How to Propagate Philodendrons

how-to-propagate-philodendrons

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Philodendrons are tropical plants. This means, among other things, they will NOT survive outside when it gets cold. If you live in a tropical area, I imagine you could plop these babies in your garden bed, and they’d be happy campers year-round. The rest of us have to treat them as indoor house plants or outdoor potted plants during the summer.

Philodendrons are among the easiest houseplants to grow, keep alive, and propagate. Even a forgetful or somewhat neglectful person can successfully keep a philodendron alive and well.

Let me put it this way: they don’t even need dirt! Dirt! They can live forever in a jar of water. Trust me on this one.

I LOVE to encourage discouraged newbie gardeners when/if they experience a gardening “failure.” You might see me reply to a comment with something like, “Take heart. That’s how you learn. Failures, if embraced and learned from, are really the seeds of what turns a failed gardener into a seasoned and experienced gardener.”

However, if you make even the slightest attempt to keep a philodendron alive, but you SOMEHOW manage to kill it … {sigh} you and me … we need to have a talk. :)

If you want to purchase a philodendron at your local home and garden store and propagate (create baby plants from it) it, here’s how you’d propagate the plant.

Follow These Simple Steps to Propagate Philodendrons:

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12 Ways to Critter-Proof Your Garden

critter-proof-garden

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Back in January, I asked on Facebook which specific critters, insects, or plant diseases have been the most problematic to your garden. So many of you chimed in with responses. Most people named one or more adorable but destructive critter; quite a few people mentioned insects; and no one mentioned any plant diseases.

To keep this post from becoming a novel, destructive insects and plant diseases will be addressed as separate posts.

Here’s how I see these adorable but destructive critters:

Nearly all of them will fit into one, some as many as three, category based on how they move about: flyers, tall walkers, short walkers, climbers, and diggers. Many solutions for one animal will prevent all animals in that category from getting into your garden. Of course, that won’t always be the case, but many times it will be.

I’ve included at the end of this post a nifty little table I created of various critters and the category in which they fit.

1. Cinder Blocks

cinder-block-1
cinder-block-2

Okay. This idea is not for the faint of heart. If you consider yourself a leisure gardener, this will NOT appeal to you. It will take a one-time big investment of sweat and brawn.

If you’re bound and determined to live off your land and keep persistent diggers out of your garden, here’s an idea I had:

  1. Dig a trench 8 inches wide x 8 inches deep around the perimeter of your garden.
  2. Place cinder blocks – with openings vertically oriented!! :) – back-to-back in the trench.
  3. Bury the cinder blocks with the dug-up dirt.

If you’re up to the physical workout, you could even go two cinder blocks deep. (It only took me about 5-10 minutes to dig one hole for a cinder block, as seen in above photo.)

Don’t get in so much of a hurry that you forget the simple things, like making sure the cinder block openings are vertically oriented. Otherwise, you’ve just unwittingly constructed an elaborate underground tunnel highway INTO your garden. :D

2. Motion Detector Sprinkler System

John is an engineer and an amazing problem-solver.

The first house we lived in, we had a very nice neighbor next door who had a few cats. When our gravel driveway got wet from rain or the late night or early morning dew, the cats would walk around gathering the gravel dust onto their paws, as much as their paws could hold, – oh, yes, it was intentional – and then jump onto our cars and make these *adorable* paw prints all over them.

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How to Make Your Own Seed-Starter Mix

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If you live in an area that has cold and snowy winters, the best way to feel like winter is shorter than it really is or that spring is here before it really is is to start seeds indoors. You’ll observe seedlings emerge 4 to 6-ish weeks before you can place seeds in the ground.

Optimal seed-starter mix will allow for the following:

  1. Retention of Moisture
  2. Drainage of Excess Water
  3. Aeration
  4. Emergence of Seedlings (upward growth) and Penetration of Roots (downward growth)
  5. Nutrients
  6. Beneficial Microbes

Seed-Starter Mix Ingredients:

  • 6-8 Parts Pre-Soaked Organic Coir or Sphagnum Peat Moss
  • 1 Part Perlite
  • 1 Part Vermiculite
  • 1 Part Vermicompost or Compost

coirbrick

Sunleaves 100% Organic Classic Coco Coir Mulch-Soil Brick – Growing Media & Soil Alternative

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Coir or Sphagnum Peat Moss

Probably the two most common mediums used for “soil”, moisture retention, and the “glue” that keeps everything together are coir and sphagnum peat moss. (Compost also has these characteristics.)

Coir is the by-product of coconut processing. Other names for coir are coco/coir peat, fiber, pith, or dust. You’ve probably picked up on the fact that “coco” is short for coconut NOT cocoa. :)

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Six Gardening Prep Tasks You Can Do Now … Even if it’s Snowing

six-gardening-tasks_snow

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Yes, there’s snow outside. Yes, Indiana is suppose to get more snow tomorrow. Depending on where you live, it could be as little as 2-4 inches or as much as 30 inches. (I heard someone say the 30 inches of snow forecast might be a hoax.) Regardless, snow is on its way.

Winter is still here, BUT … not forever! Every day we turn a new page in the calendar. Every day we are closer to spring! If you’re hearing Rocky Balboa music in your head, we’re on the same page.

Maybe we can’t sow any seeds outside, but we can still do some gardening [prep] tasks that make us feel like spring is almost here.

Here are six gardening prep tasks you can do now … even if it’s snowing.

1. Shred and Save Junk Mail.

We have lots of junk mail and old bank statements around our house, but [most of] it doesn’t end up in a landfill. Instead, it gets shredded and set aside for my red wiggler worms.

When you wet the paper the mass shrinks INCREDIBLY! If you think you have plenty of paper for your first worm bin, save about 3-4 times that much. It’s like a big fluffy dog. After it gets a bath, you realize just how much of the dog was simply fluff.

2. Save Toilet Paper Rolls.

Last fall I talked about all the ways gardeners use toilet paper rolls and various cardboard. If you’re planning on starting your seeds indoors, you’ll want to have a bag full of these. They make the perfect seed-starter pot.

3. Have Helpful Resources at-the-Ready.

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An Easy 2-Step Process to Shine Your Indoor Plant Leaves

shiny-plant-leaves

While outdoor plants are my preferred plants, I’ve had house plants for as long as I can remember.

Even in a well kept house with only one occupant, dust will find its way onto surfaces, even plant surfaces. Then, take someone like me who has a household consisting of two humans and a couple four-legged dust collectors (a.k.a. dogs), and the house can get embarrassingly dusty. Plants are no exception.

I do a [almost] weekly vacuuming and dusting of our downstairs/main level, but the dusting only gets done in the living room. Since we spend 90 percent of our in-the-house waking hours between the living room and the upstairs home office, it’s no surprise the living room gets so much dirt.

When life gets a little busy, or I choose to just take it easy, two weeks may go by before the vacuum and cleaning rags come out. That’s a scary time. When I see just how filthy the room gets in a two-week period, you’d think these dogs have marsupial pouches they cram dirt into all day long. As soon as we get home and turn our backs … that’s got to be when they reach into those DEEP pouches, grab hands paws full, and just throw it … everywhere.

I can’t imagine what our house will be like when we get a couple goats. JUST “kidding.” The goats won’t be allowed in the living room. That’s what the spare bedroom is for.

Stay focused, Holly. Shiny leaves.

Even if you don’t want to shine your plant leaves, it’s important to periodically clean the leaves. If the leaves get too much dirt on them, it can hinder the plant’s photosynthesis process.

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