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Gardening Limited

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  • Ann Remo
  • December 26, 2017 04:52:20 AM
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Gardening Limited is a blog about urban gardening in small spaces and on a budget, as well as container gardening.

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Nopalea Plant Characteristics and Care Tips

Have you ever explored the diverse plant variety? There are distinct families of plants with unique characteristics. When we start ... Read moreNopalea Plant Characteristics and Care Tips

Have you ever explored the diverse plant variety? There are distinct families of plants with unique characteristics. When we start to study plants and their different types, we stop in awe as there are many beneficial plants. Adopting a plant is not entirely easy for beginners, but it is a liberating experience.

Many people start their journey with plants by adopting cactus or succulent plants. Starting with plants such as Lapidaria and Ferocactus plants is a smart move. If you have enough practice and knowledge about plants, Nopalea succulent species is an excellent indoor plant to own.

This plant has a round and flat base, which is its one identification characteristic. This plant has 40 other species in its family, which makes it highly diverse and worth exploring. In this article, we will emphasize on care tips and ways to make this plant thrive ultimately.

Nopalea Plant Care Tips

Nopalea Plant Care Tips

 Every person is somewhat skeptical when it comes to taking responsibility, such as owning a plant. People may show interest in adopting plants for various reasons. Some people like plants for their aesthetic purposes, while some adore the way they look individually.

However, plants have numerous benefits in terms of the vibes and atmosphere. A plant such as this one refreshed the air, and they are also edible. Every plant, regardless of their type, requires individual maintenance.

Whenever you decide to own a plant, it is necessary to gather adequate information concerning its properties. The Nopalea plant is an easy plant to maintain; however, you need to pay attention to certain factors.

The main characteristics of growth for a plant are water, sunlight, and soil. On the other hand, a few other features may have a small role in determining the growth pace. We are going to discuss some crucial factors for plant growth.

Light

Light is an important source that works to keep a plant alive, as you may have heard that cactus plants require lighter than the usual plants for growth. This plant requires explicitly quite a lot of light to survive.

Occasionally, this plant may need partial sunlight to maintain its growth pace. On the other hand, warm temperature and scorching sunlight are crucial for its fast growth.

On average, this plant requires at least six hours of direct sunlight. If you are keeping this plant within your home, make sure to keep it outside in the morning.

Water

This plant belongs to a cactus family, which means it does not require frequent water to survive; you can easily maintain it because you do not have to water it each day. With that being said, this does not mean it does need water.

If you live in a region where the climate is scorching, you might want to check on your plant every two to three weeks. The plant tends to get dry soil in dry spell conditions. When you water the plant, limit the quantity to a minimum.

Soil

This plant requires poor-quality soil with adequate drainage. When we say the soil has to be poor-quality, many people misinterpret it. Regular plants require a good-quality perlite soil for adequate nourishment.

However, cactus family plants need rocky soil for drainage; otherwise, the stagnant water can cause root rot. Black cactus gold soil is a fantastic soil for this particular plant. A mixture of sand, pumice, and perlite soil is also phenomenal for this plant.

On the other hand, adding fertilizer occasionally can also revive the plant. However, fertilizer is not necessary as your plant can do well without it too.

Propagation and Repotting of a Nopalea Plant

Propagation of Nopalea Plant

When it comes to germination or propagation of plants, people suggest various methodologies. However, not all people have the expertise to perform such tasks properly. You can also mess things up if it is your first time trying your hands at plant cloning.

There are two methodologies to propagate this plant. You can either propagate this plant through seeds or cutting. Both ways are undoubtedly fantastic in cultivating a new plant. However, you require quite a lot of patience to do so.

Propagation through cutting

To propagate this plant through cutting, you need the cutting. To get cutting, you require a sharp object to extract the part of the plant. Once you have the plant cutting in your hand, you must wash it to get rid of puss. Before planting the cutting, make sure it’s dry.

Propagation through seed

Propagation through seed is similar to propagation through cutting. Cover the seeds with a thick layer of soil and wrap it in a plastic wrap. Keep the plant in a heated or warm place for germination.

Repotting

If your plant has grown out of the pot or has grown big and strong, you must consider repotting. To repot, take the plant gently out of the pot and place it in a planter with the same soil. Dig holes on the bottom of the pot to support soil-drainage.

Pest and Insect Control for Nopalea Plant

Pest and Insect Control for Nopalea Plant

Neem oil

Whiteflies and aphids mostly attack the Nopalea plant. When you spray neem oil and water on the plant, these bugs tend to vanish. Spray this mixture twice a week to see results.

Peppermint oil

Peppermint oil is a fantastic natural remedy to keep whiteflies at bay. Spray the mixture on the plant and get rid of all bugs possible.

Where to buy Nopalea Plant?

Where to buy Nopalea Plant

Buy On Amazon

We understand if you are having a hard time getting your hands on this plant. It is not commonly available at all plant nurseries. However, Amazon has made your life easier by selling this unique cactus breed. You can get an express delivery service to get this plant delivered within a day.

Conclusion

Nopalea plant is an edible cactus species with more than 40 variants. There are numerous benefits of keeping this plant, one being its property to establish positive vibes. This plant grows about a foot tall, and it can endure harsh winter weather.


The Growth and Maintenance Of The Nananthus Plant

Flowering plants are the best thing to keep indoors and have the ability to instantly revive a home. Nananthus is ... Read moreThe Growth and Maintenance Of The Nananthus Plant

Flowering plants are the best thing to keep indoors and have the ability to instantly revive a home. Nananthus is a great plant that grows mostly in South Africa in intense sunlight. Most flowering plants require hot weather to produce wide blooms in late fall.

This plant produces yellow flowers that look like sunflowers, but they are quite different. They require a big pot as they grow horizontally and vertically both. If you are looking to add an accent color to your room without spending too much money, this plant will come to your rescue. Let’s have a look at how you can take care of this plant:

Growth Tips for Nananthus Plant

Growth tips for Nananthus plant

Soil

Nananthus plants require a grainy soil to grow at its maximum potential. A well-drained soil makes sure there is no root rot or any such damaging situation.

Water

This plant requires minimum to no water for growth. In summertime look at the roots of the plant and if they are dry, add some water. In their blooming season which is fall, add water frequently.

Sunlight

This plant needs adequate sunlight to grow to its maximum potential, in fields intense sunlight helps to stimulate its growth. When growing this plant indoors, keep it in a sun-facing room near a window.

