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Our Step-By-Step Guide to Cleaning Teak Furniture!

Teak Furniture at the Garden Furniture Centre

Our Step-By-Step Guide to Cleaning Teak Furniture!

Here at the Garden Furniture Centre, we take great pride in supplying the best grade A teak furniture for all our customers to enjoy over many years! Recently, we took it upon ourselves to recondition our FSC Certified Malvern teak bench at yew tree farm which is 17 years old! By using our own teak cleaning products and a bit of TLC, this bench now looks just as good as it did 17 years ago. So, for this blog post we are going to take you through the stages of how we made our Malvern bench go from rags to riches in just a few easy steps!

The main question on everyone’s lips is what is the best way to treat teak outdoor furniture? Notably, it is thought that applying teak protector or oil whilst it is new will make your teak furniture shine and flourish for years to come, however this is not the case. The oil content in the teak wood is already extremely high so the products added will ruin the finish of the wood. So, for this reason, here is a breakdown of how to properly care and treat your teak furniture to make it last a lifetime!

 

Step 1: Jet Wash

To begin the cleaning process, it is best to get rid of any dirt and grime build up with a power jet wash which will get into all the tight and hard-to-reach places to prepare it for the next stage. As you can see, the colour of the bench has already started to transform into its original soft walnut brown hue that has been hidden for many years!

 

Step 2: Sanding

After the bench has dried from the jet washing, the next vital stage is to sand the wood down to restore the original colour of the wood. Here we have used a sanding machine to buff out the marks and dents on the larger areas to re-establish the delicate engraving on the top panel. Keep in mind that the sanding process is an extremely crucial part of restoring any teak furniture and must be completed with the upmost care. It is also important to follow the grain of the wood to ensure there are no additional markings made by the sandpaper or sand machine.

 

Step 3: Cleaner

After the sanding is complete, it is time to apply the teak cleaner to kill any mould or mildew bacteria that may have built up inside the teak over the years. It is imperative to clear off any excess sawdust that may have collected on the furniture with a damp cloth to ensure the surface is prepped and ready for the teak cleaner. You can apply our Golden Care Teak Cleaner to the bench with a dry sponge and lightly work the product into the wood to remove any excess dirt and oil. Fundamentally, the superior teak quality is very much evident in this bench as there is no appearance of rotting or splitting within the wood!

 

Step 4: Protector

The final stage in restoring your teak furniture is to carefully apply the teak protector which is available in either a blonde or honey brown shade to replenish the lost colour of the wood. For this restoration, we have chosen to apply our Golden Care Blonde Teak Protector with a soft bristle brush to further enhance the warm hue and detail of the grain. This ultimately seals the wood to create an extra layer of protection against water or mildew, as well as providing 100% protection against any sun damage! The difference with a water-based teak protector versus an oil is that the protector allows the wood to breath and keep its original colour whereas a teak oil will typically alter the colour of the wood into a darker brown or even orange tinge, as well as attracting moisture and mildew into the teak. 

 

The Finished Product!

And there you have it! Our 17-year-old Malvern bench has been completely restored with just a few simple steps and some much needed love and attention! Make sure to tag us in your own teak furniture restorations so we can see your amazing transformations just like ours!

The Pergolux: Our Installation at Spot-On Wake!

The Pergolux: Our Installation at Spot-On Wake!

At the Garden Furniture Centre, we have a versatile selection of gazebos that can be tailored to your every need! Our extensive range of bespoke and fitted gazebos are a great way to add style and character to any outdoor space. Our most recent installation at water sports centre Spot-On Wake in Wootton Wawen demonstrates how our Pergolux gazebo has many beneficial uses for the public and commercial venues.

The Pergolux

But what is a pergola? Firstly, let us break down the key components of the Pergolux gazebo that makes it so desirable! The main feature of this gazebo is the remote-controlled motorised louvered roof which is fitted with our warm LED lights that are delicately positioned to give your gazebo a calming and stylish atmosphere! This motorised roof can fully open with minimal effort when you want to regulate the temperature, or even to enjoy the hot summer sun.

 

 

Another main feature of our Pergola design is the drainage system which is manufactured to remove any excess rainwater through our innovative drainage channels located within the front two legs. This allows you to have the option of using your garden space whatever the weather and to make the most out of your outdoor area all year round! The drainage system is also familiar on our Galaxy gazebos as this design allows the rainwater to drain effortlessly from the roof and out through the feet. Combined with the watertight and waterproof louvered roof, our Pergolux gazebos are perfect at preventing any harsh weather conditions from spoiling your garden furniture!

 

An optional extra that is included with our Pergola designs is the addition of our glass sliding doors which can lock in place to create a stunning glass wall! These glass sliding doors are extremely durable and will undeniably withstand any weather conditions whilst providing elegance and style to your outdoor area. Fitted with a locking system, these glass doors are safe and secure for you to leave personal belongings or furniture unattended so there is no worry about theft or damage.

