Plant Parenting: Cut down on waste by making paper pots!

October 14, 2019

It's no secret that we all need to figure out ways to reduce our use of plastic.

Like it or not, there's a LOT of plastic that gets used in everyday gardening activities - especially propagation and growing. If you're looking to ditch some of the plastic pots you use to start your seedlings and cuttings, consider making your own paper pots!

Wooden paper pot maker
PC: Leslie F. Halleck

Paper pots are easy to make & they help cut down on all sorts of gardening-related plastic waste. Get yourself a wooden pot maker then grab the newspaper.

PC: Leslie F. Halleck

Wrap the paper around around the pot maker handle, and tuck under the bottom edges. A piece of paper around 3" x 10" works best with minimal waste.

Paper pots perfect for seedlings
PC: Leslie F. Halleck

Learn more about paper pots, and other ways to minimize waste when propagating, in my book "Plant Parenting: Easy Ways to Make More Houseplants, Vegetables, and Flowers".


Plant Parenting: Seedlings Need Grow Lighting to Flourish

October 7, 2019

Tiny Seedlings Need LOTS of Light!

If you’re growing in a space with little to no natural light, then artificial grow lighting is mandatory for plant propagation and growth. Seedlings, in particular, will almost always require grow lights - even if you have bright windows.

Young tomato transplants growing under fluorescent grow lamps.
PC: Leslie F. Halleck

The time of year you propagate indoors will also influence your lighting needs. If you start your seeds or take cuttings indoors during winter months, you’ll find that the lack of light and briefer duration of light can really slow things down.

Seedlings require intense amounts of light for specific durations; most windowsills simply are not bright enough, for a long-enough duration, for healthy seedlings. Plan to leave your grow lights on for 14-18 hours, depending on the amount of natural light available.

Tiny tomato seedlings: You can use HOT5 Fluorescents, or LED Retrofit bars in a T5 fixture for seed germination and growth.
PC: Leslie F. Halleck

Grow lamps will need to be placed close to your seedlings - within several inches - in order to deliver the volume of light your seedlings need to thrive.

If you want to learn ALL the fundamentals of how to start strong seedlings indoors, and how to light them, be sure to pick up my book "Gardening Under Lights: The Complete Guide for Indoor Growers".


Plant Parenting: Grow Lamps for Plant Cuttings

September 9, 2019

Grow Lamps for Plant Cuttings

You don't need a lot of light for cuttings

Understanding artificial lighting needs for all your different indoor plant projects can be a little confusing when you're just starting out. There are many different small lighting kits out on the market, but which one's really work for your needs? If you're doing vegetative propagation - that means taking cuttings from your plants - then you're in luck. Vegetative cuttings need relatively low light levels until they've produced a new root system.

PC: Leslie F. Halleck

Typically, you can place your unrooted cuttings near a low-light windowsill until they root. Or, you can place them away from a natural light source and instead use a grow lamp. Complete kits that come with one small fluorescent or LED lamp as the main or only source of light are perfect for rooting vegetative cuttings. You can leave the grow lamp on 24 hours a day until the cuttings root out.

Once your cuttings have rooted, and the main roots start producing side branching roots, you can then pot your cuttings up and they'll need to go into a higher light situation (depending on the species).

However, if you’re growing seedlings without much additional natural light, a single grow lamp such as the one in this kit won’t provide enough light as seeds germinate. Kits with at least two grow lamps are better for seed starting, but I usually use fixtures with 4 grow lamps for seedlings.

To learn all the fundamentals of how to light your cuttings and seedlings, pick up my new book Plant Parenting. To take a deeper dive into light science and how to grow all sorts of plants indoors year-round, pick up my book Gardening Under Lights.


National Indoor Plant Week Giveaway - Unboxing!

September 9, 2019

Plant Parents: Celebrate National Indoor Plant Week

Enter to win my signed books and free plants!

Are you ready for #NationalIndoorPlantWeek next week?! I AM! to celebrate, I'll be doing FIVE giveaways next week, one each day, Mon-Fri (starting 9/16/19) on my Instagram channel @lesliehalleck

I'll be giving away signed copies of both my books Plant Parenting & Gardening Under Lights AND an amazing plant from Steve's Leaves, Inc. for each winner!! Be sure to follow both me and Steve's Leaves on Instagram before Monday so you can play along and enter.

Steve's Leaves sent a special box of surprise plants for us to preview, so check out this unboxing video to see the beautiful lush plants they sent me!