Pot /space

You need a big pot to grow this plant effectively indoors, keep changing the pot depending upon how tall it grows.

Propagation and Potting of Nananthus Plant

Propagation and Potting of Nananthus Plant

Nananthus plants have only two ways of growing from scratch; one is through stem cutting and other seeds. The process of stem cutting is simple, cut a fleshy stem, and divide it into equal parts. Dig the gritty soil and plant all the divided parts at an equal distance for rapid growth.

Repotting is essential to give this plant enough space to grow, you can repot this plant every six-months to provide it adequate area.

Pest and Insect Control for Nananthus Plant

Pest and insect control for Nananthus plant

Peppermint spray

Miz ¾ cup of peppermint oil with a full cup of water, mix it well and spray it on the leaves to get rid of aphids and ants.

Pesticide mix

This plant can foster a lot of pests such as the Duvalia and Jovibarba plant. If the condition goes out of hand, a pesticide is the only solution. Select a mild pesticide and mix it with enough water to bring down the toxicity level of pesticides. Spray it on the plant at least once a week to keep insects at bay.

Where to Buy Nananthus Plant

If you are tired of roaming around and looking for a desired Nananthus plant, go ahead and order it on Amazon. Amazon has a great variety of plants and they offer the best deals on them. They come securely packed in a container and reach you in minimum time.

Conclusion

Nananthus plant produces one of the prettiest flowers which look like sunflowers. They grow best when they get natural sunlight. They alleviate the look of your home significantly by adding hues of bright color.


Urban Gardening: The Beginner’s Guide to Planting in the City

“I want to start a garden but don’t have the space” is one of the most common complaints I get ... Read moreUrban Gardening: The Beginner’s Guide to Planting in the City

I want to start a garden but don’t have the space” is one of the most common complaints I get from people living in a city. And indeed the restriction of space is one of the biggest downsides of living in an urban area.

But truthfully, urban gardening is not limited to space. In fact, you can easily start a garden of your dreams from your balcony and even a window sill.

Read on to find out HOW in this guide to urban gardening for beginners.

Benefits of Urban Gardening

Urban Gardening Infographics

An urban garden encompasses plants of all types and varieties in an urban environment. Unlike our ancestors who lived in rural and open areas – a majority of us are residing in cities. In fact, the UN World Urbanization Prospects estimates that more than half of the world’s population is living in an urban setting.

And while this gives us easy access to many facilities, it also means lack of green space, higher rates of pollution and increased cost of living. The benefits of urban gardening helps resolve many of these issues and provide the homeowners with better physical and mental wellbeing.

Some advantages of taking up gardening include:

  • Plants are natural purifiers and reduce pollution in the air by eliminating the toxins. Those with recurring respiratory issues, dry coughs, and sore throats can prevent their ailments by adding a few plants in their surroundings.
  • Plants like Jaime, Lavender, and Aloe have a soothing smell. Keeping them in your room can help you sleep better and ease stress.
  • Growing your own vegetables and fruit give you access to local source of food that is sustainable, high-quality, and safe from added preservatives.
  • If you are someone who purchases a lot of herbs or vegetables for daily cooking, an urban gardening balcony can give you access to cost-effective groceries – anytime you want.
  • Plants add an ambience to your home. This not only makes your home an attractive place but also give you more leisure space to wire down in evenings.
  • Working on plants give you a chance to exercise in the open sun – something that many city livers are deprived of. Ultimately, this helps improve your productivity, physical wellbeing, and mental awareness.
  • Adding a green space to your home increases its property value as many people will pay more for an apartment with a thriving garden.
  • In the technology era, children’s hardly go out to play as much as their ancestors. Having them join you in planting, watering, and harvest gives them a good time-out. They also learn about the origins and importance of food.
  • Above all, gardening is a fun activity that keeps you busy for hours. It is a great skill to learn with a rewarding outcome.

7 Steps to Urban Gardening for Beginners

City dwellers are often overwhelmed with the idea of apartment gardening. And yes, there is no magic formula for growing plants if you have never experimented with it before. However, there are plenty of options for urban gardeners and basically all you need is some containers, soil, seeds, and an area that gets direct sunlight.

Here is how to get started:

Step 1: Choose your Space

Choose your Space

Always remember that there is no such thing as a garden that is too small. Just be creative with your space and choose an area that gets sufficient sunlight according to the plants you want to grow.

Generally, patios, balconies, and rooftops serve as an ideal space for planting while indoor gardeners can grow on window sills, doorsteps, bookshelves, and even fire escapes (just make sure not to block the exit).

However, before you buy your plants, evaluate the amount of sun your chosen space receives. Eight hours of direct sunlight on a specific area is considered full sun and is a necessity if you are planning on planting kitchen ingredients such as tomatoes and peppers.

On the other hand, leafy vegetables, flowering houseplants, and herbs have lower light requirements depending on the variety you are planting.

When buying plants or seeds, read the labels carefully for their unique light recommendations:

Full Sun Six to eight hours of direct sunlight per day, preferably starting from dawn till late afternoon.
Partial Sun Between four and six hours of sunlight per day – from morning to early afternoon.
Shade Less than four hours of direct sunlight every day.

Step 2: Pick a Container

Pick a Container

Container gardening is the way to go when gardening beds are not accessible. Available in all shapes and sizes, containers and pots can be used to cover any area you choose for your home garden.

They have an advantage of being portable. If you find your plants not happy with the amount of sunlight it receives, you can easily pick the containers up and move them to a relatively better area. You can also switch their places with convenience according to the season.

But when choosing containers, consider the type of plants you will be using. The containers should be big enough for healthy root growth – approximately 10 inch deep by 10 inch wide for small herbs and up to 7 gallons for larger plants like carrots.

Adding multiple plants to a single container is a good idea to use up as much space as you have efficiently. For example, tall plants like tomatoes go well with small shrubs like basil and will thrive well without overcrowding.

Moreover, the more plants you have in a specific area, the higher its humidity which is valuable for plant growth.

You have lots of creative options for container gardening apart from the traditional terra-cotta pots and plastic jars. However, avoid containers that are prone to rust. Pots that are dark-colored or painted from the inside are also not recommended for gardening as they absorb more heat and often – the paint can become toxic to your newly planted vegetation.

