Saturday, February 22nd, 2020
In a climate like ours, where outdoor plant life goes dormant under a blanket of snow from November through March, those cheerful green houseplants bursting with life around your home can become a bit of a lifeline, and seeing their health begin to falter after months of winter can feel like an emergency of pretty real proportions. Many are friends you’ve been tending to for years, after all, and you’re not about to let them meet the garbage bin on your watch. If you’ve noticed your indoor greenery is looking a little worse for wear these days, don’t despair – reviving your houseplants is totally doable, and you don’t have to be a greenhouse expert to pull it off! Here are six simple things you can do:
1. Dust the leaves.
Everyone knows that plants need light, but many don’t realize that the dust which accumulates on leaves can actually prevent your plant from taking in light, reducing the efficiency of photosynthesis and affecting the overall strength and health of the plant. To make sure they’re taking in all available winter sunlight, such that it is, regularly swipe the front and back of leaves with a soft, damp cloth or better yet, use Leaf Shine for even more glowing results. Leaf Shine contains natural oils which help to clean and shine the leaves, maximizing your plant’s natural beauty. After all, if a leaf is shiny, it just looks healthier!
2. Rethink your plant placement.
Because the sun’s position in the sky changes over the course of the year, your plants might need a summer home and a winter home. Take a fresh look at your space and notice whether your plants are getting too much or too little light as compared to summer months. The number one sign that a plant is not getting enough light is that leaves will begin to pale. Remember that more isn’t always better – direct sunlight can be harmful to most plants, burning the leaves. Look into the ideal light conditions for your various species, and then take a Saturday to do some reorganizing. Think of it as the winter version of gardening!
3. Feed – but don’t overfeed.
Plants need more than just water and light – they’ll really thrive when they’re fed properly. There are different schools of thought about how much to feed your plants over the winter, but we find it works well to fertilize between Easter and Thanksgiving. This is because plants are naturally dormant in the winter, and it’s best not to encourage growth by giving fertilizer over this period. Once it’s time to start feeding, you can’t go wrong with this all-purpose plant food for almost any plant.
4. Boost humidity with misting or moisture trays.
There are no two ways about it, February in Winnipeg means your home has been filled with forced-air heat for months now, and that creates a really dry environment. While running a humidifier is certainly an option, there are simple and cost-effective ways to specifically target humidity-loving plants like orchids, tillandsias, and ferns. One option is to regularly mist your plants (call us crazy, but there is something about how beautiful this mister is that makes the task a treat). Another option is to fill a plate or tray with river rocks and water, then place your humidity-hungry plant on top of this. The water evaporating from the tray will create a miniature atmosphere of humidity around your plant.
5. Do NOT overwater.
This mistake is so common that we probably should have put it first. So many of us show our houseplants love by watering… and then watering some more. However, overwatering is the number one killer of indoor plants, so before you go back to the tap, check out the signs your plant is giving you. While browning leaves can signify a need for humidity and drooping leaves insufficient watering, leaves that are yellowing might be telling you to back off with that watering can. Make sure your pots have proper drainage, and that soil is dry to the touch before you water. Better yet, get yourself a moisture meter to eliminate the guesswork and to ensure the optimum moisture level for all of your plants.
6. Get some advice.
Last but not least, we are always here to answer your questions and offer ideas for solving your nagging plant problems, so please don’t hesitate to get in touch. Believe us, we can – and do! – literally talk about plants all day. Call or email us, send a message on Instagram, or of course, stop by! We’ll do everything we can to help.
Spring is just weeks away and we can see the days starting to get longer, so show your plants a little extra love now and before you know it, they’ll be back to their summer selves. And if you’ve suffered a plant loss this winter or are just starting to wet your green thumb, check out these 6 hard-to-kill houseplants for some great options to get you back on track.
Sunday, February 16th, 2020
Keepin’ it green!
