If you want to keep your plants alive, there are a few things you have to do: give them light, feed them now and then, and – of course – water them.

Sounds easy right? Then why doesn’t your plant collection look like it’s getting enough water? The answer is easy, overhead watering may not be saturating your plant’s soil. The solution: Try bottom watering.

what is it?

Bottom watering plants is a method of watering that waters potted plants from the bottom up. The plant is placed in a tray or container of water and absorbs water via capillary action through the holes in the bottom of the pot.

Instead of dumping liquid onto the top of the soil of your container plants, you allow the soil to soak it up into its roots from the drainage holes in the bottom of the pot.

 

is bottom watering better for your plants? 

Bottom watering helps you to avoid drowning your plants in their pot. The soil will only absorb as much moisture as it can hold. It also prevents certain pests, because the top layer of soil will stay dry when watering your plant.

can you over water by bottom watering?

Yes, if the plant is sitting in water too long, you can still overwater your plant through bottom watering. However, bottom watering is a more controlled method of watering your plants. Just make sure your plant is in a nursery pot or a pot with drainage holes.

how to bottom water:

  1. Fill a large bowl or saucer with water.
  2. Remove your plant from its planter (but keep it in the nursery pot).
  3. Let the plant sit in the bowl/saucer for about 15 minutes.
PRO TIP

If you’re finding that your plants are bigger than any bowl you have, you can fill a nursery tray or even your kitchen sink with water to sit your plant in.

 

benefits of bottom watering:

  1. Less pests because the top layer of soil doesn’t get too wet.
  2. Thorough and even water intake
  3. Less chance of damage to your home from spills from the watering can
  4. Virtually no clean up

which plants like bottom watering?

1

snake plants

2

peace lily

3

african violets

#easypeasy

have an idea?

Love houseplants but worried your indoor space is too dark? Never fear, there are plenty of low light plants that will green up even the gloomiest room.

Houseplants bring colour and life into a home – and this is especially valuable in darker rooms, such as those that face north or have small windows. But how do you find plants that will thrive in lower light levels? Luckily many popular houseplants originate in shady forest floors and can take shade in their stride. Here’s a selection of unique plants for darker spots in your home.

Low Light Plant Schefflera Arboricola

1

schefflera arboricola

Sometimes called dwarf umbrella trees, Schefflera arboricolas thrive in low to medium light environments. They’ll also grow under artificial lights if they’re kept within about one foot of the light. If your Schefflera becomes leggy or grows slowly, it probably needs a brighter location.

Low Light Plant Peace Lily

2

peace lily

Peace Lily is a popular flowering plant that blooms several times a year, even when it’s grown in low light conditions.It can also grow in medium light conditions, but if you have low light you don’t need to worry about growth being inhibited.

 

3

cast iron plant (aspidistra eliator)

This plant can survive lots of neglect and growing conditions that will kill many other plants, such as low light conditions. For a gardener with a brown thumb, this sturdy, long-lasting plant can be used in areas where all else fails. It is always green and can handle deep shade.

Low Light Plants Rhipsalis Cactus

4

rhipsalis cactus

Rhipsalis is a type of cactus that hails from shady rainforests and makes a tough houseplant that can tolerate a fair degree of shade. Most varieties are spineless too, making them one of the least cactus-like cacti out there. Grow it in a hanging pot to best appreciate its delicate, pendent form.

 

Low Light Plants Lucky Bamboo

5

lucky bamboo

Lucky bamboo is a unique looking plant that doesn’t require much maintenance in order to grow and thrive. It grows very well in medium and low light and, in case you don’t feel like setting up a pot or planter, it doesn’t require anything more than water to grow.

lucky bamboo

#letsgro

have an idea?

Whether you’ve run out of shelf space for your plant babies or are looking for a rental-friendly way to bring hanging plants into your life, a hanging plant stand can be a cute and functional addition to your space.