Other than that, you can be as imaginative as you want with household items such as buckets, paint cans, coffee jars, and milk containers. Take advantage of hanging pots/baskets, trellis, and windowsill pots to maximize your space and create visual interest.

 Just make sure to keep a tray or a saucer underneath each plant-holder to catch draining water. Even indoor plants would need adequate drainage. If you are using non-traditional planters, drill around three holes on the base so the water does not collect in the roots.

You can also add a layer of gravel or stones along the bottom of the container to keep water away from the root.

Step 3: Select the Potting Media

Select the Potting Media

The potting mix you use should ideally be formulated with the ingredients suitable for plants that are not attached to the ground. Soil is generally not needed for urban gardening as the potting mix absorbs enough water and provides the plant with required circulation.

For my variety of potted plants, I prefer using a commercial-potting mix that includes compost, peat, vermiculite, and perlite. These ingredients make the potting medium light and fluffy with better aerating and draining capabilities.

You can even make your own potting soil by following the easy DIY recipes. This will give you a better and consistent supply of soils and save you tons of money.

Just keep the pH levels to neutral for best growth. The pH ranges from 0 to 14 with 7 being neutral. A pH level less than 7 is categorized as acidic while soil with a higher number is alkaline. Invest in a testing kit and make adjustments by:

  • Adding lime to raise the pH level
  • Adding sulfur to reduce the number

Additionally, a fertilizer at least once a week is a staple feed for the plants growth. Although, a little expensive – I always recommend going for organic fertilizers as they are safer than the synthetic variety. They also include the correct amount of nutrients for the healthy growth of plants.

Step 4: Plant your Seeds

Plant your Seeds

Ultimately, the plants you choose for your garden is dependent on the growing conditions of your area. Here are some factors to keep in mind when purchasing seeds.

Seed Supplier: For urban gardening, it is ideal that you buy seeds from small, regional companies that provide seeds according to your USDA hardiness zone. Seeds from local vendors also take some of the guesswork out of which plant varieties to avoid as they are unlikely to offer products unsuited to your growing conditions.

Seeds vs. Transplants: Alternatively, you can buy baby plants, also known as transplants from the nursery and repot them in your container. However, some plants such as beans prefer direct sowing. Choosing seeds is also cost-effective as you get multiple seeds in one packet for a very small price while transplants give you an almost-ready plant at a higher price.

Seed Varieties: Once you have found the seed supplier of your liking, evaluate the growing condition of your specific garden to determine the plants which will work best. Along with sun exposure and space, you also need to consider the soil type, soil moisture, temperature, and the growing season of the seed you may potentially buy for a favorable outcome.

Take a careful look at the seed catalog to understand their growing requirements before planting. For example, Cacti and Succulents such as Aloe, Jades, Crown of Thrones, Hedgehog Cacti, and Pincushion Cacti are ideal for apartment gardening and can be easily grown indoors where bright light is accessible.

  • The Sun Plants: Peppers, Tomatoes, Potatoes, Beans, Eggplant, Zucchini, Cucumbers, Petunias, Zinnias, Chrysanthemum, Daffodils
  • Shade Tolerant: Beets, Broccoli, Kale, Cabbage, Peas, Radish, Turnips, Spinach, Carrots, and Herbs
  • Shallow Growing Plants: Lettuce, Beans, Eggplant, Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Bell Peppers, Hot Peppers
  • Space Saving Plants: Beans, Carrots, Cabbage, Lettuce, Beets, Peas, Peppers, Tomatoes
  • Vigorous Growers: Tomatoes, Peppers, Cucumbers

Step 5: Water Regularly

Water Regularly

Healthy plants require the right type of water in proper amounts. Simply don’t assume that the plant needs water every day. Instead, research on the specific plant to ensure you are not overwatering or keeping it dehydrated as per its needs.

Keep a consistent check on the soil as well to see if it is moist enough. Another urban gardening technique is to conduct a finger test to check the moisture level in soil. Simply insert one finger in the middle of the container. If the finger cannot enter the soil or comes out completely dry, it definitely needs water.

But if the top layer of soil feels moist and your finger has some dirt sticking to it, the water levels are sufficient for the plant growth.

The coloring of leaves are also a good indication of both – over and under watering. Keep an eye on them in conjunction of the soil test. If the plant has dried out for some reason, water it slowly. Giving too much water at once can damage the roots and kill the plant.

I prefer watering in mornings as watering at night can cause the plants to develop diseases. Always use room temperature water. You can also water again in the late afternoon when the weather is dry.

Pay attention to the water you are using as well. Unfortunately, city water often has chlorine and fluoride that is intolerable by plants. I always try to catch rainwater for my collection of plants during the monsoon season. Melted snow is also a good option if you live in an area with a colder climate.

Another trick is to fill an open container and leave it aside for a day or two. This will allow the chemicals to evaporate before you use it on your plants.

Step 6: Keep a Watchful Eye

Keep a Watchful Eye

Just like any garden, your urban garden is also receptive to diseases and pests. Some of the most common garden pests you will encounter in your garden include spider mites, whiteflies, fungus gnats, and common brown scale.

The good news is that most of them are immobile and are easy to control. You can also spray them with insecticidal soap, neem oil, or an insecticide containing sulfur to prevent infestation.

I usually keep a new plant isolated for a couple of weeks before getting it together with other flora. It is also a good idea to keep a magnifying glass handy for regular inspection of the leaves – especially the undersides to ensure there is no unwanted critter.

Also be sure to remove any weeds from your garden area, as they can act as a carrier for new bugs and plants. When it comes to indoor plants, they are very unlikely to grow weeds but make sure to clear out dead leaves from the plants to keep them protected.

Step 7: Harvest and Have Fun

Harvest and Have Fun

The fun part begins it’s actually the time to harvest your plants and even enjoy them in meals. Keep an eye on the crops close to their harvest time to avoid them from becoming overgrown or overripe.

Typically, the vegetation is ready for harvesting when you see them at a useable size. Check their seed packets to get a rough idea when the plants will be ready for harvesting.

Always remember, vegetables start losing their flavor and nutrients as soon as you pluck them out so harvest them on the same day you are planning to serve. Try keeping aside the mornings for harvesting as at this time the plants are least stressed.

Involve your children in the fun too! Have them pick out easy vegetables that don’t require tools such as tomatoes and carrots.

