Saturday, April 23, 2016

Growing succulents at home

What would you be looking for while choosing plants for your garden? In case easy-to-maintain and good-looking top the list of requirements, then succulents totally fit the bill. Plants whose leaves and stems store water to become juicy and swollen are called Succulents. They do this to store excess water which they can use later in conditions of water scarcity. Plants from over 50 families come under this category, and include the ones native to dry terrains as well as some which thrive in rainforests. A few grow along the coast, where their succulent tissue adapts them to the high salinity in soil. Cacti are a subset of the succulents.

Succulents make for great house-plants. Some of the commonly available succulents are Agaves, Aloes, Echeveria, Sedum, Sempervivum, few Euphorbias and some type of Orchids. You can find them in many shades of green to purple to orange and more colours that you can think of! This wide variety in this family makes them favourites to experiment with in the home garden. Trendy planters made of concrete, ceramic or terracotta adds to their elegance.

As with any other plant, Succulents have their list of requirements, which when catered to, produce delightful results!

  • Succulents are from Central and South America. Hence they are not used to freezing conditions. They can tolerate day-time temperatures in the range of 20-35°C.
  • Some hardy varieties can tolerate night-time temperatures as low as 5°C. During harsh winters, the plant can be kept indoors, next to a window, or where it can get ample light. 

  • Succulents prefer bright light. Some species can tolerate harsh sunlight. Some get scorched in extended periods of direct sunlight. Such species prefer conditions of shade with sufficient light like window sills.
  • Low amount of light can cause a phenomenon called Etiolation. The leaves and stems become stretchy and seem to be reaching out to light, or the rosettes (wherever applicable) seem to be thinning and downward-curving. In such cases, a change in location is recommended such that the plant gets sunlight in increasing doses. The container can be rotated periodically for even exposure to the light.
  • Initially, one should carefully observe as to which conditions work best for a particular species. Green coloured succulents can grow in indoor spaces, while those in the orange and purple colour family are better suited for outdoor spaces.

  • Succulents grow well in well-drained soils. A good quality potting soil or a Cactus mix seems to work for these plants.
  • Repotting at least once a year will keep the plants healthy.

  • One should water succulents only when the soil feels dry to touch. They do not like excess water in the soil. The right method of watering is to pour water till it drains out. This should be repeated a couple of times. It should next be watered only when the soil becomes dry again.
  • Wetting the leaves or rosettes must be avoided while watering the plant. Settling of water on the leaves lead to their rotting and at times, irregular white rings caused due to mineral deposits from evaporated water droplets.
  • Underwatering can cause loss of leaf sheen, shrivelling of leaf tips; and wilting and shedding of leaves.

Pest control
  • Succulents are susceptible to mites, aphids and mealybugs. A diluted soap solution or an insecticide specific to the infestation should help.
  • In cases where most of the leaves are affected, they should be pruned and the plant should be replanted in fresh soil.

Succulents can be grown in many ways. Different species with similar requirements can be grown in one large container, to give a gorgeous Mixed Succulent Bowl. It’s alright if a small plant is grown in a large container, provided a well-drained soil has been used. Succulents can be used to decorate indoor and outdoor spaces to create stunningly beautiful landscapes. For the latest in container gardens, visit Mudfingers today! Keep gardening!

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

The royal one

The name Begonia brings to mind the word ‘royal’. With its large leaves, often seen having a metallic sheen and its beautiful flamboyant flowers, this plant is one royal treat to the eyes. Earlier known for its pendulous flowers (in the case of Tuberous Begonias), today this species is mainly known for its foliage variety which can be grown as ornamental potted plants in a greenhouse or at home.

