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What Are the Best House Plants for Low Light?

Chinese evergreen (Agleonema spp.) is one of many great low-light house plants.
“What are the best house plants for low light?” Question from Vesta of Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia
Answer: All house plants need some filtered light, but many will tolerate low to moderate filtered light from windows. I tend to go for shade-loving house plants with bold, colorful leaves. Here are a few of my favorites for […]

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What is the Best Soil for Desert Rose?


“What is the best soil mix to plant my desert rose (Adenium obesum) in?” Question from Sara of National Park, New Jersey
Answer: Plant these beautiful succulents in very sharply drained soil that also retains water and has a slightly acid pH of 6.0. Of course, we recommend Black Gold Cactus Mix for planting, but you might also want to add a bit more perlite […]

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How Do I Start Seeds of the Rare Succulent Sinocrassula yunnanensis?

Sinocrassula yunnanensis
“I was gifted Sinocrassula yunnanensis seeds. What’s the best way to germinate seeds.” Question from Lizzy of Ocala, Florida
Answer: The seeds of the rare Asian succulent Sinocrassula yunnanensis need some care for effective germination. The beautiful plants have nearly black foliage and form dense, succulent clumps. Bloom time is in fall or early winter, and the flowers are ivory with red tips.
The seeds should […]

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How Do I Grow and Find Lithops?

Lithops amicorum in bloom. (Image by Lithopsian)
“Where would you get Lithops? Where would they grow? Are they hard to grow?” Very interesting. Question from Debbie Hildebrand

Answer: Lithops are cool, unusual succulents from the dry, upland regions of Africa. They are called “living stones” because they resemble flowering rocks on the dryland floor. They are not too difficult to grow, if you give them the right […]

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What’s the Best Potting Medium for Orchids?


“Which is the best medium for potting orchids – orchid bark or sphagnum peat moss?” Question from Susan from Pembroke Pines, Florida.
Answer: Good question! It depends on the type of orchid that you are growing and how it naturally grows in the wild.
Epiphytic orchids grow in trees in the tropics and subtropics. Their large roots cling to bark and tree crevices, so these orchids […]

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How Can I Revive My Japanese Sago Palm?


“Any idea what kind of plant this is? It was given to my mom and looks pretty bad. We were also wondering if it’s ok to cut all of the brownish leaves off. Will It come back with new regrowth?” Question from Donna of West Chester, Pennsylvania
Answer: You have a  Japanese Sago Palm (Cycas revoluta). It looks like it is struggling. Definitely remove the brown […]

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How Do You Prune Bay Leaf?


“How do you prune a Bay Leaf plant?” Question from Mark or Warren, Ohio
Answer: Whether potted or grown in-ground in a Mediterranean climate, spring is the best time to prune back a bay laurel. Start by removing branches with unhealthy leaves. Then prune to shape by either shearing stem tips or cutting small or overgrown stems back to the main stem. Shearing stem tips […]

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How Do You Plant Cyclamen?


What is the best way to plant Cyclamen? Question from Melba of Texas
Answer: It depends on whether you are planting tender, greenhouse-grown Cyclamen in pots or hardy Cyclamen in the ground. I’ll cover the planting details for both and how to get them to bloom beautifully.
Potted Cyclamen
Cyclamen grow best in well-drained potting mix that is kept just moist, never wet. Water them just from […]

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What is the Best Soil for Replanting Cacti?


“What kind of soil do you use to replant cacti?” Question from Joy of Hemet, California.
Answer: Most true cacti grow best in nutrient-poor soils that drain fast, whether grown in-ground or in pots.
In-Ground Cacti
If dividing and replanting your cacti in a dryland garden, remember that they need ground […]

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Help! My Potting Soil is Too Dry to Soak Up Water.


“Have been using your Black Gold Cactus Mix and Perlite for about a year now.  I am growing primarily succulents.  When I started, I experimented with many different kinds of soil and your soil mixed with perlite gave me the best results.  In Hawaii, my climate is hot and humid.  I have noticed lately that the soil is becoming hydrophobic.  Is there any solution to […]

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