Above all, make sure to remove the vegetation/herbs without damaging the main follicle. Avoid pulling too hard on the crop and instead use a knife if it’s difficult to pluck them out.

Urban Garden Ideas

Here are some urban garden ideas to help you get started with your plants – regardless of the space you have.

Raised Beds

Raised Beds

Raised beds are a great way to create a sleek landscape. They take up less space and do great if placed in a patio or rooftop. It is also functional as you can grow the same varieties of plants in a single planter. For example, lettuce plants in one and root vegetables in other.

Vertical Urban Gardening

Vertical Urban Gardening

A great option to make the most of your tiny balcony is vertical urban gardening. As the name implies, here you build your garden upwards rather than outwards, leaving a lot of foot space for mobility.

Wall pockets are also a good option for beginners. They are readily available and can be installed easily on the balcony walls. Ferns, Succulents, Dracaena, Begonias, Air plants, and vines all make a great addition to vertical gardens.

Hanging Baskets

Hanging baskets

Hanging baskets are usually limited to flowing flowers but truthfully, they make a great container for growing produce.  Especially herbs do quite well in hanging baskets as they don’t require much growing room. Hang these baskets in your balcony or even out the window to make the most use of the little space you have.

Planting Tables

Planting tables

Another gardening technique for a creative green space is the planting tables. Though generally expensive, planting tables give you the advantage of planting without bending. Obviously they are portable and you can move them around the balcony or roof for a more suitable spot if your plants are not growing properly.

Grow Bags

Grow Bags

If you are not particular about the aesthetics of your garden, then grow bags are the perfect medium for planting. They are cheap, easily movable and can even be washed for reuse multiple times.

How to start a Community Garden?

start a Community Garden

Community gardens are shared places where the people of the neighborhood maintain a garden space to grow vegetation, herbs, and even livestock. These type of gardens are ideal for low-income areas as it provides healthy and budget-friendly food options for the families.

The people working in these gardens take advantage of physical exercise, sunshine, and therapeutic/mental benefits. A community garden can also change the culture of a neighborhood by connecting them with a shared activity/interest and enhancing togetherness.

Environmental benefits are also apparent with a small garden in the neighborhood. Plants reduce the overall temperature of the paved spaces. The environment of a community is improved by adding greenery in the area so rather than empty lots, the space between buildings can be filled with flowers or even food.

Urban Gardening Books

I am sure the above tips have given you an inspiration to start your own garden. For more comprehensive details on how to start your own garden, planning the basics, and maintenance tips, check out our top five picks of the urban gardening books.

1.    Small-Space Container Gardens: Transform your Balcony, Porch, or Patio with Fruits, Flowers, Foliage, and Herbs – by Fern Richardson

Small-Space Container Gardens

Buy On Amazon

 
As the name suggests, the book by Fern Richardson explores the possibilities of garden in small spaces. But what makes it unique is that it includes several tips that can help you start a container garden even if you have a limited budget.

Moreover, the book includes colorful and easy-to-follow designs that can be replicated by gardeners of any experience level.

2.    Balcony Gardening by Jeff Hasse

Balcony Gardening

Buy On Amazon

Most city dwellers live in apartments with only balconies as their escapades for the outside world. Unfortunately, most balconies are neglected by home owners and are used only for hanging laundry and storing extra items.

In this book, Jeff Hasse shows how he started his urban gardening journey right from his balcony and grew various vegetables and herbs from the confined space.

3.    Urban Gardening: How to Grow Food in Any City Apartment or Yard No Matter How Small’ by Will Cook

How to Grow Food in Any City Apartment

Buy On Amazon

The introductory course to gardening in the city, Will cook explores multiple urban gardening techniques that are suitable for people in both – apartments and small houses. The 14-chapter book will teach you everything you need to know about growing your own fruits and vegetables.

Complete with pictures and step-by-step tutorials, the book is a handy resource for aspiring green thumbers.

4.    Homegrown Herbs: A Complete Guide to Growing, Using, and Enjoying More Than 100 Herbs by Tammi Hartung

Homegrown Herbs

Buy On Amazon

Herbs are a favorite amongst urban gardeners and with the help of this book – you can grow more than 100 herbs in your apartment. Tammi Hartung also shows you how you can make use of these herbs in food, herbal remedies, body care products, and even DIY crafts.

5.    The Ultimate Gardening Book – Joy Louis

The Ultimate Gardening Book

Buy On Amazon

The four-in-one book on gardening, this guide covers everything you need to know about the topic. From planning the garden to watering properly, the Ultimate Gardening Book provides you with all the secrets you need to know about urban gardening.

Written by one of the best-selling authors, the book is perfect for both – beginner and veteran gardeners.

Summary

In today’s world, people are more cautious about the items they put in their mouth. Since there is no guarantee about the chemistry supermarket product contains – many people have resorted to growing their own kitchen ingredients with urban gardening.

And with these tips, you too can enjoy the joy of planting with ease. Good luck and let us know how it works for you in the comments section below!


Your Step-By-Step Guide to Growing the Elephant Ear Plant

As the name suggests, the heart-shaped leaves of the Elephant Ear Plant will reminisce you of the elephant’s ear. Grown ... Read moreYour Step-By-Step Guide to Growing the Elephant Ear Plant

As the name suggests, the heart-shaped leaves of the Elephant Ear Plant will reminisce you of the elephant’s ear. Grown for their ornamental value, the plant can be grown in either – garden or container for an exotic layout. Surprisingly, they are very easy to grow as well and will stand proud in the right environment.

Read on to find out how in this step-by-step guide to elephant ear plant care.

Related articleHoya Plant: The Ultimate Guide to Care and Maintenance for the Wax Plant

Step 1: Choosing the Elephant Ear Plant Types

Elephant Ear Plant Types

Throughout the years, various cultivation methods have produced a variety of elephant ears in different colors, shapes, and sizes. They are not zone limited and gardeners living in any hardiness zone from 3 – 11 can enjoy growing them with ease. The key is to select the right type of elephant plant and care for them as required.

The four main types of elephant plants you will find at the local nurseries include:

1. Colocasia

Zones: 7 – 12 Exposure: Full Sun Soil: Medium to Wet Height: 3 to 10 feet Spread: 2 to 10 feet

Colocasia is the most common type of elephant ears. It is common in the swampy areas of Asia and spans over 200 species. They are mostly recognized by their large, pelted leaves that grow rapidly – in the right environment.

