Find out how we can turn your home landscape into a beautiful investment!
Find out how we can turn your home landscape into a beautiful investment!
It’s already February, which means crocus, those colorful little harbingers of spring will soon be peeking up through the frozen soil. We want to see the first crocus of 2017, so if your crocus is first, share your photo on social media and earn a chance to win!
Here’s how to enter
All entrants shall retain ownership rights for their submissions. Fort Collins Nursery reserves the right to use any works submitted for promotional or advertising purposes free of charge. Fort Collins Nursery may not sell or redistribute submitted works for any purpose other than the promotion or advertising of Fort Collins Nursery.
By Jesse Eastman
Whether for an office, a classroom, or your home, houseplants provide an essential connection to the natural world in what can otherwise be a fairly sterile environment. A little bit of green not only softens a room, but can increase humidity, clean air, and can even improve memory, concentration, and sleep.
Of course, a dead houseplant won’t do much good, so the challenge becomes selecting the right plant so that you and your plant thrive. When selecting a plant, there are two general approaches. The first approach assumes you have a fixed set of conditions, and you need a plant that is suitable for those conditions. The second approach assumes you have fallen in love with a certain plant and need to adapt your environment to please the plant. Either way, factors such as light, temperature, humidity, plant and room size, and maintenance requirements are all necessary considerations. Read through the discussion of these factors below, take some notes on your home or office, and then come visit fully prepared to adopt a plant into a loving and healthy habitat!
The first question any good salesperson asks when helping select a houseplant is what the light is like in your home. There are many factors that affect the available light, including how near to a window the plant will sit, how many windows are in the room, what direction they face, if the eaves of the house have a deep overhang, if there are trees that block incoming light, etc. While some plants can tolerate a broad range of light conditions, others have highly specific needs. In many cases, plants can survive in less than optimal light conditions, but may look haggard and perform poorly as a result.
One important distinction is direct vs. indirect light. Direct light can burn many plants that otherwise tolerate high light situations. High light locations are spots where you can comfortably read by the natural light throughout the day. Intense light is great for plants like citrus and cactus, but can cause leaf scorch and rapid drying in many other houseplants. Moderate light locations would allow you to read by natural light depending on the time of day and how strong your eyes are. African Violets and Begonia do well in moderate light. Low light locations are generally so dim you’d always need an artificial light to read by. This is an ideal situation for Zee Zee Palm and ferns, but can cause light-loving plants to get leggy and may also result in overly wet soil, leading to a host of pest and disease problems. Fortunately, some of these problems can be offset an artificial light.
Most houseplants hail from tropical and subtropical regions around the globe. For this reason, they tend to dislike drafty areas, especially in winter when exterior doors can allow blasts of frigid air into an otherwise well-heated home. Even plants too close to a window pane can suffer the consequence of cold winter air. On the other hand, the intensity of heat flowing from a heat vent or fireplace may be too much to bear for many plants accustomed to the stable temperatures of their native habitats. Likewise, summer heat beaming through a glass window can act like a death ray on many tender tropical – you’ve got to consider all four seasons and how they affect your indoor environment.
Here in Colorado, we have the mixed blessing of exceptionally low humidity. It’s a wonderful place to be if you don’t like frizzy hair, but your houseplants would likely prefer to be somewhere a little damper. Add the drying effect of centrally heated/cooled houses, and you’ve got a tricky situation for some of the more tropical houseplant varieties. Plants that tolerate our dry air particularly well include Snake Plant, Chinese Evergreen, and Dracaena. If you’ve got your heart set on a moisture-loving option like a fern or an orchid, it’s time to break out the bag of tricks and elevate your humidity. If you’re not willing to install a whole house humidifier, humidity trays are a great way to create a pocket of humid air around individual plants. Grouping plants together can also serve to elevate ambient humidity, as plants release moisture into the air as a part of the photosynthesis process. Use caution though, as plants touching one another may transfer pests and disease, and if too many plants are clustered too tightly, airflow can become restricted, elevating the pest and disease risk. Periodically misting plants can help too, but the effect does not last for long.
Size & Growth Habit
You probably know someone who bought an adorable puppy only to watch it grow into a slobbering hairy behemoth that didn’t really fit into their one bedroom apartment. The same can happen with plants (minus the shedding and drooling). That’s why it’s important to learn about mature size when selecting a new houseplant. Even though a baby Schefflera Amate is cute right now, given ideal conditions it can reach 40’ tall (but can be kept a manageable size with pruning). A Snake Plant, though, will never get more than 3’-4’ tall, not matter how much you talk to it and encourage it.
