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Tillandsia Airplants - Dont Plant These Plants!
Watch out, it's a tillandsia! Have no fear, I said "Tillandsia," not Tarantula. Although several species of this plant genus have taken on the appearance of the ominous eight-legged spider, you can rest-assured that these plants do not bite. As the largest genus of the Bromeliad family of plants, tillandsia boast of a characteristic that few other plants have, they have the ability to grow and prosper without soil. Nature has provided them with another mechanism for deriving the moisture and nutrients they need to survive. Though many Tillandsia species have a developed root system, its primary purpose is to secure these epiphytic plants to a host. Tillandsia leaves have specially developed cells called scales or trichomes that allow water and nutrients to be taken in from rain, the air, and dust. When opened, these cells give the plants their silvery-gray, somewhat ashy appearance.
The trichomes work like trap doors; as the plant dries out, the trichomes open to absorb more moisture and nutrients. Once sufficient hydration is achieved, the trichomes close to retain the moisture. Plants whose leaves have a dense concentration of trichomes are generally from an environment that is sunny and dry, and their leaves tend to be grayer and stiffer than those plants from a humid and shady environment. The dense concentration of trichomes on the leaf's surface allows the plant to absorb more moisture and to reflect the harsh effects of the sun.
Tillandsias have truly exquisite foliage. Although when in bloom they are magnificent in appearance, their foliage is their outstanding feature. Most tillandsia only bloom once in their lifetime. After blooming, pups or offsets form around the base or axil of the plants, and will eventually mature and complete their blooming cycle in one to several years. Propagating tillandsia from seed can require the patience of Job since it can take from four to seven years to do so. It is much easier and quicker to propagate by separating the offsets from the "mother" plant after they have reach about ½ "her" size.
Create some very eye-catching live plant arrangements using only tillandsia or by combining them with other plants. Since soil is not a requirement for growing tillandsia, more display possibilities are available than with traditional plants. Although displaying your plants can be as simple as hanging them by their roots from a piece of non-copper wire or fishing line, you can use waterproof adhesives such as Liquid Nail, Goop or even hot glue to attach your plants to any substrate that can handle frequent watering. Yes, watering is necessary! The common name for tillandsia, Airplant, is somewhat of a misnomer. In their natural habitat, tillandsias are able to derive all the moisture and nutrients they need from their surrounding. Once removed from that habitat, it is necessary to provide water, light, air circulation and an occasional feeding.
A good dripping-wet watering should be given at least once a week, more depending on the growing conditions. Provide bright indirect lighting; natural sunlight or artificial lighting is acceptable. Though not necessary, feeding your plants monthly with a bromeliad fertilizer or with Rapid Grow/Miracle Grow fertilizers at ¼ strength during the months of March ? October will greatly enhance growth and blooming. Supply enough air circulation to allow your plants to dry, after watering, in three to four hours. Tillandsias are amazingly resilient plants, able to survive under some of the worst growing conditions. Plant enthusiasts will love the ease of becoming a successful grower of Tillandsia.
Arthur Comer is the author of The Beginner's Guide to Successfully Growing Tillandsias (ISBN 0-9752760-0-X). He is the owner and general manager of the mail order Specialty Plants Company, ALCJR ENTERPRISES. The Virginia Gardener Magazine published a featured article by Arthur in its April 2005 issue. Additional growing tips, images and a wealth of information about these unique plants is available at his web site. http://www.alcjr.com
Tuscan Garden Design
If you're looking for a beautiful, old world garden style, then you should look into designing a Tuscan garden design. There are several different things that you can do with a Tuscan garden design, but there are a few things that you should keep in mind if you're planning on a Tuscan garden design. First of all, if you're aiming for a Tuscan garden design, then you'll definitely want to aim for a Mediterranean feel.
Mulch Your Spring Bulbs In The Fall For A Beautiful Spring Display
Flower bulbs need a good, long, winters sleep. Like some people we know, if they wake up before they are fully rested, they get kind of cranky, and then they don't bloom well at all.
Flower gardens are for enjoyment. They provide you with visual beauty, the joy of working with soil and plants, and the pride of showing others what you have created. As a gardener, one is always experimenting and learning anew what delights a flower garden may bring forth. This enjoyment can be intensified by creating your garden, or a room within the garden, with a theme.
How to Attract Butterfly Activity...
