How to Care for Kalanchoe Plants

A Diverse and Hardy Plant

I love the diversity and beauty of hardy desert plants that are available to gardeners in California. One of these plants that keep showing up in my little garden are kalanchoes. Since I have several of these in varying stages of growth, I thought I would write a blog about how to care for kalanchoe plants.

I’ve seen several variations of these plants. I will be focusing on the types of kalanchoes with pretty little flowers, some that look like tiny roses. During my research I’ve discovered there are many types of kalanchoes.

How to Care for Kalanchoes

This blog will be about the popular houseplant kalanchoes. I keep these outside but see many indoors as well. I may write about the other types in the near future as well.

Madagascar

Kalanchoe plants are originally from the small island of Madagascar, off the coast of Eastern Africa. They are also native to many parts of Africa. Somehow, they made their way to sunny Southern California.

There are over 100 species of Kalanchoe and this hardy plant comes in a variety of colors. They can be bought at different life stages and sizes. I personally like buying these as small as possible, so they have plenty of time to grow in my small balcony garden.

How to Care for Kalanchoes

 

I love being able to spend only a few dollars to add beauty and color to my balcony garden by purchasing small plants such as these. Since my blog is all about saving money and space, I highly recommend purchasing a kalanchoe and see how you like it!

In N Out

Kalanchoe plants can be grown indoors or outside. Some grow better in either area, based on what zone they are in. Make sure to take note what growing zone you live in before planning on where to place your kalanchoe.

You may also want to experiment with how your kalanchoe responds to indoor light verses outdoor light. They might prefer one setting over the other.

How to Care for Kalanchoes

To Pot or Not to Pot

Kalanchoe grow well in the ground and in pots. Since my garden is a container only garden, I will only focus on how to grow kalanchoe in containers.

Containers need to have holes in them for water drainage. Also make sure the soil you use is the well draining kind.

For most of my plants I use Miracle Grow’s soil for flowering potted plants. I’m sure others work just as well, but I have the most luck with this soil. I also have Miracle Grow’s soil for succulents and may try this in the future too.

How to Care for Kalanchoes

Kalanchoes can grow in any sized container. Make sure the container is large enough to let the kalanchoe grow. This may be part of my problem, as I have all my kalanchoes in smaller pots since I bought them when they were small and most are starting to get a little big for their containers.

Sunny Days are Here

Kalanchoe need plenty of sun, either direct sunlight or near a window with lots of sunshine. I may need to move mine in the shade or indoors, since too much sun seems to dry them out too much.

Kalanchoes are popular house plants and many nurseries sell them in their indoor and outdoor garden sections. I keep mine outside since my cat is known for sneaking a few bites from plants I’ve had indoors.

How to Care for Kalanchoes

Rainbow

I love color and one of the many things I like about Kalanchoes are the many colors the flowers can come in. My kalanchoes are red, yellow, white and orange, but they also come in pink and variations of the colors I already have. I recently found some at Home Depot that were two colors and beautiful!

Water

Since kalanchoes are drought tolerant plants, they do not need to be watered frequently. I have heard its best to let them dry out between watering them. I am still trying to figure out how many times a week to water my kalanchoes, since a few are drying out with no flowers while the others are thriving.

How to Care for Kalanchoes

Fertilization

Just like other plants, kalanchoes need to be fertilized periodically. I use fertilizer sticks that easily dissolve when the soil is wet. I might need to switch to a succulent friendly fertilizer for my kalanchoes, since the fertilizer I use is for flowering plants and not specifically for desert plants.

More Flowers Please

Its best to keep kalanchoes in as much sunlight as possible to continue to produce flowers. I’m still trying to figure this out, since several of my kalanchoes have stopped growing flowers. I would move the plants that have no flowers in a sunnier place, but other kalanchoes in the same area are still producing flowers.

 

I’ve heard that I might need to trick my kalanchoes into flowering again, based on the amount of sunlight I give them. I’m still trying to work out how to do this with some of my plants.

How to Care for Kalanchoes

Pruning

Its best to prune the plants once the flowers wilt. Cutting off the dead flowers will encourage new growth of the plant in general and new flowers. The plant will then be able to focus on new growth (hopefully).

