Friday, January 2, 2015

How To Grow Rosemary Indoors

Growing rosemary indoors is sometimes a tricky thing to do. Many good gardeners have tried and, despite their best efforts, end up with a dry, brown, dead rosemary plant. But, if you know the secrets to proper care of rosemary plants growing inside, you can keep your rosemary plants growing happily indoors all winter long.

Tips for Growing Rosemary Indoors

Most often, there are four things on the list of what kills rosemary plants indoors. These are:

lack of sunlight
poor watering practices
powdery mildew
If you can avoid these issues, your rosemary plant will live happily inside. Let’s look at how to avoid each.

Lack of Sunlight
Most people are not aware that the lack of sunshine is the most common reason for a rosemary plant growing indoors to die. Often, rosemary plants are brought indoors without any acclimation. They go from 6-8 hours of strong, direct light to 4-6 hours of weak or indirect light. The rosemary plant is unable to produce enough energy to stay alive on this amount of weak light and simply dies.

The first step to preventing rosemary light starvation is to put your rosemary on a sunlight diet before you bring it indoors. Several weeks before you plan on bringing the rosemary inside, move the plant to gradually shadier areas of your yard. This will force the rosemary plant to grow leaves that are more efficient at turning light into energy, which will help it cope with weaker indoor light when it moves inside.

Once your rosemary moves indoors, make sure that you place it in the brightest window in your house, which is normally a south facing window. If your rosemary plant is not getting at least 6-8 hours of light a day, place a lamp with a fluorescent light bulb as close as possible to the plant to help supplement the sunlight.

Poor Watering Practices
The second most common reason for an indoor rosemary dying is watering practices. Often, indoor rosemary plants are watered too little or too much. Make sure that the drainage on the container with the rosemary is excellent. Only water the soil when the top of the soil is dry to the touch. But, that being said, never let the soil dry out completely.

In the winter, rosemary plants grow much more slowly and need much less water than they do in the summer. Watering too often will cause root rot, which will kill the plant. On the other side, if the soil of the rosemary plant is allowed to dry out completely, the roots will die back and the plant will not have enough roots to support itself.

Powdery Mildew
Indoors or outdoors, rosemary plants are very susceptible to powdery mildew. Most homes do not have the same air circulation as the outside world does, which makes this an even worse problem for the plant inside.

The best way to drive away powdery mildew on rosemary plants is to increase the air circulation around it. Letting a fan blow on it for a few hours a day or taking it out of more high humidity rooms, like the bathroom or kitchen, will help improve the air circulation.

You can also treat the plant with a fungicide to help keep away the powdery mildew.

To be honest, while pests may get the blame for killing a rosemary plant, most pests will only infest a plant that is already weakened. Unfortunately, most rosemary growing indoors, despite all best efforts, are growing in a somewhat weakened state. But, the more strict you are with yourself about making sure that your rosemary plant is watered properly and gets enough light, the less likely pests will bother the plant.

But, if your rosemary is infected with pests, use a houseplant pesticide to remove them. Since rosemary is an herb and it is mainly grown to be eaten, look for organic pesticides. One that is growing in popularity is neem oil, as it is very effective against pests but is completely harmless to humans and pets.

Types Of Cypress Trees: Tips For Growing Cypress Trees

Cypress trees are fast-growing North American natives that deserve a prominent place in the landscape. Many gardeners don’t consider planting cypress because they believe it only grows in wet, boggy soil. While it’s true that their native environment is constantly wet, once they’re established, cypress trees grow well on dry land and can even withstand occasional drought. The two types of cypress trees found in the U.S. are bald cypress (Taxodium distichum) and pond cypress (T. distichum).

Cypress Tree Info

Cypress trees have a straight trunk that tapers at the base, giving it a soaring perspective. In cultivated landscapes, they grow 50 to 80 feet tall with a spread of 20 to 30 feet. These deciduous conifers have short needles with a feathery appearance. Most varieties have needles that turn brown in winter, but a few have lovely yellow or gold fall color.

Bald cypress has a tendency to form “knees,” which are pieces of root that grow above the ground in odd and sometimes mysterious shapes. Knees are more common for trees grown in water, and the deeper the water, the taller the knees. Some knees reach a height of 6 feet. Although no one is sure about the function of knees, they may help the tree get oxygen when they are underwater. These projections are sometimes unwelcome in the home landscape because they make mowing difficult and they can trip passers-by.

Where Cypress Trees Grow

Both types of cypress trees grow well in areas with lots of water. Bald cypress grows naturally near springs, on lake banks, in swamps or in bodies of water that flow at a slow to moderate rate. In cultivated landscapes, you can grow them in almost any soil.

Pond cypress prefers still water and doesn’t grow well on land. This variety is rarely used in home landscapes because it needs boggy soil that is low in both nutrients and oxygen. It grows naturally in Southeastern wetlands, including the Everglades.

How to Care for Cypress Trees

Growing cypress trees successfully depends on planting the in the right location. Choose a site with full sun or partial shade and rich, acid soil.

Drench the soil around the tree after planting and cover the root zone with 3 to 4 inches of organic mulch. Give the tree a good soaking every week for the first few months. Cypress trees need water most in spring when they enter a growth spurt and in fall just before they go dormant. They can withstand occasional drought once established, but it’s best to water them if you haven’t had a drenching rain for more than a month.

Wait a year after planting before fertilizing a cypress tree for the first time. Cypress trees growing in a regularly fertilized lawn don’t generally need additional fertilizer once established. Otherwise, fertilize the tree every year or two with a balanced fertilizer or a thin layer of compost in fall. Spread a pound of balanced fertilizer for each inch of trunk diameter over an area approximately equal to the spread of the canopy.