 

Spot-On Wake

Recently, our brilliant installations team fitted our bespoke 3.5m x 5m Pergolux gazebo for water sports centre Spot-On Wake! Located in the stunning village of Wootton Wawen, this centre is a hub of thrill and excitement for any water loving fan. The activities on offer are endless; from wake and paddle boarding to open water swimming and obstacle courses, Spot-On Wake will certainly have what you are looking for!

 

This Pergolux is primarily their control centre to monitor the water sport activities as it overlooks both lakes, but it also functions as a lounge area with our garden furniture for visitors to enjoy the magnificent views of the park! This gazebo is fitted with our optional sliding glass doors for maximum protection and privacy when customers want to leave belongings or possessions nearby whilst enjoying their activities. As standard, it also includes our LED motorised louvered roof and anthracite grey frame which looks spectacular beside the action-packed lakes!

 

Take a look at our video below featuring Nathalie who talks you through the Pergolux gazebo at Spot-On Wake!

 

UPF Ratings: Why Does It Matter?

Parasols at the Garden Furniture Centre

UPF Ratings: Why Does It Matter?

With the hot weather fast approaching, you might be wondering how you are going to shade yourself from the blazing sun to enjoy your garden parties or just to relax with friends and family. At the Garden Furniture Centre, we listen to all our customers’ queries about sun and UV protection. So, to ensure we can answer all your questions we have laboratory tested our products to give you the most accurate answers. All our parasol canopies are fitted with a 50+ UPF rating which will give you an excellent protection against harsh UV exposure! In this blog post, we shall explore what exactly is a UPF rating, why it is important, and why you need to take precautions to protect yourself from harsh UV rays in the summer.

 

What is UPF?

UPF is the acronym for ‘Ultraviolet Protection Factor’ which basically shows how much UV radiation can reach your skin through certain fabrics. For example, a UPF rating of 30 to 49 will give you a very good protection from UV rays, whereas a UPF rating of 50+ is regarded as an excellent protection and can block out 98% of the sun’s rays. Notably, it is a requirement from The Skin Cancer Foundation that fabrics needs to have a UPF rating of at least 30 to meet their Seal of Recommendation.

It is important however that you know the difference between UPF and SPF, as it does become confusing with so many different variations! The main points to know are that UPF measures the amount of UV radiation that can infiltrate the fabric to eventually reach your skin. SPF (Sun Protection Factor) on the other hand actually considers how long it takes for skin that is exposed to UV rays to become red, for example if you begin to have sunburn after 20 minutes exposed to the sun, then a sun cream with an SPF of 15 will protect your skin for 15 times longer than without it!

 

But what is UV radiation?

UV radiation is the natural energy produced by the sun and is not visible to the naked eye, but your skin can sense it. Ultimately, there are two types of UV radiation that can contribute to the development of skin cancer: Ultraviolet A (UVA) and Ultraviolet B (UVB). UVA is typically associated with the ageing of skin, whereas UVB is linked to skin burning. When you are unprotected and exposed to both these radiations, the damage can be detrimental to your skin as the DNA in your skin cells become damaged, resulting in genetic defects or mutations which can all cause skin cancer.

 

What is more, severe UV exposure that causes sunburn does have a major role in producing melanoma, which is one of the most well-known types of skin cancer. Consequently, UV radiation is an extremely powerful way to attack your skin and can cause issues that range from just a few wrinkles to possibly a critical case of skin cancer.

 

So, what can I do to protect myself from harsh UV rays?

In short, it is important that you do everything you can to protect yourself from harsh exposure to UV radiation so you can prevent any harmful developments to your skin in the future. The main way is to wear sun-safe clothing and sun cream to let your skin have the best protection. Notably, you might want to host dinner or summer events in your garden and will need extra shade for your friends or guests to sit under. As previously mentioned, our range of parasols are fitted with canopies that have been laboratory tested and have been approved of having a 50+ UPF rating, meaning that these canopies will prevent 98% of UV rays coming into contact with your skin! Placing any of our parasols in your garden will give you the best defence against the harsh summer sun whilst adding a great element of style to your dining or lounge area.

 

Why not check out our amazing range of parasols? Click the links below to view them on our website:

Cantilever Parasols

Wall Mounted Parasols

Stand Alone Parasols

Commercial Parasols

LED Parasols

Parasol Canopies and Covers

We would love to see your parasol pictures in your garden, so please share them with us on our socials and you might get featured!

Here Is What No One Is Telling You About Teak Root Furniture!

Teak Root Furniture at the garden furniture centre

Here is What No One Is Telling You About Teak Root Furniture!

 

Teak wood is notably one of the most popular materials for manufacturing garden furniture due to its durability and rot resistant qualities. Significantly, it is teak root which possesses the most unusual and artistically delicate character when manufactured into furniture. The obscure shaping and unique design of teak root will certainly enhance the character of your indoor or outdoor space, as well as having the additional benefit of being magnificent to look at! Well, in this blog post we are going to delve into the art of how teak root furniture is manufactured as well as demonstrating the benefits and care you should be aware of when purchasing any teak root product!

 

What makes Indonesian teak root furniture special?