Around a month ago I sat down with Elaine Stechisen from Shelmerdine Garden Center to talk about planning your herb + flower garden. During our conversation, we veered off track and she began telling me about studies done on the healing properties of plants. And I don’t mean taking a herb supplement (though, that’s great for you, too.) I mean, mindfully placing a little succulent on your nightstand! Elaine told me about one specific study which compared patients recovering from surgery in a room with plants and ones in a room without. The ones that had plants around them during recovery needed less pain medication, had lower heart rates and blood pressures, and less anxiety and fatigue. Consequentially, they were released sooner from the hospital. We stuck to garden talk the rest of the time, but I ended up calling Elaine again to talk more about how and why plants are actually good for your health.
The real name for the study of this is horticultural therapy. It’s a formal practice using plants and horticultural activities to improve one’s physical and mental health.
Here are nine ways that gardening, nature, and plants improve the quality of your life, besides by looking pretty.
1. PLAYING IN THE DIRT = PROZAC
There’s good bacteria in soil that is proven to be more effective than Prozac! So if your parents were the type to boot you outside to go play in the mud, they were onto something. (As long as it hasn’t been sterilized; the sterilization process kills the good and bad bacteria.) You absorb it just by working with the soil with your hands and your feet, so ditch your garden gloves and sandals, and let yourself get a little dirty.
2. NATURE FOCUSES YOUR THOUGHTS ON SOMETHING OUTSIDE OF YOURSELF
Not only are you moving your body and enjoying yourself at the same time; your mind is engaged. It gets your mind off your internal issues and focused on the environment around you, which is extremely grounding and therapeutic. A horticultural therapist would recommend gardening to a senior who has lost a life long partner or is battling dementia or depression, for it gets their mind onto something else. Something much more life-giving than watching television.
3. THE RIGHT AMOUNT OF HOUSE PLANTS REMOVE MOST OF THE TOXINS FROM YOUR AIR.
Plants release moisture, increase humidity, and purify the air, all by going through their natural process: photosynthesis. This is especially great for people who have breathing problems or asthma.
According to Elaine, studies have shown that keeping the right quantity of plants in your home, they remove 87% of the volatile compounds in your air! That means toxins like formaldehyde and benzine (surprisingly high amounts of both of these are in all homes) will be filtered away. These studies instruct you keep one eight inch pot or larger for every 129 square feet. If you have plants of all sizes, you can simplify this formula by keeping one plant for every 100 square feet. They say this formula also works if you’re looking to fight fatigue, improve your health, and de-stress.
All plants purify the air, though some are better than others. Spider plants are the best. It actually filters better than an H-VAC. English ivy and snake plants are two others that are extremely effective.
4. TENDING TO YOUR GARDEN GETS YOU MOVING
Like most people, I struggle to add exercise to my life. I know the benefits, but I still find it tedious and time-consuming. So, when Elaine mentioned gardening as a form of exercise, I was elated. Spending an afternoon in your garden keeps you moving and can even be quite strenuous, bending in the heat. Working outside in the sun like that has the same type of benefits of doing yoga in a heated room. The warmth aids your muscles and is great for mobility. Just remember to practice sun safety!
5. NATURE ENGAGES ALL THE SENSES, WHICH PUTS THE MIND AT EASE
Nature does wonders for resting the mind. Getting your exercise in a green area or a park means your mind will get to rest while you’re putting your body to work. Nature engages all of the sense and keeps your brain stimulated. All of this results in an increase in pheromones, giving you a natural uplift. Forest Bathing, a Japanese practice called shinrin-yoku, recommends just 20 minutes outdoors in nature to receive the benefits.
Making a ritual of moving your body and breathing deeply while outside in the fresh air is one of the most effective ways to care for yourself. It’s great for hormonal balance, clearing your mind, and the well-being of your body. It’s been proven time and time again by horticultural therapists working with clients who have dementia or children with autism. When they bring their clients outside, they are suddenly calmer. They can process and hold the exact same kind of conversation much better than they would indoors. Especially, when they are guided to engage with their surroundings by touching leaves, noticing smells, or paying attention to the breeze. It triggers positive feelings and restores balance.
