How Long Does Potting Soil Last?

Potting soil provides plants the necessary nutrients, structure and moisture retention for appropriate growth. Age and improper storage Expand potting soil. The useful life of potting soil depends on whether it is currently being used. Unused potting soil lasts approximately six months before it degrades in quality, while used potting soil should be replaced every year or two.

Potting Soil Storage

Potting soil stores best when kept in a lidded container away from heat sources and high humidity. Close the surface of this original bag and fasten it, then put it at a galvanized can or plastic bin. The storage container should be kept out of this rain and direct sun to limit bacterial growth in the soil.

Potting Soil Rejuvenation

Potting soil can take on another life if thoroughly cleaned and amended after use. Pick through the soil to remove any roots or other plant debris. Run water through the soil to leach out the extra salts, then combine it with fresh compost in a 1-to-1 ratio. A light dusting of gypsum and lime as well as roughly 1 tablespoon of general purpose fertilizer should then be added to each 1 gallon of soil.

See related


Perennials That Bloom That the First Year

Sweet William (Dianthus barbatus), that develops in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 3 through 9, might be a popular perennial flower, but just like most other perennials, the crops do not reliably bloom the first year following planting from seed. If you do not have the patience to wait three or two years on your perennials to bloom but do not wish to spend a lot of money on 2- or plants, then choose perennials that bloom the first year.

Bulbs, Corms and Rhizomes

Bulbs, corms and rhizomes are storage units capable of producing an whole plant which blooms. Bulbs like tulips (Tulipia), daffodils (Narcissus) and Asiatic lilies (Lilium spp. Oriental types) need a chilling period — a definite number of hours between 32 degrees and 45 degrees Fahrenheit — to blossom. If you reside in mild-winter regions like USDA zones 8 although 10, chill the bulbs in the fridge for 10 to 16 weeks. Other flowers, such as gladiolus (Gladiolus), are not sturdy under USDA zone 7 and need to be raised for winter. Day lilies (Hemerocallis), USDA zones 3 through 10, do not need any particular treatment to benefit you with flower after flower.

Perennials Planted From Seed That Bloom in Spring

Verbascum (Mullein) has clusters of pink flowers on spikes flourishing in spring. The blossom blooms again in autumn and goes dormant. It is a short-lived perennial, residing about three years in USDA zones 5 through 9. Snapdragons (Antirrhinum majus) are perennials in USDA zones 9 through 11 but do not withstand heat. They won’t endure in a coastal site that is cooler but could through a summer in a interior place. But they do with abandon reseed themselves. The plants grow from 12 inches high for its dwarf types to kinds that are 36 inches high for its rocket. Coreopis (Coreopsis) has yellow, daisylike flowers that bloom profusely in late spring in USDA zones 4 through 9.

Perennials Planted From Seed That Bloom in Summer

Blanket flower (Gaillardia x grandiflora) does well in USDA zones 3 through 8. The flower is bright yellow, with darker gold rings on the petals or red, including a striped blanket. Maltese cross (Lychnis chalcedonica) blooms bright reddish in USDA zones 3 through 10. Verbena (Verbena) spreads with flowers held over the plant in purple, pink and red. It is hardy in USDA zones 5 through 9.

Drought-Tolerant Plants

Black-eyed Susan (Rudebekia) thrives in USDA zones 4 through 9. It is often found in the Midwest growing rampant. It is drought- and heat-tolerant, with petals around a center. Yarrow (Achillea millefolium) has horizontal heads of many smaller flowers in pink, yellow, red or white. The bush is gray-green with finely cut leaves. It develops in USDA zones 3. Salvia (Salvia x superba) “Violet Queen,” with its dark blue spikes of flowers, grows in USDA zones 4 through 9.

See related


How can the Purple Coneflower Pollinate?

Purple coneflower plants (Echinacea purpurea) create purple daisylike blooms on 3 1/2-foot stems. The petals of these impressive flowers fold backward, making a dark cone of deep orange at the center. When grown in sunlight for six to eight hours a day in fertile, well-drained soil with a pH between 6.0 and 8.0 purple, coneflowers bloom from midsummer until fall. These hardy perennials thrive in U.S. Department of Agriculture Plant hardiness zones 3 through 9. Pollination occurs when flying insects visit the flowers and carry the pollen to new flowers.