Also important is growth habit. If you’re the type of person who tends to overwater, choose a thirsty plant like Schefflera or Anthurium. Love to prune? Again, Schefflera is a good option, as are many bonsai plants. On the other hand, if you tend to neglect plants (pro tip: we all forget to water our plants sometimes), opt for something that prefers to be left alone like a Cast Iron Plant or many varieties of succulent. Also consider whether your plant has an upright or trailing growth habit. Trailing plants like Lipstick Plant or Wandering Jew are great for hanging baskets and high shelves, while upright plants such as Parlor Palm make strong statements in large floor-sitting pots.
No matter your needs, a little bit of planning will go a long way in terms of the success of your future photosynthesizing friend. Once you’ve done your homework, come see us. We promise we’ll be impressed at how prepared you are!
If you love plants, enjoy helping people, and want to work on a team of friendly, fun, and motivated peers, Fort Collins Nursery has a great opportunity for you! We are a full service retail garden center. We pride ourselves in our energetic and helpful staff and provide paid training to ensure our employees can help customers succeed in all aspects of plant selection and care.
We are now accepting applications for our 2017 season. We offer a wide array of seasonal employment opportunities, including:
For a listing of current job openings, click here
Originally Published on June 28, 2011
Take this test to see if you may be developing a bit of an obsession.
|Normal Gardener||Obsessed Gardener|
|You know the Latin names of your plants.||You use them in conversations…with the plants!|
|You know the pH of your soil.||ALL your friends know the pH of your soil!|
|You are proud of your baby carrots.||You carry pictures of them in your wallet/purse!|
|You love to grow and cook your own vegetables.||Cook? Who has time to cook?|
|You have dirt under your fingernails.||What fingernails?|
|You spend more money on plants than clothes.||What clothes?|
|You have a charge account at Fort Collins Nursery.||You now qualify for wholesale.|
|You know the virtues of hand-weeding.||You use a headlamp to do it after dark!|
|You invest in fine quality gardening tools.||You keep spare tools in your car for gardening emergencies!|
|You crush Colorado Potato Beetles with your bare fingertips.||You love the sound it makes when you do.|
|You would never kill a ladybug.||You bring them inside for the winter.|
|You have a compost heap.||You take it’s temperature every day.|
|You won’t leave town when your tulips are blooming.||… or your daffodils, lilacs, wisteria, roses, clematis, lilies …|
|You can name all the annuals in public flower beds.||You automatically deadhead the flowers.|
|You have grown plants in funky containers.||You grown plants in anything that hold soil!|
|You sadly replaced hail-damaged plants.||You saved them all with a bucket over your head!|
If you took this test at all, chances are you are a “normal” gardener, and what are you doing on the computer, anyway? There are weeds to pull!
Those with the obsession already know it! Come feed your need at Fort Collins Nursery.
Check out these great Holiday Specials running through January 15th (While Supplies Last):
By Kathy Reid
When you live on a corner lot, you get to shovel lots of snow. The other day, as I scooped my way around the corner and down the north walk, I realized that even in the dead of winter I am tending my garden. As I work, I am carefully directing the shovels full of snow to some of my favorite garden plants. You could call it “snow mulching”, I guess. Certain evergreen plants will survive the long winter better if they are buried in a protective snow mound. So, as I scrape along, I purposefully pile a little extra around my handsome hellebore that will sport its strange greenish-white flowers while neighboring red tulips bloom next spring. Another scoop is directed at the Sarcoxie Euonymus that climbs the fence. I shovel on past a gangly Viburnum and make a mental note that it needs a little pruning. Push more snow, scoop it up. There was a bare spot in the planting here. I stop and consider what new, exciting plant I will add next spring.
I reach the end of the walk. The shoveling is finally done. I take one lap around the pond, just a frozen sheet now except for the small hole where the waterfall tumbles in. I study the tracks left in the snow by visiting birds and squirrels. A Tanyosho Pine stands guard above the waterfall while a huge Ponderosa Pine towers overhead, both looking very dramatic with the white icing-like snow spread over their dark green needles. These beautiful evergreens add such life and interest to our winter landscapes. A large, snowy mound at the pond’s edge catches my attention. It is a seedling aster that tempted me with hundreds of pink flowers in the fall, but it grew much too large in its chosen spot. I make another note that it needs to be removed in spring and replaced with something more manageable, perhaps a new variety of Penstemon for my collection.
My hands and toes are numbing so I head into the warm, cozy house and put on some water for tea. Echinacea tea is my choice these days. What a plant! Also known as purple coneflower, it is one of my favorite summer perennials, blooming for weeks and weeks behind the pond. And in the dead of winter, it makes a tasty tea that helps fight off those nasty winter colds.