The flittering of the butterfly through your garden is no accident if you planned your garden carefully. The adult butterfly flitters from flower to flower - sipping nectar from many flowers in your gardens, while other adult butterflies search for areas to lay their larvae. It is good to take note that the butterfly garden is going to differ from other areas of your garden. Your natural instincts will be to kill off pests, larvae and creatures in the garden, but in the butterfly garden your best results are noticed when you use organic gardening: Which means no chemicals at all.
Gardening During Hard Times or Emergencies - You Can Feed Yourself!
Do you ever worry about always having to rely on getting seeds and fertilizer from the store? What would you do in a survival situation, if you could not go to a store to purchase these things?
Choosing the Proper Pond Pump
Whether you have a preformed or a liner pond, a pond pump is a paramount component of any water feature. Stagnant bodies of water attract mosquito infestations, which are a nuisance, and also undesirable, due to the recent outbreaks of the West Nile virus. Therefore, it is paramount that you utilize a pond pump that circulates your body of water.
Furniture Benches Are Perfect For Every Outdoor Space
The task of selecting outdoor furniture for your natural spaces can seem daunting at times. There are just so many options to choose from that many people get confused browsing through the large collections that can be found in catalogues, stores and even online.
Tips For Successful Backyard Grape Growing
Growing grapes in the backyard or garden can be a rewarding experience. It can also be quite a failure if not done properly. Grapevines are perennial plants and will grow for years to come. There are a few things to consider before you just jump in and start planting your grapevines. Otherwise, mistakes made at planting will haunt you in the future.
Mole Traps: Can You Use Them?
Mole control is one of the most complicated problems that can face a gardening enthusiast.
Teak Garden Furniture: A Natural Extension of the Home
In the past, the garden has traditionally been a separate entity, with wrought iron or plastic furniture dotting the landscape in no particular design pattern. Seen as simply a place to have a picnic or, perhaps, read a book on a nice day, attention wasn't given to the fact that the garden is a natural extension of the home.
Closing Up Your Container Garden
All good things eventually come to an end and so summer is waning, even as autumn gives most of us a fresh start. I'll bet your summer container plantings aren't really benefiting, though, from the "back to school-oh I love a clean notebook" boost and aren't dying as gracefully as summer itself is. You're going to have to help them through this!
The Advantages of Silk Flowers
The silk flower is growing in popularity among young couples and families for many different reasons. Many event hosts or planners struggle over whether to choose fresh flowers or artificial flowers. Silk flowers are non-allergenic, will never wilt and can be maintained as keepsakes for years. There are many more positive effects in ordering or owning silk flowers.
Make The Most From Your Vegetable Garden
All your hard work has paid off, and now you are presented with a dilemma, too many vegetables! After sharing your wealth with friends, family, co-workers, neighbors and anyone that happens to come to visit, there are alternative options of what you can do with your extensive supply of tomatoes, zucchini and other bountiful crops that will bring great joy to the community around you.
Adirondack Chairs - How to Choose One
In Blue Mountain Lake, New York, you will find a unique museum called the Adirondack Museum. According to the experts that run this museum, the Adirondack chair was originally called the Westport chair, named after a small town located nearby Adirondack Mountains. The design of the chair was first created back in 1900 by Thomas Lee. On a mission of designing a chair that could be used indoors or outdoors and one that was overly comfortable, he began his work, using standard boards and nails.
Light Up the Night! Quick Facts about Outdoor Lighting
When the days start to get shorter, the darkness may drive us inside from our porches, patios or decks. Don't despair ? outdoor lighting can lengthen the day and dramatically extend the potential of our outdoor living spaces.
How to Rid that Lawn of Thatch!
You know that brown patchy debris in a lawn that accumulates on top of the soil but below the grass line? That's thatch.
Hand Feeding your Koi
One of the most rewarding and entertaining things about having a Koi pond is when your fish finally start eating out of your hand. There is no better way to learn each fishes' personality and temprament than to have them nuzzle your fingers when they are hungry.
Xeriscaping is Waterwise Gardening
What is xeriscaping? You may have heard of xeriscaping as a way of landscaping in the Southwestern United States. You may picture xeriscaping as a lot of gray gravel and cactus in a hot desert yard. People call that "zero-scaping," and that is not what xeriscaping is. Xeriscaping is a method of gardening and landscaping that will reduce your water use and maintenance requirements by as much as 60 percent. Xeriscaping can be done anywhere by any gardener, and in any yard, with the result being a beautiful, even lush, landscape.
