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With the end of the school term fast approaching, I bet lots of us are counting down the days to a long-awaited summer holiday.  And with that comes the inevitable pre-holiday organising.  Last-minute shopping, packing lists and pet care arrangements probably spring straight to mind, but if you’ve got any houseplants, you also need a plan for keeping them alive while you’re away.

Most houseplants will be able to tolerate neglect for a few days, but if you’re going away for longer than this, you need to take steps to keep them going.  Let’s face it, coming home from a lovely relaxing break to be greeted by sorry pots of withered leaves isn’t going to help continue the holiday vibe!

Here are some things you can do to keep your houseplants happy while you’re on holiday.

Pre-holiday soaking

An obvious one, but it’s so easy to forget when you’re in the chaos of packing.  Make sure your plants aren’t already thirsty before you go away; give them a good drink on the day before you leave, then a quick top-up on the day to get them off to a good start.

Move plants to a cool spot

You can make such a difference to the amount of water your plants need by moving them out of direct sunlight and into a cooler location.  The soil will dry out less quickly, and the plants themselves will demand less water.

Group pots together

Gathering your plants into one area will help reduce loss of moisture; think of it as creating a bit of a mini jungle effect, where the leaves all overlap and trap water vapour.

Move houseplants outdoors

This isn’t a good idea for really tender houseplants like orchids, but most non-tender houseplants can tolerate being outdoors in summer, where they will benefit from any rain.  Choose a shady, sheltered spot out of direct sunlight.

Call in the neighbours

Having a friend or neighbour pop in and water your plants is great, because they can water as needed and keep an eye on your house at the same time.  Make their job easier and quicker by grouping all the plants together in one place; a little thank you present when you get home always goes down well too!

Setup a sink watering system

This isn’t as complicated as it sounds.  All you need to do is put an old towel (or a sheet of capillary matting, if you have one) on your sink’s draining board, allowing one end of it to drape down into the sink.  Fill the sink with water, then stand your plants on the wet towel on the draining board, checking that they make good contact.  The water will be drawn up from the sink, through the towel, and into the pots as required.  Clever!

And there you have it: lots of tips and ideas for keeping your houseplants alive while you’re off enjoying yourself.  Have you got any holiday houseplant care tips to add?

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We’re into the height of summer now, and you probably think it’s a bad idea to start off seedlings when there is such a high risk of failure due to the hot, dry conditions we (hopefully!) get at this time of year.  You’re right to a certain extent, but there are still some crops that you can sow for harvesting later on in the summer.  And I know none of us want to think about it yet, but now is also a good time to make a start on crops that you can harvest in winter.  Here’s what to plant in July.

Succession sow salad

Wow, that’s a mouthful!  Salad leaves grow super-fast at this time of year, and they can quickly go to seed if you don’t keep picking and eating them.  Sowing seeds little and often is the best way to make sure you have a constant supply; aim to sow every couple of weeks.  This is one of those jobs that’s so easy to forget, I’ve had to set myself a diary reminder on my computer to make sure I remember.  It’s also a great gardening task to do with the kids: here’s how to get them involved.

Biennial flowers for next year

Now this is super-organised, but a few minutes spent this month sowing biennial seeds that will flower next spring and summer is time well spent.  Sow them in trays of compost, and plant them out in late summer or early autumn; this allows them to get established over winter, ready to do their thing in spring.  Some good choices are honesty, sweet rocket, wallflowers and foxgloves.

Swedes & Turnips

Winter vegetables feel like such a long way off, don’t they?  But turnips and swedes take up to six months to mature, so sowing them now will give you a crop in winter – perfect for hearty soups and lovely roasted root veg.  They like moist soil, so try not to let them dry out in warm weather.

Kale

Kale is very trendy these days; full of calcium and antioxidants, it’s now seen as a superfood and pops up in lots of cookbooks and juice bar menus.  If you’d like to try growing your own, you can sow seeds in July for harvesting in 3-4 months.  You can cut whole plants when they reach around 15cm high, or wait until they get to 25cm and pick a few tender leaves regularly.

