SUCCULENTS in the FALL Season
Sept. 6, 2017
So many of you are wondering, "So I have succulents outdoors, and now that fall is knocking on our door, what do I do with them?" Valid question! I am so glad you asked and that you are here.
Now that Labour Day is behind us, we can start preparing to bring our precious succulents in for the winter. You may have succulents indoors or outdoors. Here are some basic steps for taking your precious OUTDOOR succulents inside for the fall and winter months. INDOOR succulents, see steps 7-9.
**Winter hardy succulents include Hens and Chicks (Sempervivum) and Sedums. These can stay in your garden all year long.**
1. Let them enjoy all the sunshine they can outdoors for as long as possible, this helps to keep them healthy, as sunshine is key to maintaining their compact form – too little light leads to etiolation (when they get that stretched out look). If you get adventurous you can bring them in at night if temps reach below 5 degrees Celsius and put them outside again during the day to absorb the fall sunlight. If you do bring them in, confine them to a garage or shed in case they are harbouring insects.
2. Make sure the plants are healthy. There is no point in bringing in those that are already struggling and then placing added stresses of lower light levels and furnace heat on them. If they don’t make the cut – add them to your compost pile.
3. Remove dried up leaves and debris from the pots.
4. When you are ready to bring them in permanently, water them one last time outdoors a couple days before bringing them inside. This allows them to begin to dry out and keeps the mess outside.
5. Clean off the outside of the pot thoroughly using a 10% bleach solution then hose off the bleach solution.
6. Inspect for insects - when outdoors many well-meaning insects can inhabit your pots for the summer months (ants, spiders, aphids, etc). Remove all insects, and spray with insecticide before bringing inside. Good products that are available at your garden centre of choice are EndAll, Insecticidal Soap, Safer’s 3 in 1 Garden Spray, Doktor Doom Indoor Plant Spray (both this and End All have an active ingredient of Pyrethrins - a natural compound extracted from the chrysanthemum flower).
7. Once you are ready to bring them indoors, make sure you have a location that is preferably South facing and receives a lot of direct sunlight through the winter months. A good rule of thumb is succulents will need at least 6 hours of direct sunlight daily to maintain their shape. The alternative is to purchase a grow light and place directly under the light for 10-12 hours per day (best to have it on a timer).
8. Don’t overwater! This is the #1 reason for the demise of most succulents. Indoors, the pots will dry out much slower. Reduce your watering of the succulents as they are dormant (not growing) during the winter season but don’t forget to water them when they are dry, figure out how long generally it takes them to dry out and set a reminder to water periodically (generally every 2-3 weeks).
9. Cease fertilization, resume in spring according to package directions.
Succulents still make great gift ideas all season long, and last much longer than cut flowers!
PET FRIENDLY INDOOR PLANTS
Sept. 17, 2017
One of the top questions I am asked is, “What plants can I have in my home that won’t kill my pets if they eat it?”
I have been compiling a list of non-toxic tropical plants which are ‘pet friendly’ in case of ingestion. Many indoor houseplants have different toxicity levels to both humans and pets. As I am hoping you won’t be eating your plants anytime soon we can focus on the pet (cats and dogs) toxicity.
Here are some indoor tropical plants you can choose from which are normally available (all pictured above):
Areca Palm (Dypsis lutenscens)
Bamboo Palm (Chamaedorea elegans)
Ponytail Palm (Beucarnea recurvata)
Aluminum Plant (Pilea)
Spider Plant (Chlorophytum)
Many cats are prone to munch on plants that have a grass-like quality, check your plants periodically for signs of pet damage or ingestion. If they do enjoy their greens, Early’s Garden Centre often sells cat grass which is grown for the purpose of being a snack for cats or you can purchase the seed and grow your own.
Alternatively, plants you should NOT have in your home due to HIGH TOXICITY to pets (*if they are prone to eating plants) are:
Aloe vera, Dieffenbachia, ZZ plant (Zamioculcas), Euphorbia, Pothos
These lists are not comprehensive as there are many different varieties of tropical plants but touch on the main or commonly used species. A very helpful article to further explore this topic is found here: HouseplantExpert.com