Here’s how to turn a humble clothing rack into a minimalist stand for your hanging plants.

here’s what you need to get started:

  • steel clothing rack (available at many big box stores)
  • project panel/wood/plywood (to fit clothing rack)
  • 4 EMT straps (sized to fit around pipes of the plant stand)
  • 4 wood screws
  • flat black spray paint (or colour of your choice)
  • wood stain
  • paintbrush
  • drill or screwdriver
  • sand paper
  • saw
  • pencil
  • measuring tape
  • hanging plants and pots

lets gro #plantproject

measuring and marking shelf for plant stand

step one.

Measure the base of the clothing rack, where you will eventually add the bottom shelf, and note the dimensions. With a pencil and measuring tape, use those dimensions to mark the piece of wood where it will need to be cut to fit on the base.

step two.

Use a saw to cut along the guidelines you made in step one.

If you don’t have a saw (or aren’t comfortable using one), most major hardware stores will cut wood pieces down to size for you – just be sure to bring the exact dimensions you need!

staining shelf board for plant stand

step three.

Sand any cut edges on the piece of wood.rnrnTo finish the shelf, coat it with the wood stain of your choice. Skip this step for a more boho look, or paint the shelf instead for a modern farmhouse vibe.

spray painting clothing rack for plant stand

step four.

Spray paint the clothing rack. You may need to do several thin coats to ensure full coverage, letting each coat fully dry before going in with the next.

step five.

Use four EMT straps and wood screws to attach the piece of wood to the bottom shelf area of the clothing rack.

styling plants on the finished plant stand clothing rack

step six.

The final step – and my favourite one! – is to style your plants on your new plant stand. Place larger plants or plant care supplies on the lower shelf, and smaller hanging plants in macrame hangers from the top bar. Vary pot and basket choice to really express your style and help your new plant stand fit in with your space!

#easypeasy

Let’s be honest: watering plants can feel a bit like a chore sometimes. We love our plant babies, but life just gets in the way.  

But do not fear – plant straws are here. This simple, easy to install self-watering system is your key to plant-watering freedom. So, whether you forget to water your plants, or you are planning a getaway and want to make sure yours are taken care of, then this post is for you.

Thirst things first: what are plant straws? 

Plant straws are made using two simple things : a long cotton cord,  and a thin metal tube. One end of the cord is buried in the soil of a plant, while the other end lies in a vessel of water. The cord draws out moisture from the vessel and releases it into a plant’s soil. The thin metal tube, which the cord is strung through, keeps the cord stable – and makes the entire system look chic. So, expect LOTS of compliments pouring in once you have set up your plant straw. 

How do plant straws work?  

If you are shaking your head furiously and thinking, “this can’t be real,” you are not alone. The idea of a cotton cord watering your plants can seem too good to be true. But don’t click away just yet! There’s a scientific explanation to how all this works.  

The cord inside the metal tube wants to stay evenly moist, so it constantly draws out water from the vessel you placed it in. Meanwhile, your soil instinctively absorbs moisture from the wet cord when it needs a dose of hydration.  

Ready? Let’s Gro. 

here’s what you need to get started: 

  • A metal plant tube of your choice 
  • A cotton cord that is a several inches longer than your tube 
  • A glass vessel 
  • And – obviously – water! 

step one. measure twice, cut once.

Start by measuring how much of the cotton cord and tube you need. Be sure to leave a few inches that can sit in your plant as well as in the water of your vessel.

lets gro #plantproject

step two. H2O is the way to go

Next up, wet your cotton cord in water until it is fully soaked. Then, squeeze out the excess.  

step three. show us your roots

Feed your cord through the tube. Take one end of your cord and push it several inches below the soil’s surface. Depending on how much water your plant needs, you might want to bury more of your cord within.  

step four. just add water

Feed what is left of your cord through your metal tube. Then, fill up a glass vessel with water, and place the remaining end of the cord in it. 

step five. sip sip, hooray

Cheers to crossing “water my plants” off your to-do list for good! Now that you have set up your self-watering plant straw system, the only time you will need to think about watering your plants is when it’s time to feed them, or when you need to refill your vessel.  

Do your plants actually need a straw? 

The answer: it depends. The thirstier your plant is, the more we recommend you invest in a plant straw! For example, if you have got a Monstera Deliciosa or Monstera Adansonii, a plant straw could really benefit their extra hydration needs.  

