15 Ways To Use Pansies

Pansies and Violas set the stage for a fresh bright spring season. Planting these perky winter/early spring favorites bring seas of color to your gardens and containers from fall to spring. With so many colors to choose, here are some easy ways to incorporate fresh color now before warm season annuals come available.

  1. Set the table Use the purple and yellow blooming pansies in green, glazed pots to create a living centerpiece on your patio table.  Or, simply plant one pansy in a tea cup for a simple elegant look.  
  2. Classic Containers Yellow faced pansies combined with solid yellows come together in an impressive arrangement that bring a classic look to any container.
  3. Stack for Texture Gather two galvanized buckets. Plant the smaller one with pansies and parsley. Tuck more pansies and Creeping Jenny or Ivy around the edges of the larger one, and stack.
  4. Window Charm Winter days have you feeling gloomy? Bring happiness inside with just a few snips. Plant fragrant pansies, snip some flowers and place in a jar on your windowsill.
  5. Thrillers, Fillers, Spillers A cone-shaped, evergreen arborvitae works perfectly as an attention-grabbing thriller. To brighten up the look of your container, fill up the pot with multi-colored pansies and have variegated English ivy spill over the sides for a dramatic visual.
  6. Classic Green & White Pair variegated American boxwood (‘Elegantissima’) with white pansies for a classic look. Variegated English ivy also serves as green and white accents.
  7. Herb Pairings Pair yellow and purple violas with a cool-season herb such as curly-leaved parsley for an easy-to-care-for display. Snip pansy flowers and herbs to brighten up your kitchen.
  8. Strawberry Jar Makeover Cool Wave pansies dress up a strawberry jar. Pair with yellow, white, and purple pansies and set jars on your porch or patio for waves of color.
  9. Balls of Blooms Create orbs of color with violas that love to bloom. Use sphagnum baskets and Cool Wave Pansies along the sides, then top the container with more pansies. Hang in a sunny location for more optimum splendor.
  10. Tuck In Color To dress up your entryway, tuck in a few pots along the steps and walkways with a simple color scheme to add whimsy and pop.
  11. Window Box Color When filling a show-stopping window box, don’t hesitate to use small evergreen shrubs or perennials, which last throughout the seasons. Euphorbia, Cyclamen also look striking in window boxes.
  12. Fairy Garden Fun Give your outdoor fairies something fun! Fairies love to play hide and seek in flower beds. Pansies are perfect for when warm season flowers are not available.
  13. Glowing Beds Bright yellow and stark white pansies add rich color that will make your pots and flowerbeds glow.
  14. Front Door Spectacular Spreading Cool Wave pansies provide color through fall, winter, and spring. You can add to the show in early spring by slipping in pots of forced tulips and some chartreuse foliage, like tiger ferns and heucheras.
  15. Perfectly Placed Pots A perfectly-placed container makes a big impact in your garden and yard. Try placing 3 sizes of containers for even more drama. Mix pansies with small evergreens, Creeping Jenny or Ivy, and Euphorbia.

One great tip for planting pansies, annuals, trees, shrubs, and perennials is to always use Espoma Bio Tone Starter Plus in your soil mix. We at The Family Tree are huge believers in this product for getting ALL your plants started on the right root!

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.

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.) 

Would You Like To Sleep Better? And Breath In Your Home Better? 6 Plants For Your Bedroom

The air quality inside your home may not cross your mind as much as the air quality outside, but it is undoubtedly just as important. Poor air quality in your home can cause headaches, sore throat, and other common but annoying irritations.

Fortunately, scientists at NASA have conducted research and experiments on these issues. One of the most promising solutions found were the cleansing and purifying properties in houseplants!

No matter how ventilated your home or apartment may seem, pollutants from outside like car exhaust can still make their way inside and become trapped. These pollutants along with the chemical release of cleaning products combine and linger in your air. A simple and affordable way to combat these pollutants is adding some houseplants into your living space!

