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Growing Exotic Adeniums

Exotic varieties of Desert Roses. Adeniums have many spectacular hybrids. The basic culture is very similar to orchids. A small pot with excellent drainage is a must. Adeniums do not like both over-watering or drying-out. There is a secret how to create a large swollen caudex: raise the plant a bit every time you re-pot it, so that the upper part of roots will be a little exposed. The plant will form more roots that will go down.

To make your plant develop a large swollen base/trunk, you'll need a good quality fertilizer. Fertilizer requirement for swelling up trunks is also used to increase flowering. It shouldn't be too high in nitrogen, the middle number should be the highest (similar to 10-50-10). Never apply fertilizer directly on roots and do not liquid feed when a plant is thirsty: always water first slightly to avoid root burn and leaf drop. Do not wet leaves. Adeniums need lots of light for heavy flowering.

Most hybrids and species start blooming in the spring when the conditions are warm and days get longer, and continue blooming through the fall and winter in warmer climates. Adeniums like a neutral to hard water. Acidic water tends to sour the soil too fast and may cause root rot. Water plants preferably in the early morning, and allow them to drink up throughout the day. Watering can be done daily to every few days. Never allow your plants to sit in a saucer of water, but don't let them to dry out too often - this causes adeniums to go into early dormancy.

Planting instructions for bare-rooted succulent plants. Position the plant in a pot, size of root system. Use only well-drained soil with high content of Perlite and/or sand (cactus mix can be used), water once and keep in warm (75-80F) place in filtered light. Do not water again until soil dries on surface. Once the plant is established and starts growing new leaves (may take a few weeks), gradually move it into brighter light. Then you can start fertilizing it.

See full list of Adeniums - plants and seeds.


Aries - 3/21-4/19. Aries is a FIRE sign ruled by the planet Mars. Plants associated with this element and planet very often have thorns or prickles. They can be also spicy or bitter in flavor, or red in color.

Because Aries rules the head, eyes and face, the plants for Aries purify the blood, stimulate the adrenal glands, and/or are high in iron (Mars rules the mineral iron). Mars-ruled Aries is assertive, energetic and fearless. Mars rules the red blood cells, the muscles, and metabolic processes, as well as the motor nerves and the head. These plants help you when you want more get-up-and-go and the courage to take on the world.

Aries Zodiac lucky plants - Governors plum, Hibiscus Karkade, Tapioca, Mamey Sapote, Ruda, Baobab, Euphorbia, Acanthus, Aloe, Caesalpinia, Erythrina, Opuntia, Dragon Fruit, Pachypodium, Pomegranate, Chilli peppers, Syngonium, Begonia, Geranium, Red Sandalwood, Jamiaca pepper (Pimenta, Allspice), Camphor, Jujube, Anise, Red Roses, Tiger Lily, Impatiens, Calendula, Tarragon, Ginger, Coriander, Basil, Ruda, Amaryllis, Wild Indigo, Gooseberries, Sesbania, Campsis, Red Oleander, Maple, Schotia brachypetala, Momordica, Coffee, Amla , Ephedra, Red Kapok.

For other signs information, see full Plant Horoscope.


Easter Lily Vine creates a fragrant privacy fence of virtually unlimited size

By Ron, South Florida. Easter Lily Vine (Beaumontia grandiflora) is a magnificent woody evergreen climber of unlimited growth potential. A branch of this vine will grow simply until you cut it. I have branches of up to 30 ft. and longer.

I’ve used two plants to turn a chain-link fence into a privacy screen that is 40 ft. wide by 10 ft. tall, but even a single plant can cover a much wider space if trained properly.

Easter Lily Vine’s growth rate is moderate, so it doesn’t require constant pruning to keep under control like other vigorous vines. I bought mine in 7 gallon pots, and planted them in the ground immediately. It took about 2 years to completely cover the fence. Since then, I prune it 3-4 times a year.

Keep in mind that these plants are heavy and require a solid structure as support. They twine by nature, but only around items with 3” diameter or more. Mine twined around a near-by lighting pole!

The absolute key in training Easter Lily Vine is to force it to grow horizontally. I recommend planting a young 3 gallon size vine in the ground diagonally, so it grows horizontally. Tie it no more than a foot above ground and let it grow a single branch until the end of the space you want to cover. Then force it to make a U-turn and let it grow the other way. See the following diagram for illustration..


See step-by-step full size pictures and the rest of the article...


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Growing Vanilla Orchid

Q: I want to buy Vanilla orchid and I wonder if I can grow it in my bathroom by the skylight.

