Mint: A Prolific Herb

Mint is a wonderful herb, lending its aroma and taste to edibles and drinkables. We even use it medicinally to ease stomachs, and open congested noses. Mint comes in many varieties which include varied fruity essences in their minty tastes: pineapple mint, orange mint, even chocolate mint. Catnip is a variety of mint as well, and it’s mellowing qualities can help feline and human alike!

Mint does enjoy full sun and well-drained soil. Less light can result in some leggy growth, so supplementing with grow lights can help. Growing mint indoors has a unique benefit, in that it is in a container.

Mint is invasive and aggressive, meaning that it will spread and shoot up new plant, choking out other plants. Mint plants have been known to take over large amounts of back yards. Very little will stop mint from spreading, so most experienced gardeners will keep mint in containers.

Gardening in Florida, Transplant to Transplant…

Hi all!

I recently transplanted myself to central Florida (Zone 9B), and I brought all of my plants with me (even the 4 foot tall avocados I started from seeds). Since I grew up in a gardening household, I did a lot of research to see what gardening looks like (the answer is: different). The University of Florida has great resources for the gardeners of the state, but what intrigued me most was the calendars.

Summers are HOT, that’s on the list of things I knew. Summers also feature torrential rain, basically every afternoon. This makes for some less than favorable growing. So, we plant for two shorter seasons on either side of the summer, when the weather is more temperate and the rain isn’t as frequent.

Yesterday, I planted my first round of veggies: baby bell peppers and jalapenos. I also put together a mixed herb pot and I transplanted a few of the plants I brought with me when I moved. It’s going to be a learning experience especially since I am 100% container gardening, but it was still awfully tempting to go overboard.

In the coming year, I hope to get some raised beds built so I can have tomatoes, cucumbers, root veggies, sweet potatoes and squashes. Dream big, I know!

Hope you’ve enjoyed my post! I’m including a picture of my gardening yesterday below.


Why is my plant so “leggy”?

You know one when you see it; a plant that’s gotten “leggy” stands out a little. They may be thin-looking, small-leaved, maybe there needs to be more of them in a pot to make it look full…

How do plants get leggy? There are a few reasons. Plants could have too much nitrogen in the soil, which is difficult to fix. Work on avoiding it instead by following fertilization guidelines (it’s why we include them in our plans). Or, more simply, the plants could be reaching for more sun, but not be getting it (making it hard for them to make more roots and leaves).

How do you fix a leggy plant? That depends on the type of plant. Herbs respond well to light pruning, as it makes the plant force its energy out to the sides. Succulents may respond well to that too, but if it’s gotten out of hand, you may have to cut the top off of the plant and start it rooting as a “new” plant (see picture).

After you’ve taken steps to help your plant’s structure, you still need to address the cause and get your plant some more light. Find a better window, move the plant in front of taller objects, or get a plant light or lamp and supplement the light you can’t get.

Basil: Savory, Simple and Smelling Amazing

Basil comes in a lot of varieties, but the most common one to find is Sweet Basil. All of these varieties are easy to grow and propagate. It’s an entry-level herb that calls many recipes “home” even some desserts and drinks.

Basil, near the back of the pot, sharing space with thyme on the left and dill on the right.

Basil can grow in just about any situation, but it thrives in the sun and with daily, gentle, watering.

Some important things to keep in mind when growing your basil plant involve how you prune the plant (also known as harvesting tasty basil). By pruning back the stems – leaving the large leaves around the base – you are encouraging the plant to grow out two (sometimes more) new stems from below your cut. This leads to a bushier plant. As long as you don’t remove the large leaves at the base, your plant will still have its main sources of solar power.

A second pruning tip is to cut or pinch off any flowering plant tips. Blooming, and seed production takes a lot of energy, and that energy is much better used to make more leaves. Don’t worry, there is still a way to propagate your basil, and it’s really simple. After harvesting a stem of basil, use all of the leaves to make a tasty salad, but keep the top two sets or so on the stem. Place the cutting in a jar or glass of water and wait for roots to start growing (change the water if it starts to get funky or the roots look slimy). Once the roots are an inch or two long, they go where roots go – in to the soil!
Where salt is good, so is basil. –Italian saying

Jade: A Simple Succulent

One of our favorite plants in our Succulent Plan, the jade plant (Crassula) is simple to care for and keep healthy. They can be slow-growing, and prefer direct sun, but pay off with shows of delicate flowers among their sturdy leaves. A warning that curious pets should be kept away as jades can be toxic to four-legged friends.

Information Brief
Sun: can be leggy or stunted in low light
Water: only when soil is dry to the touch
Soil: well draining soil is important
Propagation: cuttings and leaves
Notable Pests: few, but not many at all

Continue reading “Jade: A Simple Succulent”

Snake Plants: Perfect Houseplant?

One of our favorite plants for the Indoor Air Plan is the snake plant (sansevieria). They are resilient to drought and lack of natural light, while looking lush and filtering toxins like formaldehyde and benzene out of the air. Their leaves are rigid and vertical, but mottled with different shades of green for a wonderful level of dimension. The sharp looking leaves have even given rise to a second name for the plant: Mother-In-Law’s Tongue.

Information Brief
Sun: tolerant of all levels
Water: could even go a couple weeks
Soil: well draining soil is important
Propagation: rhizome cuttings
Notable Pests: few, but not many at all

Christmas Cactus: a Quick Guide

It’s very likely that you’ve seen this plant around this time of year. These beautiful, bloom-filled cacti are not difficult to keep year-round, though sometimes getting them to bloom the next year takes some coaxing (more on this later). If you receive one of these beauties during the holidays, don’t worry, they’re easygoing!

The plant is made up of green stems, which look a bit like leaves until they harden off with age and not much else. The stems end with a few hair-like bristles, until a new stem segment or flower bud starts to emerge.

As long as the plant has enough energy and resources stored throughout the year, what triggers flowering is the shift of seasons. Cooler temperatures and slightly less water are the main things that you can do to elicit blooms. They’re native to Brazil, so you have an excuse to channel that climate!

Information Brief
Sun: enjoys shade and indoor living
Water: let it dry out a bit between waterings
Soil: well draining soil is important, they like to be root-bound
Propagation: stem cuttings
Notable Pests: few, but not many at all

How much space will my plant need?

When you first receive your plant from greenrThings, it will be in a pot that is between three (3) and six (6) inches in diameter. Your plant will need two inches in addition to this, in order to accommodate a drip tray under the pot.

There is a lot of variability in the height of plants. So while you can estimate how tall it may be by looking at photos, we’d recommend not limiting how tall your plant can be (placing a plant in a bookshelf, or under an overhang).

Of course, as your plant thrives under your expert care, it will need more space!

Holiday Plant Plan – Limited Time Only!

The holidays are fast upon us, and we have a plan fit for celebration!

Our Holiday Plant Plan features a White Pine in a festive pot and a package of mini-ornaments!

Grow your own Christmas tree! The white pine is often used ornamentally and in bonsai, but we won’t be training you on that. You can keep this plant inside throughout the holiday season. We highly recommend that you move it outdoors after the risk of frost has passed in your area. Please make arrangements with a friend, family member or organization who
can plant this tree for you.

Given the size of this plant, there will be a larger cost to the initial shipment of this plant.

Holiday Herb Plan – Limited Time Only!

The holidays are fast upon us, and we have a plan fit for celebration!

Our Holiday Herb Plan features Rosemary in a burlap-wrapped pot and a package of mini-ornaments!

Rosemary is a wonderful herb that’s used in many of our favorite holiday meals, such as stuffing, turkey and other poultry, lamb, and pork. It also has the look of an evergreen tree.