Got more questions about plant straws? Or just want to chat? Come hang out with us and our plant experts in the Plant Chat. 

#easypeasy

Intermediate

alocasia

aka alocasia

The Alocasia family contains about 70 different variations. They’re tuberous perennials with long stalks. Alocasia leaves vary between being arrow and heart-shaped, and may be interestingly decorated

variations

Alocasia amazonica ‘Polly’, Alocasia amazonica ‘Bambino’, Alocasia amazonica ‘Ivory Coast’, Alocasia micholitziana ‘Frydek’, Alocasia reginula ‘Black Velvet’, Alocasia infernalis ‘Black Magic’, Alocasia rugosa ‘Melo’, Alocasia maharani ‘Grey Dragon’

light

indirect

Place in a spot where it’ll get 6 – 8 hours of indirect light.

water + feeding

not too thirsty

Water until it flows through the drainage hole.

toxic

yes

Should be kept away from your fury friends.

location

a little picky

For spaces that may not get enough light, use a grow light.

humidity

love it

They love high humidity.

size

medium

They can grow between 2 – 6 feet.

pro tip

dry as a bone?

Keep the soil pretty dry throughout the winter, giving it a little water at every 2 weeks.

fun fact

need light and dark

The short days and long nights of fall and winter are perfect for poinsettia. It’s actually what causes them to bloom.

beyond the basics

  • soil + potting

    Your Alocasia needs a well-draining potting mix. The Miracle-Gro® Indoor Potting Mix contains coconut coir and perlite to hold onto and release moisture as your plant needs it. If you find that your plant is wanting a little extra, you can add in some Miracle-Gro® Cactus, Palm & Succulent Potting Mix. Adding this succulent mix helps keep your soil light and airy.

  • when to repot

    Like most indoor tropical plants, the best time to repot is in the spring or summer, when your plant is strong. Your alocasia will likely want to be repotted every 18 – 24 months. When you’re selecting its new pot, choose one that is about 2 – 4” bigger than its current one.

  • propagation

    To propagate your alocasia, use the division method. Remove the plant from its pot and separate a small clump of roots from the main rootball. Replant the small clump into a new pot with fresh soil. Make sure it’s buried at the same depth as the original plant.

  • pest control

    Your alocasia may be more prone to spidermites than your other indoor plants. To help prevent those nasty mites from appearing, make sure your plant doesn’t dry out too much over the winter. If you see spidermites on your alocasia, you can use Ortho® Bug B Gon® ECO Insecticidal Soap Ready-To-Use. Spray this insecticidal soap on your plant to eliminate those pesky mites.

     

troubleshooting

  • Why are my leaves dying?

    Not enough humidity or dry soil. Your alocasia could probably use a good watering. If you’re already on a watering schedule and you’re still noticing dying leaves, consider increasing the humidity in the room.

     

  • Why are my leaves turning yellow?

    Overwatering. Allow the soil to dry out a bit before watering your plant again. For future waterings, make sure the soil is about 25-50% dry before watering.

  • Why are my leaves turning brown?

    Probably a sunburn. If your alocasia is too close to bright, direct light then it’s time to move it away. Your alocasia wants to be in bright but indirect light, so find a spot that isn’t right in front of a window. If your lighting is okay, then it could be fertilizer burn. To fix this, drain any accumulated fertilizer from the potting mix, or repot with fresh soil.

  • What are these rusty spots on my leaves?

    Fungal infection. Poor light and warm, humid conditions can be responsible for fungus. To prevent this make sure the leaves stay as dry as possible. Instead of overhead watering, opt for bottom watering or watering straws instead. Be sure to remove any dead, decaying or diseased plant matter from your alocasia’s pot.

have an idea?

are you ready to level up from your beginner friendly plant collection?

We love our beginner friendly plants, but now that you have nurtured that green thumb, it’s time to test your skills with a few plants that require some know-how to thrive. Enhance your plant collection with these unique and beautiful plant pals.