However, you may want to be careful when choosing a colocasia species as some varieties are known to be invasive.

  • Black Magic is the most interesting variety of colocasia. They are recognized by the bluish-black leaves and red-orange flowers. This species can grow up to 5 feet tall.
  • Black Stem Elephant Ear produces large heart-shaped leaves of blue-green coloring. The foliage is adorned with dark green veins and a shiny black cast. It is one of the easiest to grow variety and prefers a sunny location with sufficient moisture.
  • Hawaiian Punch is a variety, ideal for container gardening. It has lime green foliage with dark red veins on the backside. It grows up to 3 feet in height when fully matured.
  • Colocasia Coffee Cups is the newest addition to the elephant ear plant family. They are vigorous growers and can reach a height of 6 feet when provided with full sun and moist soil. They are identified by their cup-shaped foliage and black stems.
  • Colocasia Esculenta or Taro is a common houseplant with heart-shaped leaves of green plants. Both its roots and leaves are edible and are a famous addition to Asian cuisines.

2. Alocasia

Zones: 7 – 11 Exposure: Part Shade to Full Shade Soil: Moist and Well-Drained Height: 2 to 6 feet Spread: 2 to 6 feet

Often called the African mask plant, this plant of elephant ear is characterized by its upward pointing leaves. Unlike other elephant ear plant types, the leaves of Alocasia are not edible. Some popular varieties of the Alocasia species include:

  • Alocasia Amazonica is usually grown for its ornamental value and is awarded Garden Merit by the Royal Horticultural Society this plant is defined by its deep green leaves that is arrow-shaped with wavy-edges. They enjoy warmth, humidity, and water.
  • Alocasia Stingray has large leaves that resemble the wings and tails of its namesake. They are very easy to grow and generally do well in an indoor environment. However, the glossy green leaves of stingray are toxic so make sure to keep them away from children and pets.
  • Alocasia Odora can grow up to 4 feet with amazing looking paddle-shaped leaves. As the name suggests, the plant produces fragrant flowers and is often referred as the ‘Night Scented Lily’.
  • Alocasia Portora has huge green leaves on a purple-colored stem. These plants grow quite tall – up to 5 feet in full to partial sunlight.

3. Caladium

Zones: 10 – 11 Exposure: Sun to Partial Shade Soil: Moist and Acidic Height: 6 inches to 3 feet Spread: Up to 2 feet

4. Xanthosoma

Zones: 8 – 10 Exposure: Partial to Full Shade Soil: Moist and Well-Drained Height: 2 – 4 feet Spread: 1 – 4 feet

 Natives to tropical America, the Xanthosoma requires humid and warm conditions. Similar to colocasia, some varieties of the Xanthosoma elephant ears also produces edible leaves and roots.

Xanthosoma has around 75 varieties that are renowned for their beautiful leaves. Some common ones include:

  • Xanthosoma Lime Ginger is considered the ‘lightbulb’ of any garden with its neon-green color leaves. It is low-growing and reaches approximately 3 – 4 feet in height. However, the leaves are huge and can extend up to 2 feet.
  • Xanthosoma Lindenii is one of the most beautiful varieties of Xanthosoma. They are identified by their large green leaves with bold white/cream colored veins.
  • Xanthosoma Brasiliense is widely grown in Asia for its edible stems and leaves. The Brasiliense, also known as Tahitian spinach and Tahitian taro is rich in calcium, vitamin C, iron, and potassium.

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Step 2: Selecting the Site

Selecting the Site

If you are planning to plant the elephant ears in a garden or yard, select a place that gets full or part sun. Personally, I am not a big fan of just placing the elephant ears anywhere in the garden as their beauty can diminish in the midst of other plants.

Choose a focal point for their placement. They generally do well with other plants and you can try growing them alongside other tropical plant varieties such as bananas, cannas, and variegated tropica.

They also do well in mix containers as indoor centerpieces. Combine them with other flowering plants that prefer the same environment in a large, oversized container for an impressive appearance.

The best time to grow elephant ear plant is the spring season – well after the threat of frost has passed. You can also start them indoors a month before the last expected frost date.

The place you choose should have rich, organic soil. Make sure to keep a good distance – of around 2 -4 feet between the elephant ear bulbs so they can spread out efficiently.

Dig a large hole and place the bulb so it is 4 inches deeper than the soil line. Keep the pointed side of the tuber facing up and cover it completely with soil and water.

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Step 3: Elephant Ear Plant Care

Elephant ears are generally easy going plants and don’t require much attention once the planting process is completed. A few basic aftercare include:

Water

One thing that elephant ears cannot survive without is – Water. Keep the soil moist at all times for sufficient growth of these plants. Especially during the dry season, ensure that the plants are receiving regular moisture.

Try watering during the morning. This will give the plant enough time to dry out before the evening. Watering early in the day also reduces the occurrence of some common plant diseases as well.

The elephant ears are sensitive to tap water and if possible – provide them with a supply of rainwater for adequate growth. If that is not possible, keep a bucket full of tap water aside for a day before applying to your plants.

Fertilizer

Elephant ears are heavy feeders and require fertilizers throughout their growing stage. Start them off with a light, slow-release fertilizer as soon as new growth starts appearing. However, do avoid putting fertilizer on the leaves or the crown of the plants to avoid plant injury and burns.

Fertilizers should be applied every 2 – 3 weeks for the best results.

Pruning

Just like any other fast-growing plant, elephant ears require frequent grooming to stay neat and tidy. Keep weeds under control by regularly cultivating or using mulch to prevent their seeds from germinating.

However, when using a mulch, make sure to keep them away from a plant’s stem to prevent rot. Use organic mulch when possible as well.

Winter Care

Lower the water intake during the winter months. Bring the elephant ear plant indoors during these months as elephant ears are quite susceptible to frost.

If you live in a very cold region, it is best to save them for the next spring season.

Carefully remove the bulbs and store them in dry peat moss or wood shavings. Keep it in a warm, dry, and dark place. Replant them as the season gets warmer.

Related articleHow to Care for a Rose of Jericho Plant

Step 4: Look out for Pests and Diseases

Elephant Ear Plant Pests and Diseases

Elephant ears are vulnerable to a few common problems that can spread if not addressed properly. Keep an eye for any changes in the plant’s growth, color, and size – and take proactive measures accordingly.

