Category: Tropical Style

Flower Landscaping Ideas for Front Yards in the Springtime

Flowers in the front yard improve the curb appeal of the home. Several flowering plants produce spring blooms, allowing the gardener to design a springtime showcase in the backyard. Creating a spring look wakes up the landscape following a gray winter and welcomes the warmer seasons in with brightly coloured flowers.

Annual Flowers

Annual flower beds allow the gardener to change the look of the bed each year once the flowers are replanted. Many annuals start blooming in the spring and last throughout the warmer months of the year. 1 spring annual includes Johnny-jump-ups (Viola tricolor), which produce purple, white and yellow pansylike flowers in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 3 through 9. This plant reaches less than 6 inches tall and tends to self-seed every year. Superbells “Dreamsicle” calibrachoa (Calibrachoa Superbells “Dreamsicle”), in USDA zones 10 and 11, grows salmon and orange petunialike flowers that produce a carpet of cascading stems 6 to 12 inches tall. Other annuals to plant include English daisies (Bellis perennis), “Imagination” verbenas (Verbena speciosa “Imagination”), “Summer Sundae” sweet Williams (Dianthus barbatus “Summer Sundae”) and bachelor’s buttons (Centaurea cyanus).

Spring-Flowering Bulbs

Spring-flowering bulbs are among the first flowers to welcome spring into the backyard. The bulbs are planted throughout the fall, usually around the first two or three weeks in November. Most spring coats enjoy areas with full sun exposure. Some sweetly fragrant bulbs include hyacinths (Hyacinthus spp.) , which grow best in USDA zones 4 through 9. These flowers are available in pink, red, orange, yellow, blue, purple and white colors and look best when planted in groups. More showy spring coats are tulips (Tulipa spp.) , crocuses (Crocus spp.) and daffodils (Narcissus spp.) .

Spring-Flowering Shrubs

Spring-flowering shrubs function well in foundation plantings to conceal utilities and other unslghtly areas. Many spring-blooming bushes are some of the very first plants to flower in the spring and catch the interest of guests. One of the first flowering shrubs is that the Magical gold forsythia (Forsythia x intermedia “Kolgold”), that grows to 5 feet tall and spreads 4 feet broad in USDA zones 5 through 9. Bright yellow-gold flowers appear on bare stems in the spring prior to the rich green leaves appear. “Snow Panda” fringe flowers (Loropetalum chinense “Snow Panda”) develop on a vase-shaped bush with arching branches in USDA hardiness zones 7 through 9. The snow-white flowers appear in the early spring with sage-colored evergreen leaves on this 8- to 10-foot-tall bush.

Spring-Flowering Borders

Spring-flowering borders contain a mixture of perennials, ground covers, ornamental grasses and short shrubs. Spread shredded bark mulch between the plants to reduce weed growth. An edging involving the lawn area and border creates a defined separation. 1 spring perennial is that the bleeding heart (Dicentra spectabilis), which creates soft green leaves and heart-shaped blossoms in USDA zones 3 through 9. The pink-and-white flowers reach up to 3 feet tall and wide. Crown imperial (Fritillaria imperialis) produces clusters of leaves across the base of a 3-foot-tall, almost black stem topped with bell-shaped orange, yellow and yellow flowers under a palmlike canopy of leathery leaves at USDA zones 5 through 9.

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The Care of Fruit Tree Grafts After Grafting

Grafting is a technique employed by a number of fruit growers to combine 1 part of a fruit tree having another to grow a new plant. The goal of grafting fruit trees is typically to produce plants which are like the parent plant by combining part of the parent plant with rootstock. A successful graft means that the 2 regions of the union begin growing together as a brand new plant. This achievement is dependent on the appropriate care of the graft before this new growth happens.

Protect the Seal

Fruit tree grafts contain a rootstock and a scion. The scion is that the cut portion of a plant, like a bud or shoot that is joined into the rootstock. Grafts need to be properly sealed to make sure that the 2 pieces of plant used to make the graft are in constant contact, which makes sure that the graft pieces grow together. Wax is typically utilized to seal fruit tree grafts and provide a barrier that prevents moisture loss, which may cause a graft to dry out and fail. Monitor the seal and then make certain it does not crack. Even in the event that you see growth on the scion, this does not mean that your fruit tree graft is finished its growth procedure. Important changes and temperatures may get the graft union to enlarge, which may crack the seal. If this happens before fall, reseal the union even in the event that you see new growth.