Plant Parenting: Air Laying Propagation on Houseplants

September 7, 2019

What is Air Layering?

Root cuttings right on your plants!

Looking for a way to rehab your large leggy houseplants, and take new cuttings at the same time? You can try air layering. Air layering, or air propagation, is similar to rooting with ground layering or a stem-tip cutting, except you don’t bury the stem in soil or remove a cutting from the mother plant; you root it right on the plant while it’s growing!

PC: Leslie F. Halleck

Air layering involves creating a wound on the stem where you'll take a cutting, tricking your plant into growing new roots right on the stem...before you take the cutting.

My fiddle leaf fig has gotten a bit lanky. So, I’ve air layered it on a side branch. Once roots develop to the edges of the air-layering ball, I’ll cut off the entire section and pot it up as a new plant. Take off the cutting will then encourage the mother plant to grow new side shoots and fill out.

If you want to learn all the fundamentals of plant propagation, such as air layering, be sure to pick up my new book Plant Parenting.


Plant Parenting: Spider Plant Babies!

September 4, 2019

How to Propagate Spider Plant Babies

Offsets are easy to grow!

Looking for easy ways to make more plant babies? Certain plants make it super easy for you. Some species of plants develop offsets (also called pups or plantlets) on flowering stems that are super easy to propagate. The airplane plant (also called spider plant) is a great example of just such a plant.

Airplane plants are easy to propagate from the offsets they produce at the ends of flowers stems.
PC: Botanopia

Offsets usually already have root initials that just need to come into contact with water or moist soil to begin growing an entirely new plant that is a clone of the mother plant. These offsets can be snipped right off the stem and planted - or water rooted. Once the new roots have begun to produce side branches, you can pot your plant baby up into it's own pot.

If you want to learn all the fundamentals of plant propagation, pick up my new book Plant Parenting today!


Plant Parents: Houseplant Unboxing from Little Prince

August 27, 2019

Unboxing houseplants from Little Prince of Oregon

Amazing plants from an amazing grower!

Looking for a new online source for cool plants? I received a surprise box of plants from a fabulous grower, Little Prince of Oregon Nursery. The quality of the plants was superb and the packing was top-notch. The plants arrived healthy and beautiful, even in 100+ degree weather.

You can watch my unboxing video to see all the plants they sent me and learn some tid bits about each one:

1. Striped Bamboo Fern - Coniogramme emeiensis 'Golden Zebra'

2. Antenna Fern - Doryopteris cordata

3. Polypodium areaum 'Blue Star' (fern)

4. Kalanchoe katapifa 'Tarantula'

5. Saliganiella kraussiana 'Brownii' (spikemoss)

6. Punica granatum (dwarf pomegranate)

7. Sinningia 'Invasion Force' (hardy pink gloxinia)

8. Kalanchoe marmorata

9. Lobelia laxiflora (cardinal flower)

10. Sempervivum 'Gold Nugget' (hens & chicks)

11. Begonia rex 'Ideal Blue Silver'

12. Crassula 'Pagoda'

13. Crassula perforata

14.Crassula ovata 'Tricolor Hobbit'

15. Haworthia 'Super Big Band'

16. Echeveria affinis


Plant Parenting: Pruning & Training a Hoya

August 2, 2019

My groovy bush hoya (Hoya cumingiana) has gotten a tad leggy, so off with its head! This species isn't terribly common in the trade, but I love it's tough tiny leaves. Plants produce yellow/green flowers.

My leggy Hoya cumingiana
PC: Leslie F. Halleck

I decided to cut back all the main stems to relieve apical dominance and encourage more lateral branching. Translated, that means I'm going to make my bush Hoya more bushy! When you cut off the tip of a stem or branch, plant hormones send signals that spur new bud shoot growth at the nodes below.

Taking hoya tip cutting
PC: Leslie F. Halleck

A Hoya bud shoot
PC: Leslie F. Halleck

A hoya lateral bud shoot elongating. You can see this stem apparently broke off at some point, leaving a callused stub. Afterwards, a new lateral bud shoot emerged.
PC: Leslie F. Halleck

The tip cuttings are now water rooting and I also decided to train up the stems on a vertical support to better control this little beastie. 🌱 Plus, it looks cool!

Multiple Hoya lateral bud shoots.
PC: Leslie F. Halleck

My trained up Hoya cumingiana.
PC: Leslie F. Halleck

If you love looking at plant photos you can find me on Instagram.

And definitely check out my plant propagation book PLANT PARENTING


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