Browse Month: May 2022

Mini-Cactus Plants

The cactus family includes a huge variety of succulent plants which change color and size. Some develop into tall columns, reaching around 50 feet high, while some are only a couple inches high and well-suited for growing in pots. All these mini-cacti generally create brightly coloured flowers and take on interesting shapes. You can buy mini-cacti already potted in tiny containers; with appropriate care they can develop indoors while adding color and interest to your room.

Light Requirements

Since mini-cacti are succulents and create colorful blossoms, they require about four hours of direct sunlight each day. A good indoor place is in 4 feet of a south- or east-facing window. Mini-cacti need sunlight exposure evenly, so rotate periodically to make sure that the entire plant receives sunlight. You can tell if the plant receives too much sun by taking notice of its color. Rather than green, the cacti appear white or yellow. Should you have to move a cactus in a high-light area to lower light, do it gradually.


Mini-cacti need well-drained dirt and enjoy other succulents, they don’t need as much water as other plant varieties. Careful observation will be able to help you figure out a watering program for your own mini-cactus. As a rule of thumb, add water once the top half-inch of soil feels dry. When watering, moisten the soil thoroughly, letting it soak up the water, and if it does so rapidly, add more water until it comes from the drainage holes. Many cacti have to be watered once a week.


Mini-cacti are not heavy feeders, so that they require little fertilization. During active development, it is possible to feed the plants using a low-nitrogen 5-10-10 fertilizer every two or three months. Feeding using a time-released fertilizer is also an option, but only feed the mini-cactus after during spring. You should never fertilize un-rooted or newly re-potted plants.

Winter Care of Mini-Cacti

Mini-cacti go through a dormant period in winter. In this period the cactus requires little or no water. The plant does well using a watering every few weeks. You don’t have to fertilize the cactus because little development occurs during that time. During active growth, cacti require an indoor temperature between 65 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit. During the period, place cacti in a room with a temperature between 45 and 55 degrees.

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What's Perennial in Reference to Flowers?

Perennials are defined as plants that live for more than two years. Flowering perennials have a peak bloom period once the flowers are most plentiful. During the non-bloom season, some soft-stemmed perennials go dormant. Certain varieties of perennials are grown for cut-flower production. Some are selected for their fragrant foliage and flowers. Regardless of the reason behind growing perennials, they are a gorgeous, cost-effective accession to the backyard.

Herbaceous Perennials

Herbaceous perennials are plants using non-woody or delicate stems. Through the fall lots of these plants start to go dormant and frequently require pruning into the ground. Even though flowering has discontinued, the origins are keeping up energy to send up new growth in the spring, saving you time and money by not having to replant the garden each year. Some herbaceous perennials will develop woody stems and not go dormant due to the mild winter weather.

Perennial Flowering

With each year of development, perennials will show more growth both below and above ground. Above ground this means that you can anticipate more blooms and color each year. Below ground you can anticipate the origins to be established and require less water and fertilization. To encourage maximum flowering, pruning and dividing perennials is frequently required. Flowering can be inhibited if there are excess weeds competing for nutrients and water in the ground.

Blooming Period

Flowering perennials have a peak bloom period which varies from species to species. To have continuous color in your perennial flower garden, then be aware of each plant’s bloom period and pick a number of plants to stagger the flowering. A well-planned perennial garden can have flowers during the growing season.

Other Flowering Perennials

Technically, trees, trees and shrubs could be considered perennials as well. Several species in these groups have a thriving period and a few expertise dormancy during the winter as herbaceous perennials do. But vines, trees and shrubs have woody stems and even much different growth habits and maintenance requirements compared to herbaceous perennials. Although, by definition, perennials reside more than two years, the life expectancy past that will differ from species to species. This should be taken into account when planning your garden.

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Topiary Planting Instructions

Topiary refers to the clipping of shrubs or trees into shapes. These can be simple geometrical types, such as cones or balls, or energetic animal shapes or faces. The custom of topiary dates from the Renaissance, however, the Victorians renewed interest in the art and expanded its domain from estates of the affluent to the cottage garden. Today’s gardener can plant a acceptable cutting and, over many decades, clip it into a design or purchase an established topiary.

First Decisions

Selecting a design has to come first, because this will affect the choice of the plant. For example, spirals work best on junipers (Juniperus) or spruce (Picea). Normally, small-leafed, woody evergreens with dense leaf can withstand the intense pruning necessary for topiary. Recommended shrubs include boxwood (Buxus sempervirens), privet (Ligustrum), holly (Ilex) and rosemary (Rosmarinus). All of these have varieties that thrive in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 8 to 10a. If you aspire to turn a tree into a mushroom or lollipop shape, where the trunk serves as stick or stem, it is necessary that the trunk be straight with no kinks. Good species to plant are the olive oil (Olea europea) or Chinese banyan (Ficus microcarpa), as well as varieties approved for USDA zones 8 to 10. If you’re beginning with a small plant and training it, support the main stem to keep it straight and remove any competition from an early phase.