Will you be having a rest from planting this month, or growing any of these suggestions?  Let me know in the comments.

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The post What to plant now – July appeared first on Growing Family.

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Aren’t we having the most glorious summer at the moment?  I’m writing this post with the windows open and the sun streaming in, and I’m thinking I really must sort out some shade for my laptop screen so that I can write out in the garden.  I’m desperate to make the most of the season when it’s so glorious out there – particularly after the extra-long cold start we had to the year!

Spending more time outdoors in the garden always gives me a little nudge to spruce up our outdoor space.  I’m not talking full-on landscaping projects here – it’s way too hot for that – more the kind of jobs and improvements that don’t take much time, but make a real impact.  Things like deadheading flowers, filling a container with colourful bedding plants, and adding a new garden accessory or two can make such a difference.

To help me give our garden a summer lift, I’ve been taking a look at some products from the T J Hughes range of garden accessories.  There’s a great selection of outdoors products to choose from, including furniture, tools, storage, heating, outdoor cooking and decorative finishing touches.  The prices are really good too, with lots of bargains to be had.

Here’s my selection of products from the range to give you a little taster of what’s on offer.

Summer garden makeover ideas with T J Hughes - YouTube

Insect Hotel, £8.99

This insect hotel is a brilliant little product that will instantly make your garden more wildlife-friendly.  It’s also perfect for getting the kids more involved in nature and what goes on in the garden.

Designed to provide a home for bees and other insects, it can be fixed to a wall or fence, or simply stood up somewhere out of the way where it won’t be disturbed.

It’s great that there are lots of different sizes of hole in this hotel, as that means you can provide a habitat for a wide variety of visitors.  I think it looks really nice too.

We’ve attached our insect hotel to a garden wall; anywhere between 1-4 feet off the ground and facing as close to south as possible is ideal.  Now we just need to wait and see who moves in!

Whitefurze 49cm Window Box, £5.99 and Saucer, £1.00

One of the easiest ways to give your garden an instant lift is to plant up a container with colourful bedding plants.  I’ve chosen this smart Window Box and Saucer to add some colour to our patio.

I’m going for a modern, minimalist look with my containers at the moment, and I love the neutral grey colouring and simple shape of this window box.  You’d never guess that the price is so low!

There’s also a really good practical feature.  A built-in water reservoir at the bottom helps stop your plants from drying out, which is a real bonus in hot weather.  The matching saucer allows you to minimise water run-off, and I think it gives a lovely, neat look too.

At 49cm wide the window box is generously sized, so I’ve been able to pack the plants in.    It’s ideal for an outdoor windowsill, but it will also look fab on a low garden wall.

Garden centres, DIY stores and supermarkets are full of low cost bedding plants at this time of year, so you’re spoilt for choice in terms of the look you go for.  I’ve chosen petunias which will bloom for weeks, and a lovely sunflower to give it real wow factor.  What do you think?

Wooden Pin Wheels, £2.99

The kids always love to choose an accessory or two for the garden, and these fun spinning wheels are great for adding colour and movement to a container or border.

They take seconds to assemble; you just push the strong plastic stake together and attach it to the back of the wooden wheel, and you’re ready to go.

I was pleasantly surprised at just how big and well-made these are; they’re in a different league to the usual plastic windmills you find at similar prices.

I love the effect created by the pattern when they’re spinning too – take a look at the video to check it out!

Potting up a container of fun flowering plants is a great gardening project for kids to have a go at, and in my experience it always goes down well if you can add a little finishing touch.  I think these pin wheels would be perfect.

Roma Rattan Solar Floor Lamp, £19.99

If you like the idea of spending more time in the garden on warm summer evenings, but don’t have much in the way of outdoor lighting, this solar floor lamp is a great option.

I love the fact that it’s solar powered; there are no electric cables to trip over, it costs nothing to run, and there are no restrictions on where you can position it.

