Tiny Plants: A Favorite Tiny Succulent

June 3, 2021

A Tiny Succulent with Big Personality

One of my favorite tiny succulents I grow under grow lights indoors...this ‘lil Graptopetalum filiferum has been happily growing in a 2-inch pot under a small LED lamp in my dining room for more than a year now.

It’s just as squat and phat as it was when I first acquired it, but even prettier now. Because this species is naturally very small and slow-growing, you can keep it in tiny pots for extended periods of time.

Generally speaking, if find it one of the easier Echeveria spp. to grow indoors because it can thrive in somewhat lower light levels than other related species. That's the great thing about tiny plant...they typically take less resources in all forms, be it light, water, fertilizer...you name it.

Just make sure you respect the plant species' natural light needs and when it comes to succulents indoors that still usually means supplemental lighting, even with tiny succulents. BUT you don't need larger high-powered grow lamps for tiny succulents. Small LEDs in the 9-20Watt range (depending on how many plants) are usually adequate - which makes it much easier to be flexible about where you place your tiny succulents. Tiny plants...tiny lamps!

If you want to learn more about tiny succulents and other tiny species you can grow in small spaces, be sure to check out my brand new book TINY PLANTS!

Tiny Plants: Plant Resurrection!

June 1, 2021

Plant resurrection! Ever wonder if you’ve killed a plant, or just need to let it rest?

LOOK CLOSE! (Zoom in) 🔬 Some plants, like this itty bitty micro Sinningia pusilla - that have storage tubers - tend to go dormant now and then. A natural inclination is to think the plant is either completely dead, or you should keep watering it to help it resprout.

But in this case, and with this species and related species/hybrids, it’s best to just walk away, stop watering, and wait. That’s what I did with this little colony - I left it alone and didn’t water it for about 8 + weeks.

Low and behold, a new plantlet is emerging from the tuber. YAY! If I had kept watering this dormant plant, I may have rotted the tuber. Since I keep these babies inside glass canisters for increased humidity, and with the new sprout so itty bitty, the potting mix is still moist so I’ll hold off on any new root zone watering for a bit longer. This plant has now returned to it's normal size (about an inch tall) and is blooming its tiny head off!

Sometimes, if you just let a plant take the timeout it needs (like we all do) it will come back out when it’s good and ready. 😬

If you'd love to learn more about growing and collecting itty bitty houseplants, be sure to check out my new book TINY PLANTS!

Tiny Plants: With Big Personalities

May 25, 2021

Tiny plants with big personalities! Who says you have to grow big to be bold?!

A BeBe Peperomia prostrata (string of turtles) that I started from a wee cutting in one of my favorite handmade tiny glazed pots. SO CUTE!

I think I started this plant from about an inch-long stem cutting back in, Ohhhhh, March or April of 2020? Anyhoo, I kept it, pot and all, inside of a glass canister for much of that time, up until about December '20. Hence the bodacious growth and flowering (thanks humidity!. It's even longer now...

It may not be intuitive that such a succulent looking plant would be happy growing under glass...but it is. And you’ll be able to get cuttings rooted and growing much faster that way.

I take a deeper dive into plant propagation with you in my book PLANT PARENTING - and if you want to geek out on itty bitty houseplants, then be sure to pick up my NEW book TINY PLANTS. Tiny rules!

Tiny Plants: Micro Orchid Obsession

May 24, 2021

My obsession with micro orchids began many years ago (26 to be precise) when I was taking post-hurricane regeneration data on trees in the El Yunque rainforest in Puerto Rico. I came upon the most exciting, yet tiny, native orchid in bloom, growing in some large rocks -Lepanthes rupestris. I almost peed my plants! I still have the grainy printed photos I took of those amazing little orchids (you can see one of those photos in my new book Tiny Plants; Discover the joys of growing and collecting itty bitty houseplants).

The species in this photo, Lepanthes calodictyon, is quite a bit "larger", with much showier foliage, but its tiny size still places it in the micro orchid category. I’m working on some blooms with this little gem, but the foliage is so pretty the blooms “almost” don’t even matter! I keep mine in a glass vessel for humidity management.

Note that this species likes cool temperatures so keep this in mind when creating and managing your plant's environment, and group with other species that enjoy the same conditions.

If you'd love to learn more about micro orchids - and lots of other small species - be sure to check out my new book TINY PLANTS!

Fragrant Roses: Rose ‘Crown Princess Margareta’

April 27, 2021

Love Roses with a Heavy Fragrance?

