Home Blog

Mint Seeds – Gardening Review

person holding mint seeds

Mint plants are attractive additions to gardens with numerous culinary and medicinal uses. Easy to grow in a considerable range of conditions, mint is a good option for areas that other plants may not grow well. There are multiple ways to cultivate mint, but by growing mint from mint seeds, you can choose your mint variety and begin growing mint indoors anytime year-round. 

Comparison Table

What Should I Know About Mint?

green leafed seedlings on black plastic pots

Image via unsplash.com

Mint originated in the Mediterranean but grows in many climates around the world. It grows as a hardy perennial in zones four through nine and is a great choice for those new to gardening, as it is quite easy to care for once established in a container or garden.

Varieties of Mint

bottle surrounded green leaves

Image via unsplash.com

The most commonly grown varieties of mint are spearmint and peppermint, but there are over 3,500 varieties of mint.

Apple Mint

Apple mint is a bright green mint that can reach two feet in height. This mint's leaves are covered in small hairs, which is why apple mint is sometimes called wooly mint or fuzzy mint.

Apple mint makes a wonderful tea and makes a delightful, flavorful garnish for water when slightly bruised.

Chocolate Mint

Chocolate mint is a rich green with spiky edges and brownish tinged stems. For the best flavor in chocolate mint, grow the plant in full sun.

Chocolate mint tastes sweet and has only a mild cooling and numbing effect. It has culinary uses and is often used in drinks.

Ginger Mint

Ginger mint is a fast-growing mint plant with bright green leaves striped with yellow. Ginger mint is able to grow in clay soils that other plants have difficulty thriving in.

Ginger mint has a faint ginger scent. It has culinary uses and can be used to make tea. It is also an excellent choice to garnish and flavor lemonade.

Pennyroyal Mint

Pennyroyal mint plants, or European pennyroyal, are bright green plants that reach up to a foot in height and spread vigorously. Their blooms range from a reddish-purple to a pale purple color. In hanging baskets, the trailing habit of pennyroyal makes for an impressive display.

Pennyroyal has culinary and decorative uses. Pregnant women should avoid consuming or handling pennyroyal.

Peppermint

Cultivation of peppermint traces back to the late 1700s in England where it was developed as a result of a cross between spearmint and watermint. Peppermint is a bright green with tooth-edged leaves that produces delicate flowers. It grows and spreads a bit more slowly than some other mint varieties, but not so slowly that growing it outside of containers or in containers with other plants is recommended.

Peppermint has a clean mint flavor and a cooling effect on the mouth when eaten. Fresh peppermint from your plants can be used in cooking, used as a garnish, or used to make tea.

Pineapple Mint

Pineapple mint has striking variegated green and white leaves. It grows vigorously, but any non-variegated green mint that is found growing in it should be removed. These green stalks are most likely apple mint, of which pineapple mint is a cultivar. Apple mint could crowd out your pineapple mint.

Pineapple mint can be a little bitter for culinary use or making tea, but it makes a stunning garnish.

Spearmint

Spearmint is a vibrant green plant with spiky edges. These plants grow and spread quickly, and can reach heights of up to two feet.  Flower spikes on spearmint plants can be up to four inches in length. This plant is only hardy to zone five, so you may want to bring spearmint grown in containers indoors if you have very cold winters.

Spearmint has an intense green mint flavor with cooling properties and no sweetness. Fresh spearmint from your plants can be used in cooking, used as a garnish, or used to make tea.

How to Grow Mint Seeds

clear glass jar on book

Image via unsplash.com

Though each mint variety will vary some as far as ideal growing conditions, the general process of starting mint seeds and caring for mint plants remains relatively uniform. Be certain to check for any specific requirements of the variety or varieties of mint seeds that you choose to cultivate as far as how much water and sunlight they might need.

Mint seeds have a relatively low germination rate, meaning that you should expect to see fewer plants than seeds you plant. Plant at least five seeds for every mint plant you hope to grow. Because mint spreads quickly and can be propagated from cuttings as long as you can get a few mint plants established, you'll be able to grow plenty.

Planting Mint

Indoors

For indoor planting for spring transplant into the garden, start mint indoors in late winter. For mint that will remain indoors, mint seeds can be started at any time of the year. The ideal germination temperatures for mint seeds are soil temperatures of sixty to eighty degrees Fahrenheit, which occurs at room temperature in many homes.

To plant mint seeds, sprinkle them on top of the soil. Do not bury the mint seeds under soil as they require light in order to germinate. Mint seeds typically germinate in one and a half to two weeks. Do not attempt to transplant the mint sprouts until they have at least two sets of leaves.

Outdoors 

Mint can be planted directly into garden soil in the spring once it warms. Mint seeds can continue to be sown until two months before the first fall frost. Ideal soil temperatures for germination of mint seeds are sixty to eighty degrees Fahrenheit. Sprinkle seeds on top of worked soil. Consider using row covers until the mint has sprouted. Mint seeds typically germinate in one and a half to two weeks.