Sizes

As I said before, kalanchoes can be purchased in various stages of growth and size. I bought and planted my red kalanchoe at the beginning of the year, and then it was only about 3 inches tall. Kalanchoes can grow to be over a foot tall. They can also spread out if planted in the ground.

How to Care for Kalanchoes

 

Concluding Thoughts

Kalanchoes are great and diverse plants that grow wonderfully indoors and out. They make a great addition to a succulent garden, as well as any garden. I’m all about color, so these little plants go well in my colorful container garden.

I hope you learned something new about how to care for kalanchoe plants. I’m still learning as I go. If you know something about how to care for kalanchoe plants that I did not include here, then feel free to add your own tips in the comments section below.

Happy gardening!

No Birdfeeder Needed-How to Attract Hummingbirds

How to Attract Hummingbirds

When I had a larger porch, I had several bird feeders to attract hummingbirds and other birds. I could buy feeders now, but accidentally and delightfully discovered that some of my plants attract hummingbirds. I even took a gardening class on how to attract hummingbirds by selecting specific plants they like to feed on.

How to Attract Hummingbirds
Since I’m all about saving money, I have added some plants to my garden to attract these beautiful birds to my balcony. I love the fact that I can bring in hummingbirds and other wildlife just by the plants I choose to grow.

Why Hummingbirds Like Certain Plants

Hummingbirds love plants with flowers in a variety of colors, but they are most attracted to plants with red flowers. The red color reminds these little birds of food. It’s also a color to camouflage them from bees.

How to Attract Hummingbirds

Colors

Hummingbirds like feeding off of flowers that are yellow, orange, pink and red. Red is a more popular color, but hummingbirds have fed off my yellow and orange flowering plants as well.

Size

Hummingbirds will drink from large and small flowers. As long as a flower produces nectar, hummingbirds don’t care how tiny or huge the nectar is coming from.

How to Attract Hummingbirds

Shape

Since hummingbirds have long, thin beaks, it is common to see them feed off of flowers with the same shape. They can drink nectar from small, thin flowers, as well as large open flowers. This is why it’s a good idea to have different types of flowers in your garden.

Types of Plants Hummingbirds Enjoy

As stated above, hummingbirds love a variety of flowers in different colors. There are particular flowering plants they get nectar from more than others. I will explain to you these flowers below.

Hibiscus

Hummingbirds love these plants with their huge, colorful flowers. I have an orange and pink hibiscus plant that hummingbirds love to drink from. These plants come in a variety of colors and are a great addition to any garden.

How to Attract Hummingbirds

Lantanas

Lantanas are another great flowering plant to add to your garden to attract butterflies. I love my pink and yellow lantanas. I have seen them in yellow, orange and purple all over town. There are over 100 species of lantanas to choose from.

 

How to Attract Hummingbirds

Marigolds

Marigolds are another colorful flowering plant that can attract hummingbirds to your garden. I bought mine to keep aphids from my hibiscus, so if they can also attract hummingbirds to my garden, that is an added bonus!

How to Attract Hummingbirds

Zinnias

Zinnias are additional colorful and inexpensive flowers to add to your garden to keep hummingbirds coming back. They are easy to grow and just need to be watered on a regular basis. Zinnias come in a variety of beautiful colors!

How to Attract Hummingbirds

Fuchsias

Another personal favorite are fuchsias. These also come in a variety of colors. I love watching hummingbirds drink from my hanging fuchsias.

How to Attract Hummingbirds
Fuchsias can also be grown in several ways. They grow great in hanging pots or on a vine. Either way, hummingbirds will come back for the sweet nectar these plants produce.

Petunias

Petunias are popular flowers that keep hummingbirds returning for food. Pick a color, then enjoy as hummingbirds relocate to your garden for food.

How to Attract Hummingbirds

Salvia

Hummingbirds also love the red hue of salvias. These flowers also come in other colors, although red is popular.

How to Attract Hummingbirds

Friends

Many of these plants also attract butterflies. Some days I have both hummingbirds and butterflies visit my small balcony garden. I love how my plants attract these beautiful creatures!

