Categories
Indoor Gardening

6 Poisonous Christmas Plants

As we excitedly fill our homes with trees, lights, decorations, flowers and gifts during the Christmas season, it’s worth bearing in mind that some Christmas/holiday plants and flowers are poisonous and may potentially cause issues for young children and pets. Here’s our (non-exhaustive) list of 6 poisonous Christmas plants to avoid or keep out of the reach of young children and pets.

1. Mistletoe

Image credit: https://lamberdebieflowers.wordpress.com/2010/11/28/mistletoe/

Some species of mistletoe are more dangerous than others. However, as a precaution, treat any mistletoe brought into the house as potentially harmful to children and pets. 

The leaves and berries of European mistletoe are poisonous as they contain several chemicals (eg. alkaloid tyramine) that can cause severe gastrointestinal problems. Dogs may die from ingesting it. 

North american mistletoe contain phoratoxin which can cause nausea, vomiting, stomachaches, diarrhorea, blurred vision, slower heart rate and a lowered blood pressure.

2. Holly

Holly contains saponin glycosides, methylxanthines and cyanogens which can cause symptoms such as hypersalivation (drooling), loss of appetite and vomiting. Theobromine is also found in holly berries. (This chemical, which is in chocolate, is toxic to dogs.)

3. Poinsettia

Poinsettias were previously believed to be very toxic. However, research in recent years have shown that it is not particularly dangerous. You may feel ill or nauseous if you have eaten a few leaves. Also, rubbing the sap from the plant into your skin can give you an itchy rash. Beyond that, this plant is unlikely to cause a problem for either humans or pets. Having said that, it is still worthwhile ensuring that it is out of the reach of young children and pets.

4. Cyclamen

Cyclamens grow an underground stem or tuber called a rhizome. There is a concentration of chemicals in the tubers. These chemicals, known as triterpenoid saponins, are toxic. While the leaves and flowers also contain the toxin, they have them in much lower concentrations. Although it’s unlikely that a pet or child will get to the tuber, there is still the remote risk of the pot being knocked over or the soil being dug up by a pet.

Cyclamen poisoning may result in severe vomiting and diarrhorea, which is accompanied by significant fluid loss from the body. Furthermore, it may cause abnormal heart rhythm and seizures.

5. Amaryllis

Amaryllis contains a toxin known as lycorine, which is found mainly in the bulb of the plant. Eating bulb tissue (or a very large amount of leaf or flower tissue) can cause stomach upset, nausea, vomiting, diarrhorea, tremors and convulsions.

6. Yew

Yew contains chemicals called taxines that quickly cause an irregular heartbeat after being eaten. The alteration in the heart rate can be life-threatening. Yew poisoning can also cause a headache, dizziness, gastrointestinal problems, breathing difficulties, trembling, convulsions, dilated pupils, and a coma.

Alternatives to Plants

If you were thinking, ‘What a damper! I was looking forward to having some of these in my house this Christmas!’, here are some alternatives:

  • Artificial plants & silk flower arrangements
  • Pop-up paper arrangements

Also, if you have not figured what to buy for your plant loving friend or family member, check out our selection of gift ideas!

This ends our blog post on poisonous Christmas plants. Let us know how you go with your child-safe and pet-safe Christmas celebrations by sending us your photos. We would be more than happy to feature them on Facebook or Instagram!

Categories
Indoor Gardening Outdoor Gardening

9 Gardens for Small Spaces

Not all of us are fortunate to have huge gardens in which we could lose ourselves. Short of climbing to some mountain top retreat, here are 9 garden ideas that you can incorporate in your indoor spaces.

Balcony Gardens

If you live in an apartment and prefer to grow outdoor plants, then the balcony is the perfect space for it. By filling your balcony with plants, you can create your own peaceful oasis right there. Plants also provide a privacy shield and sound barrier in the midst of high-density living.

When growing plants in pots on a high-rise balcony, it is important to select plants wind tolerant. Strong winds can pull on an plant’s leaves and roots, causing damage and breakage. Some suggestions of wind tolerant plants are frangula, ivy, bamboo, golden sumac, gazanias and marigolds.

Bathroom Gardens

If you have a bathtub and enjoy a good soak in it every now and then, being surrounded by plants in the bathroom will help to add a zen-like feeling to your bathroom indulgence.

To ensure that plants thrive in your bathroom, be sure to select plants that prefer high humidity and can tolerate temperature fluctuations throughout the day. Some plants that suit a bathroom are asparagus fern, bamboo, begonias, bromeliads, dumb canes and orchids.