  • Plants cleanse the air by simply doing what they are designed to do; create oxygen. Through photosynthesis, plants draw in the dirty carbon dioxide in the air and releases oxygen. This process helps get rid of the three main indoor pollutants: formaldehyde, benzene, and trichloroethylene. The research done by NASA helped reveal six specific houseplants that help remove up to 90% of these toxins, making your air cleaner and healthier to breath.
  • Peace Lily plants are one of the most common houseplants on NASA’s list, and one of the most beautiful. Their big white blooms accent their dark green leaves, making them a great design component in your home. Peace Lily plants effectively remove all three of the main indoor pollutants, and they also remove ammonia from the air as well.
  • Snake Plants or “Mother-In-Law’s Tongue” is known for being one of the easiest houseplants to maintain. This is due to their preference for drier conditions and low light. Snake Plants effectively remove all three main pollutants from the air, as well as another toxin called xylene. Put a Snake Plant in your bedroom! By improving indoor air quality and emitting oxygen at night, the Snake Plant can help you sleep!
  • Aloe Vera is a very famous plant because of its wide variety of uses. The clear liquid inside the leaves have been proven to be great for basic medicinal uses, such as an anti-inflammatory or as an antibiotic. In the NASA studies, Aloe Vera was shown to also be effective at removing formaldehyde from their air. Caring for an Aloe Vera plant calls for allowing about the top inch or two of the soil to dry out in-between watering. Aloe is great in your bedroom due to its air cleaning and oxygen emitting abilities.
  • Ficus Trees are rapidly making their way into popularity within recent years because they come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, making them a great design focal point. Like the others, Ficus trees remove all three of the main toxins. Keep your Ficus in bright, indirect light and let the soil dry out in between watering. This plant is perfect for your sunroom or bright kitchen.
  • Golden Pothos has beautiful marbled, heart-shaped leaves and is super easy to care for. Place a Pothos in your bedroom, bathroom, or family room to purify the air to aid with sleep and well-being. Pothos thrive in low light and once a week watering. This ivy-like plant makes a beautiful hanging basket and you can easily clip the vines to keep it manicured.
  • Dracaena plants come in as many as 40 different varieties, making them popular for both home and office due to their versatility. Like Snake Plants, Dracaena plants also remove all three toxins as well as xylene from your air.

To naturally clean your air, help with sleep, and offer an overall feeling of well-being, NASA recommend between 15 and 18 air-purifying plants in an 1800 square foot home, with a few of these in each bedroom.

 

For more information, please ask one of our knowledgeable staff members at The Family Tree Garden Center.
Blog by Lindsey Meade

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.

 

Fiddle Leaf Fig – Interior Design Dream Plant

fiddle-leaf-fig-tdy-home2_ffee48f9842cf404a2f97eb7244fdf8a_today-inline-large

It’s time to join “The Fiddle Club.” Bringing this popular and sought after house plant to your living space has a variety of benefits. Within recent years, it has become a hit in the world of design because they have the ability to seamlessly mix into any area in your house. This fig tree has also been proven to purify your air with its tiny holes in the leaves to draw in toxins and balance the humidity in the rooms they occupy. In order for these trees to thrive, there are some specific care tips to follow.

Watering 

Like many houseplants, fig trees can be finicky when it comes to its water needs. Fiddle-leaf fig trees are native to West African tropical rainforests, and therefore get plenty of water from rainfall. The best way to gauge its thirst would be to check its soil frequently, as it needs to stay consistently moist.  Some signs of under-watering include limp or floppy leaves.  While it does require a good amount of water, be careful not to overwater. The typical 4 to 5 foot fig tree will take about 2 liters of water once a week.  A good rule of thumb is to check the top inch of soil; if it is dry, it’s time to water!

