Gardening, George, Grow Your Own, How To, Planting, Plants

Growing succulents indoors

How to Create Your Indoor Succulent or Cacti Garden

Growing plants indoors makes a wonderful difference to your home – they improve air quality, de-stress and of course look beautiful. Succulents are one of the best kind of plants to grow as they’re some of the most tolerant and easy-to-care-for varieties out there. They come in a huge range of sizes and eye catching forms to suit any space or design you have in your home. Growing succulents indoors is hugely rewarding and, as you’ll see, very straightforward.

What are succulents?

Succulents are plants which store moisture in thick fleshy leaves or stems. Cacti are one type of succulent, but they come in many forms, from trees to tiny spikes. Succulents originate from all over the world: Africa, South Africa, the Alps, Central America and South America. So they can thrive in many different conditions, particularly indoors where the temperate and humidity is close to their native habitat.

Planting succulents indoors

Pots

Succulents suit containers as they have shallow roots. This also makes them great for grouping multiple plants in one pot, if that is the look you want to go for (plus it makes them easier to water). Just aim for similar sized plants that have common watering and light requirements – do your research! Drainage is crucial when choosing your container as succulents don’t like to sit in moist soil. Use drainage holes where possible, or add small stones to the bottom if not. You can also plant in terrariums but drainage is often an issue. Terracotta is the best material as it absorbs some of the moisture.

indoor succulent garden

Soil

The key for succulent soil is to make sure it’s well draining. You can buy specialist cactus or succulent compost, or make it yourself. A good mix is 1 part well draining potting compost, 2 parts coarse sand and 1 part perlite. This should ensure water runs through the soil easily.

Watering

With succulents it’s best to err on the side of caution and under- rather than over-water. Watering once every two weeks is usually enough, even less in winter. Give it enough water to soak the soil, but ensure it can thoroughly drain before the next watering. If using a container with poor drainage, like a terrarium, only give a little water to dampen the soil. If the roots sit in water they will rot and kill the plant. With little water the plants can draw on moisture stored in the leaves and grow less, which is fine for small containers.

Placement

Succulents like sun, usually full or partial – check the requirements for the species you have. If the leaves go brown from sunburn, move the plant out of direct light. In some climates you can move them outdoors in summer, but in the UK they will need to stay inside year round.

succulent placement

Pest control

Good air circulation is crucial for avoiding pests, so think about this when you’re potting and placing your succulents. Terrariums in particular can limit air flow. Succulents are generally good against pests, but watch out for gnats, mealybugs and spider mites on the leaves – often these can be wiped off or sprayed with non-toxic pesticide.

Things to watch out for

Naturally the lower leaves will die back and be replaced by new leaves at the top of the plant, so don’t worry unless the top leaves are dying. Most succulents go dormant during winter, so avoid adding fertiliser then as they will not naturally be growing.

The best succulents to try

Most succulents are easy to grow at home and won’t require a lot of effort. But some extra tolerant and attractive ones to try include sansevieria, jade, aloe vera, echeveria, zebra plant, pincushion cacti, string of pearls and crown of thorns.

zebra plant

George at PrimroseGeorge works in the Primrose marketing team. As a lover of all things filmic, he also gets involved with our TV ads and web videos.

George’s idea of the perfect time in the garden is a long afternoon sitting in the shade with a good book. A cool breeze, peace and quiet… But of course, he’s usually disturbed by his energetic wire fox terrier, Poppy!

He writes about his misadventures in repotting plants and new discoveries about cat repellers.

See all of George’s posts.

Gardening Year, How To, Suhayl Laher

Preparing garden building for winter

As autumn draws to a close, many of us have become accustomed to the colder weather and shorter days, opting for relaxing indoors rather than outside in our gardens. But just because the warm, pleasant days of summer are long gone it doesn’t mean we should abandon our gardens all together – especially as cold, wet weather can wreak havoc with outdoor buildings.

From underfloor heating to essential maintenance, this article will shed light on the steps you can take to prepare your garden buildings for the colder months ahead – creating an outdoor area that’s still usable, even when the temperatures drop.

Keep the weather where it belongs

Winter inevitably brings wind, rain, ice and snow that can cause significant damage to outdoor buildings – particularly if they’re built with timber. Therefore, it’s vital to take appropriate weatherproofing measures to keep the elements at bay – prolonging the life of your garden buildings, as well as protecting what’s inside.

From fixing leaking roofs and checking window and door seals to installing guttering and water butts to keep excess water away from the structure, weatherproofing should be a top priority to avoid damp and rot setting in.

Clear the area

When winter hits, it can be tempting to lock up outdoor buildings and items, forgetting about them until the following spring. However, it pays to get things organised before then to make better use of the space all year round.

Taking the time to remove low-lying branches, trim back nearby shrubbery and clear fallen leaves away from the building will prevent potential damage outside and improve the appearance of your garden building. On top of this, making sure the inside is organised and clutter-free with shelving and storage will offer up more floor space – meaning you’re more likely to use it in winter.

Sheds in winter

Create a winter haven

Garden sheds offer a perfect opportunity to add extra living space, but if you want guaranteed use of this building throughout the year, you could consider adding a heating system to keep this space warm and cosy.

A free-standing electric heater or wood-burning stove are both potential options, but underfloor heating could add a great level of warmth and insulation. Whether you use floor tiles or wooden planks, underfloor heating is easy to install and provides a cost-effective heating solution, too.

Add a fresh coat of paint

Applying a fresh coat of paint can go a long way in protecting your garden buildings against adverse weather – working to minimise the effects of damp and rot. However, it isn’t just the exterior walls that can benefit from a lick of paint or varnish – you can do wonders with the inside, too.

