Three Steps to a Fungi-Free Garden

If you love gardening, there is nothing more frustrating than seeing all your time and effort go to waste due to fungi attacking your greens and blooms. To make matters worse, these culprits spread rapidly when conditions are favorable and eventually cause a wide variety of parasitic diseases on plants.


However, plant fungal diseases are usually the result of some factors that you can actually control. In fact, as simple as paying attention to your garden’s hygiene and cleanliness can do a whole lot in protecting your plants against fungi attacks. Written below are three more ways you could follow to keep damaging fungi at bay.

Mind your plant placement

Remember that fungi thrive well in damp conditions and planting your greens too close together will eventually result to crowding, which limits the amount of air circulating between the plants. When this happens, your greens are not able to shed water well, especially on their leaves. And if left unattended, fungal spores that are carried by air easily attach themselves on leaf surfaces, thereby setting the stage for fungal invasion.

To avoid this, it is vital that you site your plants properly to allow optimal air circulation around them. It is also wise to group plants together base on their level of water needs so that when you create an irrigation system, you will be able to apply the same amount of water to specific plants within your garden.

Ensure good landscape sanitation

As mentioned earlier, the key to keeping your garden free from fungal diseases is to observe cleanliness. Hence, if you have greens or blooms that are susceptible to fungal diseases, make sure that you regularly remove and discard leaf trimmings, old root systems and fallen fruits from their growing area to avoid the onset of fungi attack. If, for instance, you will reuse old pots, sterilize them before you put the greens in to minimize the risk of fungi infecting the plants.

Practice preventive measures

Keeping your plants in tip-top condition by properly attending to their needs is your safest bet to ensure that they will be able to withstand fungi attacks. Therefore, when gardening, don’t forget to practice preventive measures such as watering the plants’ bases instead of their leaves, applying fresh mulch every now and then to prevent spores from bouncing on the surfaces of leaves, and applying compost to keep both your soil and plants healthy.

Additionally, use horticultural oils and baking soda solutions to keep fungal diseases from infecting your plants in the first place. And don’t forget to provide your greens and blooms with optimum growing conditions (sufficient light, water and soil) so that they will grow healthily.

This gardening advice was penned by one of the regular contributors of Heritage Cleaning, a stone cleaning specialist in Scotland. Their steam-based stone cleaning system is acknowledged by Historic Scotland and has been used in the restoration and conservation of listed buildings throughout the country.






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Growing Cattleya Orchids as House Plants

Growing Cattleya Orchids as House Plants

Are you planning on growing orchids in your backyard or in a green house?  Why not choose the Cattleya ?  They are very easy to grow. However, if you decide on planting them in your window sill, you may find that very challenging.

What are cattleyas?

Cattleyas are beautiful orchids with large, attractive flowers which sometimes carry a fragrance. Their flowers vary in color and pattern and the size can measure as much as 8 inches across. There are numerous species. In wildlife, cattleyas grow high on trees in the forests. They have thick roots which attach the plants firmly to the tree. Being exposed to the elements, the roots are able to tolerate the long periods when there is no rain. Because they vary in size from small (suitable for window sills) to large; growing more than 4 ft. tall, you might want to choose carefully if you plan on growing them inside.  They love light, so you wouldn’t want a plant that takes up all your window space, would you?

Light

Cattleya orchids flourish in bright light. The condition of the leaves is an indication of whether or not your cattleya plants are getting the right amount of water. Leaves that are firm and have an apple green colors mean that the plants are getting the right amount of light.  Hard, yellow or brown colored leaves suggest too much light, while limp, dark green leaves is an indication of inadequate amount of light, which can also cause the plant not to flower.

If you keep your Cattleya on your patio in summer, they will thrive. If indoors, place them in an area near to windows on the eastern or western side.  If they are outside, it is important that you shield them from the hot, noonday sun.

Water

Cattleyas grow from underground rhizome. During spring new bulbs appear. Cattleyas need lots of water during the growing season, but the bulbs should not be allowed to stay in the water.  As soon as the flowers begin to appear in the sheaths, reduce the water.  Too much water in the sheaths will cause the young flowers to rot.

Blooming

Most Cattleyas normally bloom once each year, some twice.  Flowers will stay between 1-3 weeks.  Once the first flower appears, the plants must be removed from the direct sun so that the bloom will last longer.  The flower buds will not develop unless the plant gets direct sunlight and cool temperatures in the evening.

 

Temperatures

Cattleyas don’t need specific temperatures to grow. They thrive best in temperatures ranging from 55 degrees in the nights to 90 degrees throughout the day.  During winter, the bloom cycle will start when evening temperatures are at 55 degrees or lower. They also need ample humidity and proper air circulation throughout the months of winter too.

 

Fertilizer

Fertilize your Cattleyas each week with weak fertilizer made for orchids.

 

Potting and Repotting

Repotting of cattleyas can be stressful for the plant, so they will take a season to improve. Therefore, repotting should only be done when necessary.  Cattleyas flourish best in most orchid mixes including clay pellets, pink bark, charcoal, perlite and any medium which drains well.  If you are repotting a Cattleya, ensure there is adequate space for the rhizome to produce a minimum of two bulbs.  The ideal repotting period is spring; that’s when the growing season begins.

Lucas Barnes writes for Plantdex, learn more about growing cattleya orchids.

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My garden blooms

I haven’t been taking as many photographs of my garden this summer as I usually do.

I think this is in part because of the hand injury that I incurred in early June which made it hard for me to do any gardening, watering or even to hold a camera – or blog. The other reason why I haven’t taken a lot of pictures is because, once the really hot weather hit my garden – in June and July and it didn’t rain much at all – hint – not at all … and I wasn’t watering much because of my hand injury – my plants weren’t blooming very much at all.

Oh don’t get me wrong. My garden was getting some care. My husband was watering it on and off, but not as much as it should have been watered in all that heat and I think even if we’d been watering it daily the plants still would have been in survival mode because it was a much hotter summer than ever.

When my plants have bloomed the flowers have been spectacular. Thankfully, now the we’ve reached the end of August the weather is starting to cool somewhat and we are getting a bit more rain so my plants are a lot happier than they have been for a while. That means they’re starting to bloom again.

The Fairy Rose

Purple Clematis

Purple Clematis jackmanii

Iceberg Rose

Iceberg Rose

What’s blooming in your garden?

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