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Plant of the Week: We're Crazy for Crotons

One of the boldest indoor and outdoor plants around, you just can't miss crotons because of their ever-changing show of vibrant autumn foliage. Their thick, glossy foliage is brightly colored in combinations and shades of red, yellow, pink, orange, burgundy, bronze or green. The leaves may be wide and smooth, long and narrow or very irregularly shaped. Crotons are sure to draw attention with their stunning color and make a bold statement both inside and out.

Crotons serve double duty as they can be grown outdoors during the warmer months and indoors as a house plant the remainder of the year. Outside, this tropical foliage looks great when planted in the landscape or grown in pots and grouped together with other plants. Or, mix in containers with ornamental grasses, mums, marigolds and pansies. As a houseplant, crotons add texture and color to dull interiors. Place on a side table or use as a centerpiece on a dining room table. The beautiful leaves can also be used to enhance floral arrangements.

Crotons are relatively easy to care for. When outdoors, they do best in a location where the plant receives at least four to six hours of sunlight during the day. The more sun croton plants receive, the more colorful their foliage becomes. Watch your croton carefully, as new foliage will wilt when thirsty, and can be used as a watering guide. Indoors, crotons also prefer bright lighting, however, be sure to check the variety to determine the light needs of your specific plant. Some varieties need high light while others need medium or low light. In general, the more variegated and colorful the croton plant, the more light it will need. Keep the soil evenly moist and use lukewarm or room temperature water for watering. The plant can also be misted several times a week to help provide moisture and humidity.

So join the croton craze, and celebrate the colors of autumn!

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Plants of the Week: Floor Plant Favorites

From large, sculptural plants to charming succulents, there's a place for houseplants in every home. Green plants add textural interest, fill in drab corners and soften architectural features, and they can enhance mood and freshen air too. Large floor plants are especially ideal when used as an accent plant or as a focal point indoors. And, when it comes to indoor plants, some folks don’t have a reputation for having a green thumb. But, not all plants require equal amounts of TLC, and there are a lot that can put up with a little unintentional neglect. With the help of our indoor plant specialists, we've picked a few easy maintenance floor plants. So, if you are looking for ways to spruce-up and freshen your home or office, here are a few of our favorites...

Fiddle Leaf Fig - a wildly popular new houseplant featuring large, heavily veined, violin-shaped leaves that grow upright on a tall plant. Fiddle is native to the tropics, where they thrive in very warm, high light conditions. They are relatively tough plants that can withstand less-than-perfect conditions for a fairly long time. Give them a vacation outside during warmer months, and bring them indoors when cold weather sets in. Fiddle Leaf Figs perform best in bright sunshine.

Ficus Benjimina – shows off glossy, evergreen foliage and a graceful growth habit. All this plants needs is a sunny spot and it will thrive. Looks great when potted up and placed near doors, entryways or even outside during warmer months. Once it gets cold, bring it inside near a warm window. And don’t be afraid to trim the foliage back to maintain the graceful appearance. When potted, this ficus can grow 6 feet tall.

Corn Plant - this striking houseplant is nicknamed the Corn Plant for its long, dark green, sword-like leaves that resemble the foliage of actual corn. The variegated leaves usually have a yellow or crème center with dark green edging. This plant enjoys low light, making it perfect for corners and hallways. The Corn Plant has very a shallow root system, therefore when watering, be sure to place the water near the base of each cane so that the roots are able to absorb the water. If the leaves begin to drop or yellow, try watering the plant less frequently. This exceptionally easy to grow plant is one of the best houseplants for beginners, and the foliage is one of the most efficient at purifying the air.

Dracaena Marginata - this beautiful plant features green, thin leaves with red and yellow strips along the edges that grow from a thin cane. Marginata is an easy-care, durable houseplant well suited for offices and homes. This exotic, slow-growing houseplant can reach 6 feet tall, but you can control its height by simply cutting off the top. And did we mention that NASA lists Dracaena Marginata as excellent plant for removing harmful chemicals from the air?

Bamboo Palm - a tall, narrow palm tree with slender stems resembling bamboo. It has delicate pale green leaves called fronds that grow in clusters at the end of the stems. Bamboo palm performs well in low to medium light and grow 5 to 7 feet tall and 3 to 5 feet wide, so place it where it will have plenty of room to grow. Be sure to prune back dead leaves to keep it looking its best. With little effort, this tropical-looking plant will brighten dim corners of your home.

Tip - when watering, tap water will do, but rain and distilled water are best. Even indoors plants benefit from fertilizer in spring and summer when they are growing. We recommend giving your plants some time outside during the summer. In the shade for 6-8 weeks helps the plant get new energy to get through the dark winter months and still retain its natural beauty. Consult with our associates on pruning and grooming of each variety.

Check out more of our favorite plants! OUR PLANTS OF THE WEEK >>

Plant of the Week: Marigolds -- Beautiful & Beneficial

These little golden beauties are grown for their season-long blooms, their beautiful scent, and because they are easy to grow. Marigolds bloom early in the summer and continue non-stop up to the first hard frost in the fall. And, did you know that marigold plants produce unique compounds that give off strong odors that deter many insects and pests? By planting marigolds alongside your vegetables, not only are you providing lovely flowers, but you're also helping keep your veggies safe from pests - naturally! Marigolds also help tomatoes and roses grow better and are beneficial for pollinators such as bees and butterflies. These bloomers are perfect in beds, pots and window boxes. Plant them in an area with good drainage, ample moisture and a full to half-day sun. Young plants should have their first flowers pinched off to encourage more blooms and a bushier form. Be sure to deadhead mature plants to ensure continuous flowering. Marigolds, no annual garden should be without these cheerful, bountiful blooms.

Check out more of our favorite plants! OUR PLANTS OF THE WEEK >>

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