Caring for Mint Seedlings

Keep the soil moist for your mint seedlings and as they start to get larger, you can pinch off the terminal leaves, or the leaves growing at the very tips of stalks, to encourage more bushy growth.

Caring for Established Mint Plants

Indoors, mint plants require regular watering and pruning. Mint plants benefit greatly from pruning, so don't be afraid to take mint as you need it once plants are well established.

Outdoors, established mint plants require little care. Prune plants as needed and pull out mint that spreads beyond the locations where it should be growing. Be alert for any mint runners that might escape containers or garden beds. Outdoors, mint benefits from a layer of mulch.

Pricing 

focus photography of person counting dollar banknotes

Image via unsplash.com

Purchasing mint seeds for growing in your home or in a home garden is generally not very expensive. Depending on the variety you choose, a packet of mint seeds is likely to cost less than $10 and may cost less than $5. If you do not already have seed starting and gardening supplies, there may be some additional costs for growing mint from seed.

How It Compares

We picked a few common varieties of mint seeds available on the market to see how they compare.     

  • Mint Seeds Collection
  • Peppermint
  • Spearmint
  • Pineapple Mint

Mint Seeds Collection

This collection of mint seeds includes four popular varieties of mint: peppermint, spearmint, lemon mint, and pennyroyal mint. Each packet of seeds has a full-color illustration printed on the front and planting instructions printed on the back.

The seeds provided in this collection are non-GMO open-pollinated seeds. For the best germination rates, these mint seeds should be grown in the year that they are purchased or in the following year.

This seed assortment includes roughly 3500 mint seeds in total.

Packaging

These mint seeds are packaged in an attractive, clearly labeled envelope with planting instructions printed on the back.

Germination Rate

Good success rates with germination have been reported for this product.

Pros

  • Great for someone who wants to try multiple varieties
  • Front illustrations provide a good idea of what to expect plants to look like
  • Clear instructions provided on seed packets

Cons

  • Many people may not need all of the mint seeds
  • Not as good a value for those looking for one or two kinds of mint

Peppermint Seeds

Packaging

These peppermint seeds come in unprinted packaging. No instructions are included on or in the packaging.

Germination Rate

The degree of germination success reported by those who purchased these seeds is variable.

Pros

  • This seed packet is quite inexpensive

Cons

  • Seeds may not germinate well
  • Planting and care instructions are not included with the seeds

Spearmint

This package of spearmint seeds is offered by a family-owned company based in the United States. The seeds come in a printed envelope with planting instructions. It contains 10,000 spearmint seeds.

Germination Rate

There is reasonable success reported from those who have purchased this product.

Pros

  • This high-volume package of seeds would be good for sowing a large outdoor area
  • Good success rate

Cons

  • Those planting mint to grow in containers or small gardens are unlikely to need this quantity of seed

Pineapple Mint

This package of pineapple mint seeds contains 1,000 seeds.

Packaging

This packet of seeds ships without printed labels.

Germination Rate

The germination rate for seeds offered by this seller is reasonably good.

Pros

  • High enough quantity to grow many plants even with mint's lower germination rates
  • Good success rate

Cons

  • Packaging from this provider lacks printed instructions

Conclusion

green plants

Image via unsplash.com

Mint is a fantastic plant to grow in your home or in your garden. It is easy to grow and can tolerate conditions that many plants fail to thrive in. Many varieties of mint grow well in partial shade. Some varieties of mint, like ginger mint, are suited to growing in clay soils that are challenging to plant in.

Mint can be used in cooking, to make tea, and for decorative purposes. Planted along walkways where people will brush against it, mint will release its fragrance as its leaves are touched. Frequent pruning encourages a lush, bushy growth and benefits mint plants, so don't be shy about harvesting mint from established plants for use.

When growing mint, because of its spreading tendency, you'll want to take care to plant in containers or pull out mint runners to prevent mint from spreading into other plants. Mint that spreads often out-competes other plants and can quickly take over a garden, but with some attention, it can be contained.

Mint can be grown from seed, though the relatively low germination rate of mint will require that you plant considerably more mint seeds than you want mint plants. At least five seeds for every one sprouted plant is a good guideline. Mint germinates in temperatures between sixty and eighty degrees Fahrenheit, so it doesn't require much in the way of temperature control to start indoors. Outdoors it can be planted once soil temperatures warm.

For the best results, keep your mint seeds from getting too hot or too cold, and choose where you get your mint seeds carefully. Even if you only want to grow one type of mint, choosing the Mint Seeds Collection offers enough seeds to get started at a price point not much higher than a single packet of seeds; it also has a higher reported germination rate. You could share any mint seed packets you don't use with friends and sample their mint varieties later if you're curious about them.

Best Gardening Gloves for You

gardening gloves

Every line of work has protective gear that is an indispensable part of the job. Just as you wear an apron while cooking to protect your clothes from stains, or mittens to protect your hands from heat while working the oven, gardening gloves are required to keep your hands safe from infections, dirt, and cuts while working in the garden. Many people prefer working in the soil and leaves with their bare hands, but although this might feel easy, it will cause harm to your nails and palms in the long run.