Indonesian reclaimed teak is undoubtably the most desired material for manufacturers due to its versatility and striking appeal. Typically, teak trees are grown in warm tropical rainforests due to their high temperatures and rich soil benefits. Harvested from disused teak trees, manufacturers use the roof section to produce tables, benches and much more due to its strength and weather resistant qualities.

 

With the age and complexity of the root, these products are uniquely crafted so each one is completely different! This is achieved through its dense grain, which is not only appealing to any wood lover, but is also a reflection of the brilliant quality these trees are so well-known for! This particular part of the tree is rot resistant and organically shaped, so it is perfect for making furniture into artistic and intricate sculptures for everyone to admire!

 

How do I know the quality of outdoor teak furniture?

With our teak root furniture, it is sourced from small villages in Indonesia to ensure all of our products are full of character and individuality! However, to measure the quality of teak root, then we have the main points for you to look out for!

 

 

Firstly, it is the colour that is the main indication to distinguish the quality of the teak wood. If it is deeper and richer, this highlights that the level of natural oil content is extremely high. Another way to check the quality is to look for any splitting or cracks which should not be visible when the teak wood is of an exceptional level. What is more, the wood should not be stained, coloured, or treated with any additional protectors before or after purchasing as the raw materials found within the wood are already enough to protect it for years to come!

 

However, you might be wondering what the best way might be to treat outdoor teak furniture? Well, the main factor to remember is that teak furniture is extremely low maintenance and requires little to no treatment in the first few years. However, as the natural ageing process begins, the teak wood will transform into a silver-grey patina. This will happen with any teak furniture when left to age gracefully, and some agree that this change in colour actually begins to give the furniture its character! However, if you do not wish to have this gradual change in colour, then it is best to use a teak protector to maintain its golden hue.

 

 

Teak Root Furniture at The Garden Furniture Centre

At the Garden Furniture Centre, we are proud to have a great selection of teak root furniture that is sustainable and artistic to suit everyone’s personal tastes! Notably, our Naga, Regina, and Ace ranges are a favourite with our customers due to their intricate designs and unique formation to create the most impressive sculptures! These tables all come complete with a tempered glass top for you to place your food and drink which is perfect for entertaining friends and family.

 

Alternatively, you can match your teak root table with our reclaimed teak root lamps which emulate style and sophistication with their sculpturesque stature! With an essence of individuality, these lamps will certainly fit and look the part in any indoor or outdoor area to add elegance and originality for you to admire. What is more, our teak root furniture stretches further with items such as our root benches, Xilon Root Bottle Stand and Ikal Planters showing that teak roots can be manufactured into just about anything!

 

So why not come and see our magnificent selection of teak root furniture at our showroom in Wootton Wawen! Make sure to share all your photos with us on our socials of your favourite teak root item!

 

Click here to check out our teak root range!

 

Vertical Gardening Ideas For Small Spaces

Vertical gardening is nothing more than using vertical space to grow vegetables or plants. Traditionally, gardeners have done similar things with climbing plants like squashes and beans. However, modern vertical gardening includes non-climbing plants. Vertical gardening saves space, makes harvesting easier and is generally easier to maintain. Although this method of gardening also has its limitations such as needing strong support systems and moisture issues, this method is also much more forgiving and if used correctly, can produce bountiful harvests. Below we have listed a range of vertical gardening tricks and methods you can follow to begin your vertical gardening journey…

Fabric Pockets

Designed for vertical gardening, fabric pockets are suited to this style of gardening and will suit almost all vegetable growing. Usually sold online or in homeware stores, these inexpensive pockets can be found virtually anywhere during the spring and summer months. Simply secure them onto the chosen surface using the appropriate wall mounting screws. Be sure to line the individual pouches with some hard substrate such as gravel before adding compost. Now, get creative with the look!...

Hanging Pots

The simplest and most obvious form of vertical gardening is hanging or balcony pots. However, what most people overlook is the drainage and location of the pots. To provide a bountiful harvest, you need to ensure your pots have adequate drainage holes and are placed in a brightly lit area. You must also ensure your pots are securely fastened as any nasty gales can become disastrous, especially in the UK.

 

Plastic Bottle Planters

Time to pull up the sleeves and get creative! This eco-friendly vertical gardening method is perfect for those who are environmentally aware. Although they may not look as appealing as plant pots, reusing plastic bottles is a great method of upcycling whilst reducing household waste. To turn your bottles into planters, you’ll need to attempt some DIY, by cutting out a section for the plants, drainage holes and introducing some support with string or wiring.

Wooden Pallet Planters

If you have been a member of the gardening community for some time now, you will have noticed the love for reusing pallets – they are like gold dust! This environmentally friendly method is yet again a great method for reducing household waste and saving money. You can often source various sized pallets from distribution or furniture companies for free; all you will need to do is a plan for the transportation to your garden. Herbs or succulents look especially effective in these DIY planters.

Chicken Wire Planter

By simply cutting a triangular shape from the chicken wire, you can begin to form a cone shape planter. By stapling or tacking this onto pallet wood, or a wooden beam, you can complete your planter by introducing moisture-holding substrates such as moss and soil. Hanging plants and fruit such as ivy or strawberries will thrive in this make-shift planter.