Purple coneflowers contain both male and female components. The male section of the bloom, the stamen, creates pollen, while the female portion, the pistil, is a receptor to the pollen. For seeds to form, the coneflower has to be pollinated via cross-pollination — which means the pollen from 1 flower has to be pulled on the pistil of a flower on a different plant.


Long-tongued mammals and mammals are the principal pollinators for your purple coneflower. As they visit the flower to sip nectar, the sticky pollen collects on their bodies and legs. This begins the first step in cross-pollination.


Insects that have seen the coneflower soon visit the flowers on neighboring coneflower plants. When this happens the pollen on their bodies and legs is broken to the new flower. Since the female portion of the flower, the pistil, is tacky, the pollen now sticks into the pistil.

Seed Development

The pollinated flower now begins the process of creating seeds so that it can continue its life cycle. If the pollen is from exactly the same variety of coneflower, the resulting seeds will create flowers identical to the parent plants. If you’re growing several varieties of coneflowers, nevertheless, the seeds produced may create new plants distinct from the parent plants.


If you want to save the seeds from your coneflowers for replanting the following year, do not plant more than 1 variety of coneflower in the same location. If you simply want to enjoy your coneflowers and depart the seeds for the birds, then it does not matter if other varieties are increased near your coneflowers. Cross-pollination between varieties does not impact the overall look of the blooms on your own coneflower plants.

See related


The way to Prune a Lenten Rose

Undemanding, simple care Lenten rose (Helleborus orientalis) is among the few perennials recognized to bloom cheerily through the dead of the winter. Hardy in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 4 through 9, Lenten rose can endure harsh conditions in zone 3 with decent snow cover. As this plant remains evergreen through the year, rough weather leaves leaf tattered and unsightly from spring. You may enjoy its beauty more should you remove leaf that obstructs your view of the beautiful flowers and vibrant fresh greenery that appear in winter.

Use clean, sharp shears to prune old, ratty leaf from this Lenten rose plant in later winter and early spring, from late January through April. As bloom spikes emerge in the middle of this plant, older fronds tend to droop unattractively outward. Cut all of the tough, leathery aged vegetation back to young emerging growth at ground level to replenish the beautiful plant. This will expose the fresh young fronds and shy developing flowers. Lenten roses dislike overcrowding. Judicious pruning relieves the condition and helps prevent spring pests and diseases.

Clip Lenten rose blooms freely just as they begin to open to accent and revel in fresh indoor winter arrangements during the season. These beauties may last as long as fourteen days since cut flowers.

Deadhead Lenten climbed frequently during the flowering period, which lasts until May in some areas. Clip the blossom stalks back to ground level when flowers fade along with the seed pods within them swell and become evident. This will maintain your plant looking tidy and stop it from generously seeding the area.

Prune out unattractive, damaged or tattered fronds because they might occur during the year. Snip back stray or too long stems to maintain Lenten rose looking clean.

See related


How to Grow Chayote as a Houseplant

Chayote (Sechium edule) is a tender perennial climber often grown as an annual. The plant creates 3- to 8-inch-long edible fruit. The fruit is green to yellow-green and contains a massive seed surrounded by meaty flesh. Outdoors the plant is hardy only to U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zone 7 days, but it is possible to grow the plant inside a 5-gallon container.

Plant the whole chayote fruit in a 5-gallon, 24-inch-deep container which contains a moist soil mix of equal parts peat moss, perlite and vermiculite. Make sure the fruit is buried 4 to 6 inches deep and slanted with sprouted end down and the stem finish level with the soil. Place only 1 plant; when grown outdoors, these plants need 10 feet between them.

Place the chayote container in an area with full sun, which indoors would be an area within 2 feet of a southern- or south-facing window or a windowsill that receives ample sunlight. Place the plant container in a light or white room if possible, as this reflects the sunlight. Chayote plants need full sunlight for best fruit production. You can tell if the plant is getting too much or too little sunlight by detecting the plant growth. Spindly or pale green foliage is a sign of not enough sunlight, and scorched or burnt leaves is a sign or too much direct light.

Water chayote plants when the soil feels dry. Use your finger to feel that the soil. If the soil does not feel moist, it is time to water. Chayote plants need regular water, so never enable the soil to dry out. To raise the humidity for this tropical plant, then place the pot on a bed of moist marbles. Feed the chayote plant utilizing a liquid fertilizer or compost tea every fourteen days.