Temperature and Humidity

Your graft demands high humidity but not soaking. Do not allow water to drop onto the graft because this can lead to moisture seeping between the rootstock and the scion, which disrupts the fusing of the cambium. On the other hand, dry air will cause the graft to dry out, which kills the scion. Keep the humidity around your tree consistent by wrapping plastic around the graft. This prevents wind and water, which may dry the graft, from causing the union to neglect. Make sure the soil is moist around the base of the tree, especially during and after it creates buds in the summer, when states may be drier than in other growth intervals.

Suckers and Rootstock Growths

A rootstock increase or sucker is just a plant that can sprout from the fruit tree trunk or roots at any time. Because the scion is weak, this increase can create the union to neglect by out-competing that the scion for nutrients and water. Should you visit rootstock growth below the graft, prune it off immediately. Including suckers that sprout up around the base of the tree. Suppressing rootstock and sucker growth ensures that the energy needed to finish the union is sent into the graft rather than to the rootstock. Along with this increase, watch for new growth on the scion. This means the graft union is a triumph, but your plant remains weak. After new growth appears, keep the graft area sheltered from wind and rain.

Prevent Girdling

The seal or wrap in your graft union is there to guard it, but once the scion rises and expands beyond the seal or wrap, growth may be limited. If the seal is tight or begins to decipher, and you’ve verified that the scion has new growth, you can get rid of the seal and permit unrestricted growth. However, this shouldn’t be done until the fall to avoid drying of the union. If the scion has outgrown its seal in the summertime, remove the old one and also apply a new seal.

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How to begin Cucumber Plants in Cardboard Tubes

Cucumbers need warm soil and sunlight to create nicely. Starting the seeds inside approximately four to six weeks before you’d plant them outside gives you a jump start on the growing season so plants can begin producing earlier. Cucumber roots can undergo damage during transplanting. Cardboard tubes, such as paper towel rolls, provide a cost-effective and environmentally friendly way to create your very own biodegradable pots which you plant whole in the garden, which lessens root disturbance.

Cut the cardboard tube to 3-inch long segments. Bend the underside 1/2 inch of this tube inward, working around the opening, to form a bottom.

Set the tubes, open side up, in a tray to catch water as it drains. Fill each tube into the rim with moist potting soil.

Sow 1 cucumber seed in each tube, planting the seed approximately 1 inch deep. Cover the tray with a plastic bag to keep the moisture from the dirt so you don’t have to water until after germination.

Set the tray in spot at 60 degrees Fahrenheit or warmer. Check the pots daily and remove the bag as soon as they begin sprouting, which may take up to seven days.

Move the tray into a sunny window where the seedlings receive at least six hours of direct sun. Water the seedlings when the ground’s surface feels dry.

Transplant the seedlings outside after frost danger has passed and the soil temperature is above 60 F. Dig a hole 1/2 inch heavier than the tube and twice as broad. Peel the underside off the tube and set it at the hole so its rim is right beneath the ground’s surface. Fill the hole around the tube, covering the rim.

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How to Prevent Grass from Growing Around Tree Flower Beds

Flower beds around your trees give your yard or backyard a cultivated and attractive appearance. When creating the beds, remove all sod in massive bits, to decrease the odds of stray blades growing within the bed. To keep the borders tidy and use of blissful grass, utilize edging, mulches or groundcover plants to decrease the odds of grass encroaching to your flowers’ garden space.

Bed Preparation and Lawn Maintenance

When preparing your flower bed, remove all roots of grasses in addition to the blades themselves. By cutting deeper, you take out more origins, reducing the odds that the grass will grow back. If you’re cutting around an established tree nevertheless, do so with care. The feeder roots of a tree lie close to the soil surface, often at the top 18 inches under the soil surface. Digging too deeply can lead to damaged tree roots. While pouring boiling water onto stray blades will kill any grass along the borders, among the easiest ways to prevent grass creep is regular yard care. Mow your lawn and trim the borders regularly to decrease overgrowth and spillage.