Jam Jar Planters

Jam Jars are the perfect herb planters – keeping the herbs sheltered and safe. By reusing your glass jars, once again you will be reducing the amount of household waste produced, whilst saving some precious pennies. We would advise using this method in a sheltered environment only; to avoid water collecting in the jars. Using metal wire to cup and attach the jars to a wall or structure can provide an artsy fun effect too!

Tin Can Planters

Tin cans, like jam jars, are the perfect cheap solution to DIY vertical gardening. Again, we suggest using tin cans for herbs and smaller plants. Ensure you drill some holes at the base for proper drainage to avoid rot. A mere two holes on either side assisted by some garden wire will support your tin cans efficiently.

Piping Planter

As you may have seen, using piping as planters is a popular method of vertical gardening in the DIY gardening community. Industrial piping is cheap, efficient, and spacious – plus there is a variety of sizes and parts to suit your space. By cutting holes in some PVC pipes, you can create glorious vertical or horizontal planters. Some have even gone as far as creating a ‘spiralled staircase’ design. Our personal favourite is the ‘floating’ piped planters made with chains and piping. If you opt for the piping method, ensure to introduce proper drainage. The perfect plants for piping gardens are cabbage, lettuce, beans, and strawberries.

Chest of Drawers Planter

By far our favourite method of vertical gardening is the upcycling of an old chest of drawers! This can create a real feature piece to the garden whilst providing several layers of space for planting. To save further space, you can even just stack and attach the drawers themselves. We suggest planting a mixture of flowers and herbs such as Dwarf Dahlias, Ivy, Pansies, Begonias and Geraniums. Adding a pop of colour to the drawers such as yellow, pink, or blue will help attract insects too.

We hope you found some of these ideas helpful for your vertical gardening journey – and remember, the best vegetables to plant in vertical planters are herbs, succulents, salad greens (lettuce or cabbage), courgette or cucumbers, beans, strawberries, tomatoes, and ferns.

Feel free to share your vertical planters with us on our socials!

Good luck!

Blog post by Lucy Canoel

Top Plants For Birds, Bees And Butterflies

A pollinator garden is a garden containing plants for bees and butterflies specifically. Specific plants are magnets for bees and butterflies, and if planted, you can guarantee these fluttering and buzzing visitors will flock to your garden – who doesn’t love watching these lovely creatures flutter and buzz around on a sunny day? But don’t be fooled, you don’t always need a garden to support wildlife – most plants are happy with windowsill and balcony pots!

Below we’ve listed some plants to inspire you on your journey to creating an insect haven in your outside space, no matter the size. After all, if we look after them, they’ll look after us and our delicate eco-system!…

The most important time for insects is early spring when the insects are just beginning to emerge. So of course, growing spring flowering plants is vital. Below you’ll notice a trend of blue and purple flowers. Did you know this is actually the bee's favourite colour range?...

Alliums and Chives

Bees love all members of the Allium family, which includes chives and onions, which if you didn’t know already, both of which flower!

Chives are a low maintenance perennial herb, once planted they will come back reliably year after year. They also make a lovely ornamental flowers for the front of a border. You can even cut the Chives back once the flowers have faded and they will often produce a second wave of flowers. Chives are also suitable for shade and containers.

Onions

In a process known as bolting, onions can produce flowers. The bees and butterflies love these flowers, so make sure to plant plenty or leave some onions in your garden bed once harvesting.

Sedum

Another butterfly magnet, sedums provide a good bus stop for the bees and butterflies – a mature sedum attracting hoards of butterflies at any one time! Sedums are easy to grow and are long flowering plants, flowering from April all the way through to September.  It is thought, the Sedum flowers are attractive to butterflies even before they are in full flower, perhaps due to the aroma.  

Geranium/Cranesbill

A part of the Geranium family, Cranesbill, or commonly named G. ibericum is just loved by the bees, perhaps because of the colour (blue). Geraniums are low maintenance herbaceous perennials, meaning they will die back over winter and return with fresh new growth each spring.  There are a number of species of Geranium which are all easy and low maintenance.

Cerinthe major

An unusual plant but yet another plant which does not fail to attract bees, Cerinthe major can be grown from seed in the spring and if looked after, is an annual plant, with grey-blue foliage,  and purple flowers. Another favourite factor of this plant is the fact it self-seeds. You can even collect the seeds to hand out to friends and family!

Buddleia/ Butterfly Bush

As stated in the title, this plant gets its name for a reason. Buddleia " Butterfly Bush", which is an easy to grow large plant, attracts plenty of butterflies and pollinators. The flowers are aromatic and if planted in a warm sunny spot, the shrub will soon be smothered with hungry butterflies.

Some Buddleias can grow up to 5 meters, so make sure you do your research on the variety you choose.  Buddleia can also be an invasive self-seeder, so allocating time to prune the flower heads as soon as they have bloomed will help prevent the shrub spreading to unwanted territories.

Monarda / Bee Balm

Monarda is another great easy grow bee magnet and are often proudly showcased within RHS shows. Monarda will grow in some shade, although it flowers best when planted in full bright direct light and a good well-drained spot. Monarda is another herbaceous perennial which will return each year.  However, it does not like confined spaces so it is best to avoid pots and containers.