Rose ‘Crown Princess Margareta’

Sure wish I could make this scratch-n-sniff for you! Rose ‘Crown Princess Margareta’ is one of my favorite English roses with an INTENSE fragrance. This one plant perfumes my entire front garden.

I have a penchant for collecting peach-apricot-Orange flowered roses, but most of those fall into categories that don’t typically fare as well in our extreme HOT Texas climate. But, I grow them anyway! This cultivar is now one of only a handful of roses I have left that hasn’t succumbed to rose rosette disease (or at least don’t yet APPEAR to be infected). My giant ‘Mutabilis’ rose was mostly killed by the deep freeze.

So, I’ll enjoy this beauty while it lasts.

Waiting to Plant Tomatoes in Texas?

April 19, 2021

Tomato Planting Times in Texas

You Probably Waited too Long...

Waiting for just the right time to plant 🍅 tomatoes in Texas?

This time of year (April), there are lots of posts going around telling you to wait to plant your tomatoes. But remember, GARDENING IS LOCAL! Timing that works in Michigan or East Coast or Canada, doesn’t always work for Texas gardens. ESPECIALLY TOMATOES.

Texas is big, so there are also different planting schedules as you move south through the state. The further south you move, the earlier you can plant. Where I am in Dallas - North Texas - the best time to plant 4” tomato transplants was early to mid-March.

A long-time tomato grower, I typically hedge my bets and plant the third week of February, and never later than March 10th. I just keep frost cloth on hand. When I ran retail garden center, I never left 4” tomatoes out for sale on the tables past April 1st. Why you ask? Even if the weather is cool late, that doesn’t delay the onset of extreme summer heat. While tomatoes are tropical plants, they don’t produce fruit well in extreme heat, specifically a hot day/night average temperature. They’ll go into heat delay. They might continue making flowers, but don’t set fruit. The earlier you can manage to plant your tomato transplants, the better; with enough time to mature and set fruit before it gets too hot.

Cherry tomato types are a bit more heat tolerant, so you can often get away with planting them a little later. There are also some heat tolerate slicing varieties. However most are still more suceptible to heat delay. If your’e just now hoping to plant your 4” tomato transplants, I must warn you to modify your harvest expectations.

If you can find some larger 6”-2-gal plants, then go for it. The later it gets in the spring tomato season here, the larger the plant you should buy. Or go for some patio type tomatoes already potted up into larger containers.


Right after the deep freeze passed here was ideal planting time.


In Texas we have TWO tomato planting seasons. If you missed ideal spring planting window, you can try again with a summer planting, typically July 4th for fall harvest. Summer planted tomatoes can benefit from a bit of shading (using floating row cover or lightweight shade cloth) for a few weeks until they become acclimated to the heat.

2020 Plantgeek Gift Guide!

November 9, 2020

Planty Gifts for Gardening Geeks

I think we are ALL ready to get on to happier times and activities, so I figured why not go ahead and share some of my favorite plants and gardening finds with you so you can start tackling holiday shopping? I have eclectic tastes but I love items for my indoor and outdoor garden - and home - that combine form and function. From itty bitty planters to planty candles, here are a few of the favorites on my shopping list this year.

Please know, none of these are sponsored items. Just things I've purchased, like, or plan to buy for others. No strings attached baby!

Meyer Lemon Tree

Citrus are one of the 'it' plants to add to the indoor jungle. And since we're hitting citrus season (which means I will be making a LOT of lemon curd here soon), I thought lemon trees should be first on my shopping list. 'Meyer' lemons can be kept as indoor plants with bright indoor lighting. Plus, they are the perfect container patio containers plants with winter protection. The flowers perfume the air with the sweetest smelling blossoms.

This cute mini version from Plants.com comes in a cheerful yellow pot along with a 30 day guarantee. If your goal is to reduce "stuff" and gift more green, you can never go wrong with gifting plants.

Take note, you can't ship citrus to states with citrus quarantine rules, so make sure to check shipping restrictions before you order.

Tiny Plants Book Pre-order

My new upcoming book, Tiny Plants: Discover the joys of growing and collecting itty bitty houseplants, will be released in March, 2021. Now is the perfect time to pre-order it for your favorite #plantnerd friend!

Tiny Plant Pottery

When you are addicted to collecting tiny plants...you need tiny pots. I love handmade pottery and these tiny planters are the epitome of cuteness! They are handmade by a ceramic artist in Portland, Oregon - JayeAtelier - & quickly sell out on Etsy. Your tiny plants will stand out from the crowd as no two planters are alike - each individual work of art is unique!

