Your Shopping List for Hard-to-Kill Plants

Not the green thumb type of gardener? Does your foliage tend to droop and die? Then these rugged plants are for you!

So what makes these plants hard to kill? They are considered to be low maintenance because they just need to be in the right light and given the right amount of water once the soil is dry to thrive. Reference the list below to find out how much light each plant requires, and then match them to the appropriate rooms in your house.

Low Light:
Some plants thrive in little to no light, which means that they would be great for rooms with little natural lighting. Perhaps the most well-known of these plants are the Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum) and the tropical Snake Plant (Sansevieria trifasciata). Others hard-to-kill plants in this category include the Chinese Evergreen (Aglaonema) and the Golden Pothos (Epipremnum aureum).

Medium Light:
The second group of plants to consider are ones that are a bit more light flexible, as they work well in a fair amount of natural lighting. One example is the tried and true Spider Plant (Chlorophytum comosum). The intricately patterned Prayer Plant (Maranta leuconeura) also fits the bill, as does the Rubber Plant (Ficus elastica).

High Light:
Do you have rooms in your house that just pour in the natural lighting? Then load up on these beauties! A great example of a hardy high-light plant is the Aloe Vera plant (Aloe barbadensis), which you can grow and then use the gel from its leaves to sooth burns. Another is the Norfolk Island Pine (Araucaria heterophylla), which adds a touch of outdoor living into your indoor space. The Jade Plant (Crassula ovata), the Weeping Fig (Ficus benjamina), and the Zebra Haworthia (Haworthia attenuata) also fall into this group of plants that soak up the sun.

Maintaining beautiful, vibrant plants in your home can be easier than you think, regardless of your gardening skill level. Simply matching the right type of plant with the amount of lighting in your house is a great first step.

The Landscaping Handbook

Having a yard can be both a blessing and a curse. The extra space is nice, but how can you make sure it’s properly cared for? These golden rules of landscaping can help ensure your lawn looks pristine all season long.

Work your way out

Your home is likely the largest portion of your yard, so it’s important to work your way out from the base of the house to the edge of your lawn. It’s easier to start small, where your lawn begins, than to end up with a disproportionate landscape.

Implement the rule of threes

There’s a reason three flowers in a vase look better than two—the rule of threes states that, by grouping items in a trio, the arrangement is more pleasing to the eye. The same goes for your landscaping, so keep shrubbery, flowers, and decorative items in threes.

Find balance

Our eyes are naturally drawn to clearly defined patterns, so utilize balance and contrast for your lawn by edging out flower beds, keeping pathways free and clear of weeds, and adding walls or fencing around areas you want to keep separate.

Capitalize on color

Nothing makes a lawn stand out more than complementary colors. If all of your flowers and plants are one color, your yard will look dull. Keep color theory in mind when gardening, and choose greenery in harmonizing shades.

Prioritize your plan

You’re bound to hit a few snags on the road to creating your landscaping masterpiece, but by having a plan, you can make sure you stick to your vision (and budget)!

End of Summer Yard Cleanup

As the summer comes to a close, it’s a good time to do a little end of season cleanup to prepare for the fall season just around the corner.

Garden

To get ready for any fall planting to simply tidy up while you wait for spring again, clean out garden pots and dry out or preserve any, fruits, vegetables, or herbs you worked hard on all summer so they don’t go to waste.

Pool

Begin to prep your pool for close by vacuuming, cleaning filters, testing balance in the water, and safety storing pool floats and toys for the following year. Even if you plan on leaving these items out during warm fall weather, it can’t hurt to do some end of season cleaning!

Patio

Any repairs that need to be taken care of should be done before foliage begins to fall and the winter rolls around. Make sure you have a proper place to store items, or invest in furniture covers that can take on rain and weathering.

Shed

Organize your shed and put away tools, decorations, and items you no longer need out and readily available. Take this time to reorganize, and bring rakes and wheel barrels front and center so that when the leaves start to change and rougher weather heads your way you are good and ready to take on fall lawn care.

Walkways

Make repairs now while the outdoor weather is still comfortable. Once harsher conditions roll around, damage will only get worse and your willingness to get outside and make the repairs needed will probably lessen.

Weeding

Remove all decaying plants, and clean up any unwanted growth to prepare for fall plants to avoid having to deal with returning weeds in the spring.

Grass

Your lawn still needs water beyond summer months. Make sure your hose and sprinklers stay out, especially if you plan on planting or fertilizing during the fall.

Fall is a busy time of year, make sure you get organized and prep before the new season begins!

These are the US Gardens Everyone Should See

If you’re a gardener or you just enjoy looking at beautiful flowers, it’s fun to tour gardens for inspiration and entertainment. These gardens across the US are sure to stun even the most seasoned horticulturist.

Atlanta Botcanical Garden, Atlanta, Georgia

Featuring over 30 acres of land, the Atlanta Botanical Garden has a beautiful variety of gardens to explore. Take the family through the award-winning Children’s Garden or go on a stroll through Storza Woods, which features a beautiful canopy walk. You can also admire the Skyline Garden.