Oregano

Oregano is a hardy perennial aromatic herb plant, very attractive to butterflies and pollinators. Oregano can grow so thick it can also be used in a topiary effect. However, Oregano is a vigorous self-seeder, so be sure to only plant where you do not mind the spread!  Oregano can also be grown in a container or pot.

Lavender

One of my favourite plants, this therapeutic aromatic plant never fails to attract bees and butterflies. However, lavender can be picky about its growing position, so be sure to take into consideration this is a Mediterranean type plant, and enjoys a warm sunny spot with dry well-drained soil.  Be sure to also consider the variety of lavender chosen as some can be more woody than others. In Uk weather, sometimes lavender does best in containers or pots.  

English Ivy

Hedera Helix or commonly known as English Ivy, once matured can produce flowers and berries which a range of wildlife will enjoy. The nectar and pollen provided by the plant are perfect food for insects such as bees, hoverflies, and wasps. Whereas the berries are loved by birds and animals alike.

We hope this blog post has inspired you in your journey to creating a better insect friendly outdoor space.

Feel free to share your own tips, tricks and shots of your insect friendly garden!

Good luck!

Blog post by Lucy Canoel

Vegetables You Can Regrow From Scrap

On average, we seem to consume more than we produce. Growing your own food can seem daunting and costly at first – however this is far from the truth. By using your food scraps, you can create food for virtually no money.

The BBC states that an estimated 6.6 million tonnes of food in the UK is being wasted each year. This ethical way of growing plants helps us broaden our relationship with the life cycle of food and nature, helping to tackle the evident food wastage issue.  This blog is going to show you how to grow food from food scraps you would usually throw away!

Some methods require the purchase and use of plant pots and soil. A loose potting or peat-free soil is suitable for most methods.

The following methods are simple ways to reduce our food waste in a productive way!

Green Onions

Green onions are arguably the easiest and most popular vegetable to regrow. All you need to do is the following:

  • When cutting the green top off the spring onion, leave approx. 3-5cm of the white root base.
  • Place this white root section into a jar and fill with water until half of the plant is submerged.
  • Leave in a bright spot and change the water every other day.
  • Harvest directly from the jar when ready!

Leeks

Following the green onion method above, you can regrow your leaks! Although, be patient as they may take slightly longer due to their size. Leave a couple of inches from the bottom and place them in a bowl of water.

Celery

Celery can also be regrown from the base of a mature plant.

  • Cut all celery stems off, leaving 3-5cm of stem at the root section.
  • Place this root section in a bowl with warm water.
  • Place the cutting in a warm and bright position, making sure to change the water every other day.
  • When the celery sprouts new leaves, you can then plant it out into soil.
  • Harvest when the plant has large, healthy looking stalks.

Romaine Lettuce, Bok Choy & Cabbage

Lettuce is as easy to regrow as celery! Lettuce leaves can be regrown from saving the root section at the bottom of the lettuce. This propagating technique works best with Little Gem or Romaine varieties.

  • Cut lettuce leaves until 3-5cm of height is left on the root section
  • Place it in a bowl until the roots are submerged
  • Leave in a bright position and change the water every other day.
  • After two weeks, the lettuce should have sprouted new leaves and roots, when this happens, plant the cutting out into potting soil for prolonged growth.
  • Harvest when the leaves grow to baby leaf size (10cm).

Carrots Tops

Regrowing carrot tops allows for plenty of creative dishes –quirky pesto, soup, or even saute. Simply leave the top of the carrots–with a bit of the carrot attached–in bowl or container with water and place them where they can receive adequate sunlight. Now watch them grow!

Sweet potatoes

We have recently seen a trend of people growing sweet potatoes for their leafy vines to provide botanical decoration. Well, you can also propagate them to create new potatoes! It may take some patience, but Sweet Potatoes are easy enough to grow. Unlike normal potatoes, sweet potatoes, require ‘slips’ firstly; these are groups of stems and roots which grow from nodes on the potato. It is best to start this process indoors between February and April and wait until after the last frost to plant.

  • Pierce the middle of the sweet potato. Add lots of water into a jar and place it in with the facing upwards at the top (this is the pointy end).
  • Leave in a bright spot and change the water regularly.
  • Roots, stems and leaves will begin growing from nodes called eyes on the potato over the next few weeks.
  • When the slips have grown substantial roots and stems, you can break it off the sweet potato and plant into soil indoors, potting it on as it gets larger.
  • Plant them outdoors after the last frost (end of May - June). Growing them in the ground during the summer is advised because the tubers can get quite big!
  • Harvest in the autumn or when leaves begin to turn yellow and die-back.

Potatoes

You know the drill. Simple leave your spud in a dark corner, forget about it, and it’ll just sprout. You can also cut a potato in half, where you will see the dents on the skin, plant the potatoes with the dents facing up in soil.  

Basil, Mint, and Cilantro

Leave about 2-3 inches of the stem. Place the stems upright in a glass of water. When the new roots begin to appear, transfer the herbs into a pot of soil and watch them grow!