Exposure 

Fiddle Leaf Fig trees are pretty easy when it comes to sunlight need. It will do well in what the average house provides.  It is recommended to expose it to a large amount of indirect sunlight for about half the day.  Direct sunlight can “bleach” the leaves.  As for temperature, the Fiddle Leaf Fig will tolerate normal indoor temperatures, but they don’t do well in colder or drafty areas (they come from a hot, tropical area, remember?). During the cooler months, it is recommended to occasionally mist the leaves to keep them from drying out.65cc53b8bd6b39fcedaccf319a984db2

Fertilizing 

Over-fertilizing the Fiddle Leaf Fig is a common mistake because it doesn’t like to be fed often. Overfeeding can cause the plants to grow much too fast and get “leggy,” before they can establish their stems and roots, causing them to become limp with too-heavy greenery.  Fertilizing just a few times a year is adequate for the fiddle leaf.  Apply one dose early spring, and once a month during the summer.  Use a quality houseplant fertilizer for best results.

Pruning 

Fiddle Leaf Fig trees are just that; a tree! Naturally, they want to grow tall and skinny. If that’s what you would like for your space, very little pruning is required. However, if you’d like to keep the bushy structure, let the plant get to the height you prefer. Once it’s there, occasionally clip the top which will force it to branch outward instead of upward. You can also prune its roots in the dormant (winter) months to keep it from growing too tall too fast. To do this, simply lift the plant out of its pot, cut back some of the roots, add some new soil, and place it right back in its container.

how-to-care-for-fiddle-leaf-fig_mini

Transporting

The Fiddle Leaf fig is easily stressed out if moved from area to area. This is simply because it adjusts to its surroundings, and must readjust quickly if moved. The important thing to remember is to keep it out of direct sunlight and out of drafty areas. If you move it outside during the summer, allow it to get a little bit of morning sun, and a lot of afternoon shade. When you move it back in during the fall, do it slowly over time, and make sure it’s in before the first frost!

Overall, the Fiddle Leaf Fig tree is a fresh, great houseplant. They can seem a bit temperamental but adapt well with these few instructions. The result is a beautiful and happy addition to your home!

 

 

 

Christmas Is Just Days Away

Christmas is only days away! Are you ready?  Well, we are here to help make your holidays merry and bright for you and everyone on your Christmas list.  Take a look at a few of our deals.  Every day we are putting more items on special so if you haven’t signed up for our e-newsletter, you can sign up now to be in the know about our upcoming sales and specials.

Gift Card Sale. Now through Christmas Eve you can buy a gift and get a gift from us.
Buy a $50 gift card…get a $10 gift card FREE
Buy a $75 gift card…get a $15 gift card FREE
Buy a $100 gift card…get a $20 gift card FREE
Free gift cards are valid January 1, 2017-March 2, 2017.  Perfect for spring planting!  Give a gift that everyone loves and you can treat yourself with the free spring gift card!  You can even buy our gift cards online and we will send them to you within 48 hours!

Christmas décor is on sale for 40% off. Our décor is special, unique and beautiful.  Our designers can help you with ideas for your trees, tables, mantels, and gifts.  You’re sure to find the perfect decoration here!
20160919_082727Christmas ornaments are on sale for 50% off. Your guests will be saying OOOO, AHHHH when they see your Christmas tree decorated with our special ornaments.

Fraser Fir Christmas Trees start at $29.95 for 6-7 foot (regularly $39.95) You can put up a few trees at that price!  And with the great ornament sale, you’ll have plenty of sparkle on your trees!  Our trees are hand selected.  We give your tree a fresh cut and load it on your car for you.  Don’t forget the Tree Bag for easy removal after Christmas and the Prolong to add to your water to help your tree stay fresher longer.

Brighten up your décor with Poinsettias! 30% off these colorful Christmas plants. Choose from red, pink, and white.poinsettia-ipad-painting

Whatever your Christmas desires are, we can help bring your vision to life. Stop by and talk to one of our designers today!