Kitchen Gardens

If you love picking off herbs to add to your cooking, having a tiny kitchen garden will be handy. Chives, basil, cilantro, sage, mint and thyme do well in tiny pots within the kitchen.

Otherwise, you could also consider placing potted plants on your kitchen bench, including flowering plants that will add a splash of colour, or trailing plants that will fill visual gaps.

Window Gardens

If you’re fortunate to have a wide window sill, then capitalise on it. Be sure to select the right plants for your windows. If it’s a window that gets a lot of sun exposure, then sun-loving plants will be great for that spot. If the window is in the shade most of the time, then a shade plant would be perfect.

Vertical Gardens

If space is at a premium in your home, then vertical gardens may be the answer. It could be as simple as growing a creeping plant up a mesh or an entire wall covered with creeping plants. You could also consider vertical garden systems.

Trailing Gardens

Besides vertical gardens, trailing gardens are another possibility for compact spaces. With this method, all you need to do is to place trailing plants at higher spots within your home, either by hanging them off the ceiling or placing them high up on a shelf. Pothos are great for this purpose.

Shelf Gardens

If you prefer to avoid potentially damaging your walls, then placing potted plants all over your home on shelves is another option. It is easy to re-arrange plants or pots to suit your changing decor, while keeping them close to you for both visual appeal and health benefits.

Planter Box Gardens

The use of planter boxes is another great way to visually ‘bulk up’ your plants, by gathering them all in one neat spot. If you’re able to attach wheels to the base of the planter boxes, you will also be able to move your planter boxes around your home quite easily to suit your changing decor or simply to rotate positions so that your plants can get sufficient natural light in order to thrive.

Crazy Plant Person Garden

Finally, this is one method of gardening that every plant enthusiast needs no introduction to. All you have to do is to cramp as many plants as you can in one spot to create an indoor jungle! Oh, to be lost in one of these spaces. What bliss!

This ends our blog post on various indoor gardening ideas. Let us know how you go with creating your indoor gardens by sending us your photos. We would be more than happy to feature them on Facebook or Instagram!

Categories
Indoor Gardening Outdoor Gardening Seeds

How to Prevent Leggy Seedlings

If you’ve ever grown seedlings that were tall and skinny, you’d understand the disappointment. Leggy seeddlings tend to be floppy and weak. When they grow to full-sized plants, they are prone to diseases and look spindly or untidy. They are also almost guaranteed to produce less flowers.

Why do seedlings grow leggy?

Here are the common causes of leggy seedlings.

Lack of light: If you grow seedlings in a low light situation, it would be a natural reaction for them to stretch and grow towards light. Without sufficient light, they wouldn’t be able to produce important plant sugars. It is a natural survival technique to get closer to a light source as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, this results in tall, spindly seedlings that are likely to flop over in strong winds or rain.

Lack of water: A lack of moisture due to soil that is not wet frequently or allowed to dry out will result in skinny seedlings. Being unable to absorb water and nutrients from the soil results in a seedling not having what it needs to grow strong stems and leaves.

Wrong temperature: This is usually in warmer months when high heat may inadvertently result in a growth spurt where the stems grow faster than the leaves. Sometimes it could also be due to thermostat being set too high in your home.

Seedlings growing too close together: This results in seedlings competing for light, water and nutrients, so they try to out-do one another by growing faster and taller.

How to Fix Leggy Seedlings

If you take action soon enough, it is possible to fix leggy seedlings. Otherwise, it may be easier to start all over again by planting new seeds in the right conditions. Here are some ways to fix leggy seedlings.

Increase access to light: This may be as simple as moving the seedlings to another location with more light. You could also move them outdoors (if weather conditions allow for it). Placing grow light or fluorescent light near the seedlings will also help.

Simulate wind: It is a natural reaction of plants to grow thicker stems to withstand the forces of wind. So one way is to place an oscillating fan nearby to create air movement. Another way is to brush your hand past the seedlings a few times a day to create movement. This will trick them into growing thicker stems.

Improve soil quality: Providing moist, nutrient-rich soil will allow your seedlings to absorb what they need in order to grow healthily. Plant food that includes potassium will enhance root growth and plant health. Ensure that you do not increase the level of nitrogen. Excess nitogen can cause a spike in development which exceeds a seedling’s ability to increase girth.

Space seedlings further apart: Giving seedlings more space from one another will also result in them having access to more light, moisture and nutrients.

Products for Optimal Seed Growing

There are a number of products on the market which will aid optimal seed growing. Here are our top picks and suggestions.