At 68cm tall it’s quite big, which means it gives out lots of light, and also has real visual impact.  I think it’s perfect for positioning next to a couple of relaxed chairs.  The rattan effect is created using matte black plastic, which looks very contemporary and will also be pretty weatherproof.

This lamp takes about six hours to fully charge, and as you can see it gives out a really lovely glow.  It’s perfect for relaxing with a glass of something cold on a balmy evening.

There you go: four ways to spruce up your summer garden with some great value products.  This really is just a small selection of the garden accessories available at T J Hughes, and it’s well worth exploring the full range, which you can find in-store and online here.  Whatever you have in mind for your garden this summer you’ll find plenty of inspiration!

Which T J Hughes garden products could give your garden a lift this summer?

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This is a commissioned post for T J Hughes.  The products were provided for review purposes, all comments and opinions are honest and genuine.

The post Summer garden makeover ideas with T J Hughes appeared first on Growing Family.

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Are you managing to find time to relax in the garden during the glorious weather?  This fab giveaway courtesy of the lovely people at Cool Hammocks will definitely tempt you to chill out and enjoy the sunshine!

I’m giving away a Florida Single Hammock in your choice of colour, plus a set of tree bands to make it easy to hang it up, worth a total of £74.90.  It’s such a cool prize, and as well as giving you a laid-back place to lounge outdoors, it will really add a shot of colour to the garden.

The Florida Single Hammock is a classic hammock shape and is made from sturdy cotton.

It’s available in three bright colours: blue, pink and green.  It comes with a matching cotton bag that makes it nice and easy to store it when it’s not in use too.  It looks soooo comfy…

To make it super-easy to hang your hammock, there’s also a set of tree bands included in the prize.  These are made from strong and durable weather-proof material, and they’re kind to trees too.

I really like the fact that these bands are dark brown in colour, as that means they will virtually disappear against a tree trunk and blend in nicely with the garden in general.

The Florida Single Hammock is just one of a wide range of hammocks available on the Cool Hammocks website, you can check out the full range here.  And there’s a great guide to hanging your hammock here if you’re not sure how to do it!

Cool Hammocks have also very kindly given me a discount code for my readers.  If you order before the end of September 2018, use the code GFAM10 to grab 10% discount – and there’s also free delivery on all orders.  Don’t forget to enter the competition to win a Florida Single Hammock too.

Which hammock from the Cool Hammocks range would be perfect for your garden this summer?

WIN A FLORIDA SINGLE HAMMOCK PLUS TREE BANDS

I’m giving away a Florida Single Hammock in your choice of colour, plus a set of tree bands, worth a total of £74.90.  To enter, just follow the instructions in the Rafflecopter widget below.  Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
GIVEAWAY CLOSES: 31ST JULY 2018 11:59PM

UK ENTRIES ONLY

FULL T&C’s IN THE RAFFLECOPTER ABOVE

Collaborative post.  Cool Hammocks are providing the Florida single hammock and tree bands for prize purposes.

Win competitions at ThePrizeFinder.com

The post Win a single hammock with tree bands from Cool Hammocks appeared first on Growing Family.

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Having spent the last few months coaxing seeds and plants to grow, everything in the garden and allotment is now shooting off at a crazy speed.  Suddenly it feels as if I’m in a race to provide the plants with what they need in order to thrive.

Watering forms a big part of this job; with the summer months upon us and plants growing so fast, the demand for water is at it’s peak.  Providing your plants with adequate water at this time of year can be a bit of a minefield, so here are some tips for getting garden watering right in summer.

Water at the right time of day

If you can, avoid watering at the warmest times of day when lots of water will be lost to evaporation.  The ideal time to water is in the early morning; this limits evaporation and helps plants deal with the heat.  If you can’t manage garden watering in the morning, the next best option is early evening – don’t leave it too late though, you want leaves to dry off before night to avoid mildew and mold problems.

Collect rainwater

One of the simplest ways to give yourself an easy supply of water for the garden is to collect rainwater.  It’s also a great way to reduce your impact on the planet and, if you have a water meter, your water bill too.  Water butts are available in various sizes and are simple to install, you just need to connect them to a downpipe or guttering.

