15 Pet Friendly Houseplants

Pets are part of the family! We want to keep them safe and healthy. At the same time, we want our indoor decor to be warm, inviting, and full of life.  Plants add so much to our indoor spaces. Through cleaning the air to living decor, houseplants should be beautiful and pet safe.  Here are 15 safe houseplants that can add life and drama to your decor.

1. Spider plant – Super easy and lovely in any room in your home.. Not only are they easy to care for, but they also grow well in low-light conditions and can help to clean the air in our homes.
**Spider plants are air purifying plants and safe for dogs and cats

2. African violet – Add an African Violet to a sunny spot and water when needed, and you will have perky flowers off and on for the entire year.

3. Palms – There are tons of different types of palms, and they make excellent indoor plants that are safe for cats and dogs. Areca, bamboo palm, parlor and ponytail are some of the most common.

4. Bamboo – Bamboo plants are not only one of the best pet friendly house plants, they add great drama and are easy to care for.

5. Boston fern – Garfield the cat made it very clear that Boston Ferns are non-toxic. Beautiful in a hanging basket or container, these ferns add an airy feel to a well lit area.  Ferns that are also safe are Maidenhair and Bird’s Nest.

6. Burros tail succulent (Sedum morganianum) – Even if your cat likes to eat plants, they may like to play with the little “tails” that occasionally fall off.  Burros tail succulents are safe, but when it comes to ensuring that other succulents are pet friendly house plants, it can be hit or miss. So make sure to search for each specific variety of succulent plant you grow.

7. Haworthia succulents – Cool looking, easy care, and pet friendly, even if they eat the leaves. (Which they probably won’t, but just in case)

8. Cast iron plant – The cast iron plant definitely lives up to it’s name; it’s one of toughest house plants out there. Not only are they beautiful, but they will thrive in just about any low or bright light room of the house. 

9. Bromeliads – Pet friendly and pretty! Bromeliads add color all year round in a sunny/part sunny spot in your home.  This is especially nice during the winter blahs.

10. Phalaenopsis orchids –  Orchids are not only safe, but the flowers make a beautiful edible garnish to an upscale meal.

11. Christmas cactus – Pretty much only available at Christmas time, snap up one of these pet friendly plants 

12. Peperomia – Super easy to grow, non-toxic, and there are lots of varieties. These pretty little leaves look great in a hanging basket or in a dish garden.

13. Prayer plant – Prayer plants are easy to grow and look great in a dish garden. The leaves tend to close up at night like praying hands.

14. Swedish ivy – Pet safe and look really pretty in a hanging basket.

15. Air Plants – Stash a few air plants around your home in a terarrium, picture frame, or just hang them from a fixture to add a little super easy care life to any area.

Earth Day! April 22

Earth Day is on April 22nd and everyone here at The Family Tree just loves to have any excuse to plant!earth day Trees, shrubs and flowers help stave off the effects of climate change, help protect communities from extreme weather, and provide valuable oxygen! Trees have huge impact on our environment, both locally and globally (and of course visually), and we think there is always a need for more trees and shrubs!

Here are some great facts about how trees and shrubs benefit our earth:
1. Trees absorb CO2 thereby removing carbon and adding oxygen.
2. Trees absorb odors and pollutant gases.
3. An acre of mature trees can provide enough oxygen for 18 people.
4. Provide shade to conserve energy.
5. Provide habitats and shelter for birds, bees, and wildlife.
6. A beautiful landscape can increase property values by as much as 15%.
7. Hundreds of thousands of plants provide food source for people, birds, and wildlife.
8. Trees, shrubs, and flowers make you feel good… ‘nuf said!

Just ask us! Our designers and plant professionals offer their friendly expertise in helping you choose the perfect plants for your outdoor living spaces. Here are some great ideas for Earth Day planting:

Flowers – Save the pollinators! Plant some flowers.  Bees and butterflies love most perennials like Agastache, Echinacea, Tick Seed, and Gaura.  They love Mexican Heather, Salvia, and petunias and hundreds more annuals.  Remember bees and butterflies pollinate some of our most nutritious foods. Click here for some great hummingbird, butterfly and bee attracting plants.

