Plant of the Week: African Violet

The weather seems to be getting consistently nicer and nicer and there’s no better way to bring the light inside than having a beautiful blooming plant, which is why the African Violet is this week’s plant of the week! African violets, or Saintpaulias, are native to Tanzania, southeastern Kenya and tropical Africa. This plant is a great beginner bloomer and is simple to own and grow in your very own home!

African violets prefer to be in a place in the house where they can get bright, indirect light. A western or southern facing window would do the best, a great way to tell if they’re getting enough light is to hold your hand over it and if you can just barely see the shadow of your hand, you’re in the clear! African violets need just enough water to keep the soil moist, but not soggy. Over watering can lead t root and crown rot, among other issues. African violets are perfect because they like the same temperatures we do (so long as you like to keep your house around 70 degrees).

If you think that an African Violet would be the perfect plant for your home or office, you can come on down to Incahoots and pick up your of 4″ violet for $5.99!

Saintpaulia (African Violet)

Scientific name: Saintpaulia
Common name(s): African violet, usambara                                                                Origin: Eastern Africa
Family: Gesneriaceae
Light: medium, or bright filtered light
Watering: let soil surface dry between waterings
Fertilizing: African violet formula every other month
The African violet is the number one house plant in popularity and has been for many years. Since there are so many individual hobbyists and collectors, there are also many ideas and myths about how to care for them. Their care is often controversial since many of the ideas are conflicting. Using a blend of horticulture, common sense and experience, here is some real care information: Light is important to African violets and encourages blooms, but avoid scorching sun or prolonged exposure to direct light. If your African violet is not blooming increase the light. Water should be given carefully, unlike the popular myth says, you do not need to only water your violet from the bottom. This actually can be harmful if done exclusively for too long. Salts and minerals can build up in the soils if they are not flushed out periodically. Do avoid getting water on the leaves, especially if the water is cold, or the leaves are in light. Also avoid getting water into the crown of the plant.

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Plant of the Week: Kalanchoe

It’s Thursday which means its time to pick another plant, and this week’s is the Kalanchoe! This succulent is known for it’s funky foliage and beautiful blooms. Native to Madagascar and tropical Africa, this plant is the perfect, low-maintenance plant for any home or office. While it wouldn’t fair well here in the Pacific Northwest, Kalanchoes can be planted outdoors in zones 10 and 11.

Because kalanchoes are considered succulents, it is important to not over water this plant. Make sure to let the soil dry a bit in between watering sessions and that it’s potted in something with proper drainage. While blooming, kalanchoes do well in brightly lit areas. After the blooms drop, if you want flowers again, you have to trick the plant into thinking that a winter has passed. Similar to poinsettias, kalanchoes require short day lengths to bloom again. During natural winter periods, keep the plant in a room where the lights are turned off when it begins to become dark. If it’s out of that time period, keeping it in a closet or dark room for 14 hours at night and then move it to a brightly lit room for the remaining 10 hours in the day. After about 6 weeks, the plant will have buds large enough to be seen above the foliage and can be moved back to it’s usual stop int he house for a new blooming season!

If you would like to pick up a kalanchoe of your very own, you can head on over to Incahoots and purchase a 4″ pot for $5.99!

Plant of the Week: Shamrock

With Saint Patrick’s Day quickly approaching,  we thought it would be a perfect time to introduce you to these beautiful lucky plants! The shamrock, or Oxalis is native primarily to southern Africa and tropical south America but with over 850 different species they can be traced all over the world. The Oxalis’ name is derived from the Greek word for acid because, when consumed, the leaves give off a bitter taste. Be careful though, because if consumed in large quantities, this plant can cause poisoning in in pets so make sure to keep them out of reach.

Lucky Shamrock (Oxalis regnellii)

Shamrocks are a relatively easy plant to care for, and is known to live through generations. This plant is a bulb plant, so it doesn’t like to sit in water. Watering around once a week should be sufficient and let is dry about halfway before giving it another dose. Oxalis do very well in an east facing window where they will receive high, indirect light. Under proper conditions, this plant will sprout beautiful little flowers that can vary from white to purple depending on the species.

Iron Cross Shamrock

If you plan  on growing your oxalis outdoors, these perennials are a perfect filler plant for rock gardens, shady borders and woodland gardens. They do best in shady areas or a place where they will get morning light. Many people believe that shamrocks are annuals, but this is a common misconception. Shamrocks go into a dormant phase over the winter where their watering can be decreased until they start sprouting again.

Purple Shamrock (Oxalis triangularis)

If you think that a shamrock would be a good fit for your home or garden, you can head on over to Incahoots where we have three different varieties of shamrock (triangularis, regnellii and iron cross) that come in 4″ pots for $4.99!

Musa (Banana)

Scientific name: Musa
Common name(s): banana, plantain
Origin: varies according to variety
Family: Musaceae
Light: high light, near a bright window
Watering: keep soil evenly moist at all times, but not soggy
Fertilizing: an all purpose blend may be used every two months if desired
Add a tropical feel to your home with a banana plant. Rarely produces bananas indoors, but makes a handsome specimen.

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Plant of the Week: Phalaenopsis Orchid

 For our very first Plant of the week, we have chosen the beautiful Phalaenopsis Orchid! Native through southeast Asia, this beautiful plant makes the perfect orchid for beginners and hobbyists alike. Seeing as it is one of the easiest orchids to grow, the plant has been bred to come in a large variety of colors, ranging from solid purple to yellow with pink stripes (as shown here).

This plant is considered a low-light orchid, so it will do best in an east facing window or a south or west window so long as they are protected by a sheer curtain. When the plant is in bloom, it can be placed anywhere in the home out of direct sunlight. The amount of water needed for your orchid depends on the medium it is potted in. If your phal is potted in bark, watering about once a week is sufficient. If it is in moss, or a mixture of bark and moss (like Incahoots orchids are), water when the top feels dry. Once all of the blooms have fallen off of your orchid, you can cut the spike on of two ways. You can either cut it down to the level of the leaves so your plant will produce bigger flowers and a larger stem within a year, or cut it down to the last node before the old flowers to stimulate new blooms out of the node withing 8-12 weeks.

If you think a phalaenopsis orchid would be the perfect plant for your house, you can come on down to Incahoots and pick up your very own. They run at $28 for a 4″ pot and $36 for a 6″ pot!