Whether you are pruning flower bushes or de-weeding your lawn, wearing gardening gloves makes every activity much safer. A good pair of gardening gloves provides comfort and safety, keeping your hands dry and warm in wet and cold weather both during the fall and spring. This is the time your garden needs the highest attention.

Benefits of Good Gardening Gloves

person wearing brown gardening gloves

Image via unsplash.com

The best gardening gloves serve multiple purposes. People often believe wearing gloves is a girly thing and tough men don’t need any protective gear while working in the garden. But if you got pricked all over your arms because of your rose bushes or got bitten by a bug, you would feel differently.

Keeping Hands and Nails Clean

The basic purpose of gardening gloves is to keep your hands clean, especially your nails. Dirt getting under your nails is difficult to clean and any tiny, unremoved particles can cause itching, pricking, or in more serious cases, infections. Using gloves can also prevent nail breakage which everyone knows is extremely painful. Working with bare hands can cause calloused fingers and palms. Gloves keep your hands dry in wet soil and also warm in cold weather.

Staying Away from Allergies and Skin Problems 

bowl of tomatoes served on person hand

Image via unsplash.com

If you are working in pools of water, it is best to keep your hands covered, and not risk attracting any bacterial infection. Poisonous plants or weeds can be really harmful to skin and even have allergic reactions in some people.

Protection from Bugs and Pests 

Wearing gloves helps you avoid contact with animal or insect waste, pests, bugs, and plant sap. Many soil-borne infections are a result of polluted soil coming in contact with skin. Contact dermatitis can be prevented and gloves can also save your hands from bug bites.

There are numerous dangers lurking in the garden ranging from insect or snake bites and poisonous plants to hazardous chemicals, pesticides, fertilizers, and sharp leaves and thorns. Gardening gloves can keep your hands safe from most of these injuries, if not all.

Different Types of Materials

man grabbing a green grass wearing pair of red garden gloves

Image via unsplash.com

Gardening gloves are available in many sizes, in different materials, with different design patterns, and for different purposes. Choosing the right glove that meets your requirements goes a long way in keeping your fingers away from danger. Understanding the various types of gloves available on the market will help you make an informed choice and gain the most out of your protective pair.

Cotton

Cotton gloves are the most commonly available and can be used for all general gardening tasks. These are light, easy to wash and dry, and fit well, making them a popular choice. They are also quite affordable. They can keep your hands dirt-free but will not provide protection against chemicals or thorns. They can also become wet and clammy.

Leather

If you are going to be doing heavy duty activities like sawing or pruning, you need gloves that are of a thicker material and durable as well. Leather gloves or goatskin gloves are a good option if you are working in thorny bushes or even in the mud. They don’t fit snugly and cannot keep the moisture away but you won’t get pricked for sure.

Rubber/Latex

Gardening tools including gloves

Image via unsplash.com

Best for muddy work and pond tasks, rubber or latex gloves keep your hands dry. Your hands won’t get cold either (although you might feel a little sweaty). Rubber gloves are often used for indoor work too, so if you are going to be gardening, make sure you buy the rubber gloves meant for outdoor work. Rose gloves are generally made from leather. They are a bit expensive but are strong and durable.

Neoprene/Nitrile

These gloves are made of a synthetic rubber material. Nitrile gloves help avoid contact with harmful chemicals in the soil or bruises of any sort. However, they cannot protect your hands from thorns. These offer a high level of dexterity.

Sizes 

person holding gardening tool near yellow plant

Image via unsplash.com

Gloves come in various sizes (kids and adults). There are also different gloves for men and women, in which the size and shape differ.

How to Measure

Always try on a pair before buying. Wear them on your hands, close your fist, open it and try picking something up with your fingers. Only a snug fit, yet one that is not too tight to obstruct your functioning is the correct size for you. People who have really small hands and are unable to find the right size can also try kids’ gloves.

If trying the gloves is not an option, you can measure the length of your hand from the wrist or from the forearm to the knuckles and fingertips and buy gloves accordingly. Even if you, unfortunately, get the wrong size, do not use the gloves. Working in wrong size gloves can cause accidents or injuries.

Cost 

Different gloves have different prices. These depend on the material they are made of, the features and comfort they provide, and the brand. Remember that gardening gloves protect your hands from many infections and injuries so they must be durable and of a good quality. So, do not compromise on cheaper varieties as these will not last long and won’t give the required protection either.

Choosing the Best Gardening Gloves for You

The Right Size

Pine Tree Tools Bamboo Working Gloves for Women and Men. Ultimate...
  • BREATHABLE BAMBOO TO KEEP YOUR HANDS COOL – Bamboo absorbs perspiration, is naturally very breathable. Keeps your...
  • FITS LIKE A SECOND SKIN - Do you take off your gloves for every chore that requires finger sensitivity? Pine Tree Gloves...
  • COMFORTABLE AND DURABLE HAND PROTECTION - We believe gardening should be safe and fulfilling. Avoid skin wounds and...