6 Great Benefits of Houseplants!

Did you know? Houseplants can benefit your overall health and wellness in addition to making your home look beautiful and inviting! This season, The Family Tree has received a range of gorg20140811_144609-1eous houseplants of every shape, color and style. We’ve got hundreds for bright light and low light, large areas and small. If you are looking for a pre-potted plant, terrarium, miniature garden, or something totally different, we have everything you want and more. Here, we highlight six great benefits of having houseplants in your home!

20140821_082705-11. Removal of Airborne Contaminants: We breathe the same air again and again, potentially inhaling harmful substances that are trapped inside. Indoor plants can help to remove pollutants including airborne compounds that cause headaches, nausea, and more.

2. Upping Your Happiness Levels: House plants can contribute to a feeling of well-being, making you calmer and more optimistic. Studies have shown that patients who face a garden view or have flowers in their hospital rooms often recover more quickly than those who do not.

3. Improved Mental Health: It has been proven that caring for a living thing, be it a pet or a plant, can help when you’re depressed and lonely. Having something completely reliant on you for love and sustenance will give you a new purpose in life! Try gifting a pretty fern or bright African violet to someone who could use cheering up.

4.  Improved Sleep: Who doesn’t want a good nights sleep every night? All plants give off oxygen as a result of photosynthesis, which studies show can help improve sleep. Place a houseplant or two (or three!) in your bedroom and you will be reaping the benefits in no time!20140814_092829-1

5.  Allergy Prevention: Exposing children to allergens early in life can help them build a tolerance and immunity to the allergen; nature’s form of a custom allergy shot! Plants are included on that list, so make sure you have at least a few houseplants around.

6. Reduced Sick Time: Indoor plants have been shown to reduce cold-related illnesses by more than 30%! This is due to their effect of increasing humidity levels and decreasing dust. What better reason to get a houseplant as we head into cold season?

Be sure to stop by The Family Tree to browse our wide selection of houseplants, which are all on sale this week! Our associates are happy to help with recommendations and tips on how to care for every plant we offer!

How Do I Take Care of My Bonsai Plant?

Chinese_BanyanHave you ever wondered how they get those little trees to grow in unusual shapes in small containers? It is definitely an art form and labor of love to produce some of the stunning tree forms that we stock at the Family Tree Garden Center. It takes years to prune and bend a tree to achieve the desired shape. Lucky for us, someone else does this part and we get to enjoy the end result! It can be relatively easy to care for a bonsai plant, but you need to give a little thought when choosing the right plant to take home. Here are some tips.

Indoor or Outdoor

Bonsai plants are usually trees, shrubs, or tropical plants. Therefore, bonsai trees or shrubs would prefer to live outside just like a normal tree or shrub. Tropical plants such as Ficus, Jade Plant or Schefflera can be grown indoors. So start off with the right choice of plant as it will save the plant being unhappy in the wrong environment.

Watering

bonsai azaleaBonsai containers are usually very small so regular watering is essential. Just how much water depends on whether your bonsai is outside or inside, type of plant, and your outdoor/indoor climate. Bonsai plants are usually watered more often than normal houseplants or trees and shrubs that live outdoors. A good rule of thumb is to poke your finger into the soil medium to see if it is moist. If it is, then the plant doesn’t need water. If your bonsai plant is outdoors, you may be watering it every day. If it is indoors, it may be every other day or every few days. You will get to know your plant’s requirements. Be careful not to wash any soil away when you are watering and also try not to dislodge any granular fertilizer.

Fertilizing

A balanced fertilizer (Nitrogen, Phosphorus, Potassium numbers all similar e.g. 10-10-10) can be used. The fertilizer can be a granular, slow release fertilizer, or it can be a liquid fertilizer. How often will depend on whether the plant is indoors or outdoors and type of fertilizer used. Follow the directions on the fertilizer package. Liquid fertilizers may be easier to use as then you don’t have to worry about knocking off your granular fertilizer pellets every time you water. Look for fertilizers that also include some micronutrients.