Veggie Garden – Planting a vegetable garden will not only provide you with delicious, fresh veggies this summer, but it also gives you a great excuse to get outside and enjoy the lovely weather! Plant some tomatoes, peppers, squash and beans.  If you’re not up to the challenge of planting a whole vegetable garden, try a container garden with herbs and a tomato or two.

container gardenContainer Garden – Liven up any area with a beautiful container garden.  With our designer’s help, you can decorate your porch, patio, windowsill, and pool area with stunning colors and textures.

And of course, plant a tree! Choose one to honor a special someone in your life.  Add a focal point to your landscape.  Add some shrubs to your landscape too.  We can help!

For ideas for your landscape check out our professional services:

Quick Sketch – If you have a small area in your landscape that needs attention, one of our expert designers can help.  We will sit down with you for 20 minutes, sketch out a plan, and give you some ideas on how to make that area blossom into beauty.  Whether it’s a flower bed that just won’t thrive or you’re just plumb out of ideas, we can help you choose the perfect plants to solve the problem no matter what it is!

landscapePlanting Services – You’ve had a great time picking out a cartload of plants for your home, but now you’re dreading the task of planting them; now what do you do? Call The Family Tree; we offer planting services with FREE delivery and no job is too large for us! We’re as happy to plant petunias around your mailbox as we are to put in the new landscape you’ve picked out!

Expert Advice – We have more than 12 Horticulturists and GA Plant Professionals at The Family Tree, all of whom are full of excellent tips and helpful advice. If you have any questions or even just want someone else’s opinion on which color roses to plant by the front door, our experts are always happy to help! Every one of them knows the plant selection at The Family Tree like the back of their hand and can help you find the perfect plant for any condition!

Why not do your part to help make the earth more beautiful this Earth Day? Stop by The Family Tree this week and browse our huge selection of trees, shrubs, flowers, and more! Oh, and remember to just sit back and enjoy the beauty of this world that we live in!

Earth Day; Plant Something Pretty!

Earth Day is on April 22nd and everyone here at The Family Tree just loves to have any excuse to plant!earth day Trees, shrubs and flowers help stave off the effects of climate change, help protect communities from extreme weather, and provide valuable oxygen! Trees have huge impact on our environment, both locally and globally (and of course visually), and we think there is always a need for more trees and shrubs!

Here are some great facts about how trees and shrubs benefit our earth:
1. Trees absorb CO2 thereby removing carbon and adding oxygen.
2. Trees absorb odors and pollutant gases.
3. An acre of mature trees can provide enough oxygen for 18 people.
4. Provide shade to conserve energy.
5. Provide habitats and shelter for birds, bees, and wildlife.
6. A beautiful landscape can increase property values by as much as 15%.
7. Hundreds of thousands of plants provide food source for people, birds, and wildlife.
8. Trees, shrubs, and flowers make you feel good… ‘nuf said!

Just ask us! Our designers and plant professionals offer their friendly expertise in helping you choose the perfect plants for your outdoor living spaces. Here are some great ideas for Earth Day planting:

Flowers – Save the pollinators! Plant some flowers.  Bees and butterflies love most perennials like Agastache, Echinacea, Tick Seed, and Gaura.  They love Mexican Heather, Salvia, and petunias and hundreds more annuals.  Remember bees and butterflies pollinate some of our most nutritious foods. Click here for some great hummingbird, butterfly and bee attracting plants.

Veggie Garden – Planting a vegetable garden will not only provide you with delicious, fresh veggies this summer, but it also gives you a great excuse to get outside and enjoy the lovely weather! Plant some tomatoes, peppers, squash and beans.  If you’re not up to the challenge of planting a whole vegetable garden, try a container garden with herbs and a tomato or two.

container gardenContainer Garden – Liven up any area with a beautiful container garden.  With our designer’s help, you can decorate your porch, patio, windowsill, and pool area with stunning colors and textures.

And of course, plant a tree! Choose one to honor a special someone in your life.  Add a focal point to your landscape.  Add some shrubs to your landscape too.  We can help!