It is important to wear the right size gloves while working because a bad fit will be uncomfortable, not let you use your fingers easily, and can cause accidents.

Closure

Look for gloves that have Velcro on the wrist. These fit well and do not allow any dirt or other particles to enter the gloves.

Comfort

Almost all gloves are designed to be comfortable, but some have extra features you may need depending on the activity you will be doing. Look for gloves that have grip dots for better grip. Some gloves have padded palms as a design feature. Any additional feature will give you more comfort, better grip, better protection, and coverage. Some gloves have gel tips which are meant to avoid blisters while some have a coating inside that moisturizes your hands as you work. Certain gloves are also lined with wool or fleece for use in winters.

Length

The length of the gloves depends on what purpose you will be wearing them for. Most people prefer wrist-length gloves but if you are going to be working in muddy water or thorny plants, it is better to use gloves that extend up to the arms so as to keep you from getting pricked.

The Right Purpose 

Green gardening gloves

Image via pixabay.com

Some gardening gloves are just meant to keep your hands clean while some are completely chemical-proof. Make sure that the gloves you wear are appropriate for the task you are doing. Certain gloves come with artificial claws at the fingertips. These can be worn for some hand digging.

Flexibility

Good gloves are flexible and allow you to use your hands just as you would if you weren’t wearing any gloves. They fold easily and do not cause any discomfort while opening and closing fingers or fist, picking up seeds or flowers, and pinching mud.

Washing Care

Invest in gloves that are easily washable. This will save time and you will have clean gloves ready for use whenever you need them.

Durability

Gardening gloves are an investment, so make sure you invest in high quality, long lasting gloves. It is important to avoid wearing low-quality gloves which can tear easily and lose their fit. The gloves you choose must last you many seasons.

Taking Care of Your Gloves

Gardening gloves must be washed and dried after every use. They can be rinsed under a hose or put into the washing machine, depending on the material they are made of. Use leather wax to clean leather gloves. Always store gloves flat in a dry place and where you can find them quickly. Peg the opening of the gloves while storing to avoid any insect getting into them. Check the gloves properly before you wear them, and ensure you always have an extra pair in case one gets damaged or too dirty.

Conclusion

White gardening gloves plant leaves on hand

Image via pixabay.com

Consider all your gardening tasks and the tools you use before investing in a pair of gloves. Moreover, there is no point in having a good pair of gloves that are left hanging on the clothesline. Gardening gloves are meant to make your work safer, quicker, and easier. This can only happen if you match the right type of gloves to your tasks and wear them regularly. Look for gloves that are thin but sturdy and can perform all the functions of a high-priced pair without making you shell out a lot of money.

Our Favorite Raised Garden Beds Ideas

sprout on raised garden bed

Have you ever wanted a thriving backyard garden, but you are cursed with bad soil? Believe it or not, there is a reliable and simple solution for this annoying problem. Raised garden beds allow anyone to have a plentiful, thriving backyard garden. In this guide, we are not only going to explore our favorite raised garden bed ideas but also give you some helpful tips to help achieve a fruitful raised garden bed. But, why should you choose a raised garden bed over something like containers or garden planters? Let's learn about some of the benefits of raised garden beds.

Benefits of Raised Garden Beds

No Bottoms

Raised Garden with chili plants

Image via pixabay.com

Although raised garden beds may look similar to a garden planter or container setup, they actually do not have bottoms. The frame, filled with nutrient-rich soil, sits directly on top of the natural soil surface. The loose and accessible soil make it fairly easy to maintain optimal growing conditions.

Higher Yields

Raised garden beds have the reputation of producing up to twice the yield of a ground soil garden setup. But why is this? Plants thrive in a loose soil environment where their roots are able to penetrate farther down in the soil with the least amount of resistance. Ground soil can be hard and compacted, which can produce less than desirable yields. The loose soil of raised garden beds gives plant roots the freedom to grow and also keeps the nutrients in the soil in place. This allows the nutrient amendments to concentrate on the plants that they are supposed to feed. This allows for dense planting, which means you can grow more plants in the same amount of space than a ground garden setup.

Longer Growing Season

people looking at plants during daytime

Image via unsplash.com

Another benefit of raised garden beds is the extended time you can produce results. When the soil is above the ground, it tends to stay warmer and better drained than the soil on ground level.

Pest Barrier

Raised garden beds provide a natural barrier to keep pests, such as slugs and snails, away from your plants. Tall sides keep non-burrowing animals outside and barriers can be placed underneath to keep burrowing animals away from the roots of your plants.
 

Space Efficiency

Most raised beds are 3 to 4 feet wide making them great for the urban setting because their size makes them great for smaller spaces. The raised beds also allow you to reach the plants without stepping in and disturbing the soil. The whole space of a raised garden bed can be devoted to planting.

Accessibility

Gardening above ground level prevents bending down which can lead to back-aches. Raised garden beds can be designed to allow the gardener to sit on the walls of the bed while they tend to their plants.