With 1,795 species, the genus Begonia is one of the largest genera among the Angiosperms. The genus was first identified and documented in 1700 and named in honour of Michel Begon, a French botanist and administrator of Santo Domingo in the West Indies. Begonias are widespread in the world, and have adapted to varying conditions, resulting in the extensive variety seen in the species. They occur in tropical and temperate climates of South America, Central America, Africa and South Asia. Some of the different types of Begonias are:

·      Tuberous with large flowers
·      Rhizomatous with their thickened stems  
·      Rex Begonias, also a type of Rhizomatous Begonias, but with more showy, larger and more colourful leaves
·      Semperflorens, or the wax Begonias

The botanical details of this plant are as follows:
Kingdom: Plantae
Family: Begoniaceae
Genus: Begonia
Begonias can be reared to give colourful flowers throughout the year, provided a few of their requirements are taken care of.

Temperature requirements
·      Begonias grow best in the temperature range of 18°C-22°C. They cannot tolerate very low temperatures.
·      Lower temperatures will result in the soil being wet and the plant rotting or exhibiting slow growth.
·      If temperatures begin to soar, the leaves start to dry up and drop. In cases of very high temperatures the plant should be put under the shade of a tree or any place with a cover.

Light requirements
·      Begonias prefer a few hours of sunlight every day. The beautiful foliage patterns on the Begonia rex come out in their full splendour when the plant is placed under bright indirect light.
·      You can know if the light is too much for the plant, when the leaves turn pale and start showing signs of getting burnt. In spring, the plant can tolerate the morning sun; however, once the summer gets stronger, the plant should be moved to a place with shade.
·      Low amount of light can cause increase in length of the stems as the leaves begin to search for sunlight. The long stems then turn limp and the Begonia loses its bushy appearance. Low light also decreases the frequency of flowering.

Soil requirements
·      Begonias grow well in well-drained soils. Potting mixes generally used in containers seem to work as the best soil for Begonias. Peat moss, perlite or vermiculite can also be used in their soil.
·      Some experts suggest placing of Begonia potted plants in a shallow tray filled with pebbles and water. Water maintains humidity while pebbles prevent the roots from coming in direct contact with the water.

Irrigation requirements
·      Begonias are susceptible to rotting, hence over-watering should be avoided. They should be watered only when the soil feels dry to touch.
·      The foliage should be avoided during watering of the plant, since excess water on the leaves may lead to a fungus attack.

Pest control
·      Begonias are susceptible to aphids and mealybugs. A diluted soap solution smeared over the affected parts should take care of the pests.
·      Begonia rex is prone to attacks from soil parasites like nematodes. Placing mothballs on the soil surface while watering the plant can take care of these parasites.

The vast variety of foliage patterns seen in Begonias make them very interesting ornamental plants to have around the house. They are infamous for being fussy about the conditions required for their growth; but once settled they look great in your garden!  Keep gardening!

Monday, March 21, 2016

Colour me Red!

A plant that flowers all-year round; with bright, glossy leaves and flowers that look eternally new; so much so that you can fib to your friends that someone recently gifted it to you! That’s the exotic Anthurium.
Anthuriums are well-known for their brightly-coloured and heart-shaped spathes. They are usually seen to have deep-red colouration; however they occur in many other colours like green, pink and orange as well. They belong to the Arum family, which is known for plants with bright foliage consisting of a central rod-like spadix enclosed within a brightly-colored spathe. They are native to the Americas, especially to countries like Mexico and Argentina. 

The botanical details of this plant are as follows:
Kingdom: Plantae
Family: Araceae
Genus: Anthurium
Other names: Flamingo, Painted Tongue, Tail Flower

Anthuriums are easy to grow in pots at home provided a few of their requirements are taken care of.