Provide a trellis to support the chayote plant because it rises. The plant is a climber, so put a trellis or other support in the container after putting the chayote.

See related


How to Plant Bare Root Strawberries in Hanging Baskets

When you have limited space, a desire to get a beautiful hanging plant or a love for strawberries, then some hanging basket of strawberries may be for you. Inexpensive, bare root strawberries planted in hanging baskets will likely create green foliage, dainty white flowers and ruby red fruit. The health of the plant will improve as a result of the increased air circulation and the elimination of ground pests. The hanging basket you choose should complement your landscaping, have good drainage and be at least 12 inches in diameter

Place the hanging basket in front of you on a level surface. Pour the potting mix into the basket lining until the ground is 1/2 inch below the rim.

Dig three to four evenly spaced holes on the surface of the ground, 6 inches deep. The guideline is three to four plants each 12 inches, so if your planter is larger, you can plant over four.

Pour 6 inches of water to a small container. Place the bottom of the package the strawberries came in to the container and let it soak for 15 minutes.

Eliminate the package from the container and then wrap your hand around the middle. Remove the packaging material and separate the main package into individual strawberry plants.

Trim the origins of the strawberries to 6 inches using a pair of gardening shears. When the roots are shorter than 6 inches, then you don’t need to trim them.

Pick up one strawberry plant, then spread its roots out slightly and place the plant to the middle of the very first hole before the crown of the plant is even with the surface of the dirt. The crown of the plant is the point where the root system meets the stems, leaves and runners.

Gently transfer the displaced soil around the plant. Push the soil down to the edges until the crust remains upright. Repeat till you’ve planted all the strawberries.

Water the ground till it is slightly moist. Move the basket into a shaded place for a few days before moving it to its permanent place.

See related


Yard Tools for Gardenias

Caring for gardenias (Gardenia spp.) Requires special yard tools for successful growth. When cared for properly, gardenias reach heights up to 6 feet with an equal spread. Gardenia shrubs develop best in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 8 through 11 in light to partial shade. Plant gardenias in well-drained dirt and water frequently.

PH Soil Test

Gardenias need acidic soil, ranging between 5.0 and 6.0 on the pH scale. Perform a pH test on your own soil before buying gardenias because lowering pH soil amounts may take as much as a year, based on the method you use. Spread elemental sulfur at least 6 inches deep into the soil at a speed of 1 1/2 lbs per 100 square feet to lower the pH level by 1.0. Perform another pH soil test three to four months after the first application and apply more, if necessary. Iron sulfur reacts with the soil three to four weeks following application and takes 12 1/2 lbs per 100 square feet to reduce the pH level by 1.0. Do not apply iron sulfur in one application if you need more than 9 lbs per 100 square feet. Split the software to avoid reaching high levels of soluble salts.

Planting Tools

The ideal time to plant gardenias is at the spring or fall. You will need a scoop to dig the planting hole and nourishment after planting. Assess the root ball and use the scoop to dig the planting hole two to three times wider than your measurements. Dig the hole only as deep as the root ball and fill it halfway with soil. Water the planting hole and completely fill the hole with dirt once the water has drained. Acid-loving plants need fertilizer in the time of planting and again in June. Fertilizers may cause damage if implemented in fall because they stimulate growth and expose the plant during winter weather. Gardenias need regular watering. Spread mulch over the planting site helps keep moisture in the soil.

Pruning Tools

Gardenias need pruning once the flowering season is over so that you avoid pruning away creating buds. Pruning controls the dimension, shape and proportions of this plant in regard to your own landscape. Measure the branches of this gardenia plant and use hand pruning shears if the divisions are less than 1/2 inch diameter. Use lopping shears for divisions between 1/2 and one inch in diameter and pruning saws for bigger branches. Remove straggly, diseased or dead branches and faded flowers to promote wholesome growth. If your gardenia bush needs heavy pruning, prune the tree in the spring before leakage starts. Prune gardenias immediately after a storm if they have been hurt and avoid after summer pruning to maintain the gardenia safe from regrowth during the winter.