Fewer Weeds

Weeds have a hard time growing in an area where there is already a dense amount of plants. However, if a few weeds do manage to sneak under the raised bed, the loose soil allows for easy removal of them.

Aesthetics

Besides being an effective space for growing plants, the geometrical properties of raised garden beds can be used to create boundaries, focal points, and symmetry to any yard.

Raised Garden Bed Tips

raised garden bed ideas for vegetables

Image via pixabay.com

Now that we have learned about the benefits of a raised garden bed setup, it's important to know how to maximize the effectiveness of these benefits. The two main factors in achieving this are the correct size garden bed for its environment and the correct material used to construct it. It's crucial to gain as much knowledge as possible before putting your raised garden bed ideas into action. Here are some proven tips to ensure a quality raised garden bed.

Correct Length and Width

When you find some raised garden bed ideas that you like, it's important to first design your desired model with the correct amount of space in mind. Always make sure to leave enough space for pathways, so you can tend your garden properly. You must be able to reach either side of the bed without stepping into the bed itself. Stepping into the bed disturbs the soil, which can harm the plants. To achieve this, most experts recommend limiting the width of your raised garden bed ideas to 4 feet. If access is only available on one side of the bed, it is recommended to limit the width to 3 feet. When it comes to length, remember that length is only restricted by the size of your garden and the number of building materials available.

Appropriate Height

green herb with wooden fence

Image via unsplash.com

Most raised garden beds average from 6 to 12 inches in height. While this is sufficient space for plants to flourish, they will not be able to reach their full potential. To maximize the potential of your bed, however, it must be taller than average. Taller raised garden beds, some as high as 36 inches, provide several advantages over shorter ones. The taller the bed, the more space the roots have to grow. Deeper beds also hold more soil, which means more moisture. Soil that stays moisturized requires less watering. If the ground soil is poor, you will need more nutrient-rich soil to compensate for the poor quality. With a larger amount of soil, it's important to remember that more pressure will be placed on the sides of your raised bed. You may need to construct additional support on the sides of the bed to prevent the wood from bowing.

The Right Materials

Traditionally, most raised garden beds are constructed of rot-resistant cedar. It is possible, however, to construct your bed out of any material that will contain the soil, including rocks, and concrete that are in the bed. If your raised garden bed ideas include a vegetable or herb garden, it's important to remember to avoid constructing it out of pressure-treated lumber. Pressure-treated lumber can contaminate the soil by introducing it to dangerous, microscopic, heavy metal particles.  

Other Tips for Potential Raised Garden Bed Ideas

raised bed garden on the backyard

Image via pixabay.com

  1. The best plants to grow in raised garden beds are ones with shallow roots. Some examples of these are herbs, vegetables, berry bushes, small shrubs, annuals, and perennial flowers.
  2. In order to properly calculate the amount of soil needed for your bed, follow this baseline. 10 inch, 3-by-6-foot beds require 15 cubic feet of soil.
  3. Soil gets depleted of its nutrients after only one or two seasons. Make sure to revitalize the soil with proper amounts of compost and amendments.    
  4. Choose a site for your raised garden bed that will receive ample sunlight. Try to position the long end towards the south to ensure all plants get adequate sunlight.
  5. Consider laying down gravel or wood chips on the pathways to limit the amount of dirt tracked inside.

Our 5 Favorite Raised Garden Bed Ideas

Raised garden beds come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and themes. Here are our 5 favorite raised garden bed ideas.

Kitchen Garden

Kitchen gardens need to be in the sunniest spot in the yard. A 4-by-8-foot raised garden bed is ample space to grow plentiful amounts of flowers, vegetables, and herbs. Gravel laid between the beds gives the garden a neat and tidy look.
 

Narrow Design

A narrow design that is only 2 feet wide but yet 12 feet long is the perfect area for rows of sunflowers, culinary thyme, and German chamomile. The narrow width also provides easy access for cutting flowers and herbs.

Potato Towers

Growing potatoes in towers instead of on the ground save space and produce more of a yield. Plant seed potatoes in a 16-inch diameter circle, 6 inches apart from each other. Curve galvanized metal mesh into a cylindrical shape that is 4 feet in height and has a diameter of 18 inches. Secure these cylinders with rebar and use bamboo screening to wrap around the outside of the towers. As the potatoes grow, over time, add compost and straw to cover all but the uppermost leaves. When the plants have reached the top of the tower, it's time to collect your potatoes.

Geometric Look

Arranging your raised garden beds in neat squares surrounding a central fountain square gives your garden an aesthetically pleasing look. Growing herbs and vegetables in these square boxes make a great compliment to a kitchen garden.

Stone-Lined Bed

Raised garden beds filled with fast-draining planting mix provide a quality environment to grow vegetables. Sonoma fieldstones make great stones to line the edge of your raised garden bed as they are light enough to be easily dismantled.