For ideas for your landscape check out our professional services:

Quick Sketch – If you have a small area in your landscape that needs attention, one of our expert designers can help.  We will sit down with you for 20 minutes, sketch out a plan, and give you some ideas on how to make that area blossom into beauty.  Whether it’s a flower bed that just won’t thrive or you’re just plumb out of ideas, we can help you choose the perfect plants to solve the problem no matter what it is!

landscapePlanting Services – You’ve had a great time picking out a cartload of plants for your home, but now you’re dreading the task of planting them; now what do you do? Call The Family Tree; we offer planting services with FREE delivery and no job is too large for us! We’re as happy to plant petunias around your mailbox as we are to put in the new landscape you’ve picked out!

Expert Advice – We have more than 12 Horticulturists and GA Plant Professionals at The Family Tree, all of whom are full of excellent tips and helpful advice. If you have any questions or even just want someone else’s opinion on which color roses to plant by the front door, our experts are always happy to help! Every one of them knows the plant selection at The Family Tree like the back of their hand and can help you find the perfect plant for any condition!

Why not do your part to help make the earth more beautiful this Earth Day? Stop by The Family Tree this week and browse our huge selection of trees, shrubs, flowers, and more! Oh, and remember to just sit back and enjoy the beauty of this world that we live in!

Spring Kick Off Sale

Garden Sale in Lawrenceville, GALet’s kick off spring with a 20% off sale**! Join us Friday, March 24, 2017, we’ll have a greenhouse overflowing with annuals, perennials, trees, and shrubs.  You’ll get the best selection by shopping early for spring.   We’ll have more great specials throughout the store.

It gets even better! Get a FREE bare root dogwood with your purchase! While supplies last, we want everyone to have one of these beautiful southern favorites.

** (20% off excludes seed, sod, soils, straw, sale items, services and previous purchases.  Cannot be combined with any other sale, coupon, discount or promotion.) 

Bio-tone® Starter Plus, Our Favorite Product!

We want your plants – all your plants – to have a great start! And we’re pretty sure you do too.  That’s why we recommend (yes, we might even hound you about it when you are at the store) that you add Espoma Organic Bio-tone® Starter Plus to every tree, shrub, annual, perennial, sod, and vegetable that you are planting.  Our landscapers add it to everything they plant and have had great success.

Bio-tone® Starter Plus is an organic, all-natural plant food that is combined with a stronger concentration of beneficial bacteria along with both endo and ecto mycorrhizae. The ideal starter plant food, originally designed for professionals. Bio-tone® Starter Plus will increase root mass and help avoid transplant loss in difficult planting conditions.

With Bio-tone® your plants will enjoy:  
     •  Microbe enhanced all natural plant starter food.
     •  Both Endo & Ecto Mycorrhizae attaching to it’s roots to absorb nutrients more efficiently.
     •  Grows larger root mass to help plants establish fast.
     •  Promotes bigger blooms.
     •  Reduces transplant loss.

After you dig your holes and add your amendments (Fafard Planting Mix, Mushroom Compost, and/or Nature’s Helper Soil Conditioner) to your existing soil, we suggest you add Bio-tone® into the soil that will be surrounding the roots.  Bio-tone® is most effective when it comes in direct contact with the roots so that it can attach it’s mycorrhizae to each root hair. It is not as effective as a topical fertilizer.

Flower Beds: Mix 4 lbs. (12 cups) per 100 square feet into the top 4” to 6” of soil.
Bulbs: Place 1 tsp. per bulb in the hole prior to planting.
Potting Mixes: Mix 9 lbs. per cu. yd. or 1 cup per cu. ft.
New Lawns: Apply 25 lbs. per 1,000 sq. ft. prior to seeding or installing sod.

 


Bio-tone Starter Plus Application Table:

Plant Size Cups Lbs.
Up to Two Gallon 1 1/3
Five Gallon 2 2/3
Fifteen Gallon 4 1-1/3
24″ Ball 6 2
36″ Ball 24 8
48″ Ball 30 10

 

Just in case you need a little help planting your new plants, we have a wonderful service for you! We call it You Pick It, We’ll Plant It-click here for more information.  Just choose and purchase plants from our huge selection (we will help you, of course) and let us do the rest for an affordable fee! We will even deliver your plants for FREE with this service.