Temperature Requirements
  • Anthuriums grow best in the temperature range of 23°C-30°C.
  • You can know when the temperature is too high for the plant, when the foliage and flowers start to dry despite adequate watering.
  • Lower temperatures will result in yellowing of leaves and slow growth.
Light Requirements
  • In their natural habitat, Anthuriums are found growing as epiphytes (like Orchids) on trees or in tree canopies in tropical rainforests. So it is understood that these plants do not prefer direct sunlight.
  • Anthuriums grow best in partial shade if outdoors or in bright, indirect light indoors, like 5-8 feet away from a window.  
  • You can know if the light is too much for the plant, when the leaves start show signs of getting burnt.
  • Low amount of light can cause slowing of growth, distortion of leaves and decrease in the number of flowers borne.
Soil Requirements
  • Anthuriums grow well in well-drained and coarse soils. At the same time, the soil must have good water-retention capacity.
  • To increase the coarseness and drainage capacity of the soil, peat moss, semi-rotted wood and coconut husk can be supplemented in the potting medium.
Irrigation Requirements
  • Anthuriums do not prefer soils which are continually moist. Hence the soil must be allowed to dry before watering again. That means that the plant must be watered only when the soil feels dry when touched.
  • If the plant gets too dry, this may affect the growth of the plant.
  • Anthuriums are susceptible to root rot; hence over-watering should be avoided. During watering, it should be ensured that water is drained out from the plant. The roots should not be left standing in excess drained water. Over-watering may also result in yellowing of leaves.
  • A layer of moss can be placed covering the roots and stems; this helps retain moisture.
Pest Control
  • Anthuriums are susceptible to aphids, mealybugs and scales. Prevention is better than cure; hence the plants need to be monitored to prevent any attacks by pests.
  • A diluted soap solution smeared over the affected parts should take care of the pests.
  • An effective way to control these pests without usage of chemicals is periodic wiping of leaves to eliminate dust and insects. A gentle water spray also helps.
Anthuriums, when grown well, retain a healthy and glossy look. The plants seem to be smiling, uplifting the spirits of everyone around them.  Make sure to follow the above-mentioned requirements to have healthy, smiling Anthuriums around you all through the year! 

Keep Gardening!
Team MudFingers

Sunday, March 13, 2016

The story so far…

There lived a couple in the quaint old town of Bangalore, in the quiet and empty lanes of Banashankari. That was the Bangalore of yore. It was truly the garden city then. The couple too had a small garden. But it was more than just a garden for them. Every day, the couple tended to their garden and sowed seeds and raised saplings. All year through and many years like this, the couple toiled to raise and nurture the greens growing in it. Soon there were Violets, Anthuriums, Chrysanthemums and Marigolds sprawling across the green space.

From this humble beginning, many years later in June 2006, Blooms and Ivy took birth in a small store in Jayanagar, Bangalore. The expert at the helm of affairs was Mr. Vishwanath, who had just retired from the famed Indo American Hybrid Seeds after 42 years of service as a Horticulturist. Ably by his side was his wife, Mrs. Uma who had spent 30-odd years magically growing practically anything and everything in her garden. Adding to this, their daughter, Vrinda, an agriculturist by qualification, a designer by profession and a planter by passion (and genes of course!) also joined this team. Bonsais, terrariums, self-watering planters, cacti, kitchen garden plants…the list was endless. This team, with its experience and wide expertise, was just bursting forth with ideas and knowledge. In addition to retailing plants, they also helped plant growers with helpful advice on how to tackle pests in their garden or deal with bore well water affecting growth of their plants.

Mudfingers, the online portal of Blooms & Ivy was launched on 26th January 2014. The unique fact about this team is the vast experience and wide knowledge base at hand. Adding to this, there is the ever- growing list of novel products, be it the innovatively-styled terrariums or the aesthetically made bonsais. In an attempt to go the eco-friendly way, a range of planters made from upcycled materials like old wine bottles and discarded wood boards are also on sale. At Blooms and Ivy, you can be sure to find new and original ideas taking shape to give you beautiful and healthy plants, along with practical solutions on how to grow them. Once you shop at Blooms and Ivy, you have made a lifelong relationship with nature. Go green!

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Green Gifts this Festive Season!

Be Eco & Go Green with MudFingers this Festive Season!