Water effectively

Don’t waste time watering little and often; this encourages weeds and can also cause plants to make roots near the surface, which makes them vulnerable.  Instead, water the soil around plants really thoroughly, making little ponds around them so the water can really soak in.  Watering this way supports plants for much longer, so you need to water less often, giving you more time to sit back and enjoy your garden.

Use a good hose

Watering is one of those garden jobs that can be transformed with the right piece of equipment.  Unless you have a very limited number of plants to water you’re going to need a hosepipe, which can bring it’s own set of issues.  If you’re buying a standard hosepipe, try to go for a good quality one with sturdy piping; this will avoid lots of kinks and interruptions to the flow of water.  It’s a good idea to invest in a nozzle that gives you a few options for the spray, so you can treat smaller plants gently and really target the water where it needs to go.  The new expandable, lightweight hoses are great if you’re tight on space and don’t want to lug around a heavy reel.

Do you have any top tips for effective garden watering?  Let me know in the comments.

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Decided to purchase a new set of bi-folding doors for your home? This guest post outlines a few important things you need to consider before parting with your cash.

Bi-folding doors are perfect for both small and large properties, regardless of whether they’re traditional or contemporary. They’re also ideal for opening up your home to plenty of natural night, bringing the outside world in and providing easy access to your garden. However, it’s important to consider a number of things before you purchase a new set of bi-fold doors in order to transform your living space.

If you’re thinking of investing in bi-folding doors, here are the key considerations you need to make.

Choose the Right Type of Material

The type of material you decide on will largely depend on the style of your home and your personal preferences. For example, if you live in a traditional looking house with classic interiors, it might be best to opt for solid oak bi-fold doors or a set made from uPVC with a woodgrain finish. Contemporary-style houses will allow for more modern materials and statement looks, such as uPVC framework in white or a bolder colour of your choice. Having said that, blending traditional with contemporary can be a really impressive look as well.

In addition to picking the right type of material, you need to think about the amount of glazing you require, so that you introduce enough light to your interior space. You also need to consider the opening configuration of your bi-fold doors and whether you need them to open fully or partially. Don’t forget about your budget as well because the material you choose and the size of your bi-folding doors will affect the price, with a decent set costing anything between £2050 and £4919.

Think About Maintenance Requirements

Many homeowners overlook the fact that some materials and bi-fold door designs require more maintenance than others. This is particularly true for doors made from timber, which will need more regular maintenance to prevent rot and ensure the wood remains in excellent condition. Wood doors also absorb moisture, so they must be carefully treated throughout their life.

If you prefer a design that requires little maintenance, uPVC could be the answer. You can purchase uPVC bi-fold doors in various colours, as well as in a range of woodgrain finishes so that you can achieve a low maintenance timber look. We should also mention that all bi-folding door styles come with tracks that must be clear of dirt and debris to keep the doors functioning properly.

Never Ignore Security Features

The majority of bi-fold door designs will come with standard security features, such as a multi-point locking system and bolt locking to keep them secure. You can also find solutions with the Secured by Design accreditation, which is a police initiative that focuses on building designs and acknowledging security products. Basically, each Secured by Design product is tested by the police to make sure that it offers resistance to attack so that your property isn’t vulnerable.

Most manufacturers will offer additional security features like childproof locks, drop bolts and keyed locks. It’s also important to opt for strong and durable glass, such as double-glazed glass, which offers various other benefits including helping with your home’s thermal efficiency, decreasing heat loss and lowering your energy bills.

Get a Range of Quotes

When you start your search for the perfect set of bi-fold doors, you’ll quickly notice that there are hundreds of door companies out there. Getting a quote from them all will be a painfully lengthy process, so it’s best to narrow down your options by checking client reviews and the quality of their products. Once you’ve selected a few different companies that appear to be as good as they claim to be, you can request a quote from them all and decide which one you’d like to do business with.