Elaine practices what she preaches and spends most of her time outdoors. She spends the whole summer out in her garden or yard. If she’s having a melancholy day in the middle of winter, she’ll head to the conservatory or Shelmerdine’s and wander.
6. YOU EAT HEALTHIER
Eating home-grown food is much better for you (and cheaper) than most of the food at the grocery store. You are doing your body a huge favour by filling it and by feeding it food grown right from your backyard. Or, from inside your house! It really is incredible what you can manage to grow inside if you have the time to dedicate to it.
7. CARING FOR YOUR PLANTS CAN REPLACE NEGATIVE HABITS
Habitual candy-eating or Netflix-bingeing aren’t things we necessarily feel good about after. But, the routine of caring for house plants or tending to a garden is a habit that’s good for the body, mind, and soul. There’s always tending that can be done and it’s a ritual that forces you to slow down.
8. CERTAIN PLANTS CAN HELP YOU SLEEP BETTER
There are plants, like lavender, that have soothing scents and are known to lull one to sleep. But, even better than that, are the plants that give off oxygen at night, rather than taking it. Those are the ones you definitely want in your bedroom. Snake plants, aloe vera, succulents, and orchids are a few that are great for this!
9. YOUR SUCCESS IS INCREDIBLY REWARDING
Planting a seed, watching it grow, then harvesting it to eat is SATISFYING. Noticing that the plant on your dining room table is standing a little taller than before makes you feel good about yourself. Or bragging rights earned by throwing a dash of the rosemary you grew into a meal. It doesn’t matter who you are, successfully nurturing a plant is uplifting.
Words by Meghan Zahari from Rogue Wood Supply
Photos by @the.whiitehouse
Sunday, February 16th, 2020
Hundreds of citrus plants have just arrived!
Picture it; you walk by the kitchen window, lean over, and pluck a ripe lemon from your very own tree. It’s possible! If you have a bright enough space, you could be squeezing your own citrus. A few mouth-watering windowsill kumquats, oranges, or lemons could be in your cards – even in Manitoba. Growing citrus is mildly challenging, but the rewards are worth it, so we encourage you to challenge your green thumb!
Read on for our tips on how to successfully grow citrus indoors . . .
You GOT this! Just have patience . . . and faith!
First comes flowers, then comes fruit. The fragrance of citrus flowers is a perfume beyond anything you can imagine! The flower is the part of the plant which develop into fruit, so a citrus tree needs to be of sufficient size to be able to successfully support a crop of fruit on its branches. This is a natural process that takes time, but when that fruit finally appears, you’ll be beaming with gardeners pride, not to mention boasting rites! Fun fact; the average lifespan of a citrus tree is approximately 50 years, so when you take home a citrus plant, you can consider it a new friend for life.
HOW TO GROW CITRUS INDOORS
Here are our top tips on how to grow citrus plants. For even more information, visit our friends down in Florida!
LIGHT What citrus really requires is a bright window that has generous dimensions. A south-facing window or sliding glass doors are ideal, but a well-lit east or west-facing window can do the job. Do NOT invest in a citrus plant if you don’t have enough light. To achieve a citrus plant that’s laden with flowers and fruit, ample indoor light and space are essential, and to make your citrus even happier, bring it outdoors in the summer!
POTTING Citrus like to be slightly root-bound in their pots. If it becomes overly root-bound or its pot cracks, repot the plant in the springtime only. Transplant 2” (up one pot size at a time) or you may run the risk of rutting the roots with too much soil.
TEMPERATURE Citrus thrive in the same temperatures as humans. If temperatures drop below 10°C , your citrus plant will fail to absorb the nutrients that it needs in order to set flowers.
NUTRITION Citrus are hungry plants, and they react quickly when you fail to serve up sufficient food. Yellow leaves are the telltale sign of a starving citrus. Although most houseplants do not require fertilizing in late autumn and winter, citrus are the exception. If you go organic, deliver diluted fish emulsion throughout the year – once every two to three weeks seems to work well. Winter light levels are low, so dilute the fertilizer more than the recommended dose.