Edging helps keep stray blades of grass out of creeping over your bed border and growing one of your flowers. The more difficult the border, the more delineated your beds will be. Edging choices include hard vinyl or metal edging and brick, tile or even massive rocks. Edging functions best for trees which are that have just been planted, as older trees often have large roots which make it hard, if not impossible, to set up edging around. To decrease the possibility that grass will grow through your edging, dig a trench around the edge of the bed prior to installing the edging.


Mulch is any material used to cover soil to allow it to be better preserve moisture and to decrease the quantity of light which strikes the dirt, reducing weed and grass growth. Organic mulches you can use include wood chips, sawdust and dead leaves. You can also opt for synthetic mulches, such as landscape material. While mulching can prevent grass from growing in the bed all around your tree, it’s a tricky proposition as more than 1 to 2 inches of dense mulch can suffocate the tree, as it prevents the feeder roots from getting necessary nutrients, water and oxygen. Never butt mulch against the trunk of this tree as it can cause decay.


Groundcover plants cover the soil and enrich it, while decreasing the amount of weeds and grass which take root, and you can use them as a natural border for your flower bed. Perennial groundcovers are ideal as they will return year after year. Select a low-lying, shade-tolerant goundcover plant, such as Irish Moss (Sagina subulata), sturdy in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 3 through 9, that rises no more than 1 inch high.

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How to Decide What Plants to Place in Paradise

A trip to the nursery may be all it takes to choose what plants to grow in your landscape, but nothing replaces a well-thought-out plan. It can save you money, it can save you time later spent in the garden, and it can create a landscape that blends nicely together and is attractive throughout the year. To help you select plants to your landscape, several parts should be considered. Once your selections are made, measure and execute your plan on paper so you can make changes prior to making any purchases.

Evaluate the investments and costs of the plants. Annuals are generally inexpensive, but they need to be replaced every year. Perennials are more costly but live for several years. Shrubs and trees are excellent investments as they can last for generations, though you need to dig a little deeper in your pockets to afford them, especially if they are big. Bulbous plants typically multiply in time, and you can plan to grow them in various places on your property as the years progress.

Narrow your list of plants down to the ones that grow well in your U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zone, which can be based on winter low temperatures. Use Sunset climate zones that will help you to find plants that also grow well throughout your summers. If you live in a coastal region, choose plants that tolerate salt spray, if necessary. In high-wind places, select plants that could tolerate such problems. The total amount of direct sunlight in your landscape also influences plant selection, because plants require different amounts of sunlight to thrive.

Take note on when distinct plants bloom and what colors, so you can grow a colorful landscape for as many months as possible. Notice which trees and shrubs are deciduous. The leaves of a few trees and shrubs take on a bronze or red color during cooler weather, and winter berries can brighten the landscape during what can be a drab time of year, especially in cooler zones. The height of plants should also be considered so you can plan to grow your taller plants near the rear of a garden area and the smaller ones in front.

Consider how much care the plants need to thrive. Drought-tolerant plants require little boating, as do plants native to your region. Native plants also require little, if any, fertilizing because they already boom in the natural environment near your house. Many annuals require deadheading to bloom proficiently, and many shrubs require regular prunings. If you do not want to spend a lot of time in the garden, then these types of plants are likely not a fantastic selection.

Picture the landscape in full adulthood. You have to provide enough space for trees, shrubs and other plants to grow and flourish. Some can be pruned to keep the size down, but others cannot. Consider any overhead wires, in addition to some other structures. Limbs and roots can sometimes wreak havoc on permanent structures. Planting a large tree beside the house right beneath electrical wires is not a wise idea. Trees may finally block a window of your house, which may or may not be want you want.

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Difference Between Snowball Bush & Hydrangea

Common plant names produce confusion from the botanical world. Various plants might share the exact same common name while having their very own botanical name. Snowball bush is just a term that some use for hydrangeas (Hydrangea spp.) and viburnums (Viburnum spp.) . Although they share the title snowball bush because of their large, white flower heads, hydrangeas and viburnums are distinctively different.