Dasheen Mosaic Virus

It is the most common virus that, unfortunately – has no cure. So every effort should be made to avoid its occurrence. The most characteristic sign of this disease is uneven patterns on the leaves along with a halt in growth.

In case an infection does occur, the plant should be removed immediately.

1. Root Rot

Root rot often occurs due to overhead watering. Avoid giving the plant water from the top and concentrate only on keeping the soil moist. Using quality water is also essential to prevent root rot.

Similar to the mosaic, there is no cure for root rot – except practicing proper sanitization.

2. Aphids

Aphids are insects of green, red, black, or peach color. They spread their disease by feeding on the undersides of the elephant ear leaves. A sticky residue on the leaf is usually a telltale sign of the disease.

Try washing the leaves with strong insecticidal soap or spray.

3. Mealybugs

A common plant insect, the mealybugs leave a white, waxy powder on stems, branches, and leaves. They suck the juices from a plant’s leaves and stems causing growth stunt.

Washing off the infected plant or rubbing the leaves helps remove the bugs.

4. Root Maggots

The maggots are white in color and feed on roots. They cause brown holes in the root and cause the growth to halt. Pesticides are recommended to cure the problem.

5. Spider Mites

The spider-like pests are red, black, brown, or yellow in color. They excrete the plant juices that cause white dots to appear on the leaves. Webbing is also visible on the plant. They are very fast-growing, especially in dry areas.  If not detected timely – the spider mites can cause the whole plant to die.

Wiping the leaves with a wet washcloth helps to remove the mites. A garden hose also does the work quickly.

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Step 5: Read our FAQ for the best growth

FAQ for the best growth

The last step to caring for your elephant ear plant is reading our FAQ guide. Here, we have covered some of the basic questions that come in the mind of gardeners who are planning the elephant ears for the first time.

1. How long does it take for the Elephant Ears to sprout?

It takes around 3 – 8 weeks for the first hint of elephant ears to erupt from the soil. This is also dependent on your growing conditions as they sprout faster in warmer climates, rather than colder. I also suggest bringing the elephant ear plant indoors for some time to speed up the process.

2. My Elephant Ears have stopped growing. What could be the reason?

Elephant ears are perennials. This means that they will come back each summer, once the weather becomes suitable for its growth.

3. Can Elephant Ear plant poison my children, pets, and myself?

Although many cultures have eaten some varieties of elephant ears safely, I advise against eating them in large quantities. Especially children and pets should be kept away from these plants as it contains high amounts of oxalic acid.

Some symptoms of elephant ear plant poison include:

  • vomiting or nausea
  • diarrhea
  • blisters and burning in the mouth
  • swelling in the mouth or on the face
  • redness and burning of eyes
  • pain when swallowing

Contact a poison control center immediately if symptoms worsen or high amounts of elephant ear leaves are consumed.

4. Do Elephant Ear flower?

Very uncommon but yes, some gardeners have reported blooming of their elephant ears for a few specific varieties. Their main beauty, however, lies in its foliage and not for the flowers.

In fact, some gardeners often remove the elephant ear flower as it emerges to maintain the plant’s attractiveness.

5. My plant is losing leaves! Help!

Don’t worry! It’s quite natural for the elephant ears to lose their leaves and make room for new growth. Continue caring for them as advised above and remove any fallen leaf from the garden bed to keep the plant’s surrounding tidy.

Get Ready to Plant

Now that you know all about the elephant ear plant, it’s time to put your green thumb to test. Give it a try and let us know how the planting experience worked out for you in the comments below!


Mexican Fencepost Cactus Care Tips

How tall do you think a cactus plant can grow? Well, we know you must have a guest about a ... Read moreMexican Fencepost Cactus Care Tips

How tall do you think a cactus plant can grow? Well, we know you must have a guest about a foot or two. However, a Mexican Fencepost Cactus can grow up to the height of a single-story home easily. The cactus requires minimum supervision or care to grow to its fullest.

As the name suggests this plant grows in Mexico where heat and humidity are at its maximum. Most people prefer to grow it in their front or backyard closer together to create a fence look. This plant has spikes all over it, that can easily act as a protection against animal or theft activity.

To keep these plants indoor, it requires a little more care and attention. It grows 1 to 3 feet each year and can overcrowd the house. To know all about this cactus plant keep on reading as we will share some useful plant care tips.

Tips to Grow Mexican Fencepost Cactus Faster

Tips to grow Mexican Fencepost Cactus

Mexican Fencepost cactus is a succulent plant that most people take for granted. This plant has impeccable benefits when kept indoors or outdoors. However, to grow this cactus plant to its full potential some elements are crucial, that are mentioned as follows:

Soil

The soil necessary to grow this plant is any regular cactus soil. However, one of the most important things to keep in mind is to select soil with maximum drainage. These plants hate moisture although occasional watering is essential to keep them thriving.

Cactus soil is one of the best things you can give to your cactus plant. Once in a while, switch or mix the regular soil with cactus soil to stimulate the growth of the plant. Soil conditioner is also a phenomenal way to keep your plant growing at an exemplary pace.

Sunlight

To grow this plant sunlight plays a huge role like Manfreda and Kedrostis Africana plants. This plant usually grows fully when it is under direct sunlight. This plant has certain characteristics that make it immune to sun damage and intense drought conditions.

If you decide to keep this cactus plant indoors to add an accent color or uplift the vibe of your room, try to keep it in a corner where sunlight hits the most. They do not die in less sunlight, but they might not grow that well.

Water

This plant needs only a little amount of water to survive intense heat. In dryer months where the sun is extremely bright, try to water this plant at least a month. In winters or spring, this plant needs no water at all.

Indoor pot

This plant keeps on growing and its growth in height stops once it reaches a substantial level. If you keep it indoors, make sure you select a terra cotta pot with intense depth and width. Switch the pot every once in a while, to provide enough room for growth.

Propagation and Repotting of Mexican Fencepost Cactus

Propagation and repotting of Mexican fencepost cactus

Mexican Fencepost cactus looks best when it is grown side by side to achieve a fence-like look. Here is how you can create numerous clones:

Propagation by stem

You can create numerous clones of this cactus plant by cutting the fleshy stem. After cutting the stem through a sharp object or surgical knife, let it dry for a while. After drying, plant each stem piece by making a small cut at the base. Plant each stem at an equal distance to establish a fence look.