  

1

the pickle plant

is a succulent that has unique, spiny-looking leaves that are covered in little white hairs. These plants require a lot of light in order to grow -think bright and indirect light for your pickle plant. Pickle plants are an unusual succulent, so you may not see them in the typical plant collection. They can also flower in the summer, showing a bright red bloom at the top of each stem.

2

string of pearls

is a succulent that produces long trails with delicate green pearls. Sometimes these succulents can also bloom little white flowers. The key to success with a string of pearls plant is the right balance of sun and water. Place your string of pearls where it can receive plenty of sun , like near a east-facing window. For watering, try the weight test. Pick up your plant and if it feels light and airy, it is time for a thorough watering.

3

fishbone cactus

Also known as the “ric rac cactus.” These plants bloom at night and have a distinct zig-zag pattern that looks like a fish skeleton. If the conditions are just right, you can get this cactus to bloom, but only after about three years. The fishbone cactus needs a couple of hours of direct sunlight, and lots of bright indirect sunlight as well. Be sure to mist your cactus to help it grow, and keep the soil a little moist, especially during the spring and summer months.

4

maiden hair fern

these plants are known for two things: their delicate foliage and their quick deaths inside. These ferns need a few hours of direct sunlight per day. Think morning or early afternoon light. With most ferns, it is common to keep them wet for a lot of the time but for maiden hair ferns let the soil dry out a little between waterings.

5

goldfish plant

is known for their dark green leaves and bright orange flowers that look like little goldfish. These plants like warm and humid environments. Light is a major contributing factor to their growth. Too much sun and their leaves will get sunburnt and wilt. Too little sun will cause your plant to get leggy and it will not be able to bloom. To get your goldfish blooms to flourish, water slightly less in the winter and fertilize in the growing season

6

Orchid

potted orchids are always a fan favourite with their delicate, vibrant blooms and intoxicating fragrance. While orchids may be a welcomed decoration for your home, they can be challenging to help thrive and re-bloom. Consider keeping your orchids in a terracotta pot with a drainage hole. This will allow for good airflow for your roots. Keep your orchid in bright, indirect light (from an eastern or southern window). This should provide your orchid with enough light to bloom.

Which of these plants are you adding to your collection? We are adding new favourites to our Plant Tags all the time. Want to learn about a specific plant? Let us know in the Plant Chat!

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let’s talk propagation!

There are a few different ways to clone your favourite plants. Not sure where to start? Do not fret, we have you covered with a quick and easy way to double up your plant collection.

let’s talk root division!

Propagation by division is pretty much exactly how it sounds. It is when you divide a plant into multiple plants. This method is best used for plants like snake plants, ZZ plants, peace lilies, pilea or spider plants.

what is root division?

Root division is another form of division propagation. It is super simple. All you have to do is separate sections of a plant, including a section of their roots. These new sections can then be repotted and nurtured to grow into new plants

lets gro #plantproject

here is what you will need to get started.

One of your favourite plants

(best results are with plants like pilea, snake plant, spider plant or peace lily)

Clean, sharp scissors or clippers

Miracle-Gro Indoor Potting Mix

A nursery pot or a decorative pot with drainage holes

look for ‘crowns’

Look for ‘crowns’ in the parent plant. These are sections that can be easily separated and will have its own root ball.

loosen up the soil

Take the parent plant out of its pot and loosen up the soil. Once the soil is loose enough, you can separate the crowns. Be sure to keep as many healthy roots as possible on your new section. If they do not come apart easily, you can gently trim the section with your clippers.

repot

Repot your parent plant with new potting soil such as Miracle-Gro Indoor Potting Mix. Make sure the roots are fully covered with soil. Then pot the section you just divided. Again, make sure its roots are fully covered with soil and you have chosen a pot the right size for your new plant.

And as easy as 1-2-3 you have a new plant! Still have questions about propagations? We’ve got answers. Check out our post about propagating your plant pals.