Recommended Products

Fertilome Seed & Cutting Starter Mix is an ideal starter formula for germinating seeds, as it is humate-rich for healthy root growth.
Ultra Efficient LED Grow Light (80 watt) has a wide-dispersion design which provides 90 degrees of useful light projection allowing for use very close to plants. Its passive thermal management dissipates heat away from plants reducing the need for fans.
LED Grow Light (7 watt) puts out a warm white light, covering not only the essential red/blue frequencies but also the various light frequencies in between which are essential for optimal plant health.
Window Shelf with suction cups which can be used to allow your plants to grow virtually anywhere, keeping your plants in a sunny and convenient area.

With these products and our tips on mistakes to avoid for successful seed growing, you’ll be able to save your leggy seedlings or prevent future occurrence of leggy seedlings. Happy gardening!

Categories
Indoor Gardening Outdoor Gardening

Vertical Gardening in Small Spaces

If you have a small courtyard or live in an apartment with a small balcony, it is still possible to grow your own vegetables. The solution is vertical gardening.

Why consider vertical gardening?

Vertical gardening has become popular in recent years for a few reasons:

Space saving: Vertical gardens take up less space than traditional gardens, as you can maximise the space by allowing your plants/vegetables to grow upwards.

Protection from pests: When plants grow horizontally on the ground, they are more likely to be accessible to pests. However, when plants are growing upwards and off the ground, pests such as snails and slugs are noticeably reduced.

Protection from accidental damage: This is especially so if you have young children or dogs who may trample onto your vegetables which are grown on the ground. When vegetables are growing vertically upwards off the ground, there is no chance of a young child or pet trampling on them.

Protects your back: Yes! A vertical garden means you won’t have to bend down as much to weed or pick off leaves/fruits for cooking. However, you may need a step stool in order to reach the top of your vertical garden.

Improved harvest: When vegetables are grown at eye level, you are more likely to notice when to harvest your crop compared to when they are on the ground, especially with strawberries. Plants get better airflow when grow vertically, which reduces diseases and results in stronger plants.

Improves the environment: A vertical garden can act as a privacy screen or a green fence to block unsightly brick walls or balcony rails. Having a vertical garden in a small apartment also helps to improve the air quality.

How Garden Towers Work

What to Grow in Tower Garden

Here’s a salad tower growing plan serves as a useful guide for planting:

Vertical Garden Products

While it is possible for you to create a vertical garden using pipes, pots and other materials if you are handy with tools, you could also consider ready-made products for this very purpose.

Our Top Picks:

Garden Tower® 2: 50-Plant Composting Container Garden suitable for organic patio vegetable gardening
Ultra Efficient LED Grow Light Kit (240 watt) optimized for indoor produce production with Garden Towers and other vertical or horizontal growing platforms.  

Happy gardening! Don’t forget to send us photos of how your vertical garden develops!

More photos available at https://shrsl.com/2jc95.

Categories
Indoor Gardening

Growing Indoor Plants In Water

Overwatering, under watering, sometimes it’s just hard to keep your plants alive. So why not eliminate that factor altogether and grow your plants in water. Growing plants in water means that there are no gnats, no soil and you get to watch the roots grow. This method is low maintenance and disease and pest resistant.

So what plants can you grow in water?

The best indoor plants that grow in water.

1. Pothos

Pothos in a hanging pot

Pothos is featured a lot here on Botanique Lane. Check out our other articles on our beloved pothos plant.

Indoor Plants That Love Low Light
Tropical Indoor Plants
Pothos (Devil’s Ivy) Care Guide
Shop at Markets for Cheap Plants

2. Arrowhead

arrowhead plant water propagation
https://www.pinterest.com.au/pin/554013191663085722/

Arrowhead plants or syngoniums are a tropical vine. To Propagate them, cut an inch below an aerial root so that it will grow in water.

3. Philodendron

how to grow philodendron in water
https://www.pinterest.com.au/pin/304978206019131946/

Philodendrons, like Arrowheads, are also a tropical plant. To propagate Philodendrons, cut below an aerial root with sharp scissors and transfer to water.

4. English Ivy

water propagating english ivy
https://www.pinterest.com.au/pin/216735800809223435/

English Ivy is able to be propagated by cutting approximately six inches of a mature plant’s vine and submerging the stem in water. Do not let the leaves touch water.

5. Monstera

monstera, what plants to grow in water
https://www.pinterest.com.au/pin/406801778846071635/

Monstera plants are able to be propagated in water if the stem removed contains an aerial root. So trim a stem off and submerge it in water.

6. Peace Lily

peace lily, how to grow plants in water
https://www.pinterest.com.au/pin/337629303318511674/

Peace Lilies do best when transferred into water as a whole plant rather than propagated so wash off the soil and place it in water.

7. Spider Plant

growing spider plants in water

Spider plants are water propagated by trimming off a pup from the main plant and placing the roots in water. They grow super fast.