Propagation through seed

To propagate through seed, you need to wait for a long period to achieve the desired height. However, it is an easy and cheap process to gain substantial growth easily.

Repotting

When growing the plant indoors, make sure you switch the pots once in a while and upgrade to a bigger one. Choose a pot that does not restrict the plant’s growth.

Pest and insect control

To control pests and insects in Mexican Fencepost cactus, you need professional pest control service as mites can get bad.

Where to Buy Mexican Fencepost Cactus

Where to buy Mexican Fencepost cactus

Amazon is a great place to buy a succulent plant at a cheaper price. They deliver this cactus plant to express delivery at multiple locations. If you have a hard time finding this plant locally, order it on Amazon.

Check Price On Amazon

Conclusion

Mexican Fencepost Cactus is a fantastic species that adds a great accent to your home. This plant has an aura of its own and provides a feel of Los Angeles hot lands. If you are a plant freak then this plant should surely be on top of your list.


How to Care and Grow the Lithops Living Stone Plant

If you have ever mistaken the lithops living stones for rocks, then you are not the only one! The lithops ... Read moreHow to Care and Grow the Lithops Living Stone Plant

If you have ever mistaken the lithops living stones for rocks, then you are not the only one! The lithops are a unique type of succulents that boast a stone-like appearance. However, they are a popular type of plant that is a favorite of many garden enthusiasts for many reasons.

Read on to find out why and how you can also grow your share of living stone plants.

An Overview of the Plant

An Overview of the Lithops Living Stone Plant

Lithops are native to the southern regions of Africa and belong to the Aizocea or the ice plant family. They are fondly called pebble plants, living stones, split rocks, and butt plants for their appearance.

Interestingly, succulents are very clever plants. In their natural environment, they camouflage with the surrounding colors and patterns to mimic the look of stones. This blends them into their habitat, protecting them from getting eaten by animals.

In general, the plants are short in height and hardly grow an inch taller than the soil they live in. they grow only two leaves, which are very thick and resemble the cleft of an animal foot. The old leaves are replaced by a new set each year, while the old set can be removed.

These plants are long-lived as well. In fact, you can expect them to live for up to 50 years – and even in the same container, thanks to its small size.

They flower during autumn and early winter, producing light yellow, white, or pale orange flowers with multiple petals. The flowers would open during the sunny days and close again as the sunsets. The size of the flowers varies, depending on the cultivator and growing condition.

Some flowers are also scented. New leaves start growing after the flowering process is completed.

The Different Types of Lithops

The Different Types of Lithops Plant

Approximately 37 species and around 145 varieties of succulents are present. It was initially discovered by William Burchell, a traveling artist, and collector of historic items in the Northern Cape province of South America. He picked it up, mistaken it for a rock – to find it a plant instead. Since then, several more types of lithops are regularly discovered by the breeders.

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Some of the most common ones include:

Lithops Aucampiae

This variety of plant originates from South Africa. It is naturally grown in sandstone, quartzite, and ironstone-based soils. However, if you are growing it as a houseplant, you can use sandy and well-draining soils successfully as well.

When it comes to appearance, the living stone is usually red to red-brown in color. They produce pale yellow flowers that appear similar to daisies.

Lithops Dorothea

Discovered by Dorothea Huyssteen in South Africa, this species boasts vibrant patterns on the leaves that would convince you that they are painted rocks. It has a cream-colored base with

Brown and red specks.

It produces bright yellow flowers annually.

Lithops Fulviceps

Native to Namibia, the Fulviceps enjoy cooler desert temperatures or rocky mountainous areas. The leaves of this species are very similar to kidney beans and boast a greyish-green or yellowish-hue.

The Lithops Fulviceps produces flowers of yellow or white coloring – depending on the cultivator.

Lithops Hookeri

Lithops Hookeri is another South African stone plant. Unlike other lithops types, this species can grow quite large and usually forms clumps of up to 10 leaf pairs.

In coloring, the leaves can range from brownish to reddish-pink tones, with occasional specks of orange. At the same time, the side of the leaves are dull grey or greyish-brown in color. The flowers are usually bright yellow.

Lithops Karasmontana

Named after the Karas Mountains in Namibia, this type of lithops camouflage the grey and brown hues of local quartzite stones. The sides are uniformly grey with tinges of brown, while it produces a brilliant white flower with a yellow center.

It can also be found in the southwestern regions of South Africa.

Lithops Lesliei

The species is common in Botswana and the Northern Cape of South Africa. It is considered one of the most vibrant lithops for its coloring that ranges from bright green to deep rusty orange. The flower this plant produces is typically yellow. However, white flowers are also present in some cultivators.

The Leslei is almost stemless and is able to hide in the surrounding, better than other varieties. It sits very low amongst the soil as well, making it very challenging to spot.

Lithops Localis

Native to the southern Karoo region of South Africa, the lithops localis is uniformly gray or greenish-gray in color. It often grows amongst rocks of same hues as a way to disguise itself from predators.

The lithops localis can tolerate poor watering habits far better than other lithops types. It flowers usually in the fall season.

Lithops Optica

Native to Namibia, Optica is a good option if you are considering outdoor planting in area that experiences light winter rain.

This species has several varieties with colors ranging from bright pink and purple to dull shades of gray and brown.

Lithops Pseudotruncatella

Hailing from southwestern Africa, the pseudotruncatella features an even grey tone with leaves speckled with cream, olive green, and rusty hues.

Unfortunately, this is one of the few species which is regularly subjected to mealybug attacks. Other than that, the pseudotruncatella is a sturdy variety of lithops and can last for months without any watering.

Lithops Ruschiorum

Strongly resembling a natural marble, this variety features a cream coloring with tan or grey mottling. It produces flowers of yellow color and generally lives in the cold and rocky regions of the Namibia.

Lithops Salicola

The salt-dwelling living stone can be found in both Namibia and South Africa. It is highly tolerant of dry and cool temperatures. However, freezing weather should be avoided for this species.

A recipient of the Award of Garden Merit by the Royal Horticultural Society, this variety of lithops is one of the easiest to grow as well. It produces bright white or yellow flowers during the late summer or early fall.

Lithops Verruculosa

Coming from South Africa, this species of succulents is the most distinguishable from the rest due to the ‘warts’ it features. The tiny growths range in shades of red atop a greyish-green base.