 

Growing Asparagus, Garlic, Potatoes, Strawberries

Asparagus:
Planting asparagus is a commitment to gardening in that asparagus
is a perennial and should be placed near your garden in an area where it can grow and spread each year.
Asparagus grows best in sunny well-drained soil with minimal weeds.
You will not get edible asparagus the first year and possibly the second year so be patient.
Plant your asparagus 12-18 inches apart. Make sure to eliminate weeds before planting.
Dig a depression 6 to 8 inches deep running the length of the row, mounding the amended soil on each
side for later use. Set seedlings into lowest part of the depression, planting about 2 inches deeper than they
were originally growing. Space plants 12 to 18 inches apart.

Amend by tilling into your soil with mushroom compost, Nature’s Helper and Espoma Bio-tone.
As plants grow taller, rake a little of the soil on the edge of the row into the depression where plants
are growing. Soon the bed will be level. Mulch to prevent weeds.
Once asparagus plants are strong enough to be harvested, cut all new shoots in spring when they are about
8 inches tall, snapping them off at the soil line. Many seasoned gardeners use a knife to cut below the soil line,
but it is important to avoid cutting into emerging spears nearby. Also, the knife can spread any disease
from one plant to the next.

Remember, if the spear has begun opening and developing foliage, it will be too tough to eat.
To avoid this happening, plan to harvest at least every other day. Go ahead and pick all the spears each
time you harvest. Discard those that have grown too large.

Garlic
Garlic is one of the more heralded vegetables in your garden. Plant garlic cloves in the early spring,
and you will harvest garlic bulbs in summer. Home grown, freshly harvested garlic bulbs are much
stronger than those found in stores. They can be cooked and eaten by themselves deliciously.

Garlic is simple and easy to grow. Anybody, make that everybody, can learn how to grow garlic.
Plant it in soil that has been amended with a good planting mix, mushroom compost and/or soil
conditioner, in a partly to mostly sunny location and it will thrive. And, best of all, it takes little space.
It can even be grown amidst your flower garden if you are short on space.

Potatoes – Plant on hills and keep covered:
The most common form of planting is in “hills”. Prepare and loosen the soil where you will make the hill.
Place two or three potato eyes on the ground. Cover or “hill” three to four inches of soil on top of the
seed. Water thoroughly. Space center of hills a foot apart.

Fertilize every two to four weeks. A good fertilizer for potatoes contain low levels of Nitrogen, and
high levels of phosphorus. 6-24-24, or 8-24-24, are good fertilizers for potatoes. Too high nitrogen
will develop lots of green leaves and not great potatoes.

**As the plants grow, mound additional soil around the plants every week or two. Do not let the
tubers or potatoes be exposed to sunlight. You can cover the soil around the plants with
compost, mulch or even black plastic.

Strawberries:
Plant strawberries on slightly raised hills in your garden, in hanging baskets, and in strawberry pots.
Strawberries need at least 8 hours of full sun each day, and they prefer slightly acidic well drained soil.
Mix Espoma Bio-tone Starter Fertilizer into the soil before planting.
Be sure to set the plants so that their roots are well covered with soil
but the central growing bud, or crown,
is exposed to light and fresh air.
Note: If you bury the crown, the plant could easily rot.
Water them well upon planting. It is best to water at ground level if possible.
Strawberries appreciate mulch to hold in moisture and keep weeds down.
Just be careful not to cover the crown.

Fertilize with Espoma Plant-tone or another quality organic
fertilizer and water so that the plants don’t dry out (but DO NOT overwater).
 

Did You Know It’s Time To Put Up Bluebird Houses?

Bluebird season in Georgia is right around the corner! Attracting bluebirds to your garden during the spring can make for excellent relaxation and sight-seeing. Now is the time to get your bluebird houses set up (or cleaned out from last season). In order to get these blue beauties to hang around your lawn once Spring rolls around, here are a few important tips and tricks to keep mind.