8. Lucky Bamboo

Bamboo sprouting leaves in water

Lucky bamboo can simply be placed in a bottle of water. Nothing special, just fertilise it once in a while.

9. Wandering Jew

wandering jew, growing in water
https://www.pinterest.com.au/pin/443604632046011031/

Take scissors and trim a stem, removing lower sets of leaves. Place the node in water to regrow roots in a container that submerges them.

10. Chinese Evergreen

Chinese evergreen, water propagation
https://www.pinterest.com.au/pin/771874823626259265/

Remove a stem with roots and transfer it into a glass jar that submerges the roots in water. Use rainwater where possible. We recommend removing at least six inches of stem to regrow a Chinese Evergreen in Water.

How to grow your plants in water?

Most plants are able to propagate in water but not all will thrive and grow in water. Growing plants without soil is known as hydroculture and instead of potting soil, gel/water beads or clay pebbles are used. They absorb and contain water so that the roots get to breathe while getting water as it allows air to circulate around the roots.

To grow your plant in water, remove the plant with roots and transfer it into a glass jar, submerging the roots in water. It is best to use rainwater as it doesn’t contain chemicals. However, if you are going to use tap water, leave the water in the jar for a day to let the chlorine evaporate.

Have fun growing plants in water!

Categories
Indoor Gardening

Indoor Herb Garden That You Can Grow Any Time of Year

Plants are great for your home, but what’s even better than that is edible plants! They look great on your kitchen window sill and provide flavour to your cooking. This list of herbs grows all year round meaning you won’t need anything but water and sunlight to grow them. Keeping them indoors means that we can grow herbs that don’t like cold, outdoor winter temperatures. By buying all the plants on this list you will be able to create your very own indoor herb garden, and the best part is that it can grow any time during the year and will last through the winter.

Your herbs will need plenty of sunlight so ensure that it is on a window sill to ensure it gets bright light for at least half of the day. Like all plants, ensure that the pot has sufficient drainage and give your pot a saucer to catch water.

Here are 10 plants for your indoor herb garden.

1. Rosemary

rosemary, indoor herb garden
https://www.pinterest.com.au/pin/441563938466058081/

Rosemary blooms throughout the year and is a perennial herb. You can use rosemary for seasoning and garnishing red meats like beef and lamb. Growing rosemary from cuttings is easy, stick in water or moist substrate until roots form.

2. Basil

basil, plant to grow on your kitchen window sill
https://www.pinterest.com.au/pin/420945896425498766/

Basil is a common herb in many cuisines across the globe. It is rich in vitamins and minerals like vitamin A, K, calcium and potassium. It doesn’t grow much in winter so do not overharvest your basil during colder weather. Placing basil on a window sill will ensure that it gets the warmth and sunlight it requires.

3. Chervil

chervil, indoor herb garden
https://www.pinterest.com.au/pin/503277327112015655/

Chervil requires less light than the other herbs but needs heat, so placing it on a window sill is still ideal within your kitchen.

4. Mint

mint, how to grow indoors
https://www.pinterest.com.au/pin/635148353681923091/

Mint is the weediest of the herbs and grows wild and overtakes planters. This herb is guaranteed to last through the winter cold. Mint has iron and vitamin C and has a fragrant scent and strong flavour.

5. Bay

bay, kitchen herb garden
https://www.pinterest.com.au/pin/461337555578581871/

Bay does not require as much sunlight as basil and will thrive in shaded areas. Ensure that it gets enough air circulation, do not overcrowd your window sill with too many herbs.

6. Chives

chives, indoor propagation
https://www.pinterest.com.au/pin/39899146686726837/

Chives are great because you can place them in water and trim off the green ends with scissors as needed.

7. Sage

sage, growing inside
https://www.pinterest.com.au/pin/546554104780521792/

Sage tolerates dry, indoor air and requires bright direct sun.

8. Thyme

thyme, window sill herb garden
https://www.pinterest.com.au/pin/277604764519651562/

It is a great herb for pork and will add lemony tones to your dish. Thyme does not grow as fast in winter and cutting old growth will prevent new leaves from growing.

9. Parsley

parsley
https://www.pinterest.com.au/pin/215609900898263489/

Ensure your parsley gets full sun. It is one of the easier herbs to grow indoors but needs direct light, so ensure it stays on a bright window sill.

10. Oregano

oregano
https://www.pinterest.com.au/pin/96264510773113103/

Oregano can be propagated by trimming the end of a plant and sticking it in moist soil or water. Once rooted, place it near a window.

We also have an article on how to start a vegetable garden without seeds.