Some varieties of this plant produce pink flowers, though yellow and white are the most common.

Lithops Viridis

Commonly known as the green rock plant, this species of lithops exhibits a uniform green color with a speck of pink around the edges. The flowers are usually yellow with a white center.

It is native to the Northern Cape of South Africa.

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Lithops Plant Care

For the most part, Lithops are pretty hardy and easy to care for. But there are a few guidelines that you should know when planting one in your home.

Light

In their natural environment, the lithops thrives in full sun. However, in the gardens or as a houseplant – 5 hours of full sunlight should be sufficient for the plant.

However, if you are keeping it indoors, make sure to place the container near a window that receives bright light during the daytime. Make sure to rotate the plant from time to time as well so each area gets equal amounts of light. Remember that failing to do so will result in a misshaped plant.

Color loss can also occur if your plant is not getting enough light. Change its location if you find the leaves of the succulent fading or appearing less pronounced.

Temperature

The ideal temperature for growing the lithops is 65 degrees F to 80 degrees F. they cannot tolerate freezing temperature and suffice well in areas falling in USDA Hardiness Zone 10a to 11b.

Humidity

Lithops are able to tolerate humidity in small amounts as it absorbs moisture from the air to fulfill its water requirements. However, consistent humidity can cause problems for the plants. This is why make sure to avoid keeping the succulent in areas that get high humidity, such as bathroom and kitchens.

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Water

In their natural habitats, lithops live in extreme drought-like conditions in the area that gets very little rainfall. Due to this, you can easily get away with some neglect when it comes to watering the pebble plant.

Moreover, its fleshy leaves are filled with moisture to help the plant survive when external sources of water are not available.

In most cases, however, the watering schedule should vary according to the season. During the growing season, water the plants slightly every two weeks – or when the soil appears dried out.

Most lithops living stones go into the dormancy stage during the winter season so it’s best to avoid watering during this time.

Always remember that overwatering is a silent killer of the succulents and it’s ideal that you hold back on the water as much as possible.

Keep an eye on the rainfall if you have planted them outside as well. If your specific area experiences long periods of rainfall and storms, I suggest bringing them indoors to prevent it from getting too much water.

Lithops Soil

When they are in their natural habitats, the lithops soil is basically sand and other natural material that does not retain water.

At home, I usually prefer planning the lithops in the cactus mix. You can also try your hand at a DIY soil mix by blending half potting soil with half sand.

As I mentioned above, overwatering is a strict no-no for the succulent. So make sure any growing medium you use has the ability to drain quickly.

Fertilizer

Lithops are generally non-fussy plants and can thrive perfectly well without being fed. But if you want, you can add a little fertilizer to their soil just before their flowering period to help them produce bigger and better flowers.

You can also choose a fertilizer with high potassium content to encourage blooming. However, make sure to take caution as the plant can burn very easily. And if you are unsure about the content of the fertilizer, I suggest that you let it be without it.

Repotting

Repotting is rare for lithops and you can happily keep them in the same container for years – even decades.

The only reason to repot them is for propagation or to change their container. But regardless of the reason, if you do decide to repot, I suggest that you be very careful with the root system. The taproots of the succulent are very sensitive and an essential component of the plant’s survival. Any damage to the roots can cause the plant to die

Pruning

Pruning is another part of lithops care that you don’t have to worry about when it comes to lithops. When the new leaves erupt, the set of old leaves eventually slough off on their own – saving you from the hassle.

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Lithops Propagation

Lithops Propagation

Many gardeners prefer propagating lithops from the seed. To do this, you simply prepare a pot with the recommended soil and sprinkle the seeds over the surface. Cover the same with a fine layer of sand and keep it lightly moist until germination occurs.

On the other hand, lithops propagation can be done via division. Carefully remove one cluster of plant from the pot. Use a sterilize razor blade to neatly remove the leaf pairs with a good amount of taproot attached.

Repot the plant as suggested above.

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Problems with Lithops Living Stones

Problems with Lithops Living Stones

Most of the problems associated with the plant come from overwatering. As long as you keep the water level at a minimum, your attractive foliage will last you for many decades.

But yes, there are some pests and diseases that you need to be careful of when growing any variety of lithops. Some common problems include:

Growing Problems

The living stones need lights to thrive. If you find the plant stretching and warping to reach sunlight – instead of lying flat on the soil surface, chances are your succulents are getting very less light.

The leaves of these plants may also become wrinkly if they become dehydrated. If you find them shriveling up at any time during the year, its best to give it some light sprinkling and it will revive back in 2 -3 days.

However, your plant is going through the regrowth stage if see scrapes of white or brown – like the scratches on human skin. The scars will remain on the leaves until a new one appears. Ultimately, the old leaf will shrivel up and wither away.

Pests

Similarly, pests usually shy away from the lithops on most occasions. Except a few such as spider mites, mealybugs, and aphids.

Spider mites are the most common when it comes to infecting lithops. They usually hide in the crevices between two leaves and cause white spots on the plant.

A light spray of water is usually enough to remove the buggers away. You can also spray the surface with a reliable mite control product or insecticidal soap.

Interestingly, mice may find your lithops a great hiding spot. They may also chew a good portion of the plant if you don’t notice. To ensure protection, I usually keep a few mouse traps around the plants. Cover the lithops with light mesh clothing if you are keeping them outside.

Diseases

Generally, the lithops are hardly affected by diseases. The only problem they are susceptible to is rots – caused by overwatering.

Excessive watering can break the fleshy leaves, making them vulnerable to bacterial infection. Scrapes or cuts on the leaves from any incident can also put them at risk.

Toxicity

The biggest worry most home gardeners have regarding new plants is if it is poisonous. When it comes to lithops, many people have admitted to chewing the leaves in Namibia so it’s unlikely to be toxic.

The ASPCA has also marked them as non-toxic for dogs and cats.

However, whether or not you decide to nibble on the plant – remember that any spray you have used on the leaves may potentially be poisonous. So, it’s best to keep children and pets away from the leaves if you have concerns.

Ready to Grow

Ready to Grow Lithops Living Stone

Now that you know all about the succulent beauties, why not plant some of your own? As you can see, they are super-easy to grow and require hardly any maintenance. So give it a try and don’t forget to share your experiences with us.

You can also reach out to me if you have any questions or gardening concerns in the comments section below!


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