Indoor Plant Trellis

If you have run out of space for more new plants, it's time to start investing in plant accessories! These fun trellises are handmade by Honing the Green Thumb in Atlanta, GA & are inspired by plant leaves like palm, cactus, and monstera. The trellis laser cut from a 1/4" thick wood sheet, stained using a walnut stain and sealed with a varnish for protection against moisture. The stakes that holds the trellis in the ground are coated with rubber to protect from decomposing. So pretty.

Tomato Leaf Candles

My favorite candle scent? TOMATO LEAF! Who would have thought...but it's just the best. I just purchased a few of these tomato leaf candles and had to share them with you. The scent is amazing. These small batch candles made in a Seattle workshop - Kent and Co. Handmade - and come in some of the best botanical scents. Soy candles burn cleaner than traditional paraffin candles and come in 4, 9, or 16 ounce sizes.

Handmade Glass Wardian Case

For the extra special plant parent in your life, check out these gorgeous Art Deco Wardian cases from Leadhead Glass. They are handmade out of old sash Detroit glass windows & reclaimed wood & are a perfect display case for your small or tiny high-humidity plants. The makers use the traditional stained glass techniques of copper foiling and hand soldering creating a truly one of a kind piece.

Wall-mount Grow Frame

Take your plant-keeping to the walls & frame your babies like a work of art. The Growframe from Modern Sprout comes in multiple sizes & colors to coordinate with your decor & plant collection. The frame includes full-spectrum, 4000k LEDs that are dimmable, on a timer & rated for 25,000 hours of usage. I have several Modern Sprout Grow Bar grow lights that are keeping many of my tiny plants quite happy right now. This wall plant frame and grow lamp will definitely up your botanical style!

Plant Parent Apparel

I gotta throw my plant lady friend Maria Failla some love by including her comfy plant parent apparel and gear. If you're looking to broadcast your identity as a plant lover, you can suit up over at her Bloom and Grow Radio Shop! And while you're there, be sure to swing by the podcast page where you can listen to my episodes with Maria about plant light, propagation, plant roots, and more!

Tiny Plant Accessories & Supports

If you have tiny plants, you need tiny plant accessories!

Botanopia has created a whole line of tiny plant accessories from a tree house to birdhouse, to an entire camping scene. They are made of brass with a protective coating & can be used both indoors & outdoors. Eventually, the accessories will develop that trademark brass patina, but can be kept bright by polishing.

Have larger, climbing plants? I also have, and love, the brass climbing chain perfect for modern plant owners of pothos, ivy or monstera. The stylish brass chain is over 6' long and easy to hang.

My Book Bundle

Want signed copies of BOTH my books, "Gardening Under Lights" and "Plant Parenting"? Grab this special for one signed copy of each book when you buy them together. You'll save $15 bucks off the regular cover prices!

Be sure to let us know how you'd like them signed!


Want some plantable furniture? BloomingTables' patent pending design allows users to grow a wide range a plant species. Whether you are growing herbs, cultivating micro greens, or enjoying the beauty of succulents indoors - BloomingTables will make a beautiful addition to any home or office. I love mine!

The Gift of Green

I hope these favorites of mine help you get started on spreading some love and green cheer this year. I usually update my gardener's gift guide towards the end of November with new finds, so look for an update notification via my monthly E-newsletter.

How Much Sunlight for Salad Greens?

November 7, 2020

I get a lot of questions about how much direct sunlight different types of vegetables need in the garden. I always recommend your flowering/fruiting crops get a good 6-8 hours of direct sunlight.

Root crops such as turnips, beets, carrots etc. are good in that range as well but can perform nicely in the 5-6 hour sun range.

Leafy greens can get by on part sun/part shade - 3-4 hours of direct sun is best. Here is a great example from my garden. The photos above are of mixed leafy greens all direct seeded into my garden on the same day (probably about 5 weeks ago) in a perimeter bed that receives varying degrees of direct sun..or none. The photo at the top is in a spot that receives about 3-4 or so hours of directly sun. Clockwise at bottom right is a spot that recives about an hour or two of direct sun/shade the rest of the day. The bottom left photo receives no direct sun and is shaded all day. So even with leafy greens where you don’t need to produce flowers & fruit, light volume makes a huge difference in productivity.

So if you are trying to veggie garden in dappled shade all day or or full shade, understand you’ll need to manage your expectations and stick to the most shade tolerant of leafy greens. Or, do some gardening under lights indoors!

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