Plant Families

Taxonomists classify plants into families that share similar attributes. The snowball bush viburnum is a member of the Caprifoliaceae, or honeysuckle, family. Viburnum species which bear the familiar white, snowball blooms incorporate European of typical cedar bush (V. opulus) and also Chinese snowball bush (V. macrocephalum). Hydrangeas are comparable plants, which can be in the Hydrangeaceae familymembers. Many species of hydrangeas have the recognizable mophead flowers which bloom in shades of blue or pink depending on land pH. One hydrangea species, H. arborescens, has large, round, white blooms.


Depending on species, hydrangea blossoms might take round, lacecap or panicle shapes. “Annabelle” is the most common cultivar of H. arborescens, also called smooth hydrangea, in the nursery trade. It’s a small, deciduous shrub, reaching heights up to 5 feet and doing best in moist soil under shade. Growing in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 3 through 9, “Annabelle” has white, showy flowerheads that prompt some people to call it a snowball bush.

Snowball Viburnum

Both main viburnums called snowball bush common snowball bush and Chinese snowball bush. Although some viburnum species bear fruit, snowball bush is fruitless. Rather, its focal point are the large, round flower heads which open as lime green, however, change to white. Snowball bush is different from white-flowering hydrangeas in many ways. This is a bigger shrub that can reach heights of 20 feet and prefers sunny areas. It is not as cold-tolerant as hydrangea, growing in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 6 through 9.


Another significant distinction between snowball bush and hydrangea is when to prune them. Snowball bush blooms on the previous season’s old timber, which means you have to prune it immediately after flowering. Otherwise, pruning later in the season eliminates developing flower buds, which means it will not flower the following year. Smooth hydrangea blooms on the current season’s new wood. You can prune it from late winter to early spring and it is going to still blossom during the current season.

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What Are the Causes of Guttation in Plants?

Should you assume those drops of water on the leaves of your garden plants are always dew, you could possibly be wrong. Dew is moisture from the atmosphere and will cover the surface of a leaf, but if you only see droplets on the leaf edges, then you are seeing an example of guttation. This moisture results from the special physics of plant transfer.

Plant Transport Systems

Like all living things, plants will need to transfer moisture and nutrients to all of their tissues. Plants use xylem and phloem as the key vehicles for transfer. Roots pull in water and nutrients from the soil, which are then moved upward into the leaves and stalks from xylem. The leaves use the sun to create energy and food for the plant, which then travels downward into the stems and then the roots through phloem.

Moving Xylem

To get to the leaves from the roots, xylem must overcome the downward pull of gravity. Throughout the day, this can be accomplished by transpiration, a special type of evaporation through holes in the leaves called stomata. The evaporation makes a pull just like a vacuum to drag the xylem up from the roots. At night, transpiration slows in part due to the stomata close, but xylem still needs to stream or the plant will wilt. To do so, the cells from the roots make it possible for minerals to build up. This build up of antioxidants contributes to water, which generates pressure in the main cells. This pressure pushes xylem back up to the leaves.

Xylem and Guttation

Leaves can simply take in a short quantity of water. Throughout the day or in dry conditions, the excess water evaporates because of the sun or wind. At night, cooler temperatures, peaceful states and closed stomata mean that the leaves don’t lose just as much moisture as during the day. After the pressure in the main cells shoves water-carrying xylem up, the stress forces excess water from their leaves through special structures called hydathodes found at the tip and margins or leaves. Guttation mainly occurs at night, but it sometimes happens during the day in areas with high humidity.

Plants and Guttation

Guttation doesn’t occur in every plant. Trees, by way of example, are too large to create the force needed to push xylem upward hard enough to cause guttation. Plants that most commonly experience guttation are non-woody and smaller than 3 feet tall, but some shrubs and vines show guttation as well. Guttation is typically not a problem for plants unless your soil has a high mineral content. Once the water does disappear, the minerals become left behind and can burn the tips of their leaves. Lowering the quantity of fertilizer you use can avoid this burn.