Final Thoughts on What We've Learned

raised garden bed near ocean

Image via pixabay.com

Raised garden beds provide an easy and fun way to eat healthier. There is a certain satisfaction achieved when enjoying the fruits of your own labors. Raised garden bed ideas can be designed into any size to fit any size backyard. From the urban sprawl of a major city to the most desolated areas, they can be grown in any environment as long as these raised gardens are tended to properly. Using the knowledge contained in this guide will help you achieve maximum potential from raised garden bed ideas.

How to get started with roof garden

Rooftop garden with balcon

It's hard not to find rooftops in metropolitan areas speckled with gardens. That's because in an urban setting, space is limited and gardens are becoming the norm for recreational hot spots in the hustle-and-bustle scenes. A roof garden is an ideal place to get away from everyday reality and enjoy greenery and tranquility.

In addition tothe idea of a getaway, it serves many purposes. It allows building owners to save energy, reduce wastewater, and protect a building's roof. In this article, you will learn more about what roof gardening is, the purposes of a roof garden, and how to set one up.

What Is a Roof Garden?


Roof garden with boxes in garden bordering

Image via: Flickr

A roof garden is, as the term implies, a garden that grows on the rooftop of a building. The gardens are human-made and can usually be found on top of industrial, commercial, or residential building structures. The reason people build them is usually to have a living, green recreational area for either the public or private enjoyment.

The concept of a roof garden can be split into two categories: extensive and intensive. An extensive roof garden is a garden that requires little maintenance and exists typically on top of family residential buildings. An intensive rooftop garden is a garden that requires more upkeep usually because of the plant varieties that are grown; they find their homes on top of commercial buildings. 

The Significance of a Roof Garden


Besides the visual and reverie pleasures a rooftop garden can offer you, there are many benefits to reap from having a green roof. The main advantages are energy savings, structural support, and stormwater management.

Roof Gardens Save Energy

Typically, urban areas are hotter than suburban and rural areas. This is because of all the asphalt, concrete, and various man-made materials that absorb solar radiation through the process of conduction. This results in much hotter temperatures in the summer. This spike in heat places pressures on energy bills for many buildings.

A rooftop garden attenuates the energy bills by a cooling effect via the shade it produces on the concrete of a building; it can reduce the rooftop temperature of commercial buildings by upwards to 80 degrees Fahrenheit on a sunny day. It can also reduce the average daily energy demand of an air-conditioning system and save over 75 percent in costs.

Garden Roofs Protect the Physical Structure of a Building

Roof gardens keep the actual rooftop of a building in equilibria. Without a rooftop garden, when exposed to cooler temperatures, roofs tend to shrink; when exposed to hotter temperatures, they tend to expand. This state of constant fluctuation can shorten the lifespan of a roof. The exposure that bare roofs of buildings, far above the Earth's surface, experience daily changes in temperatures around 83 degrees Fahrenheit. Adding a rooftop garden can add decades of vitality to a roof.

Roof Gardens Manage Stormwater

Another benefit of a roof garden is its ability to manage stormwater. One research study found that roof gardens reduce the amount of runoff from stormwater by about 75 percent and delayed the rainwater running off the roofs by almost an hour. The reason why roof gardens can do this is that the leaf-covering of the variety of plants in a roof garden as well as soil's capacity to hold water. This is good news for environmentalists: the soil can filter out harmful pollutants from a rooftop before it runs off.

How to Get Started with a Roof Garden


Preparing Your Roof

The first step in starting a roof garden is to assess how much weight your building's roof can support. It's advised to find an engineer who is licensed to consult on rooftop gardens; it's a legal requirement in the United States. An engineer can help create preliminary designs, navigate around limitations, and assess the total weight of your garden and the carrying capacity of the roof.

Review with your city's building codes and ordinances; some areas may not allow roof gardens. Sometimes there are legal limitations and restrictions on the height of a rooftop garden, on the spatial usage of a commercial or residential roof, and decorative appearances. If you are planning to create a roof garden on your house, ask permission from your landlord. In some cases, you may have to ask permission from your neighborhood association or district leaders.

Before you grow a garden, monitor the amount of sun and wind exposure your roof receives. Note the patterns of sunlight that reaches your roof over weeks or months. This is an important consideration because the variety of plants you grow require certain amounts of daily sun exposure.

Concerning wind, higher altitudes tend to experience more wind than ground level. It may be a good idea to create a structural scaffold that can support your plants. Some plants can quickly die from strong wind exposure. Additionally, since wind can dry out water more readily, plan to water your plants often.

After all of these considerations, map out a rough sketch of your garden so that you keep your rooftop organized as you construct your garden. Scale the design on graphing paper and then draw in measurements of what you plant to have on your roof.

Purchase Plants

Try to purchase plants are native to the area of your building. This ensures that the ecosystem remains stable: plants of the native climate already have a place in the climate and attract native pollinating species like certain birds and bees. Ask the local farming and gardening community about which plants are native to your area for your options.