By comparing quotes from trusted companies, you have a higher chance of saving money. Alternatively, you can save time and money by using a free online quote finder like the one available on the Price Experts website, which reviews hundreds of prices so you always get the best deal on a set of bi-fold doors.

What are you waiting for? Take a look at our buyer’s guide and get yourself a free, no obligation quote on bi-fold doors via the Price Experts website today.

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If you’re interested in gardening and nature you’re probably aware that bees are in trouble, with numbers and species in quite dramatic decline.  What you might not be aware of is just how important bees are to us and the planet in general.

Bees don’t just make honey and give us a lovely sound in the garden on summer afternoons.  Bees are vital for the pollination of plants – including food crops – and this insect family which is in serious decline plays a crucial role in helping to provide around a third of the food we eat.  Just think about that for a second – worrying isn’t it?

No matter how small your garden or outdoor space, you can do your bit to help bees thrive – and they’ll return the favour by pollinating all your plants.  Here are some ideas for what you can do to make your garden bee-friendly.

Grow pollinator-friendly plants

Choose plants that provide a good source of nectar or pollen – or ideally both.  Try to provide these sources for as long as possible in the garden, not just in the peak summer months.  Look out for the RHS ‘Perfect for Pollinators’ badge when buying seeds and plants, these will be great for bees.  For lots of plant suggestions take a look at the RHS website.

Install a bee house

Solitary bees and mason bees love to make their home in little holes, and an easy way to provide such a habitat is to install a bee house.  Bee houses should be placed 1-4 feet off the ground and facing as close to south as possible.  Our bee hotel is from Rex London and features a variety of hole sizes to suit different types of bee.  We always have at least a few residents!

Grow native wildflowers

This is a great low-maintenance option which is also perfect for a neglected part of the garden.  Native plants and wildflowers suit native wildlife, and maintain the balance of nature – obvious really isn’t it!  You can buy mixed packets of wildflower seeds which will create a lovely meadow effect that the bees will also enjoy; if you’re not sure how to sow them check out my guide to sowing wildflowers.

Don’t be too tidy

This is a good rule in general when making your garden a home for wildlife.  Nature isn’t tidy, so wildlife isn’t suited to taking up residence amongst a perfectly pristine garden.  Try letting some of your lawn grow longer to allow plants like clover to flower, or leave dead plant stems on the plant to provide a place for solitary bees to nest.

Looking after our native bees is so important – it really isn’t something we can ignore and hope others will sort out.  Happily, a bee-friendly garden isn’t tricky to create and looks lovely.  It’s also a wonderful project to get the children involved with too – and by doing so we can inspire the next generation to carry on the good work.

Have I convinced you to make a few bee-friendly changes in your garden?  I hope so.

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I was sent the wild bee house as a review gift, all opinions and comments are honest and genuine.

The post Gardening for Nature: easy ways to create a bee-friendly garden appeared first on Growing Family.

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This may sound like a rather odd title for a post, but bear with me….

If you’re growing courgettes this year, right now you’re likely to be inundated with them, and busy trying to find new recipes to use them in or giving them away to friends, neighbours and any random stranger who’ll take them.  This makes it the perfect time to grow a name in one of your courgettes; it’s dead easy, takes a couple of minutes and is an absolutely brilliant, fun gardening activity to try with children.

All you need to do is grab a toothpick, skewer or other pointy implement (obviously not too pointy if kids are doing it), and choose a small courgette still attached to the plant.  Gently scratch your chosen word into the surface of the courgette – you don’t need to go very deep, and it’s worth supervising children as they do this.  We’ve found that making short scratches and building up each letter bit by bit works best.

You will probably see a small amount of liquid seeping out of the letters, don’t worry about this as the skin will seal itself up pretty quickly.

Once you’re happy with your handiwork, all you need to do is leave the courgette to get bigger.  As it grows, the letters become paler and obviously they grow too.

Courgettes grow really fast, so you don’t have to wait long for huge names – ours took about 2 weeks to get to this size!

It’s up to you how big you want your veg to get, obviously the longer you can wait the bigger your harvest. My children love doing this and it’s not just the wow factor of the huge name at the end that they enjoy; it’s also the regular checking to see how big they’re getting and the comparing between each other.