From adding a splash of colour with seasonal tones to simple, neutral shades, your garden building is the ideal place to experiment with interior design styles – projecting a warm and welcoming ambiance to enjoy, whatever the weather.

Furnish with flair

To make your garden building extra snug over the winter months, think about updating the interiors. From comfy sofas and soft cushions to fluffy rugs and faux-fur throws, using a variety of different fabrics, colours and textures will create a plush and relaxing atmosphere.

Whether you intend to use outdoor buildings simply for storage or as living space the whole year through, our essential maintenance and interior design tips will help you ensure these spaces are well prepared for the harsh weather this winter might bring.

SuhaylSuhayl Laher works at Tiles Direct, one of the UK’s largest independent tile distributors and retailers – bringing design inspiration to homeowners, architects and developers.

Decoration, Garden Design, Jenny

History of garden gnomes

There’s no Place like Gnome

Once upon a time in the surprisingly not fictional village of Gräfenroda in the genuinely not made up free state of Thuringia, there lived a man named Phillip Griebel. To narrow that down a bit, we’re talking about the mid-nineteenth century in central Germany. Philip was a sculptor by trade who specialised in the crafting of terracotta animals. At some point Philip decided to branch out and sculpt mythical creatures. European folklore is abundant with fabulous little homunculi and beasties but Philip was charmed most by the kaukis. Depending on where you’re from you might know them as ‘leprechauns’ and ‘clurichauns’ in Ireland, ‘saunatonttu’ in Finland, ‘nisse’ or ‘tomte’ in Scandinavia, ‘barbegazi’ in Switzerland and France, and ‘voettir’ in Iceland. Today we know them best as gnomes.

Philip wasn’t alone in his love of gnomes as of all his mythical beast sculptures it was the gnome that endured as favourite. While this is all charming we do have to point out that the company Baehr and Maresch based in Dresden would claim earlier creation of garden gnomes as they had stock of “little folk” statues as early as 1841. If you want to get really picky about it you can credit the origins of garden gnomes to the Romans who placed stone representations of the Greco-Roman fertility god Priapus in their gardens to help plants grow. Wherever they came from they are here to stay.

The popularity of garden gnomes declined during the first World War and most of the second World War as, understandably, people had far more on their minds than garden ornamentation and folklore. It wasn’t until the 1930s that popularity of these little garden guardians soared after the release of Disney’s ground breaking feature length animation Snow White and The Seven Dwarves. In the 1970s, presumably aided by the popularity of experimentation with certain substances, gnomes became even more fantastical, whimsical and downright weird. There was one more big surge in the popularity of garden gnomes in the 1990s with the popularity of “roaming gnome”, a practical joke where gnomes were stolen from gardens and the owners were posted photos of the gnome in humorous situations and/or exotic locations.

Dwarf gnome

Jenny at PrimroseJenny works in the Primrose Product Loading team working on adding new and exciting products to the website. When she’s not writing, proofreading or drinking the strongest coffee possible Jenny loves to climb and can often be found halfway up a wall at the local climbing centre.

See all of Jenny’s posts.

Celebrations And Holidays, Christmas, Decoration, Gardening, Gardens, How To, Lighting, Tyler

As Christmas is edging closer and closer by the day, it’s that time to start decorating your home with colourful, festive decorations and lights! Remember our 20 DIY Outdoor Christmas Decorations blog? Well here at Primrose, we have decided to go further and try it out for ourselves and this is how we did it…

Terracotta Snowman

First off to get your living room looking more Christmassy, make your own Terracotta Snowman! To make this snowman without the hassle of waiting for it to snow, all you need is 3 painted terracotta pots. Start by placing the 3 cups on top of each other, add a hat and scarf and then glue together. Paint on the face and you’re done! Sit your new homemade terracotta snowman outside to add the festive feeling to your garden.

Pine Cone Christmas Tree

The Pine Cone Tree is a great alternative to your traditional christmas tree. All that is needed to create one is a terracotta pot and a suitable sized pine cone. We recommend that you talk a nice walk with family and friends and find a pine cone along your travels! Now paint it with Christmas colours and make a star to place on top of it. The pine cone tree will be perfect on your outdoor table or around the house.

Lighted Hanging Basket

Hanging Basket aren’t quite the same if there isn’t any lights added onto it… This is why our hanging basket stands out more. You can make your own hanging basket a Christmas alternative decoration this year by filling it with spare ornaments and nature. You should then proceed to wrap coloured or white lights around the basket. Hang it outside your front door to embrace the Christmas spirit.

Glass Bottle Lantern

Similar to our glass jar lantern, the glass bottle lantern is another beautiful ornament to have as christmas decorations on your desk or on the dinner table at home. As you may have guessed already, the supplies you’ll need for this particular Christmas decoration is an empty glass bottle and lights, pretty simple right? Wire in the lights into the bottle and then you’re set to have a magical looking lantern wherever you please!

Clothes Peg Star

clothes peg star

If you’re left stuck without a star to add on your Christmas tree this year, no fear! You can create your very own star by using your spare clothes pegs. On ours, we decided to paint it red to go with the rest of our decorations around the office so we advise you paint it to your preference.

 

 

Be sure to send us over the decorations you’ve created this year on our Facebook and Twitter; we’d love to see them!

homemade christmas decorations

Tyler at PrimroseTyler works in the Primrose Marketing team, mainly working on Social Media and Online Marketing.

Tyler is a big fan on everything sports and supports Arsenal Football Club. When not writing Primrose blogs and tweets, you can find Tyler playing for his local Sunday football team or in the gym.

See all of Tyler’s posts.

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