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Ideal Fertilizer Ratio for Orchids

The orchid family (Orchidaceae family) encompasses a huge array of plants in soil-bound North American natives to exotic, tree-dwelling tropicals. With varieties hardy from U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 3 through 12, orchids differ considerably from each other yet share similar nutrient requirements. A balanced, complete fertilizer, such as 20-20-20, provides excellent orchid nutrition in maintaining American Orchid Society recommendations.

Orchid Needs

Proper orchid nourishment is uncomplicated. Like all plants, orchids need nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium in the biggest amounts. These primary macronutrients are the three numbers on fertilizer packaging — always in the same order. Nitrogen (N) fuels green, leafy growth. Phosphorus (P) enhances root growth and flowering, and potassium (K) facilitates overall growth and wellness. Fertilizers that include all three of these essentials are called whole fertilizers. Products with three matching numbers contain equal proportions of these nutrients and are called balanced fertilizers. Complete, balanced nutrition facilitates all of the basic facets of orchid development.

Fertilizer Options

Some specialty orchid fertilizers adapt nutrient ratios for different stages of orchid development. Additional nitrogen facilitates powerful, fresh shoots, while phosphorus and potassium add extra boosts as plants flower or develop origins. These specialty fertilizers are available in a variety of ratios, but all build on a whole, balanced foundation. With bark-grown orchids, like moth orchids (Phalaenopsis spp., USDA zones 10 through 12), bark decomposition may reduce available nitrogen. A whole, 30-10-10 fertilizer offers extra nitrogen for all these plants. Nitrogen delivered in the kind of urea frequently tucked away. Non-urea fertilizers supply orchids with a more successful source, as stated by the American Orchid Society.

Timing and Rates

Orchids’ sensitive origins are vulnerable to fertilizer burn. Less is best. Year-round weekly feedings of all one-fourth-strength fertilizer are preferable to full-strength, monthly feedings for many orchid types. Water orchids with unfertilized water first, and completely wet the origins and growing medium. Then water with a diluted fertilizer solution. For example, dissolve 1/4 tsp of water-soluble, 20-20-20 fertilizer in 1 gallon of water water pre-watered mix well. Fertilize native ground-dwelling orchids, like slipper orchid (Cypripedium kentuckiense, USDA zones 3 through 8), from spring during the flowering season using the same diluted solution.

Water Factors

Salts from fertilizers or water itself can build up in orchid containers over time. The telltale white crust on bark, fiber or orchid origins shows orchids have been overfertilized or never watered before fluid applications. Salt buildup steals moisture and chemicals fertilizer burn. Sensitive orchid origins also react to chemicals and minerals in water added to fertilizers. Avoid softened water and mineral-heavy well water, which can damage orchid roots. Allow chlorinated tap water to sit overnight before applying. Captured precipitation or reverse-osmosis water flushes salts away and dilutes fertilizers without adding harmful salts. Use room-temperature water for fertilizer solutions.

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The Best Time to Transplant an English Laurel

English laurel (Prunus laurocerasus) is an evergreen shrub or tree that’s a fast-grower, reaching a height of 15 to 30 feet when mature. It does well as a single specimen or implanted in a row to form a hedge. This really is a smog-tolerant plant that thrives in slightly inland coastal locations and grows in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 6 through 9. If you need to transplant a English laurel, selecting a good time and supplying a bit of extra care before and after the transfer can see to it that the plant remains healthy in its site.

Transplanting in Early Spring

Though it’s an evergreen and doesn’t become fully dormant, the English laurel slows its growth during cool winter weather and becomes semi-dormant during these weeks. It’s best to transfer the plant in early spring, once soil temperature is above 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Do this while the laurel’s still partly inactive but poised to put out fresh roots and top growth — if you analyze dormant buds on several twigs, you’ll notice that they haven’t yet started to swell or show green. Choose a day once the plant’s not stressed from dry weather and the soil is moist. If it’s a massive specimen, run a length of soft twine outside around the plant’s branches, then tying them securely to avoid damaging them during the move.

Tranplanting in Autumn

If your region is in a warmer part of this English laurel’s scope, such as USDA zone 9 and over where frosts are rare and the ground doesn’t freeze in winter, soil temperatures are probably warm enough year round to support root development. In these areas, it is possible to transplant a laurel from the fall and the plant will put out fresh roots during winter. Transplanting in fall also helps the tree prevent the stress of summer heat that a spring-transplanted laurel can encounter soon after it’s moved. If you transfer a laurel from the fall, spreading a 4- to 6-inch thick layer of organic mulch below the plant’s canopy then it’s moved can warm its origins and encourage development of new roots.

