Elm Bonsai Need a Dormancy Period

August 14, 2018

Want to grow bonsai indoors? Temperature and dormancy requirements of certain species will imparct your success with indoor bonsai. Deciduous species of tree bonsai--such as elm--will drop their leaves, just as they would in fall and winter outdoors.

An elm tree grown as a bonsai specimen.
PC: Leslie F. Halleck

Give them some time in a dormant period outside, as temperatures cool in the fall, before transitioning them back indoors, which will trigger them to begin growing and leafing again. We all need a break sometimes!

New BOOK! Gardening Under Lights: The Complete Guide for Indoor Growers

Roots Forming on a Plant Cutting

August 13, 2018

Aeroponic propagators can be used to root cuttings of all sorts of plants. While you can't see what's going on below the soil or in the propagator, roots are slowly forming.

Roots developing on a salvia cutting.
PC: Leslie F. Halleck

Some plants can take a couple of months to root, while others will root in a week’s time. For plants that like warm growing conditions, or if you’re starting cuttings in winter or in a cool part of your home, use a seedling heat mat under the rooting tray to speed things up.

Gardening Under Lights Book

What is a Deep-water Propagator?

August 12, 2018

Propagation incubators, such as deep-water propagators, can make rooting plant cuttings ( cloning) much easier. They typically use hydroponic or aeroponic methods for root cuttings.

An example of a deep-water propagator.
PC: Sunlight Supply, Inc.

These deep-water propagator setups will provide moisture, air, and rooting hormones at the right levels to deliver a high rate of success with your cuttings.

Gardening Under Lights Book

Red Chinese Evergreen Houseplant

August 11, 2018

There are many types of plants that simply can't thrive indoors without supplemental lighting from grow lamps. But there are a few lwoer-light house plants that can thrive in medium- to low-light conditions indoors. Chinese evergreen is one such houseplant.

PC: Leslie F. Halleck

In particular, I'm fond of this variety, simply called 'Red'. Now, low-light doesn't mean NO light! If it's too dark in your space, then even these tough, easy houseplants won't thrive. A bright room without direct hot sunlight is best. Of course, you can always use spotlight LEDs or CFLs to provide supplemental light to individual houseplants if they aren't getting enough natural light.

New BOOK! Gardening Under Lights: The Complete Guide for Indoor Growers

Young Transplants Need Supplemental Light

August 10, 2018

If you skip supplemental indoor lighting for young seedlings and plant starts, you will usually be disappointed. Most windowsills simply are not bright enough. Provide your seedlings with good lighting to set them up for success from the get-go.

Young basil, tomato, and lettuce transplants grown from seed under fluorescent grow lamps.
PC: Leslie F. Halleck

Use HO T5 Fluorescent or LED grow lamps, positioned a few inches above your seedlings, to get them off to a strong and sturdy start.

Gardening Under Lights Book

Spinach Grows Best in Cool Temperatures

August 9, 2018

Want to grow spinach indoors? If you have a cool garage or basement, you might have the perfect place to grow spinach indoors through the cool months. If you use a grow tent with a cooling system, you might be able to grow it indoors year-round. Stick with cooler running grow lamps, such as LEDs, CFLs, or HOT5 Fluorescents, instead of HID lamps.

PC: Leslie F. Halleck

Spinach grows best in cool temperatures between 40°F and 75°F (4–24°C). Warmer temperatures can hasten bolting. If your indoor temperatures are a bit warmer, keep the photoperiod (how long you light the plants) on the short side (10 hours).

New BOOK! Gardening Under Lights: The Complete Guide for Indoor Growers

Don't Let Soil Get Soggy With Cuttings

August 8, 2018

If you use organic potting soil for your cuttings, be sure not to let it stay soggy during the rooting process. Soil that is too wet can cause pathogens to flourish, along with rot on cuttings.

PC: Leslie F. Halleck

To avoid soil pathogen problems, use media such as coir, rockwool, Oasis cubes, or anything made with perlite and peat. These help balance the moisture- to-air ratio available to the cutting and reduce pathogens.

Gardening Under Lights Book

Blue Flowering Clematis Vine

August 8, 2018

With the unexpected extra rain we received here in Dallas, a few garden gems have popped back into flower. This Clematis 'Arabella' is back in bloom just as the garlic chives are pushing out their late-summer white flower buds!

Clematis 'Arabella'
PC: Leslie F. Halleck

I always plant clematis amidst other perennials and shrubs to as to shade the soil and keep their root system a little cooler - which they prefer. I love garlic chives because they are tough, heat- and drought-tolerant bulb that blooms during the hottest part of the summer, when many other plants are taking a break. The blue clematis flowers will be a beautiful mix with the white chive flowers.

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