Propagation Tools

Propagating gardenias from stem cutting creates new plants more quickly than starting them from seed. Gardenia bushes may take up to three years to create blooms if you plant from seed, but less than one year when you grow them from stem cuttings. Budding knives remove buds and stems used for propagating. Cut a 4- to 6-inch piece of wood that’s between six and eight weeks old. Remove all the leaves in the timber except for two to three clusters. Dip the stems in a rooting hormone and also store them in a moist rooting medium, such as equal parts of peat moss and perlite, until roots develop. Rooting hormone encourages root growth in gardenia cuttings. Wrap the cuttings using plastic bags to keep them from drying out and transplant them into planters once roots have already attained 1 inch long, usually after three to fourteen days.

See related


Why Burning Yard Waste Is Bad

Burning yard waste such as leaves, grass and twigs is a bad idea for a lot of reasons, as the smoke poses a danger to human health and the environment, and frequently results in dangerous wildfires. Although a lot of municipalities allow burning in certain circumstances, others ban burning of yard waste entirely. Composting is a better option, as it returns helpful nutrients into the ground.

Air Pollution

Burning yard waste discharges numerous damaging chemicals that affect human health, including carbon monoxide, dioxins, ozone-forming substances, sulfur oxide and particulate matter. Meanwhile, the Washington State Department of Ecology notes which smoke from burning yard waste could be just as harmful as cigarette smoke. Even more substances are released when burning yard waste is moist, as the waste burns gradually. Some people today experience asthma attacks or other respiratory issues as a consequence of exposure to the smoke, which can be particularly damaging to the elderly, the young, and people with conditions such as emphysema or bronchitis. Sometimes, toxins stay in the body for several decades.

Soil and Water Pollution

Smoke rises and rain cleanses the atmosphere, washing pipe particles across the ground where they’re eventually filtered through the soil and to the water supply. The water enters lakes, rivers and wetlands, where it generates an unhealthy habitat for fish and other aquatic life. Hydrocarbons and other allergens often boost the development of green algae, which chokes out other marine life. In regions with porous soil, polluted water may affect the drinking water and the food supply.

Wildfire Danger

Burning yard waste creates a risk of dangerous home and forest fires, as lawn fires escape control quickly and therefore are difficult to contain, particularly on a breezy day. Fire danger is increased throughout late spring, even when dead, dry foliage remains on the ground from winter, and in summer when grass and weeds are dry and fragile. The cost of suppressing uncontrolled flames is high for local government, fire districts and homeowners.


Composting is an effective, environmentally safe method to recycle yard waste, and the compost is used to enhance lawns, vegetable gardens and flower beds, or it’s implemented as a mulch around trees and shrubs. Generally, compost is composed of not just yard waste, but kitchen waste such as egg shells, coffee grounds and vegetable peelings. Many communities provide composting applications, including handy curbside collection bins or drop-off applications. Yard waste such as leaves and twigs can be chopped up with a lawnmower and used as mulch on yard or around trees and shrubs. For larger branches, chippers are available for lease.

See related


Tips for Building a Large Pond

Designing a massive garden pond is a never to be taken lightly. The pond becomes a permanent fixture in your lawn that needs routine maintenance and the bigger the pond, the more maintenance it needs. All these water features can become the focus of your backyard oasis, with tranquil koi and peaceful plants adding to the ambiance.


The preparation phase is the most significant part building a pond. Decide on the size you want, then decide where you wish to place it. A massive backyard pond is usually considered one that retains 1,500 to 3,000 gallons of water, and also an extra-large one holds more than 3,000 gallons. As an example, a 10- by 10-foot pond that is 24 inches deep holds approximately 1,500 gallons of water. Call 811 to ask your regional utilities to include mark underground wires and pipes, then use spray paint to define your preferred pond area where it won’t interfere with ports.


Like a swimming pool, ponds need skimmers and filtration systems to keep the water clean. Make sure that the filtration system you select is designed to function with the amount of gallons you quote are on your pond. Locate a fast quote by multiplying the length by the width, then multiply that by the average depth of the pond. Multiply that amount by 7.5 to discover the estimated number of gallons the pond will hold. Look for systems that will help filter out algae and little debris in addition to ones that catch larger debris, like leaves, in a holding tank. It’s simplest to install the necessary plumbing and electrical pieces while you’re digging your pond, so plan for filtration from the beginning.

