Ferns are such lush, beautiful plants but many people consider them difficult to grow. Often, the case is that they provide the fern improper lighting conditions, causing the fern to stress and eventually die.

There is at least one fern that will thrive in just about every light condition possible except complete darkness. The key to having happy ferns is to know what each species needs to thrive and providing those conditions in your home or garden.

Landscape Ferns

If you need a fern-like plant for bright, direct sunlight, the asparagus fern is perfect. This plant is really not a true fern but a member of the lily family. It grows well all year long in southern climates. These specimens make great landscape plants and look dramatic spilling over a rock feature or planter box.

In the average home, low to medium light is the norm. Holly ferns will thrive in these conditions. The glamorous birds nest fern is perfect for low to bright light conditions where no direct sunlight contacts the fern. If necessary, add a thin curtain to cut light in harsh lighting situations.

All ferns require good drainage. If the soil is not well-drained, the fern can not thrive. Sandy shoals or humus-rich soil is preferred by almost every species of fern. To place ferns in your landscape, choose elevated beds with well amended soil to provide drainage and aeration. Avoid dense, clay soil unless it is amended extensively to achieve the level of drainage and aeration required. But you must still keep light conditions in mind. Indirect light will help your ferns produce healthy fronds, which are the leaf-like structures of ferns. Direct, harsh, afternoon sun is stressful for most ferns.

Fun Things About Ferns

One of the fun things about [ferns] is that they are so easy to divide. Potted ferns should be removed from their posts when root bound and divided into two specimens, each going into fresh soil in separate pots. Outdoor a href=“http://www.technorati.com/tag/ferns” rel=“tag”>ferns can be divided by cutting off some well-established runners or digging a clump of fern from a well-established specimen and transplanting it.

Once you find just the right lighting situation for your fern and have a thriving specimen, do not attempt to relocate it. All too often ferns kept indoors are rearranged into different exposures. For example, if your fern is doing great in a northern exposed window, don’t move it over to an eastern exposure. Work around the plant’s needs and allow it to live where it thrives.

Outdoor Potted Ferns

Of course, if you keep potted ferns outdoors and live in a climate where winters are harsh, you simply must move your potted ferns indoors to allow them to survive the winter. The key to making this transition from outdoors to indoors is to place the plant in lighting conditions as much like those it enjoyed outdoors as possible. When spring arrives, return the plants to the outdoors after the last possibility of frost. If the plant has been in lower light conditions than it experiences outdoors, you can move it slowly, allowing it to adjust to the bright light without stressing too severely.

Filed under Perennial Flowers by landscapeliving.
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March 18, 2007

Starting a Vegetable Garden

Vegetable GardenVegetable gardening is a rewarding hobby. You get to nurture the plants from seedlings into giant, productive plants that produce delicious and healthy food for your family. What could be better than that?

If you’ve always wanted to start a garden but were intimidated by the amount of work it would take, let me tell you, vegetable gardening does not have to be difficult. In fact, you don’t even have to break ground if you don’t want to.

If you don’t have a big back yard or simply don’t want to give up space to a garden, there are many vegetables (and herbs!) that can be grown quite successfully in containers, including tomatoes, peppers, staked beans and cucumbers, even lettuce and radishes.

Use a Quality Potting Mix

Use a good potting mix that drains well, add compost and fertilizer if you like, mix well and add to your pots. Plant seedlings as instructed on plant tags, or seeds as the seed packets indicate. Lettuce, radishes, beans and cucumbers can all be grown from seed, while tomatoes and peppers do better in most areas started from seedlings.

Collect your containers together on your back porch or balcony, add a wind chime, a gazing ball or some other garden accessory, and place some plants on shelves or plant stands for a variety of heights. There you have it: a garden in a corner.

If you’d like to have a vegetable garden in the ground, prepare to soil by removing the sod. You’ll want to get rid of as many weeds as possible so you don’t have to pull them up later. Mix in compost and fertilizer, then plant your plants and seeds as in containers.

A little planning is helpful when designing a large vegetable garden. Think about which way the sun will shine into your garden and how the shadows of some plants will fall on the other plants. Planting lettuce in the shade of your tomato plants may give you a longer season because the shade will keep the delicate plants cooler.

Rotate Your Crops

From season to season you’ll want to rotate your crops. Many popular home [garden vegetables] , including tomatoes, peppers, eggplants and Irish potatoes, are members of the nightshade family. These plants are susceptible to the same diseases and insects, and also use similar nutrients in the soil. To keep your garden healthy, don’t plant nightshades one after the other in the same spot year after year.

To finish off your garden, add a decorative rain gauge. Many of the problems people have with gardening are associated with water, either too much or too little. Having a rain gauge where your plants are will let you know if they are getting enough water or if you need to intervene.

For a natural bug control method in your garden, try attracting a toad. Toads eat thousands of insects and will eliminate the need for using pesticides, which is better for you and the environment. Purchase a toad house, put it in a shady spot, give the toad a water source such as a shallow dish that is refilled daily. Toads breathe through their skin, so give them a pesticide and pollutant free environment with lots of bugs and they will thrive. So will your plants, which means lots of great homegrown food for you and your family.
Gardener's Supply Company

Filed under Perennial Flowers, Vegetable Garden by landscapeliving.
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January 9, 2007

Perennial Flowers : Plant Care

Rose Secrets Revealed
I?m Going To Reveal To You A Secret That Will Enable You To Grow Beautiful, Fragrant Roses That Will Re-Define The Meaning Of ?The PERFECT Rose Garden.?
(And The Shocking Truth Is ? ANYONE Can Do It!)

Ficus Tree Care - Winter Leaf Loss
6 Jan 2007 at 11:08am
Question: Every year when winter rolls around my Ficus benjamina loses a bunch of leaves. First they turn yellow and then drop. Why is my Ficus doing this? Kaye, Minnesota…
Plow & Hearth

Filed under Annual Flowers by landscapeliving.
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