We all talk about being eco-friendly, going-green and doing our good bit back to the world we live in!

MudFingers shares this feeling of your's and we want to show-case our concepts to help you achieve the same. Simple concepts but good enough to reduce your carbon footprint - a small portion everyday.

Green Return Gifts - A new corporate wave!

One such concept is Gifting Green! We make sure that our products are grown in organic culture and has very low maintenance. Most of the non-green gifts that are given away have very less shelf life and no significant value added to it.

Small Bottle Garden
MudFingers specializes in Bottle Gardens a.k.a Terrariums which house a living plant contained in an organic system.

This brightens up your living space and adds living value in your place, be it your study / living / office / any indoor space.

Options with Terrariums are many and they come in various sizes and glass containers - like  Wine Goblets, Small Jars, Round Bowls, Hanging Orbs to name a few of our collection.

Our plants are well nourished and we present to you a healthy, breathing lively system to enhance your decor!

MudFingers will be happy to support you and are present to help you in anyways in this noble cause!

Wish you all a Happy Festive Season!

Team MudFingers

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Mudfingers goes to Prestige Shantiniketan!

Mudfingers goes to Prestige Shantiniketan!

What a day! Mudfingers was part of a common exhibition cum sales which was organized for the benefit of residents at Prestige Shantiniketan - Whitefield, Bangalore.

We happened to meet people with varied interests.
Many were drawn towards Mudfingers's multicolored pots with indoor plants which was apt for gifts.
Pots of various shapes like Conch, Birds, Cup-Saucer, Cube etc., enthralled adults and kids alike.

Terrariums - the ultimate Bottle Gardens were a huge hit.
A terrarium is a collection of small plants growing in a transparent, sealed container. Inside a terrarium's walls, many natural processes may be observed: photosynthesis, respiration and the water cycle.
The very concept of presenting plants in a bottle of various shapes makes Terrariums very interesting. A properly maintained terrarium can go for weeks or months without needing water.

Tulasi Brindavan's comes in various sizes and colors. We had samples of these which were designed keeping an apartment balcony in mind. Tulasi (Basil) plants need full sunlight. Place them in an east facing balcony or on terrace.

We had Bonsai'sTable-Top'sOrchids, and various types of Indoor Plants to offer.

Felt happy to hear and talk to plant lovers, address their concerns and just being there.

Thanks friends for your wonderful response and we will be back soon!!

Sunday, February 15, 2015

House plants are best when planned into your decor.

"All gardening is landscape painting - William Kent"

One of the most inexpensive, easiest and simplest way to have the extra zing in the decor of your house is to include best suiting houseplants into your planning.

I personally do not think that plants should be after thought to your interiors, but should always be given a serious thought in advance. Choose some spots that can be converted to green areas so as to bring the much coveted green aura into your homes!

Analyse your interior spaces on the overall theme that you are aiming for and choose wisely to add plants as vital design elements into your interiors.

Contemporary or Minimal theme:
Accentuate with 1 - 2 sleek plants in bright ceramic pots. Dracaena, Cordyline, Sanseveria, Good luck spiral sticks, Orchids, Succulents, a gorgeous terrarium can do well in these designs. You can also plan a Zen garden theme in your terraces or balconies.

Country or Rustic style:
Go in for a bright corner garden or a bright space under a skylight. Choose plants of different heights in brightly colored pots. For instance, Monstera, Philodendron species, Bromeliads, an array of Ferns, Anthuriums planted to in a ad-hoc manner can be great!
You can also add in some herbs in old kitchen pans and pots! Add some hanging plants near that barbecue space that you are planning to enjoy the love of life!

Formal or Royal:
You can go in for large live bouquets & accentuate regularly in your space design. Bonsai and cascading jade plants too look great in formal settings. You can also choose a long wall and go in for that vertical wall garden that will be an ideal setting for many an entertaining evening!