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Jelly Bean Plant (Sedum rubrotinctum)

Did you know- over-watering is the number one cause of damage, poor health and death of houseplants? There are probably a lot of reasons for this-

1. Plants get watered on a schedule, instead of as needed.

2. Plant is not absorbing water the way it should, so it looks thirsty, even if soil is water-logged.

3. The plant looks unhealthy, but needs something else, not water.

Keep in mind that in many cases, houseplants are dormant during winter months. They are in a resting state, and just don’t need as much water as when they are growing vigorously.

I want to mention a couple of products that can help your house plants look their best, and stay healthy all winter, while preventing over watering problems.

The first is SAFER Oxygen Plus Plant Food. This is a low dose fertilizer (analysis 1-2-1) that gives your plants a balanced feeding every time you water. Just 2 squirts per quart of water every time you water keeps plants healthy. But the big difference in this and other house plant foods is this:  Safer Oxygen Plus releases oxygen into the soil around the roots, preventing them from being smothered. This keeps the roots healthy and gives them essential “breathing room” to absorb water, oxygen and nutrients.  Don’t water until the pot feels light and soil is dry up to the first knuckle on your finger.

The second product I’d recommend is Bonide Leaf Shine. It’s not just for prettying up your potted plants, it protects them from excess moisture loss. Plants lose a lot of water through the leaves. Bonide Leaf Shine coats the leaves with a natural looking, shiny coating that seals in moisture. It can be used on any plant with smooth leaves, and will prevent excess water loss through the leaves.  You may not be tempted to over-water if leaves look fresher and don’t have that dried-out look that the warm indoor air can cause.

So, to keep your potted plants looking and feeling their best all winter, water only when needed, add SAFER Oxygen Plus whenever you do water, and use Bonide Leaf Shine to keep leaves shiny and preserve their moisture.

Why do you think plants get over-watered? And how do you prevent it?

SAFER Oxygen Plus Plant Food       Bonide Leaf Shine

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…that onions and garlic are actually considered to be true lilies?  It’s true.

Here is the scientific classification of a bulb onion:

Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asparagales
Family: Amaryllidaceae
Subfamily: Allioideae
Genus: Allium
Species: A. cepa

The family Liliaceae is a very large family, including genera such as hyacinths, tulips, amaryllis, and the true lily.  What most people don’t (or didn’t) know, is that Liliaceae also includes the genus Allium onions and garlic, which you can see above in the onions classification.  It’s all very confusing, but basically, onions are part of the Liliaceae family, making them lilies.  Not true lilies obviously, but lilies nonetheless.  In fact, an onion is more of a lily than a Calla lily or Water lily because those types of  lilies are in completely different families from Liliaceae.  So just sit there and ponder that for a moment.  I know I did, and really it’s very interesting if you’re into that sort of thing.

Tiger lilies in my front yard

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Did you know…

Mature caterpillar feeding on swamp milkweed

Monarch Caterpillar

…that the average garden variety caterpillar has 248 muscles in its head?  Caterpillars are considered pests because they are mostly herbivores and eat the plants and fruits in your gardens.  Caterpillars are not only harmful to plants, but can affect human health.  They are often poisonous and can sting.  Their hair can also be dangerous because it can get in a human eye and cause an infection.  The most famous caterpillar (and butterfly) of North America is the monarch.  They are virtually harmless, especially to humans and often raised in school classrooms.  Their main food source is the milkweed, meaning they usually do not bother standard gardens.

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Did you know…

Nectarines

Nectarines

…that roses can last up to three times as long in a vase than on a bush?

…that garlic keeps best in temperatures around 60-65 degrees F?

…that a nectarine is a fuzz-less peach?

…that marigold plants help prevent rodents?

…that the average lifespan of lawn mowers and other yard machines is 3 years?

…that almonds are members of the peach family?

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Did you know…

…that you do not have to plant a tree in the same direction it was facing in the nursery?  Many knowledgable growers have conducted experiments on this, and the results determined that the tree orientation does not have an effect on the health and success of a tree.  You can plant the tree in any direction you want, no matter what the previous direction was.

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Did you know…

…that dragonflies can fly up to 20 mph?  They can also fly backwards!  Dragonflies are actually very beneficial because they feed on knats, beetles, moths, and mosquitoes.  They can usually be found around lakes, ponds, or streams because their larvae are aquatic.  Putting a pond in your yard can draw in dragonflies which will help get rid of those annoying pests!

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Did you know…

…planting just 3 big trees that provide shade around your home can save you between $100 and $250 per year in energy costs!  The tree that would help control inside temperatures the best would be any type of deciduous tree.  In the summer, the leaves would block the sunlight from coming through the windows, and in the winter the sunlight would be allowed to enter.

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Did you know…

…that you can actually get garlic breath just by handling garlic bulbs?  It’s true.  One common experiment has found that rubbing garlic onto one’s feet will later taint that person’s breath!  The reason for that is this:  garlic has aromatic components that enter through the body’s pores, where it then enters the bloodstream and gets released into the lungs, where it is then exhaled, giving the person garlic breath.  It can take 24 hours for the garlic smell to fade away, and brushing your teeth won’t help it.  The best cover-up is to eat something else with strong aromatic substances, such as mint or parsley.

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…that the hotter the temperature, the faster insect populations will grow?  Basically, temperature and insect development are related.  As the temperatures rise, insects complete their life cycles quicker than they would in cooler temperatures.  When it may take 35 days at 65 degrees Fahrenheit for a bug to go from egg to adult, it may only take 15 days in 85 degree Fahrenheit weather.  So watch out for insects, and when a heat wave is headed your way, make sure you’re ready!

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Did you know…

…that plants actually take in oxygen at night?  They do, but not very much.  The reason they do is due to the lack of light.  Don’t worry though, if you have plants in your bedroom, because they will not absorb so much oxygen that there would be a shortage.  According to a study, it would take 600 pounds of plants to consume 30 cubic feet of oxygen.  A greater danger would be to be trapped in a room full of smokers, because not only are they uses all of the oxygen, but they are giving off carbon monoxide.

Carbon monoxide is highly toxic to humans and animals if absorbed in great quantities for long periods of time.  If a house’s windows are shut up and there is no air flow, the house will gather carbon monoxide and it can become lethal.  Most houses have people going in and out, the windows open when it’s warm, so unless you live in a house where you never see the outside world, you’ll be okay.

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