Starting from Scratch

Once you opt for the tree or tree for your topiary and purchase a cutting, plant, water and fertilize it based on the nursery’s directions for that species. The plant has to be at least 4 feet tall prior to pruning starts. Topiary sculpting is a very long, slow process; trim plants frequently, but just a little at a time. Shaping a spiral takes six to eight decades. To cut the first spiral pattern in a juniper, begin at the foundation and choose three turns together with the shears, moving upwards to the right. If forming a ball in boxwood, clip the shirt into a dome shape and keep rounding the mass in subsequent decades. Keep moving, never dwell too long in 1 spot. Before starting any cutting, place a cloth on the ground around the plant to catch the clippings.

Beginning with a Purchased Topiary

After bringing your topiary home, either plant it in the ground or transplant it into a permanent container. Care for it as you would the identical plant in the natural condition. Glazed ceramic or plastic pots are suggested over unglazed terra cotta, which dries out more quickly. By purchasing a topiary which was years in the making, you’re accepting responsibility to keep it. After the established pattern, trim every couple weeks during the growing season, removing just a bit at a time so you will have no regrets.

Topiary Warnings and Alternatives

A Florida company of landscape managers cautions about badly pruning trees, where 60 to 70 percent of the canopy is eliminated in the course of creating a topiary. They say such therapy dramatically lowers the trees’ lifespans. Shrubs are hardier and tolerate pruning better. As options, the group suggests two other topiary techniques which are simpler on plants. In the first, grow a bush inside a wire frame. As the branches extend beyond the framework, clip them, little by little. The other technique applies a wire frame filled with moss. A fast-growing vine, such as creeping fig (Ficus pumila), suitable for USDA zones 8b through 11, is planted outside the frame and permitted to cover it.

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The Ideal Distance Between Indeterminate Tomato Plants

Short, compact varieties of tomato plants (Lycopersicon esculentum) grow to a certain height and blossom and bear tomatoes in a short harvest period. Tall, sprawling tomato plants — called indeterminates — continue to grow, flower and bear tomatoes until they are killed by the first fall frost. Normally, these larger tomato plants are supported by stakes or wire cages.

Transplant Basics

You can grow indeterminate tomato plants from seed or purchase transplants from a nursery, a frequent practice in areas with a short growing period. The seedlings need to be 6 to 8 inches tall until you plant them on your garden. After being watered thoroughly, they are best planted at least 2 inches deeper than they were at the grass. Planting tomato seedlings in the late day prevents them from losing water from drying soil. How far apart you plant them depends on whether you plan to support them using wire racks, staking them, or allowing them to sprawl on the ground.

Spacing Caged Indeterminate Tomatoes

Growing indeterminate tomatoes in acylinder or rectangular wire cages enables the plants to develop naturally and spares you the chore of having to occasionally tie the plant to a stake. You can purchase ready-make tomato cages from most garden supply centers or make one yourself by bending wire fencing or even concrete reinforcing wire to your cylinder. A supporting cage should have openings of 6 inches between the wires so that you may reach into harvest tomatoes. Indeterminate tomato plants require a cage that’s out of 18 to 36 inches wide and 6 ft tall. If you use a cage to back up your plants, allow 24 to 30 inches of space between plants and 30 to 42 inches between rows.

Spacing Staked Indeterminate Spaces

Indeterminate plants backed by bets also require 24 to 30 inches of space between plants and 30 to 42 inches between rows. Sturdy wooden stakes, 6 ft long and 1 1/2 to 2 inches broad are pressured 1 foot into the soil from 4 to 6 inches apart from the indeterminate tomato plant. As the tomato plant grows, gardeners use twine or strips of fabric to tie the tomatoes to the stake every 10 inches.

Spacing Indeterminate Tomatoes that Sprawl

Indeterminate tomatoes can be permitted sprawl out on the ground rather than being staked or caged. However, this more frequently done with determinate tomatoes because the larger indeterminate plants develop in a snarl making the tomatoes difficult to harvest. Tomatoes lying around the soil is an an invitation to decay; placing landscape fabric or mulch around the ground may help guard them. If you allow them to sprawl, plant them 3 to 4 ft apart using 4 to 5 feet between rows.

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