Concluding Thoughts

As you can see, there are many types of flowers that will attract hummingbirds to your garden. If you know how to attract hummingbirds to your garden in other ways, please do not hesitate to tell me below. Happy hummingbird hunting!

How to Attract Hummingbirds

More Than a Great Smell-Lavender Medicinal Uses

Lavender Medicinal Uses

Lavender-More Than Just a Great Aroma

I absolutely love the smell of lavender. I love lavender even more because of the many benefits it has as a medicine. Lavender medicinal uses have been around for centuries.

I had the opportunity to go to a lavender festival with my husband this weekend. I learned many new things about lavender that had little to do with its pleasant smell. I would like to share with you what I discovered about the medicinal uses of lavender.

Lavender Medicinal Uses
Photo taken by hubby.

More Than Just One Type of Lavender

I have seen several types of lavender at a variety of stores. This weekend I learned that there are around 100 types of lavender! And this was just what was grown on the farm!

The ones I discovered this weekend have different uses. Some lavender is known for its strong fragrance. Others are used specifically for medicinal purposes.

Lavender Medicinal Uses

Today I will be focusing on the types of lavender used for medicine. Dutch and French lavender are common types of lavender used for a variety of purposes, including medicine. Lavandins are a hybrid type of lavender, popular in its oil form.

Most of these types of lavender can also be used for other purposes too, such as being used in recipes for meals.

Lavender Forms

I have some dried lavender hanging in the hallway and near the bed. I have several satchels of lavender in the bathroom, kitchen and living room. I also have lavender as an essential oil in our medicine cabinet.

Medicinal uses of lavender include lavender being dried or used as an essential oil. Both work great for a variety of uses. Lavender can prevent ailments as well as boost the body against illnesses.

Lavender Medicinal Uses
Souvenirs from this weekend’s festivities.

Depression Killer

As I mentioned in my About Me page, I’ve struggled with depression off and on for years. Lavender is known to help people who struggle with depression. This is one of the reasons it’s all over our apartment.

Lavender can help boost your mood. This applies to the dried form as well as lavender oil. Ingesting lavender in small doses has also been shown to lower depression.

Lavender Medicinal UsesBye Bye Anxiety

Depression and anxiety go hand and hand, so it should come to no surprise that lavender can also relieve anxiety. Using lavender essential oil and using dried lavender can help alleviate anxiety.

Using lavender oil and the aroma of lavender in its dried form can calm an otherwise anxious person down.

Since depression and anxiety are related, using lavender to relieve both is like taking two medications in one.

Lavender Medicinal Uses

Study Time

Stressing out about a huge final exam you have coming up? Take a deep breath of lavender and relax. It should come to know surprise that lavender can relieve stress.

Apply some oil or inhale dried lavender before starting a stressful day and enjoy the lavender’s calming effects.

Goodnight

Lavender can also be used to help people who have trouble sleeping. Hang dried lavender near your bed or apply some lavender oil to your temples as a sleep aid. You can also apply a few drops of lavender oil to your pillow to help you sleep.

Taking a bath with lavender salts at night can relax your muscles, which can also help you sleep. Experiment to see what types of lavender help you relax and get a good night’s asleep.

Lavender Medicinal Uses

An Alternative to Neosporin

If you were like my family, Neosporin was a staple in your medicine cabinet. I have a small tube in mine right now. Did you know that lavender oil is an alternative to Neosporin?

Lavender can be used as an anti-inflammatory and antiseptic. Lavender, in its oil form, can relieve sunburns, heal minor cuts and small insect bites. Did I also mention that lavender smells really good, too?

Lavender Medicinal Uses

Antioxidant Replacement

Antioxidants help stop the deterioration of other molecules in the body. Antioxidants can be found in many fruits and vegetables that we eat and can prevent many diseases. Lavender essential oil can make a great alternative antioxidant.

Although antioxidants can easily be added to our diet, many people do not eat foods essential to this. Using lavender essential oil on regular basis can prevent many illnesses and can be used for those who have trouble keeping other antioxidants in their diet.

Lavender Medicinal Uses

Side Effects of Lavender

Just like anything else used as medicine, lavender does have side effects. For women who are pregnant and breastfeeding, it is best to stay away from using lavender since there is not enough research to support using it while pregnant or breastfeeding.