Another good reason to do this is that by letting a courgette grow really big on the plant you’ll slow down the development of new ones – quite useful when you’ve got a glut on your hands!

If you decide to give this fun gardening activity a go I’d love to see some pictures of your giant names – you can share them with me on my twitter or Facebook page.  Do you think you’ll be giving it a try this summer?

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Welcome to the latest post in this series, looking at quick gardening jobs you can fit into a busy schedule.  This time I’m looking at ways to stay on top of your summer garden.

Things have certainly warmed up in the last couple of weeks, and I’m really enjoying my garden now the summer plants are bursting into life.  I think the ‘little and often’ approach is best for gardening at this time of year; keeping on top of the garden through little jobs seems to keep everything looking good much more effectively than carving out a few hours to blitz it.  It’s an added bonus that gardening this way is perfectly suited to being short on time.

Here are some ideas for ten minute summer gardening jobs you can tackle now to keep your garden looking great this summer.

Plant summer bedding

This is the perfect time to give your garden a shot of colour with summer flowering bedding plants in containers, borders and hanging baskets.  Supermarkets, garden centres and DIY stores are overflowing with bedding plants at this time of year, so there’s lots of choice.  If you’re planting in containers and baskets, try to use good quality compost, and remember to feed your plants with suitable outdoor plant food, because they will quickly exhaust the nutrients in their soil.

Get your watering right

Don’t waste time watering little and often; this encourages weeds and can also cause plants to make roots near the surface, which makes them vulnerable.  Instead, water the soil around plants really thoroughly, making little ponds around them so the water can really soak in.  Watering this way supports plants for much longer, so you need to water less often – giving you more time to sit back and enjoy your garden.  For more tips on effective garden watering in summer check out this post.

Protect plants from slugs & snails

Poor old slugs and snails, they really don’t get much love from us gardeners do they?!  Just a couple of them can destroy a batch of seedlings or salad overnight, and it can be really difficult to keep on top of them.  There are lots of ways you can try and control slugs and snails in your garden or allotment; broken eggshells, beer traps, copper barriers, slug pellets to name but a few.  I’ve found one of the best ways is to regularly check pots and vulnerable plants, moving any culprits far away to another part of the garden (or, if you’re feeling merciless, out in an open space for the birds to snack on – I can never bring myself to do this though!)

Deadhead your flowers

Having spent precious time and money coaxing your plants to thrive, it’s well worth encouraging them to produce as many flowers as possible.  Deadheading involves removing any flowers that are drooping, dead or forming seed heads; doing this prevents the plant setting seed, so it produces more flowers.  This is the sort of summer gardening job you can potter away at whenever you have a spare minute, and it’s a great one to get the kids involved with too.

Look after wild bird visitors

Don’t assume wild birds don’t need your support in the garden during the summer months.  Birds breed in spring and early summer, so by this time of year they are feeding their young and very glad of any extra food  you can provide.  You’re also giving them a great start on building their energy resources for the colder weather later in the year.  And if you can provide a bird bath this is a real lifeline during hot weather – just remember to keep topping it up.

What summer gardening jobs are you managing this month?  Let me know in the comments.

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Disclaimer: this post contains affiliate links.  This means that if you click through and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission from that sale.

The post 7. The 10 minute gardener: quick summer gardening jobs appeared first on Growing Family.

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The world of plant care can be more than a little bewildering, can’t it?  Unless you’re a gardening expert, it can be tricky working out just what you need to do (or not do!) to make sure your indoor and outdoor plants thrive.

I love gardening, but that certainly doesn’t mean I’ve got the plant care right every time; in fact I’ve had many disasters over the years.  I’ve also had lots of times where my plants thrived but I didn’t really know why, which meant I didn’t learn anything for next time!

Years of having a go has helped me gradually pick up plant care tips, and now I think I’m getting it right more often than not.  So, I thought it would be helpful if I shared my hard-earned tips in the hope that it helps you avoid some of my mistakes!