Pineapple

Although not a vegetable we thought we would throw this one in!  It just takes a bit of patience – approximately two years to be precise, but we think the thought of your very own pineapples is just too intriguing not to suggest!

Grab hold of the pineapple crown by the leaves and twist and pull. The stalk should remain intact. Expose the stalk by removing some of the lower leaves.

Leave the pineapple crown in a glass of water and allow new roots to form, transferring to a soil-filled pot or container once grown. Test the plants strength by gently pulling, should the pineapple have some resist this means you’ve successfully propagated a pineapple and you should move onto pineapple plant care.  

That’s it! There really is something satisfying and gratifying about regrowing half-consumed vegetables and fruit – plus it certainly saves some pennies! We suggest performing these propagating experiments as competitions with your little ones to teach them the values of food and bring them closer to nature.

Have you tried regrowing your own vegetable scraps?

Share with us your experiences!

Good luck!

Blog post by Lucy Canoel

 

The Art Of Houseplant Propagation

During the lockdown, houseplants sales increased substantially – in fact, according to ‘Patch’, an online plant retailer, their sales increased around five hundred per cent during the lockdown. However, buying fully established house plants can cost a pretty penny. Propagation is a way to increase your plant collection for free, plus it’s super simple. Below we have put together some general advice that will assist your new journey into the art of house plant propagation.

So, you’ve probably heard the term before, but just so we’re all clear – propagation means to grow a new plant from a small piece (or cutting) of another. This is different to growing plants from seed, or ‘splitting’. But remember, not all plants are suitable for propagation.

Choose your plant

Choosing beginner-friendly plants will allow you more wiggle room for mistakes, so choose wisely! We recommend the popular ‘Golden Pothos – or Golden Ivy’, ‘Swiss Cheese Plants – Monstera Deliciosa’, Spider Plants or Succulents for beginners, as these are super simple to propagate. Choosing any plant from the Pothos variety, such as the mentioned Golden Ivy, Marbled Queen or Satins, will provide you with a new plant in a much shorter time frame than others due to their quick growth rates.



Cutting

When cutting your plants, make sure your equipment is cleaned after every plant. This diminishes any chance of cross-contamination of diseases or pests between plants. Making sure you have sharp scissors is also essential as blunt scissors can result in damage to the plant.

Where you cut the plant is vital. Again, this depends on the plant type. Some species will form ‘offsets’ to the sides of their main form – these are essentially ‘babies’ from the mother plant. Plantlets are also referred to as ‘babies’ as they also grow from the mother plant. Stem and cane cuttings, however, are just that – cuttings from the mother plant. Leaf cuttings are like stem cuttings, but of course from the leaf itself. When you have performed stem, cane, or leaf cuttings, it's best to leave a gap in between cutting to planting.

Pothos plants require the cane to be cut to propagate – about an inch below the ‘nodes’. Whereas Spider plants are propagated from their plantlets and Succulents from their leaves.



Rooting Methods

Some cuttings may need the help of ‘Root Hormone’ to help stimulate root growth. Root hormone can come in a range of forms – powdered, gel or liquid. It is best to do a quick google search beforehand. Pothos, Succulents and Spider plants usually do not require this. After cutting and applying the hormone, you will need to choose your rooting method – water, LECA clay pebbles, Perlite or soil. Who knew there were so many choices?! Choosing your rooting method depends on which plant you have chosen to propagate – Pothos and Spider plants will do well in water, whereas Succulents tend to thrive better against soil and moss.
Top Tip – Play with the different rooting methods and define one which works for you!

Neglect

cuttings will need more care and attention than your fully established houseplants. This could mean changing the water every few days or adjusting the placement if it is a cloudy or sunny week. Completing neglecting your plants will increase your chances of propagation failure, so keep on top of it!
Image not our own.
Timing

Plants, unless kept warm and artificially lit all year round, will assume a ‘hibernating’ state or ‘dormant' in the winter. Therefore, we do not recommend propagating in the winter. The best time to propagate is during the spring and summer months, where feeds, watering and light are at their highest. This will make for strong propagation. Propagating is a waiting game, so be patient.

Placement

Generally, cuttings like to be placed in a warm and indirect brightly lit spot where photosynthesis can take place. Placing them in a dark pot will prevent the roots from growing. Whereas placing the cuttings in a spot too sunny may result in yellow or brown leaves. We recommend also using clear containers, such as glass jars, for your cuttings.

Top Tip – We recommend setting up a ‘propagation station’ where you can keep an eye on your cuttings all at once. You can buy some cheap ladder shelving online for a more ‘aesthetic’ look!

Growth

After around two to three weeks, you should see some white roots emerge. For Succulents and cacti’s, this tends to take a little longer. As a rule, you should wait until roots are at least an inch long or three quarters the size of the leaf cuttings, before attempting to pot. If your cutting has failed to grow any new roots, we recommend restarting the process with a new cutting. If your cutting has more than one node, you may be able to trim the cutting until it is below a new node and restart the process.