#easypeasypropagation

Beginner

poinsettia

aka euphorbia pulcherrima

Poinsettia are native to Mexico and Central America. They are often used as decoration and gifts during Christmas holidays.

variations

There are over 100 varieties of Poinsettias. Some variations include ‘Premium Picasso’, ‘Monet Twilight’, ‘Shimmer’, and ‘Surprise’ poinsettia.

light

indirect

Need about 6 hours of indirect sunlight daily

water + feeding

not too thirsty

Water in moderation when soil is dry to the touch

toxic

kind of

They’re not toxic to humans or pets. However, the white, milky sap can irritate some people’s skin and can cause an upset stomach.

location

flexible

They’ll be happy in a semi-shaded or sunny area

humidity

love it

Poinsettia enjoy 50 – 75% humidity, so boost up the moisture

size

small friends

Potted poinsettia will remain small at 8 – 12 inches

pro tip

dry soil is ok

Allow the soil to dry out between watering, especially in the spring.

fun fact

need light and dark

The short days and long nights of fall and winter are perfect for poinsettia. It’s actually what causes them to bloom.

beyond the basics

  • soil + potting

    Whether poinsettia is growing indoors or outdoors, they prefer a loose, well-draining potting mix. Consider using Miracle-Gro® Moisture Control® Potting Mix. You can also add Perlite and Peat Moss to your soil for some added nutrients.

  • when to repot

    As your poinsettia grows, so does its roots. To avoid your poinsettia getting root-bound, repot it in the spring. It’s generally recommended that by mid-May, your poinsettia will be ready to repot. Choose a pot that is about 2 inches wider and deeper than its current pot. And of course, refresh the soil when you repot.

  • propagation

    The most common way to propagate poinsettia is by taking a cutting. Propagating from cuttings ensures a clone of the parent plant. No surprises! To start, wait until the spring to take your cutting. Using sharp scissors or pruners, cut a 3 – 4 inch stem from the parent plant. Then cut off a few of the lower leaves to promote root growth from the cut edge. Be sure to leave at least 3 leaves at the top of the cutting. Transplant your cutting to a small container with well-draining potting mix such as using Miracle-Gro® Seed Starting Potting Mix. Keep your cutting in a bright, humid area, and mist the leaves regularly to stimulate growth.

  • pest control

    Whiteflies are the most common pests for poinsettias. Do regular checks under the leaves of your poinsettia and keep an eye out for clumps of greenish eggs. Use a gentle insecticide like Ortho® Bug B Gon® ECO Insecticide Ready-to-Use to easily and quickly get rid of white flies.

troubleshooting

  • Why are my cuttings collapsing?

    Bacterial rot. This causes the base or stem of the cuttings to become mushy and eventually collapse. You may also notice a smell surrounding your plant, which is also caused by this bacterial infection. You may be able to mitigate this by proper watering and misting practices. It’s best to cut off misting and watering for a while once you notice the stems are a little soft.

  • Why are my poinsettia’s leaves turning black?

    Temperature fluctuations. Sudden temperature fluctuations will shock these tropical plants. To keep your poinsettia happy, make sure it’s in a bright space that can also receive a few hours of shade or darkness. Be sure to keep your plant away from radiators, fireplaces and space heaters too.

  • Why is my poinsettia so pale all of a sudden?

    Could be spider mites. These little pests feed off the plant’s sap, causing the leaves to turn pale and sometimes develop little red spots. If you catch spider mites early enough, you may be able to salvage your plant. Use a gentle insecticide like Ortho® Bug B Gon® ECO Insecticide Ready-to-Use to gently take care of this problem. A recovering poinsettia will perk up and brighten up within a week or two.

  • Why are my poinsettia leaves drooping and yellow?

    Over- or underwatering. Both over and under-watering your poinsettia will cause its leaves to droop or look wilted. If you’re over-watering your plant, be sure to let its soil dry out a bit. Discard any excess water at the bottom of its pot to prevent it from sitting water and developing root rot. If you’re underwatering, consider boosting your watering routine with Miracle-Gro Indoor Plant Food for the next two watering cycles. You can also start misting the leaves of your poinsettia to increase its water in-take. But don’t overdo it, let the soil dry out a bit between watering.

have an idea?

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Do you want to build a community with like-minded gardeners, but you’re not sure where to begin? Starting a seed library can be the perfect way to meet some plant-loving friends. It’s also a fun way to grow your own food and encourage others to do the same.