Additionally, for longevity-sake, look for drought and heat-tolerant plants; they are better suited for exposure to extreme heat and wind. Look for trees or plants that have larger surface areas on their leaves; they add shade plants less tolerant to hot weather.

Plan to plant small trees and shrubs. Small trees and shrubs exert less weight on your roof and can protect windbreakers and plant support structures. If you do choose to plant trees, trim your their roots every few years to prevent them from growing larger.

If you choose to plant large-leaf plants, try to find species of plants with that is wind-resistant. Alternatively, you can choose smaller-leaved plants or pines. They grow particularly well on a garden roof.

Creating Your Garden

Unless you live in Seattle, use hose or sprinkler system to water your garden will be most space-effective. The easiest and most reliable method to water your plants is to set up an automatic irrigation system. Be sure to plan out where you place your sprinklers; in the long run, it will prevent you from having to hire someone to water each plant. If you can't set up an irrigation system for whatever reason, look for a faucet or water line around your roof, and attach a watering hose to them.

Planting Methods

Plant is well planted on a flat type of pot

Image via: Flickr

Set up a variety of planting methods: use both soil beds and planting pots. Refer to your graphing paper when placing your planting pots and beds. The right pots and gardening beds should be deep enough to allow your plants' roots room to grow. Once you have figured this out, place your seeds or seedlings in your soil, or transfer plants grown from local gardens in your soil.

Be sure to install trellises to keep your plants alive during harsh weather. You can either build trellises yourself or buy some pre-made at your local home improvement stores. Afterward, place them where they are optimized to break the strength of the incoming wind. Finally, place plants that like to latch to objects, such as cucumber and crawling ivy, or other plants that you think may be fragile.

Spacing

Plants planted on a big square pot on a roof garden

Image via: Flickr

Once you know where you will place your pots, beds, and trellises, plan what you will do with your open spaces. Think both vertically and horizontally. Placing objects on a vertical plane will give your roof garden more room. Placing too much on emphasis on the horizontal plane will make your garden less roomy so plant vertically wherever possible. This can give you more ideas on how to use your open space; you may build a walkway or pond, or perhaps add furniture to add to the recreational value of the garden. 

Theme

Rooftop garden with village theme

Image via: Flickr

For aesthetic purposes, create a theme for your garden with focal points as the centerpieces of your garden. An excellent focal point might be a coffee table with seats, a koi pond, or large tree; anything that stands out from the other parts of your garden. However, don't get carried away by adding too many focal points; it can create a distracting effect.

Additionally, try to create a sense of harmony in your garden. Simplicity and balance will go a long way in your garden. Everything you add should serve its purpose. Find benches, chairs, or bird fountains that compliment the theme; consider decorations that are taking up space and now complimenting the theme or focal points.

Conclusion


Rooftop garden with wire nets to hang the plants on

Image via: Flickr

A roof garden is a lovely place for you to escape and it doesn't require much effort into creating one. If you have the desire to grow a garden on your roof, start by looking into city ordinances then measuring the sunlight and wind received on the part of the roof you want to build it. Before you know it, you will have the satisfaction of a garden at the top of your place.

Caring For Your Philodendron Selloum: 9 Pro Tips

Philodendron selloum plant on a small pot

There are so many reasons to keep plants in your home, from helping with air quality to adding a vibrant and green aesthetic. But to get the most out of your houseplants, you need to take the best care of them. Plant care can be a challenge if you're not sure what to do, mainly because so many plants have varying needs. If you just picked up a new Philodendron selloum, then you need to know all the right ways to care for it, and we've got the best tips for you right here.

What Is a Philodendron Selloum?

A Little Background on Your New Plant


Philodendron selloum is part of the Philodendron genus. This genus is made up of stunning plants characterized by dark glean, glossy, and deeply lobed leaves and a tropical vibe. Philodendron selloum is native to South America but also grows outdoors in the east and gulf coasts of the USA. While this plant is accustomed to tropical climates for outdoor growth, it makes a great indoor house plant for any home. With the right tips and information, anyone can take great care of a Philodendron selloum.

A Word of Caution


While caring for your Philodendron plant is easy when you know what to do, if you have pets or young children, you must put in a little extra work. The Philodendron selloum plant contains a toxin called calcium oxalate in its leaves. When the leaves are ingested, this calcium oxalate can lead to inflammation of the mucous membranes in the ear and throat and irritation to the mouth and GI tract.

It's good to practice extra caution when keeping a Philodendron selloum plant in a home with pets or young children, but it doesn't mean you can't do it. A severe reaction is unlikely, and those who are most vulnerable are small pets or children under three years of age.

For extra safety, it's best to keep this indoor plant in an area that isn't frequented by pets or small children. Also, tell children not to eat the plant and reprimand pets that get too close. It's also important to know what signs to look out for if a poisoning occurs. Cats and dogs may show signs of drooling, vomiting, pawing at the mouth, and decreased appetites. Humans may have symptoms such as burning mouth or throat, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and swelling or blistering of mouth or tongue.

philodendron selloum leaf

Image Source: Unsplash.com


How to Care for Your Philodendron Selloum

Philodendron plants are considered low maintenance, but to keep them healthy and thriving, follow the pro tips we've listed below.