Black Walnut Trees Produce A Natural Insecticide
The black walnut tree manufactures a substance that is a natural insecticide according to experts at the Texas State University in Austin.
Gardening is Good Therapy
Many of us garden just for the sheer joy of it. But did you know that all over the country the healing aspects of gardening are being used as therapy or as an adjunct to therapy? Although this might sound like a new concept, garden therapy has been around for decades. For example, the Garden Therapy Program at Central State Hospital in Milledgeville, and in regional hospitals in Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, Rome, Thomasville and Savannah, has been helping people for over 40 years through gardening activities known as social and therapeutic horticulture. So what exactly is social and therapeutic horticulture (or garden therapy)? According to the article "Your future starts here: practitioners determine the way ahead" from Growth Point (1999) volume 79, pages 4-5, horticultural therapy is the use of plants by a trained professional as a medium through which certain clinically defined goals may be met. "?Therapeutic horticulture is the process by which individuals may develop well-being using plans and horticulture. This is achieved by active or passive involvement." Although the physical benefits of garden therapy have not yet been fully realized through research, the overall benefits are almost overwhelming. For starters, gardening therapy programs result in increased elf-esteem and self-confidence for all participants. Social and therapeutic horticulture also develops social and work skills, literacy and numeric skills, an increased sense of general well-being and the opportunity for social interaction and the development of independence. In some instances it can also lead to employment or further training or education. Obviously different groups will achieve different results. Groups recovering from major illness or injury, those with physical disabilities, learning disabilities and mental health problems, older people, offenders and those who misuse drugs or alcohol, can all benefit from the therapeutic aspects of gardening as presented through specific therapy related programs. In most cases, those that experience the biggest impact are vulnerable or socially excluded individuals or groups, including the ill, the elderly, and those kept in secure locations, such as hospitals or prisons. One important benefit to using social and therapeutic horticulture is that traditional forms of communication aren't always required. This is particularly important for stroke patients, car accident victims, those with cerebral palsy, aphasia or other illnesses or accidents that hinder verbal communication. Gardening activities lend themselves easily to communicative disabled individuals. This in turn builds teamwork, self-esteem and self-confidence, while encouraging social interaction. Another group that clearly benefits from social and therapeutic horticulture are those that misuse alcohol or substances and those in prison. Teaching horticulture not only becomes a life skill for these individuals, but also develops a wide range of additional benefits. Social and therapeutic horticultures gives these individuals a chance to participate in a meaningful activity, which produces food, in addition to creating skills relating to responsibility, social skills and work ethic. The same is true for juvenile offenders. Gardening therapy, as vocational horticulture curriculum, can be a tool to improve social bonding in addition to developing improved attitudes about personal success and a new awareness of personal job preparedness. The mental benefits don't end there. Increased abilities in decision-making and self-control are common themes reported by staff in secure psychiatric hospitals. Reports of increased confidence, self-esteem and hope are also common in this environment. Prison staff have also noticed that gardening therapy improves the social interaction of the inmates, in addition to improving mutual understanding between project staff and prisoners who shared outdoor conditions of work. It's interesting that studies in both hospitals and prisons consistently list improving relationships between participants, integrating with the community, life skills and ownership as being some of the real benefits to participants. But in addition to creating a myriad of emotional and social benefits, the health benefits of being outdoors, breathing in fresh air and doing physical work cannot be overlooked. In most studies, participants noted that fresh air, fitness and weight control where prime benefits that couldn't be overlooked. Although unable to pin down a solid reason, studies have shown that human being posses an innate attraction to nature. What we do know, is that being outdoors creates feelings of appreciation, tranquility, spirituality and peace. So it would seem, that just being in a garden setting is in itself restorative. Active gardening only heightens those feelings. With so many positive benefits to gardening, isn't it time you got outside and started tending to your garden? Next time you are kneeling in fresh dirt to pull weeds or plant a new variety of a vegetable or flower, think about the tranquility you feel while being outdoors in your garden. Let the act of gardening sooth and revitalize you. Soak up the positive benefits of tending to your own garden. If you have someone in your life that could benefit from garden therapy, contact your local health unit to find out more about programs in your area. Not only will the enjoyment of gardening help bond you together, but it will also create numerous positive mental and physical benefits for both of you. So get gardening today for both your physical and mental health. You'll enjoy the experience so much that you'll immediately thank yourself.
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