Since lavender is used to calm down the body, it can also affect a person’s central nervous system by slowing it down. This can affect how a person’s body reacts to medications during surgery. Avoid use of lavender before and after any surgery for several weeks.

When ingested, lavender can cause headaches and make you hungry. Just be cautious and start with small amounts when taken by mouth.

Lavender can also cause skin to become irritated. I have noticed this when applying it to my wrists. If you notice your skin becoming irritated, use less or take a break from applying lavender oil to your skin.

Lavender Medicinal Uses

There is not a ton of research out there on side effects of lavender on children, so it’s best to use other medicines on children. Adults in general should be able to use lavender with little affects, but just like with any medicine, be aware of how your body reacts after taking lavender.

Concluding Thoughts

The side effects of lavender I have found to be minimal. There are a plethora of benefits to lavender, both in its oil and dried forms. Lavender medicinal uses are great and very beneficial.

Lavender Medicinal Uses

While at the lavender festival the weekend, I even noticed how calm, relaxed and happy everyone seemed to be. I blame the lavender for the great mood everyone seemed to be in.

Have you found other medicinal uses to lavender? Let me know below.

Gardening on a Dime-Cheap Garden Containers

Finding the Perfect Garden Container at a Low Price

If you are like me, you are always looking around for great deals for your garden containers. There are many beautifully decorated pots and containers out there for gardens, but since I’m on a budget, I’m always on the look out for great cheap garden containers. These may be on sale, made of cheap but quality products, a cheap hidden gem, homemade or even free.

Cheap Garden Containers
Variety of Garden Pots

I love the variety of garden containers out there. I’ve been an artist practically since birth, so I’m always drawn to colorful, artsy objects. Since most of those types of containers are out of my price range, I keep a look out for the cheap garden containers. There are many ways to do this, with some patience and creativity.

Let me give you a few ideas how you can keep in your budget when looking for cheap garden containers.

Plastic Pots

The first ones that come to mind are hardy plastic pots. These are inexpensive and come in a variety of colors and sizes. You can find them in garden stores or places online like Amazon.

This type of cheap garden container is in no way fancy, but they do make plants stand out on their own. You can find my review on one such as theFiskars 12 Inch Ariana Planter with Self-Watering Grid here. Most of these planters will need holes drilled out of the bottom for drainage.

Cheap Garden Container
Plastic Pots

Plant Pouches

Another type of cheap garden container is the plant pouch. These are in no way fancy but make a great display if you choose to do vertical gardening. They start at only a few dollars and can be found at a variety of places online.

Since most plant pouches are small, make sure you plan ahead what you want to grow in them and don’t chose a plant that needs deep space for its roots. These are great for herbs, succulents, petunias, impatiens and a variety of hanging plants. Experiment to see what works for you.

Terra Cotta Pots

Terra cotta pots make great inexpensive additions to any garden. These are inexpensive and are available in different sizes. They come plain but can easily be decorated with paint and other craft products. Terra cotta pots can be found in craft stores and online.

Cheap Garden Container
Terra Cotta Pots

Freebies

Another person’s junk can be your treasure. Ask friends and family if they have any containers they no longer use or are piled up in garage. You never know, you may be able to turn one into a garden container! Make sure you drill/cut out holes in the bottom of any container for water to drain out of.

Crafty Containers

Craft stores, such as Hobby Lobby and Michael’s have a variety of containers that would look great in a garden. Baskets, wood crates, and other decorate containers can be found at these stores, which would also make great cheap garden containers.

Cheap Garden Container
Baskets

Make sure to cut or drill holes in the bottom. You may also want to cover the inside with plastic and cut holes in the plastic for drainage as well.

Homemade Containers

If you keep old stuff like so many other people do, you may be able to find your own container right at home. Old kitchen colanders, beach buckets, wheel barrows, children’s plastic town containers as well as others can be made into garden containers. It just takes a little imagination and some time.

Last Words

As you can see, there is a variety of ways to buy or make your own cheap garden containers. It may take some planning, bargaining, imagination and searching, but it can be done. Let me know what you have come up with for cheap garden containers!