Supply the Right Soil


a person holding loose soil

Image Source: Unsplash.com

Philodendron plants like rich, loose, slightly alkaline, and well-draining soil.

Choose a Spacious Setting


We mentioned before that this plant takes up a decent amount of space, so it's best to keep it in a spacious room or setting. These plants can grow to five feet or high with leaves around 2 to 3 feet. Great setting options for this plant are living rooms, hallways, offices, or conference rooms, as long as other requirements like light are met.

This plant can grow outdoors, but only if you live in an area with a warm climate where temperatures don't drop below 55 degrees Fahrenheit, or ideally 65 degrees Fahrenheit. If you live in an area with these temperatures, like in Florida, you can keep your plant in your balcony, backyard, or terrace. Just remember to ensure there is enough shade.

Provide the Right Lighting


In their natural tropical habitats, these plants are used to light as it shines through a tropical canopy. These plants don't do well with direct sunlight on their leaves. The optimal condition for this plant involves bright and indirect light exposure. If your plant doesn't get even light all over in its spot in your home, it's best to rotate it every few days so it grows straight.

If you notice many leaves turning yellow at once, then it can be a sign that your plant is receiving too much direct light. If the plant looks leggy, then this can be a sign that it's not receiving enough light.

plant getting sunlight

Image Source: Unsplash.com

Treat With Tropical Temperatures


Philodendron plants are tropical, but that doesn't mean your home has to mimic the tropics. These plants grow best indoors at temperatures of 55 degrees Fahrenheit or higher. It's essential to keep your plant away from direct air conditioning, drafts, and heat vents.

Humidity Helps


These plants are accustomed to humid temperatures, which means putting in a little work when you keep them indoors. To keep your Philodendron selloum flourishing, keep it near a humidifier, place it on or near a water pebble tray, and mist it regularly using a spray bottle, especially during drier winter months.

Provide the Right Hydration


These plants like moist but not soggy soil, but exactly how much you should water yours varies based on multiple factors. First, all plants, like all humans, are unique and have specific needs. In addition to that, factors such as location, temperature, amount of AC/heating, and more can impact how much water your plant will need. During the winter, your plant will probably need less water.

You can start by watering your plant with 12 ounces of water once per week. Then on the same day each week, check the soil. If the soil is still moist, you can leave it be. If the soil is dry, then it's time to water it again. You can also use the rule of thumb of watering your Philodendron selloum when the soil becomes dry down to 1-2 inches. When this happens, you can water your plant until water flows into the saucer and then empty any remaining water to avoid root rot.

Feed Your Plant Well


You might not put much thought into feeding your house plants, but it can help keep them lush, vibrant, and healthy. Fertilize your Philodendron selloum monthly using water-soluble house plant fertilizer, but use half the recommended amount.

Re-Pot When the Time Is Right


When the roots of your plant have filled the existing pot, it's time to upgrade to one that is 1 to 2 inches deeper and wider.

Practice Pruning


For added care, you can prune your plant with sharp pruners or scissors to help control the size and shape. You can remove entire leaves by cutting at the base of the stem. If you want to show the plant's stem, you can remove the lower leaves. When pruning your plant, make sure to wear gloves and wash your hands after.


Getting More Out of Your Philodendron Selloum

If the pro tips above have your plant looking so good that you can't get enough, then you can spread the love either to other parts of your home or by sharing with friends and family. Heres how:

Propagate Your Plant

When you want more of the same plant without the added expense of going out and buying a new one, propagating your plant is the perfect solution. Plant propagation is an asexual means of reproduction, and it produces a new plant identical to the parent plant. There are many methods to use for plant propagation. You can propagate your Philodendron selloum by following these steps:

  1. 1
    Fill a jar, container, or large glass with water, leaving an inch of space beneath the rim. Allow the water to sit out uncovered overnight so that the chlorine evaporates.
  2. 2
    Cut a 6-inch stem off of your healthy plant using scissors, gardening clippers, or a sharp knife. Cut off a stem with multiple leaves.
philodendron selloum on a glass container

Image Source: Unsplash.com

  1. 3
    Remove three sets of leaves so there are at least two nodes left bare. Place the stem in your container of water with the bare nodes in the water and remaining leaves out of the water.
  2. 4
    Change the water every three days (always leave the water out overnight to remove chlorine).
  3. 5
    After roots form (about ten days), plant the roots in a pot with the proper soil and water regularly.

​Conclusion

Philodendron selloum

Image Source: Pixabay.com

The Philodendron selloum plant is a beautiful plant to keep in your home, and no matter what room you have it in, it will provide a burst of vibrant green and provide tropical energy. For the healthiest plant you can have, follow the tips above and you'll be caring for your Philodendron plant like a pro.

Featured Image: CC BY-SA 4.0, David J. Stang, via Wikimedia Commons


Pin It on Pinterest

Share This