Herb Garden Product Recommendations

The All-in-One Culinary Herb Variety Pack includes 15 culinary herbs such as basil, borage, chives, cilantro (coriander), chervil, fennel, lavender, oregano, parsley, rosemary, safe, savory and thyme.
The Culinary Herb Seed Bank includes everything you need to start growing your own organic herbs for cooking in the kitchen – 12 culinary seed varieties (2 types of basil, chives, cilantro, cumin, dill, mint, oregano, parsley, rosemary, savory and tarragon) and seed starting pellets to ensure your success.
The Garden-in-a-Pail (Herb Mix) comprises organic mixed herbs (basil, garlic chives, parsley) which can be grown in the leak-proof pail (included) right on your windowsill.
Categories
Indoor Gardening

10 Pink Indoor House Plants and How To Care For Them

Here is a list of our favourite 10 pink indoor house plants! Sometimes green leaves can get a little boring in your home. Adding some pink leaved plants into your living areas is a good way to brighten up a room and add a splash of colour that lasts all year round.

1. Pink Nerve Plant

Nerve Plant - 10 Pink Indoor House Plants
https://www.pinterest.com.au/pin/455989531026141059/

Nerve plants are also known as mosaic plants because of their veiny leaves. They grow to approximately 15 centimetres and like indirect light. Keep your nerve plant moist and add water when the surface begins to dry.

2. Polka Dot Plant

Polka Dot Plant - 10 Pink Indoor House Plants
https://www.pinterest.com.au/pin/157837161929876170/

Polka dot plants have spotted leaves that come in white, pink and red. In their natural habitat, polka dot plants grow to 90 centimetres in height, but tend to be small and compact when grown indoors. Polka dot plants enjoy bright, indirect light. Keep the soil moist in summer and water less during winter.

3. Ruby Rubber Tree

Ruby Rubber Tree - 10 Pink Indoor House Plants
https://www.pinterest.com.au/pin/262545853265089349/

The Ruby Rubber Plant is one of the many varieties of rubber trees. It sports bright pink leaves that can grow up to 30 centimetres in size. Rubber trees can reach a height of 3 metres indoors and prefer medium to bright light. Water your rubber tree every few weeks as they don’t like getting too dry.

Here is a more extensive article on rubber tree care.

4. Pink Arrowhead Plant

Pink Arrowhead Plant - 10 Pink Indoor House Plants
https://www.pinterest.com.au/pin/556546466454627983/

Arrowhead plants, also known as syngoniums grow upright when small, but develop trailing stems as they reach maturity. You can prune these stems to keep your plant short and compact. Arrowhead plants grow up to 90 centimetres in size and prefer low to medium light. Water your arrowhead plant when the top 3 centimetres of soil are dry.

5. Caladium

Caladium - 10 Pink Indoor House Plants
https://www.pinterest.com.au/pin/331225747595471340/

Caladiums have large heart-shaped leaves and a delicate, veiny appearance. They can grow to 90 centimetres in height and 60 centimetres in width. Caladiums thrive in part-shade or filtered light and enjoy moist soil.

6. Cordyline Rubra

Cordyline Rubra
https://www.pinterest.com.au/pin/414401603185604700/

Cordyline thrive in outdoor conditions and are also known as a houseplant. They produce flowers and berries during different seasons. They grow to 90 centimetres in height and enjoy full sun while tolerating part shade. Cordyline need to be watered regularly that they don’t dry out.

7. Calathea

Calathea
https://www.pinterest.com.au/pin/74239093846575908/

Calatheas have many interesting markings which make them known as the zebra plant, peacock plant and rattlesnake plant. They are also referred to as prayer plants because their leaves fold up at night.

8. Pink Princess Philodendron

Pink Princess Philodendron
https://www.pinterest.com.au/pin/296885800437825097/

Pink Princess Philodendrons (Philodendron Erubescens) are loved for their pink variegated leaves. They enjoy bright indirect light indoors and moist, well-drained soil. They become quite a viney plant, so ensure you have a moss pole or stake to prop it up.

9. Moonstones

Moonstone Succulent
https://www.pinterest.com.au/pin/528961918737478469/

Moonstones are one of the rarer succulents and are harder to hunt down. If you do manage to get your hands on one, they can grow up to 2o centimetres in size and like bright to direct light. Water your succulent once the soil has fully dried out.

10. Calathea Ornata

Calathea Ornata
https://www.pinterest.com.au/pin/1759287342555178/

Calathea Ornatas have lovely striped patterns on their leaves that sport a light pink colour that nicely contrasts the deep green leaf. They like bright light conditions but not direct sunlight and do best when kept moist but not wet.