So, let’s get propagating! We would love to see your ‘propagation station’…

Following this guide, we hope you successfully propagate your plants. It’s a great hobby and money saver! We will be releasing a new post every other week or so, so make sure to follow our blog!

You can tag us on our socials – Don’t be shy!

House Plant Care Tips

House Plant Care Tips...

Are you a new plant parent or have you just recently realized your plants may need a little more TLC than you originally thought? Well, we’ve got you covered! We’ve put together a little (but detailed) care guide on general house plants below. This guide will not only help you keep your plants alive but hopefully help them thrive!…

Please keep in mind that each plant has its own specific needs and you should really keep this as just a general guide, ensuring to research your specific plant’s needs.

LIGHTING

As a rule, most house plants require bright filtered light. The further back from your window, the lower the light levels. However, it is important to remember direct sunlight through the glass can cause scorching and browning of the leaves. Plants such as cacti’s and succulents will thrive indirect light. However, most house plants enjoy bright but indirect light. Some plants can also thrive in low light conditions – such as ZZ plants, dragon trees and sansevierias.
During the winter light levels fall and this is where repositioning your plants to a brighter spot closer to the windows can be beneficial; just make sure it is not too cold by the window. If your home is as dark as mine, you can always invest in some artificial lighting…


Top tip – To ensure all your leaves get their share of light, simply turn your plants every few days.

HUMIDITY

Most houseplants thrive in warm rooms and even temperatures all year round. During winter, move plants to rooms that are not overheated during the day, but maintain the required minimum temperatures. Avoid placing plants near open fires, radiators, in draughts, or on windowsills on frosty nights.
Tropical plants require a humid atmosphere. Certain areas of your home will be naturally more humid than others, for instance, bathrooms and kitchens. How quickly the compost dries out is a good measure of how dry the air is. So, it is best to make use of these areas for your more humidity-loving plants – Alocasia, Philodendron, ferns.

For areas that are not so humid, invest in a humidifier or regularly mist your plants. However, it is important to note that some plants do not like misting as this can cause mould and fungi. Misting is best done with tepid water in the morning. Rainwater or water that has been boiled is best as it will not leave white deposits over your plant's leaves. Better yet, place on a tray of damp gravel or expanded clay granules – or anything soluble. Grouping plants together will also help to create a humid micro-climate around their leaves.


Top tip – If you are worried about the temperature and humidity of your house, invest in a digital Thermo Hygrometer; you can find them for as little as ten pounds on amazon.

FEEDING

A few signs to know that your plant needs a feed is pale leaves, slow growth and lower leaves falling off. Plant food is generally made up of nitrogen and phosphates with other trace elements which are generally present in most compound fertilizer’s.
Knowing when to feed your plant is important. The spring and summer is the best time to feed your plants, however, some plants just cannot cope without a feed during winter. If your plant is in a very poor condition then it may be needing a feed. If not then feeding is only generally carried out over the growing season, i.e., spring and summer, about once to twice a month. You can use a liquid feed or slow-release fertilizer. If you have just re-potted your plant, then you have a couple of months before the food within the compost runs out. Only feed as much as is stated on the feed.


Top tip – If you’ve got a few plants on your hands, you can time your feeds to coincide with each other. There are some great reminder apps out there for house plant feeding too – such as ‘florish'.

WATERING

Watering correctly is the key to owning any houseplant. Overwatering can lead to the dreaded root rot and the slow killing of your plant, whereas watering too little can cause the plant to wilt. However, speak to any plant enthusiast and they would prefer a drought-ridden plant to a root rotten plant anyway!
Generally, popping your finger into the soil of the plant and seeing if the top two inches are dry is the best way to check it needs watering. If the compost sticks to your finger, you do not need to water; unless it is a plant that likes to keep relatively moist such as spider plants and ferns. To ensure your plant drains well and does not get root rot, use plant pots with drainage holes and a water tray/well. Watering from the bottom can also help prevent pests and improve root growth.

PRUNING AND TRAINING

Pinch back shoots of young plants when in active growth to encourage branching. Trailing plants usually benefit from this treatment. Ferns especially like being pruned down and often come springing back. Most leafy, mature foliage plants need no pruning.
Many houseplants, except for orchids and palms, can be renovated by cutting the old or damaged foliage back to base or by pruning to a healthy bud in spring. But make sure to not cut anything green off as this will cause browning. Water and feed well to aid recovery.


Top tip – Remember to use sharp pruning scissors and to sterilize in-between pruning each plant to avoid spreading disease or contamination.

PROBLEMS

One thing an experienced house plant parent will look for when searching for their new plant ‘children’ is pests and diseases. To check before purchasing can save a lot of hassle, time, and money. However, admittedly we can get carried away with a deal just too good to pass up and end up skipping the thorough inspection process! Make sure to check your houseplants for pests and diseases such as aphids, red spider mites and scale insects before introducing them to your existing plants.

One way to reduce the invasion of pests to your plants is to isolate your new plants from the other for the first 48 hours of purchase to avoid spreading pests or diseases. Whilst isolated, shower over your plant to remove any unwanted free riders and gently mist with houseplant pest killer or a mix of neem oil and water. Make sure to continuously check for common signs of pest such as spotting on the leaves, sticky substances on the leaves, mould, or dusty appearance.