Algae Control

From the beginning of the job, plan the edges of the pool so they are raised above ground level to reduce rainwater runoff, which attracts excess debris with it. This can be as easy as placing pavers around the border of this pond to prevent runoff. A proper filtration system helps regulate a buildup of debris that can result in algae, but there are different techniques to keep the algae out of your pond. Natural methods include wrapping barley straw in a web and weighting it down in the deepest part of your pond. As it decomposes, it releases algae-inhibiting enzymes. Growing the right plants can also assist, as some, like anacharis (Elodea canadensis), consume the nutrients algae must grow. Waterlilies (Nymphaea odorata) also help by blocking sunlight algae needs from reaching the water. You can also pick chemical methods, buying liquid mixtures of bacteria and enzymes, but read the labels carefully to be sure they wo not harm your fish or plants.

Fish and Plants

If you are intending to add fish for your pond, go for a thickness between 24 and 36 inches to be certain the water is heavy enough to sustain the fish but not deep enough to stay cold on the base. Check your pond lining material to ensure it is rated as safe for aquatic life — most PVC liners are not fish-friendly, however linings like butyl rubber typically are. Insert dechlorinating agents several times before you place fish in the pond, then add more if add more water from your garden hose. Plants provide the fish areas to conceal and things to nibble on, but they don’t serve as your fish’s main food source — you still have to feed them. It’s best to place plants in pots around the bottom of your pond instead of filling the pond with dirt, which can murk your water. The pots enable you to control plants that overgrow fast, like the waterlilies, and swap them out seasonally in the event that you would like. But fish have a tendency to burrow into the soil in the pots, so cover the soil with gravel to keep out the fish.

See related


What Color Is Honeysuckle?

As most hummingbird aficionados know, honeysuckles are a favored with these tiny traffic to the backyard. The trumpet-shaped flowers also attract butterflies, and birds dine on the berries that are produced in summer season. Although the white to yellowish flowers of the invasive and non-native Japanese honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica) are possibly the most familiar, honeysuckles arrive in a delightful range of colours, varying from white to deep orange, in both native and cultivated species. Most honeysuckles grow in sun or light shade and are tolerant of an assortment of soils.


Lonicera tragophylla honeysuckle has no known common name and unscented, large, yellowish to orange summer flowers. It is a deciduous vine that is native to China and grown in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 6 through 10. A quick-change artist, Lonicera quinquelocularis is a deciduous honeysuckle whose creamy white flowers turn a dark yellow as they age. Oval, translucent fruit trace. This honeysuckle grows well in USDA zones 5 through 9. A native species with an intriguing name, swamp fly, Lonicera oblongifolia includes yellowish-white flowers that produce fruit. It is hardy in USDA zones 3 through 10.


Lonicera periclymenum or woodbine is a highly fragrant honeysuckle valued not just for its delicious scent but also for its vigorous growing growth habit and white to cream flowers that open in midsummer. It is hardy in USDA zones 4 through 10. Lonicera albiflora, or the southern white honeysuckle, is native to the western United States. Showy white flowers appear in groups at the end of divisions and are followed by clusters of red fruit. Lonicera albiflora is hardy in USDA zones 3 through 10.


With long-tubed, red flowers, Lonicera sempervirens, or trumpet honeysuckle, is evergreen in mild climates but deciduous in harsher regions. It is a vigorous climber, reaching 12 feet or more, and it’s native to the southern and eastern United States. It grows well in USDA zones 4 through 10. A large honeysuckle native to China, Lonicera henryi is an evergreen vine that grows to 30 feet in perfect conditions. Blooms are red and yellow and are produced in summer and spring. Purple-black berries follow. This honeysuckle is hardy in USDA zones 4 through 10.


Tatarian honeysuckle, Lonicera tatarica, is a bushy honeysuckle that creates trumpet-shaped, pink flowers in late spring to early summer. Red berries follow at the summer to fall. This pink honeysuckle grows well in USDA zones 2 through 9. The California honeysuckle, or southern honeysuckle (Lonicera hispidula), is native to the Golden State and other areas of the western United States. It is a deciduous climbing tree with deep pink flowers and vibrant red grapes and is hardy in USDA zones 7 through 9.


Orange honeysuckle (Lonicera ciliosa) is native to the western United States. Flowers are orange-red and produced in clumps of 20 or more blossoms. It blooms May to July and is hardy in USDA zones 4 through 9. Giant honeysuckle, or Burmese honeysuckle (Lonicera hildebrandiana), is native to Southeast Asia and grows aggressively, reaching heights of 30 feet. The 4-inch-long, faintly scented blooms are cream at first but age to a deep orange in summer. It is hardy in USDA zones 9 through 11.

See related