Some Preparation Helps

If you have some time before you intend to transfer a laurel, provide the plant some extra attention to help prepare it. Keep it well-watered throughout the season before you transplant, ensuring that it receives at least 1 inch of water weekly, like rain. It also helps to maintain the plant mapped exactly the exact same way after you transfer the laurel to its place — mark a branch that faces north and keep this side toward north in the new site. It’s also very important to keep it at precisely the exact same depth in its new place, to avoid suffocation or drying from origins from planting too deep or too shallow, respectively. Use white paint or weatherproof tape to mark the original soil line on several large branches — make certain that these marks can also be at the ground line following transplanting.

Giving Good Aftercare

After you’ve transplanted a English laurel, keep it well watered, especially during the first few weeks — watch for any wilting of foliage, a sign that it’s not getting enough moisture. Check the top two or three inches of soil regularly and water when it’s dry to the touch, using a soaker hose positioned near the dripline — let water soak till the top 6 inches of soil are moist. If your area will be windy, protecting the plant for its first time with a burlap screen attached to posts driven into the ground around the windy side can help prevent excessive water loss through the foliage. Maintain the laurel well-mulched, but pull mulch away from the lower branches to prevent fungal issues.

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The way to Transplant the Babies From Ponytail Plants

Ponytail hands (Beaucarnea recurvata) appear like palm trees, and grow up to 30 feet tall in their own native Central America. The crown of foliage droops in the woody, bulbous, erect trunk. Ponytail palms grow outdoors in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 10 through 11, but they are often grown as houseplants. Baby plants, called offsets, sometimes grow around the base of the mother plant. Each of those offsets can grow into a new plant if you remove them in the ideal way and provide the suitable care.

Preparing the Pot

Ponytail hands root and grow best in well-draining, somewhat dry dirt. Use 6-inch-diameter pots with bottom drainage for planting new offsets. A well-draining potting soil, such as one formulated for cactus or desert plants, provides adequate drainage for fresh ponytail hands, or you can mix equal parts conventional potting soil with sand to make your personal rooting mixture. Use a powdered rooting hormone to guarantee the offsets form roots and set quickly.

Cutting Method

Cutting the offsets in the mother plant in spring is always the quickest way to propagate ponytail palms, but some offsets might fail to form roots and wo not survive. Wipe a sharp knife with a cloth soaked in isopropyl alcohol to disinfect it, then cut the offset in the mother plant just beneath the ground. Dust the cut surface of the offset with an even application of the rooting hormone powder. Pour the rooting hormone onto a plastic plate or dish and dip the offset in the powder. Set the offset in the ready pot, pushing it into the dirt slightly so the cut end is in the dirt and the offset stays erect. Water sparingly so the soil remains moist but does not become moist or sloping during the rooting period.

Layering Technique

Layering allows the offset to form roots before you remove it from the mother, which can give you a greater prospect of success. Do the layering in spring. Moisten a small few sphagnum moss and pack it loosely round the base of the offset. If possible, lift the offset slightly out of the ground, but leave it attached to the mother plant, and that means that you are able to put some moss beneath it. Dust the bottom and lower sides of the offset with the rooting hormone powder, using a clean, dry paintbrush, to encourage it to set roots in the moss. Water the moss to moisten it only when it has almost completely dried. You can cut the offset in the mother plant and transfer it to the ready pot after the offset starts forming roots that are visible.

Caring for Offsets

Few pests or diseases influence ponytail hands should you permit the soil to dry out between waterings. Overly moist dirt can cause the offset to decay during and after rooting. It can take four weeks or longer for root growth to begin on the offset. During this time period, provide the ponytail palm with bright, indirect light and monitor the moisture in the soil or moss daily. You are able to move the plant to immediate, all-day sun after it roots and starts putting on busy new growth. Transplant the offset outdoors into a sunlit, well-draining bed the following spring if you want to grow it as an outdoor plant.

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