Light Requirements

Again, if you know what plant you have, you will be able to give it the right light. If it is a tree or shrub, then give it the same conditions you would give a normal tree or shrub. For example, if you have a Red Maple (Acer) this prefers full sun and the bonsai version would also prefer full sun. For the tropical bonsai plants that are used indoors, most would prefer bright light, so place the plant by a window, but without direct sunlight hitting it.

Pruning

acer-bonsai-pallTo keep your bonsai plant in shape it will need some pruning, otherwise it will try to grow into a regular sized tree or shrub. Pruning will probably need to be carried out a couple of times during the growing season. Every few years it is also advisable to do some root pruning. Over time, the roots will slowly fill up the container. A good clue that this is occurring is when you water your plant. If the water runs straight out the bottom of the container and no water seems to be retained by the plant, then there is not much soil volume left in the container. Time to snip off some of the roots and add some more potting soil.

Have fun and enjoy these wonderful works of art!

Orchids Are Hard – NOT SO!

Orchid-Chinese-FlowersThe beauty of orchids is known by all. Many a bride has carried stunning Phalaenopsis and Cymbidiums in their bridal bouquets.  Orchids are a favorite for flower arrangements, thank you and hostess gifts, and for Mother’s Day. As a houseplant orchids seem to have gotten a reputation for being fickle and finicky. Not so! Orchids make wonderful houseplants! With just a few tips, you can be on your way to loving orchids as much as we do!

Light
Orchids need as bright filtered light. Without enough light, you will get lots of leaves but no flowers. With sufficient light, the leaves will be a bit lighter green, almost yellow-green with strong upright growth. Too little light will produce dark green foliage. Too much light will burn the leaves. There is really no magic formula for light, just test a bright window and leave your orchid there for about a month.

Orchid 1Air/Soil
Orchids cannot tolerate stagnant environment. While it is true they prefer not to be moved, they do need air circulation. A light breeze is good for keeping disease at bay and for providing optimum air flow. If possible a small fan near your orchids would be sufficient although never point the fan directly at the orchid. Orchid potting media should have exceptionally good drainage for air flow. Don’t use straight potting soil or the roots will eventually die. Potting media should have a combination of bark, peat, and other open substances that will provide air flow and hold nutrients.

Water
Orchids prefer to slightly dry so watering does not have to be too hard. Let your orchid slightly dry between watering. It should be anywhere from 5-12 days depending on the season and how dry or humid your home is. If you have your orchid in an orchid pot (with slots on the sides for air flow) it may need to be watered a bit more frequently than if it is in a plastic pot with only a drainage hole. Probably the number one reason orchids die is due to overwatering. For each watering, water enough so that it runs out the drainage holes to flush out all the salts, then wait until the potting media is dry.

orchid fertilizedFertilizer
You can fertilize your orchids each time you water during the warm months and every other time during the cold months. If fertilizing every week, use half the amount as stated on the container. Orchids will do ok without fertilizer, but for optimum growth and flowering, use a quality fertilizer. For best results, wet the potting media slightly then water with fertilizer. Choose a fertilizer that has little or no urea.

Mix equal parts orchid potting mix with sphagnum moss to use as your media.

Repotting
If your potting mix has broken down so that air flow is diminished (you can tell by seeing roots die-roots should be plump and white) you will need to repot in new potting media. If the plant has outgrown the container, choose a larger pot and quality potting media. Other than those two reasons, leave your orchid alone. Try never to repot when your plant is blooming.

orchid scalePests
Orchids are not immune to disease and insects. Scale, mealybugs, mites, and aphids may take up residence. An organic insecticide can be sprayed on leaves and soil but never on flowers. You can also use diluted isopropyl alcohol on a q-tip or cotton to lightly touch the insect. Be very careful not to use alcohol on the plant. The number one best way to deter disease like fungus, root rot or black rot is to keep air flowing and water properly. Never water the leaves, only the potting media and roots. Disease and fungus can spread quickly so go ahead and cut off the affected leaves or roots.