My cup of tea in hand, my final destination for the afternoon is a soft, comfy chair near a big window. Outside the birds are feasting on hawthorn berries from the small tree at the corner of the house and sunflower seeds from my strategically placed bird feeder. The small wooden table next to my chair is piled high with magazines and catalogs, each and every one plant-related: Horticulture, Fine Gardening, The Colorado Gardener, and seed catalogs too numerous to mention.
Yes, this is the life of a Colorado gardener in winter. I revel in the contrast of our seasons. Winter is a break from the weeding watering. It is a time to enjoy the special beauty of a frosty landscape but most of all; it is a time to dream. While the plants of my garden sleep, I immerse myself in the pages and pages of colorful gardens at my fingertips. I feast upon the new plant offerings for the coming spring. And I dream, and I scheme, and I plan for next spring’s endeavors in my own little piece of the world.
By Jesse Eastman
As plants begin the methodical process of shutting down for winter, color drains away from our world and we are left in a somewhat stark environment. If you’re anything like me, you still need a horticultural fix, and there’s only so much a houseplant can do to scratch that itch. The best cure I’ve found for the winter blues is miniature gardening. Whether succulent dishes, terrariums, bonsai, or fairy gardens, creating a miniature world is an incredible way to immerse yourself in a bit of green escapism and free yourself – however briefly – from the brown and gray outlook November brings.
Easily the most low-maintenance approach to miniature gardening is the succulent dish. Succulents are low-water, pest-resistant, and enjoy moderate to bright light. Designing a container with their wildly unique shapes, textures, and colors is more akin to playing with children’s building blocks than gardening. Nearly anything can be used as a container for succulents, as long as you consider the importance of drainage for these drought-loving plants (using cactus and succulent soil can help prevent wet feet). I’ve seen delightful succulent gardens in everything from beautiful ceramic dishes and sea shells to plastic dinosaurs and antique milk cans.
Terrariums are an elegant way to grow tender plants. In the exceptionally dry winter air we enjoy here in the Rocky Mountain region, a glass container can help maintain a humid environment around all sorts of moisture-loving plants, including but not limited to: bromeliads, air plants, orchids, ferns, and carnivorous plants. From your basic fish tank to a decorative blown glass bubble to an intricate glass octahedron, there are a multitude of options available depending on your personal style and the size of plants you want to grow. The proper layering of growing media, including soil, activated charcoal, gravel, and moss, ensures your plants will be happy in their self-contained bio-dome with minimal care.
Traditional bonsai is an ancient Japanese art form that uses trees to create miniaturized landscapes. By consistently manipulating dwarf varieties of certain trees and shrubs while accentuating their natural growth habits, we aim to capture the strength and permanence of nature in a more controlled environment. Bonsai are often viewed as a meditative or contemplative experience, both for the grower, who must patiently wait for the plant to grow into its potential, and for the viewer, who can imagine enjoy the beauty of majesty of each unique piece as they would view a classic painting or sculpture.
By far the most interactive of the various veins of miniature gardening, fairy gardening is a whimsical and fun activity for kids of all ages. Generally open air (as opposed to terrariums), these miniature gardens are filled with accessories such as walkways made from chips of broken pots, tiny little benches and tables, and even diminutive domiciles where one can imagine a fairy taking up residence. If bonsai is an exercise in patience, fairy gardens are a celebration of impermanence, as you find new fun arrangements to suit the needs of your fairies, remove overgrown plants, and introduce new accessories to their vibrant little world.
The 2016 Orchid Obsession event is now in the books. Thanks to Hi-Country Orchid Club and Mark van der Woerd for organizing such an amazing event! Local clubs, organizations and vendors wowed us with their beautiful displays and hundreds of orchid enthusiasts and curious onlookers strolled the greenhouse to take in the breathtaking sites and exotic fragrances. We sincerely enjoyed hosting this event and getting to spend the weekend with the orchid clubs, American Orchid Society judges, presenters and guests!
Best of Show Awards:
Best Oncidium Alliance
Best Dendrobium Alliance
Best Cattleya Alliance
Best Vanda Alliance
Our 8th Annual Giant Pumpkin Weigh-Off was a huge success thanks to many awesome contestants from all over the region. They dedicated their time and energy all summer long to produce some eye-popping entries. Overall, we received 12 entries in multiple categories including heaviest pumpkin, heaviest squash, prettiest pumpkin and longest long gourd. The days top honors went to Joe Scherber from Wheat Ridge, CO. Joe’s 2016 entry came in at a monster 1410 pounds, setting a new contest record for Fort Collins Nursery. Here is a list of all of this year’s winners:
Howard Dill (Prettiest Pumpkin)
Longest Long Gourd