I’ve already shared some tips for orchid care, and in this post I’m going to focus on how to look after plants in containers, whether that’s indoor houseplants or outdoor pots.  Here’s how to nail container plant care.

Right plant, right place

This phrase is a real gardening buzzword at the moment, so if you’ve seen any gardening programmes or magazine articles recently you’ve probably come across it.  It makes total sense too; all plants have their own specific conditions that they will thrive in, so if you put a plant in a place that provides those conditions, you’re well on the way to success.

Check the care instructions on your plant, or look them up online if you’ve lost the little label, and try to put the plant in a place that provides it’s ideal conditions.  Some plants love full sun, others need shade; some demand high levels of humidity, while others will enjoy baking dry heat or a cool climate.  Get this bit right, and you won’t be constantly fighting to keep your plants alive.

Water regularly

Container plants don’t have access to as much water as plants that are in the ground, so you need to take extra care to stop them drying out.  On the flip side, overwatering can really damage container plants, as they tend to hate a puddle of water at their roots.  In warmer months check your containers regularly and water thoroughly when required; avoid doing this at the hottest part of the day to minimise evaporation.  In colder weather you probably won’t need to water dormant plants or plants that lose their leaves, but you may need to water evergreen plants, so don’t ignore your containers completely.

Houseplants are even more reliant on you for water, as they don’t even have access to rain.  If you tend to forget about your houseplants, consider setting yourself a calendar reminder.  It’s also a good idea to choose ones that show really obvious signs of needing a drink; my Peace Lily, for example, goes all floppy as soon as it needs watering, so it gives me a very visual prompt.  Another option is to choose really tough, hardy houseplants that can put up with irregular watering; succulents and Sansevieria are both great options.

Feed regularly

All plants benefit from regular feeding, and it’s especially important to feed container plants.  They have limited access to soil and will quickly exhaust the nutrients available; add to this the fact that we tend to pack lots of plants into outdoor containers or hanging baskets and it’s no wonder that they often struggle to thrive.

Feed your container plants regularly with a plant food suited to their needs.  I find with plant food, the more convenient the format and method of feeding the better, as that makes me far more likely to keep it up.  This year I’m using Baby Bio® Pour & Feed on my indoor and outdoor plants, it’s a really quick and easy way to feed them without any hassle.

Baby Bio® Pour & Feed is designed for houseplants and outdoor plants in containers and hanging baskets.  It contains balanced nutrients for healthy plant growth, and it’s also enriched with seaweed.  Regular use will encourage bigger, greener leaves and vibrant flowers.  It’s ready to use, so there’s no fiddling about diluting it into a watering can or worrying about getting the concentration right.  You simply use the cap to measure out the right amount for the size of your container, then pour it straight onto the soil around the plants.  So easy!

I also really like the fact that you can use this product on all your container plants, whether they’re indoors or outdoors, so you don’t need two different bottles of feed.

Baby Bio® Pour & Feed should be used every 7-14 days while plants are actively growing, I’m going to follow the instructions and seed how my plants look after a few months.  I’ll keep you posted on progress, so look out for an update!

Deadheading

If you have flowering plants in your containers this is a must – and it isn’t as brutal as it sounds!  Deadheading is simply removing any flowers that are dropping, dead or forming seed heads; as well as making your plants look better, it also prevents them setting seed, which encourages more flowers.  It’s the sort of job that you need to do little and often, and it’s perfect for kids to help out with too.

Re-potting

If your container plants or houseplants are looking a bit sorry for themselves, it’s possible that they have outgrown their pot.  You can check this by easing the plant out of it’s pot and taking a look at the roots; if they’re all crowded up around the bottom and edges of the soil, it’s time to re-pot into a bigger container.  This will provide the plant with some fresh compost and give the roots room to expand, which should give it a new lease of life.  Remember to water your plant well after re-potting.

Have I managed to de-mystify container plant care a little bit for you?  I really hope these tips help you get those plants thriving, and if you have any suggestions to add let me know!

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