Cheekwood Botanical Garden and Museum of Art, Nashville, Tennessee

This 55-acre garden and art museum, built on the Cheek Estate, offers stunning art exhibitions, gorgeous gardens, and historical education. The garden hosts festivals to celebrate each of the different seasons and offers classes and family activities.

Desert Botanical Garden, Phoenix, Arizona

Though Desert Botanical Garden sounds like a paradox, it features beautiful trails in keeping with its climate. This garden highlights cacti and other plants that thrive in the desert setting. They also offer special activities, like flashlight tours on summer Saturdays. Visitors can enjoy the night blooming plants and nocturnal animals by flashlight.

Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, Coral Gables, Florida

This education-based garden has field programs in over 20 countries to protect botanic garden development all over the world. The garden itself boasts the Lougheed Spiny Forest of Madagascar for some of the garden’s most unique plants. Simons Rainforest takes visitors on a path complete with streams and waterfalls along with stunning trees and orchids. These are just a few of the paths offered at this large garden.

Ladew Topiary Gardens, Monkton, MD

Harvey S. Ladew began Ladew Topiary Gardens, putting together 15 garden rooms across 22 acres of his property. He also restored the Manor House, which guests still visit today. Now, visitors to Ladew Topiary Gardens have access to these themed gardens, nature walks, and a butterfly house.

Lotusland, Montecito, California

Located on the preserved estate of Madame Ganna Walska, Lotusland focuses on conservation and education. Featuring 22 themed gardens, Lotusland highlights a number of different cultures along with different types of plants and flowers.

Middleton Place, Charleston, South Carolina

Middleton Place is a National Historic Landmark and features the oldest landscaped gardens in America. They’re committed to historic preservation and using research to educate. When designing the garden, Henry Middleton followed the classical garden style and focused on rational order, geometry and balance, vistas, focal points, and surprise features.

Portland Japanese Garden

Committed to representing authentic Japanese culture, this Washington Park garden overlooks the city and features 12 acres and 8 different garden styles. The garden also has a Japanese Tea House, streams throughout its land, walking paths, and a view of Mt. Hood.

United States Botanic Garden, Washington, D.C.

Take a trip to the United States Botanic Garden, founded by the US Congress in 1820 to demonstrate the importance of plants to the people in the US. Doubling as a museum, the United States Botanic Garden is one of the oldest botanic gardens in North America and focuses on providing visitors with botanical knowledge, conserving plants, and aiming for sustainability.

The next time you take a vacation or road trip, make sure you visit one of these beloved US gardens to admire the plants and learn more about the horticultural world.

Toxic Plants for Pets

Many of the beautiful plants we love to keep in our gardens, or even in our homes, are completely harmless to us but have the opposite effect on our pets. Seasonal favorites, like mistletoe and lilies, are among the most common, but there are plenty of lesser-known varieties that pose just as great a threat to our companions.

Winter
Though we may not think of these chilly months as a prime time for plants, holiday favorites are among some of the most deadly to our pets.

  • Mistletoe: intestinal distress
  • Eggplant: aggravation to certain conditions in dogs
  • Poinsettia: leaves and stems are toxic to cats and dogs
  • Holly Berry: berries are extremely toxic to cats and dogs
  • Christmas Tree: needles cause intestinal distress, cannot be digested

Spring
With more plants coming into bloom and our pets spending more time outdoors, spring can be a particularly dangerous month for access to these hazardous floras.

  • Hyacinth: vomiting/tremors, and sometimes depression
  • Hydrangea: intestinal distress, and, rarely, cyanide poisoning
  • Daffodil: vomiting, convulsions, low blood pressure, cardiac arrhythmias
  • Poison Ivy/Oak: minor irritation if ingested, but can transfer harmful oils to humans
  • Easter/Day Lilies: vomiting, kidney failure, and potential death in cats

Summer
Warm weather means our pets will be spending plenty of time playing outside, and, while we want them to have the freedom to run around, it’s important to keep an eye out for their accessibility to toxic flowers and plants.

  • Poppy: loss of appetite, slow breathing and heart rate, sedation in cats and dogs
  • Sago Palm: vomiting, increased thirst, potential liver failure and death
  • Azalea: vomiting, weakness, potential cardiac failure
  • Grapes: dehydration, lethargy, oral ulcers, potential kidney failure in dogs
  • Aloe: vomiting, lethargy (gel is edible)

Fall
Autumn, in particular, brings about plenty of varieties of plants that people find delicious, like pumpkin. And, while this seasonal favorite is perfectly safe for pets, there are many others that could pose a threat.

  • Rhubarb: tremors, salivation, potential kidney failure
  • Potato: leaves and stems are toxic (potatoes OK, if cooked)
  • Mushroom: most species cause severe intestinal distress, vomiting, potential death
  • Apple: cyanide in stems, leaves, seeds cause difficulty breathing, dilated pupils, potential shock
  • Black Walnuts: incoordination, tremors, potential seizures in dogs

Note: Some of these plant varieties are more dangerous than others, and some are not harmful exclusively to one species, so it’s best to consult a veterinarian before bringing a new plant into your home or garden.