So, what is a seed library? Think of it as a library, but instead of borrowing and returning books, you borrow and return seeds. And as a bonus––no late fines!

Setting up your own seed library takes a bit of thoughtful planning at the start, but once you get going, it’s fun and easy to maintain.

here are some tips to help you get your library off the ground:

let’s gro #plantproject

step 1. find some seed-savvy friends.

Seed libraries thrive when passionate folks with green thumbs join forces. Connect with gardeners in your community and ask them to share their expertise (and their seeds) as you build your collection. You will also want volunteers to help you manage the library once you’re ready to go. If you have a local gardening club or society, that is a great place to source some support.

step 2. pick a spot.

Find a nearby location that is convenient for borrowers to access. You might want to ask your local community centre or library (the kind with books in it) if they can house it. Seed libraries do not take up much real estate, so it’s a fairly easy sell. You can also set it up outside on your street, like the Little Free Libraries you see around your neighbourhood. It all depends on what vibe you are going for and how accessible you want it to be.

step 3. start building.

Put on your architect’s hat, because you will need to create some sort of structure to hold the seeds. But do not stress––you don’t need to get too fancy. A wooden apothecary cabinet with tiny drawers makes a great home for a seed library. Check out your favourite vintage store or browse your local buy/sell groups online and see what you can find. And if that sounds like too much work, any type of container or small box will do.

step 4. gather supplies.

Collect the following materials:

  • Mini envelopes
  • Labels
  • Date stamp
  • Pencils (for people to write helpful instructions for harvesting)

Again, no need to break the bank here. Hit up the dollar store for lots of low-cost options. You can even see if your local home and garden centre will donate supplies.

step 5. choose your categories.

A truly useful library is an organized one. To simplify the process for your borrowers and lenders, divide your library into different categories. You can choose to do this however you wish. Some options:

  • Alphabetical
  • Level of difficulty (easy to hard, or beginner to expert)
  • Type of plant (veggies, herbs, flowers, etc.)

step 6. tell people how this all works.

For your library to really thrive, you need a steady stream of people contributing to the flow of seeds coming in and going out. If your neighbourhood is part of the Nextdoor app, make sure to post there, or in any other relevant social groups. And don’t forget good old-fashioned word of mouth––tell your neighbours, your friends, your kid’s school council, and anyone you think might be interested in popping by.

And just like that, yYour seed library will be bustling and blooming before you know it! Don’t forget to share your progress with our community in the Plant Chat.

#happygardening

#easypeasy

You might think that tropical plants have no business inside your home, but these exotic wonders actually make excellent houseplants. Although sunshine makes them extra happy, many tropical plants can tolerate low light extremely well. And if you’re a low-maintenance plant lover, tropical houseplants are ideal since most only require some basic care.

But these houseplants aren’t completely hands-off—you’ll still have to nourish them to ensure their survival. Follow these tips and your space will feel like an exotic jungle in no time.

trim your tropicals

If you’re bringing your tropical plants in from outside after the warm season, they might be a tad too feral for indoors. This is a great time to grab your pruning shears and remove some of the abundant growth that appeared over the summer.

choose your fertilizer

1

For easy and speedy results, water-soluble fertilizer is a good place to start. This type of fertilizer will fill your space with lush and bright foliage, you’ll need to provide your plants with the nutrients they crave. Try Miracle-Gro® Water Soluble All Purpose Plant Food for an instant boost for your tropicals.

2

For a unique fertilizer that is formulated specifically to target the needs of tropical houseplants, pick up a bottle of Miracle-Gro® Tropical Plant Food.  Blended with micronutrients tropical plants love such as magnesium, manganese, copper, iron and zinc , giving your plants exactly what they need to grow lush foliage.

Steps

With the many fertilizer formulas to choose from, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed—but some quick research on your specific plant type will help you narrow down your options.

remember: less is more

For many tropical houseplants, fertilizing once a month will get the job done. When winter ends, you can up your feeding frequency to encourage new growth.

For a deeper dive into tropicals and what they need, check out our article here.

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