A: Growing Vanilla orchid is no different than other orchids. It is very simple. All that the plant needs is a good light, good air humidity, and good porous support.

Light. Grow Vanilla orchid in a very bright light, but protected from direct hot sun.

Air humidity.The higher the air humidity, the better your plant will grow. Many people grow orchids in a bathroom where these plants can enjoy occasional "humidity treats" after showers.

Growing media. Vanilla orchid cuttings are rooted very often in a regular potting mix with high content of pine bark and/or Perlite, Coconut Husk Chips. Once the little plant is well-rooted and starts developing, it will need a special porous surface to climb on and to attach to with developing aerial roots. A log covered with porous bark is used often. Another option is a piece of wood wrapped with a burlap fabric. In the Nature, this plant climbs up high onto trees and attaches to the bark with aerial roots - at this point, it doesn't need those terrestrial roots any more which may even die off. Climbing a porous support is absolutely necessary for your vanilla for setting buds, flowering and producing vanilla beans. If you are lucky to live in frost-free climate, plant you vanilla by a tree that will provide a shady canopy and a great natural climbing surface (bark). You may see the flowers as soon as within 1-2 seasons!


Do-It-Yourself Support Structure for Dragon Fruit

This interesting do-it yourself project was sent to us by our customer from South Florida. Many tropical gardeners want to grow fascinating Dragon Fruit, and their most common question is - what kind of support I should use for this amazing fruiting cactus? We hope you find this information very useful. Happy Gardening!

Dragon fruit is a terrestrial/epiphytic fruit baring cactus, which may grow fleshy stems up to 30 ft high, given sturdy support. However, downward hanging or horizontal branches stimulate production of flowers at the tips of the branches. Commercial groves in different parts of the world use different method to achieve this. The traditional Vietnamese way is to train the plant into a “fountain”, which consists of a vertical central trunk about 8ft tall and a horizontal structure, such as a wagon wheel on top of it to support the horizontal branches (see picture on the right).

This picture served as my inspiration to build my own structure. I used five 4”x4” 10ft wood beams as the trunk, shaped as a cross. I attached the beams to each other with 10” long screws.

I dug a 2 ft deep 12”x12” hole in the ground and positioned the trunk inside, such that about 8ft are above ground. I covered it with several layers of burlap top to bottom.

The horizontal structure on top is made of four 4ft long 2”x2” wood beams and two 12”x12” wood plates to hold them together. I attached this structure to the top of the trunk.

I used old watering pipe to form two rings around the trunk to support the branches. Here is the result!... See step-by-step full size pictures and the rest of the article...


Black Pepper Vine - grow a real spice at home!

Q: What plants are used for commercial production of black pepper, red pepper, and green pepper? I started organic garden and would like to try growing pepper. I live in Georgia, will it survive here?

A: Pungent and aromatic Pepper is grown in Southern India since more than two thousand years, has always been much valued all over the world. Along with other spices from India and lands farther east, it changed the course of world history. Depending on harvest time and processing, peppercorns can be black, white, green and red (reddish-brown). So, the same fruit is also used to produce white pepper, red/pink pepper, and green pepper. The pungency is strongest in white pepper and weakest in green pepper, while black and green pepper are more aromatic than the white one.

The vine can be easily grown in a pot on a trellis, in mild (frost-free) climates it can be grown in the ground providing a tree support. Try growing this legendary plant and taste the real spice!

For more info, see article about Black Pepper.

See full list of spice and herbs


Growing from seeds

Q: What is the best time to start tropical plants from seeds? Should I wait till summer?

A: Traditionally, people prefer sowing seeds in spring, especially temperate species for vegetable garden: tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers...

When dealing with tropical plants, you may want to start your babies indoors, providing additional heating when needed. If you keep your living space around 75F (ideal for many species), this is a perfect temperature to get your seeds started. Tropical plants are not like annual tomatoes that try to grow through the season as fast as possible. They may take time. So the sooner you start, the more chances to get small seedlings just in time when spring air outside is warm enough - at least in 70's F.

A great advantage of starting tropical seeds indoors is controlled temperature and moisture. In the plant world, environment extremes are not good for germination process. Mild conditions of your home or a greenhouse create better chances for successful growth. Seeds won't get overheated in hot summer sun, and won't get rotten because of a sudden heavy rain. Just keep in mind that some species require light for good germination. Using an old fish tank or covering with plastic wrap will help to keep constant humidity.

See full list of all seeds - all on sale, one day only!