Put the bird boxes up by March 1 so they will be ready when the birds arrive to search for a place to set up house. Place bluebird houses 5’ to 8’ above the ground attached to a tree or fencepost. They prefer open areas with low groundcover or well-trimmed grass in order for them to easily hunt insects.

  • Bluebirds love meal worms, and probably love acquiring them easily even more! Offering them a place to feed on meal worms is an excellent trick to bring them to your garden space.

Georgia is home to some great native plants that will attract Bluebirds during colder weather. Since bluebirds rarely eat bird seed, add berries and fruits to your yard that will likely attract them. Elaeagnus, Cotoneaster, Serviceberry, Beautyberry, Ivy, Hollies, Pyracantha are great for early spring feeding.

  • Predators such as House Sparrows, snakes, mice and others need to be considered when placing your bluebird house. These predators will reek havoc on your bluebirds!  Predator guards on poles or at entrance holes are strongly recommended. Click here for more information of why your bluebirds have left the house. http://www.sialis.org/predatorid.htm 
  • Bird baths are a great addition to any lawn, as they attract many kinds of birds. Bluebirds included! However, bluebirds favor moving water. Adding a moving water feature such a small fountain can do wonders for enticing bluebirds.
  • The last important tip to remember is about maintenance of your bluebird house. Bluebirds are not typically known to clean out old nests, moving on from “occupied” nesting areas. The best time to clean out the nest if from October to December (Just make sure it is not in use!). Periodically clean the old nesting material out of your bluebird box to assure the bluebird vacancy.

 

  • Stop by The Family Tree Garden Center for all your birding needs. We carry Coles, Audubon, Friends Of Flight, Droll Yankee, and handmade feeders, houses, and feed.

Money Tree Prosperity

Have you ever heard the story of how the Money Tree got its name? It started with a man whose prayers for money were answered by obtaining this unique plant.  When he took the plant home, he discovered he could grow several more from the seeds and new stems. He soon became rich from selling the seedlings.  It is from this story that the plant was given its nickname: the “Money Tree.” The plant (and the story) originated in Japan. The Money Tree consists of several trunks braided together with green leaves sprouting from the top.

  • Braided Money Trees are often given as a gift because they have the reputation of bringing good luck and prosperity.  Generally, the more leaves the Money Tree has, the better!  While it is common to find money trees with five leaves on each stem, it is quite rare to find one with six to seven leaves. Like a four-leaf clover, a Money Tree with a seven-leaf stem is considered to bring incredibly good fortune to its owner.
  • Feng shui practitioners believe that the braided Money Tree creates positive energy for any room that it is placed in.  Following this belief, your Money Tree should be placed in the “financial” part of your home or office. (Make sure it is bright in that area) Each new leaf of the tree will then bring added financial blessing and success.  This plant is easy to grow and will thrive easily in your home or office.
  • The jade green leaves of the Money Tree grow in a pattern often compared with the human hand.  These five leaves are said to symbolize the five elements of balance in creation: metal, wood, water, fire and earth.  Each stem of the “braid” is a unique plant.
  • Money Trees are easy to care for. Simply water thoroughly then let the soil dry. You can tell if you are watering too much if the leaves become droopy and yellow. If the leaves are wrinkled or curled, you are watering too little. The main problem that we see with Money Trees is from overwatering.
  • Place your Money Tree in an area with bright indirect light. In areas with less bright light, your tree’s leaves may grow smaller, but they will adapt if needed. Avoid direct sunlight. In warm weather, your Money Tree may enjoy a little outside time in the shade. Bring your plant inside if the weather drops below 50 degrees.
  • Concerning fertilization, this tree does not need to be fussed over. Fertilize once in the spring and once in the fall with a quality time released fertilizer. Insects don’t seem to bother the Money Tree but if you happen to see whitefly or aphids, spray the leaves with Insecticidal Soap and wipe clean.
  • Propagation is best had from cuttings/side shoots and seeds. Often you will notice new shoots coming out of the trunks. You can simply place these shoots in moist, not wet, soil with Root Starter and they will grow well.

