sometimes they may drop their leaves from the shock of moving but they should come back in a few weeks time once stable.
Ferns - So lovely and many different types. Plant in lightweight potting mix, keep soil moist not soggy. Mist leaves regularly especially when indoors. They like a humid atmosphere. Fertilize in Spring or Summer
Palms - When potted these plants are fetching with graceful fronds and long branches. Young palms do best indoors to start, and when more mature they can tolerate being outdoors during warmer weather. Use a large pot or planter since they tend to take up space. Lightweight potting soil is best.
Philodendron - The office potted plant of champions. Don't you see these everywhere? Well they are tough and have nice big heart shaped leaves that are awesome. Plant in a large planter to make sure they have room to grow. Bring indoors in Autumn. It likes the warm house and bright indirect light. When outdoors potted philodendron like a sheltered location from wind and direct sunlight.
Well we hope this entry gave you something to think about. Why not decorate indoors and outdoors using the same plants and garden planters. It saves money & time!
Are you tired of Winters harsh weather yet? Better not be because it just started. We have many more months of dreaming about our potted flowers & patio planters before they can come to life. So, in the mean time we have a quick & easy project that will bring a touch of Spring indoors.
Get a few terracotta garden planters. Of course we love our because they are not only available in many sizes but the clay is a stunning product that imports to us from Italy. Select a few sizes that will work great for planting indoor herbs. The look of one size of pot all lined up in the kitchen window is also very popular and pleasing!
Make sure the pots are clean and dry before painting. Coat each pot with white paint and let dry completely. Then using grit paper rub the areas on the pottery where you want the terracotta to show through. This gives the pots the distressed look we are going for. Rub the lips, the sides and around the base to create an interesting pot.
Now fill with potting soil and herbs purchased at your local nursery or garden center. Not only are these lovely but they smell so nice. Now you have your own European Distressed looking flowerpots but you have added a touch of Spring to your indoors.
You may have read the blog title and thought what are they talking about? Who can grow flowers in the dead of Winter? Well, have you ever heard of "forcing bulbs"? It's the process of forcing potted garden bulbs to bloom earlier than they normally world.
By following the few steps listed below you can have colorful fresh flowers blooming indoors, on your patio, or a porch area. It's fairly easy to do and we can almost guarantee great success. Just think, sweet smelling flowers in January!
Step 1 - Select the containers you are going to use. There are many choices of garden pottery you can choose. A shallow terracotta bowl is perfect since bulbs don't have deep roots. You can also use a standard flowerpot that does have depth. This type of pottery is perfect if you want to layer your bulbs.
You may ask yourself, why layer bulbs? This is the method of putting a layer of the tallest bulbs on the bottom of the pot because they will grow the tallest. Covering them with soil and creating a second layer. Put Daffodils next, cover with soil and create another layer for shortest crocus bulbs. If you stagger each layer, they will bloom at different times so you will have flowers blooming longer instead of all at once.
Back to containers - you can also use pretty much anything you choose except they must have the drain hole covered with broken pot shards or pot filler. This helps to keep the moisture inside.
Next have potting soil that is well draining & your bulbs. Plant the bulbs in the soil ending with soil on top so that all bulbs are protected from the cold. Now place the garden container in a cool, dark spot for 12 to 16 weeks. Make sure it's cool and never gets over 50 degrees. Under a staircase or on a spare closet are good places.
Step 2 - Once you see good root formation, it's time to place them in a cooler spot in direct sunlight. This lets the potted bulbs become accustomed to the warmth. Keep the soil moist. After they have good growth move to where you want to keep them. They should bloom in 3 to 4 weeks.
Enjoy the blooms through out Winters harsh months and let the fragrance fill your home.