Following this guide, we hope your house plants stay healthy & continue to grow! Feel free to tag us on Facebook or Instagram.

Top 10 Houseplants For Beginners

Top 10 Houseplants For Beginners...

The Houseplant market has recently seen a huge spike in sales. And it is no wonder as our time spent indoors has increased significantly during the pandemic. Purchasing houseplants is a brilliant and effective way of bringing the out-doors, in-doors. Houseplants are not only known for their air-purifying abilities and the aiding of mental health, but they can also help in really pulling a room together.

For those of you who are considering introducing houseplants into your homes but are unsure of your abilities to maintain healthy plants, we’ve put together a list of the top ten houseplants which require minimal care and provide maximum impact!…

SPIDER PLANTS

This popular species of house plant rose to the top of the popularity list due to its ability to survive extreme conditions – come droughts, overwatering and low or high-light areas, this hardy species will always bounce back. So, if you’re just starting out with house plants – start here! Spider plants are also fantastic air purifiers and without assistance, they will easily sprout spider ‘babies’ – which means more plants for you!

  • Ideally, they like moderate indirect light and moderate watering – mine always seem to be thirsty!
  • There are a few varieties out there – my favourites being ocean and bonnie.
  • They are non-toxic to pets.

DEVILS IVY – OR GOLDEN POTHOS

A part of the pathos family, this plant is not only beautiful with its glossy leaves speckled with yellow, white and light green, but it’s also very hardy. You can pretty much find this one in any supermarket. If treated kindly it will thrive and grow as long as you allow it! Plus, it is easily variegated so you can buy one plant and end up with many more. Choose to grow this on a coconut pole or leave to trail.

  • Generally, they tolerate indirect moderate light but do not like to be overwatered.
  • If you love this variety, make sure to check out the others such as Neon pathos and Marble Queen Pothos.
  • Toxic if consumed.

ALOE VERA

The humble Aloe Vera plant, found in any supermarket, is the perfect houseplant for a beginner. Aloe Vera tolerates most conditions and is a great medicinal plant to have as it acts as pain relief from scrapes and burns when applied topically. Plus, it is unique formation is somewhat impressive!

  • Aloes like being in a bright but indirect location with minimal regular watering.
  • Aloe Vera toxicity level is mild for pets.

SNAKE PLANT

Snake plant, or mother-in-law's tongue, is a must for any houseplant owner. In fact, this plant will grow almost anywhere in the home, tolerating low light areas and minimal watering. Snake plants are usually available in most garden centres and supermarkets. The structural style of the plant pairs perfectly with modern interiors.

  • Snake plants enjoy medium to low light and regular watering.
  • Toxic if consumed.

ZZ PLANT

The ZZ plant has risen in popularity recently and we can tell why! This plant is not only a stunning formation of stem and leaves but also thrives in most conditions. ZZ plants generally do not like to be overwatered and can tolerate low light areas – so perfect for the darker spaces! ZZ Plant. We do not own this image.

  • Water when the top two inches of soil is dry. They don’t mind low light but do not keep in a completely dark room.
  • Toxic if consumed.

AIR PLANTS

Air plants can add a magical touch to any room – I especially love the ‘Spanish moss’ variety. Although Air plants don’t require a substrate such as compost to survive, they do require regular soaking. However, this can be only thirty minutes of soaking a week to make them thrive. The rest of the time they are free to float! Air Plant.

  • Soak the plants weekly for best results.
  • Non-Toxic to plants and humans.

JADE PLANT

Jade plants are slow-growing minimal maintenance house plants – so they are perfect for beginner house plant owners! In fact, these plants are so independent they have been known to survive months without any attention! Although, that’s not something I recommend!

  • Water when the soil is dry and keep in moderate light.
  • Jade plants are toxic if consumed.

PEACE LILY

The peace lily is as peaceful as they sound! Peace lilies are brilliant air purifiers, thrive with minimal attention and look beautiful in any environment. I recently saw some fantastically sized peace lilies in B & Q – it took me all my strength not to buy one! Peace Lily. We do not own this image.

  • Place away from direct sunlight and keep the soil moist but not waterlogged.
  • Mildly toxic if consumed.

DRACAENA

Also known as the ‘dragon tree’ is a perfect plant for those with busy lives. This plant will tolerate being slightly forgotten about!

  • We recommend low to moderate indirect light and water when the topsoil is dry.
  • Dracaena’s are toxic to pets.

FERNS

There are many species of tropical and subtropical ferns ideal for being house plants, however, I recommend ‘Birds nest’. Ferns like to be kept moist and warm with regular misting and low to moderate light. This makes them perfect for bathrooms and kitchens!

  • Mist regularly, keep the soil moist and place in low to moderate light.
  • Some ferns can be toxic and cause skin irritation.

We hope you’ve found the perfect house plant for the beginning of your houseplant collection… And believe me when I say collection! Once you start, you’ll find it hard to stop! We would love to see your houseplants – so please feel free to tag us on Facebook or Instagram!

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