 

  • Find Money Trees and many other interesting houseplants at The Family Tree Garden Center.  Our knowledgeable, friendly staff is here to help with all your interiorscaping desires.

 

Berries For Your Birds

Adding berry producing trees and shrubs to your yard can expand your bird-viewing pleasure. Since fall is the best time for planting, consider adding a few of these “feeders” this time of year. Not only will they offer nutrition to your backyard birds, they will be lovely additions to your landscape. Our year-round resident birds that eat bugs summer, spring, and fall are forced to switch to berries in the winter. Robins, bluebirds, and mockingbirds, for instance, don’t have bill structures to hull the seeds that you would add to your bird feeders, so they’re dependent almost entirely on berries.20160121_081635-1

Fall and winter berries tend to be high in fat and carbs that birds need for energy.   The nutrition in these berries also help them replace all those worn feathers, bulk-up for migration or ready themselves for winter.

Most of the berry producing plants also provide shelter. Birds will choose safety over food so choose areas where your birds will feel safe.  Consider planting in clusters and near other vegetation to create natural protection against predators. If you plant your berry producing plants with limited cover or protection, you will think your birds are ignoring your offering of wonderful berries.

  • Autumn berries: Dogwoods, cotoneasters, Dwarf Burford Holly, Nellie R Stevens Holly, and Beautyberry provide food for migratory birds, both to build up fat reserves before migration and to sustain them along their journey. Non-migratory birds also fatten up on these so they can enter the winter season in good physical condition.waxwing-fruit-tree
  • Winter berries: Crabapple, Sumacs, Cranberry Viburnum, Virginia Creeper, and Winterberry (holly) are all valuable to birds for both food and shelter. These plants hold their berries for a long time so that resident birds and early returning migrants can feed. Robins, Bluejays, Finches, and Mockingbirds are among the birds drawn to these plants in winter.
  • Nuts and acorns: Oaks and hickories, provide food for titmice, jays, and some woodpeckers. Insects drawn to their spring flowers provide food for spring-migrating birds. These trees also provide nesting habitat for many species.

Planting trees and shrubs that birds love will not only increase your bird viewing pleasure but will also enhance the beauty and texture of your landscape.

Feel free to ask any of our associates to help you plan your bird sanctuary or check out our FREE Quick Sketch service here.

Want Fresh Veggies this Fall? Plant a Cool Season Garden!

If you planted a vegetable garden this spring, you’ve most likely been enjoying the tasty fruits of your labors these past few months! fall-harvest-basketHave you ever considered planting a fall garden? Just because the weather will soon start to cool down doesn’t mean your crop of delicious homegrown veggies has to cease! In fact, fall is the ideal time to plant nutrition packed broccoli, luscious kale, flavor-enhancing leeks, crisp radishes, and so much more. There is a wide variety of fall vegetable seeds as well as starter plants.  Starter plants are generally easier to grow but typically there is a wider selection of seeds.  These veggies require cool soil to germinate and flourish, so here are 4 steps to help you plan your planting times so that you can enjoy delicious veggies all autumn long.

  1. Determine the average first fall frost date and mark it on your calendar.
  2. Look on your seed packet for ‘Days to Maturity’ and from your average first frost date, count backwards the number of days to maturity, which will bring you to the ideal planting date. It’s usually a good idea to add an extra week or two to that time to take into account the shorter days, which may slow growth.
  3. Once you’ve determined the ideal planting date, it’s time to decide which seeds can be sown directly into the ground and which will need to be started indoors. Soil can still be hot in the summer when you’re planting and certain cool season crops, like lettuce or spinach, will not germinate in soils over 80 degrees; crops like these will need to be started indoors and then transplanted. However, root crops such as radishes can be sown directly into your garden.
  4.  Because vegetable plants need lots of nutrients to produce delicious results, you should add fertilizer or compost to the soil before you plant. This is especially important if you had a summer garden; the soil needs to be replenished for your cool season garden to flourish!

fall saladThe Family Tree has just stocked cool season seeds and starter plants, so hurry in soon for the best selection for your garden! Our knowledgeable associates are always happy to help you find the perfect seeds for your needs.