WATERING Citrus are thirsty plants! When the furnace or air conditioner is running and the sun is shining, they might need water daily, and when citrus plants are in bloom or actively growing, their watering needs increase. We suggest using a moisture meter to monitor the soil. Water when the soil is slightly dry, but not bone dry. If your citrus plant gets too dry, it will drop its flowers before developing fruit. If your home is very dry, your citrus will demonstrate its discomfort by dropping leaves. You can combat this by running a humidifier. Yellow leaves are a sign that you are over-watering. During winter months, sunlight levels lessen, so you will need to reduce and change your watering schedule accordingly.
Sunday, February 16th, 2020
Life is juicy!
1937. Picture it…the population of Winnipeg was a mere 250,000. The Golden Gate bridge in San Francisco opened. A crippling drought on the Prairies had us in the grips of the Great Depression. And a little company called Shelmerdine was founded in Charleswood, the very same year as Air Canada, Volkswagen and Dairy Queen! We’re entering into our 83rd year in business, so we’re feeling a bit nostalgic for all the wonderful people, warm memories, and lasting friendships that have blessed us at Shelmerdine.
83 years in the plant industry doesn’t happen by accident! We believe that our longevity is the result of incredible people, innovative thinking, some risk-taking (you mean Shelmerdine sells CLOTHES?!), and most importantly, the best customers in the world! Our talented team constantly brainstorms, researches, collaborates, and looks to the future, all so that we can offer you an incredible experience, everytime you visit Shelmerdine. 2020 will be no exception to that!
So here we go! Read on to discover what’s new . . .
COME HANG OUT IN OUR NEW PLANT LOUNGE
We’ve dedicated a section of our warm and sunny greenhouse as a cozy Plant Lounge. This is a space where you’re invited to just enjoy and relax in, where you can connect with yourself, reconnect with friends, or just feel a connection with nature. The Plant Lounge is the perfect place to escape the winter and just feel amazing! Come in as often as you like, and stay as long as you wish! Trust us – you’ll love it!
OUR COMMITMENT TO THE ENVIRONMENT – AND TO YOU
Our team is proud to announce these initiatives that we’ve taken to protect our environment – with more to come!
- All of our packaging materials are 100% reusable, recyclable, or biodegradable, so if we need to wrap your purchases, you can feel good about how we do it.
- Throughout our entire building and greenhouses, we’ve switched our lighting system to low-emitting LED lights.
- Behind the scenes in our growing ranges, we’re growing more and more tropical plants by propagation. For example, many of the Pothos, Ivy, and Fiddle Leaf Figs that you see in our greenhouse are grown right here, instead of being imported from Florida. You can feel good about the fact that these plants were not trucked in on fuel guzzling semi-trucks.
- Mark your calendar! We’re having a Recycling Event on June 20 and 21, so you can recycle all of your plastic gardening pots with us. The City of Winnipeg doesn’t accept gardening plastics, but we’ve partnered with a local business who specializes in recycling plastics. We hope to save thousands upon thousands of plastic pots from the landfills on this weekend, and you’ll get a very special treat from us for taking part!
JOIN US FOR OUR FREE PLANT TALKS
Our passion for plants makes us want to keep sharing our knowledge, so we have an exciting roster of Free Plant Talks planned for you! Whether you’re new to plants, or you’re an avid gardener, you’ll learn a few new things from our experts while basking in the sunny greenhouse. Click HERE to see the full line-up!
SHARE YOUR LOVE OF PLANTS
We want to make the world a better place, one plant at a time. Plants make us feel connected, healthier and happier, and we all know that the world needs more of that. If you’re reading this, it’s likely that you’re a gardener or plant lover on some level, but chances are that you know someone who doesn’t own a single plant. So we encourage YOU to bring plants into that person’s life! Invite them over to help you plant your garden, give them a gift of their first houseplant, or visit our greenhouse with them. These simple acts have the power to change someone’s life for the better, and 2020 is a great year to share and to connect!
Come on in! The sun is always shining at Shelmerdine, and we can’t wait to share our love of plants with you!