Um, Why Are People Releasing Ladybugs Inside Their Homes?

The other night, while scrolling through social media, I came across a video of someone releasing a jar full of 1,500 ladybugs into their home. My initial reaction was something along the lines of, “Oh my gosh, why would you do that?!” Growing up, hund…

The other night, while scrolling through social media, I came across a video of someone releasing a jar full of 1,500 ladybugs into their home. My initial reaction was something along the lines of, “Oh my gosh, why would you do that?!” Growing up, hundreds of ladybugs moved into our house every winter, swarming the windows and forming little clusters in the corners of every room. In response, my family spent a lot of time trying to get them out of the house. To watch someone release them indoors on purpose? It just seemed wrong!

Digging a little further, I found a number of houseplant enthusiasts who swear by the practice, regularly setting hundreds—sometimes thousands—of ladybugs free in their homes in the name of… pest control. Obviously, I had a lot of questions: What, exactly, do they control? Do you really need that many of them? And, most importantly, does it actually work?! I reached out to a few bug and gardening experts for answers—here’s what they had to say.

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How to Protect Your Precious Plants from a Harsh Frost

When winter sets in, frost can be the hour of reckoning for gardeners. It’s that moment when the plants that have adapted to your local climate are going to be fine (even if a bit unsightly because they are shutting down until spring), while others wil…

When winter sets in, frost can be the hour of reckoning for gardeners. It’s that moment when the plants that have adapted to your local climate are going to be fine (even if a bit unsightly because they are shutting down until spring), while others will suffer, even die, without protection because they are not cold-hardy in your zone.

Shrubs wrapped in burlap are a common sight in winter across yards, but the question is: Do you really want to go through that effort year after year? For anything that you permanently plant—all the perennials, that is—you should only pick plants adapted to your USDA Plant Hardiness Zone. But that’s probably not what you want to hear when you are worrying whether the beautiful crape myrtle you planted in your front yard last spring will make it through the New England winter.

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It’s Time to Plant Your Fall Vegetable Garden—Here’s How

If you have free space in your garden beds or empty containers, it’s still early enough to plant for a fall harvest. Vegetable gardening in the fall is often more successful than in the spring or summer because you are up against fewer odds: weed growt…

If you have free space in your garden beds or empty containers, it’s still early enough to plant for a fall harvest. Vegetable gardening in the fall is often more successful than in the spring or summer because you are up against fewer odds: weed growth slows down, the plants are under less heat stress, there’s more rain, and many garden pests are also (temporarily) gone. While you can certainly do a thorough end-of-seasoning gardening cleanup (and you should!) you can also make use of your fertile ground for a harvest-timed harvest.

Read on for the best ways to leverage the last of the pre-winter weather for a successful fall vegetable garden.

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So, What Is Ungardening Anyway?

while I consider myself lucky to have a beautiful outdoor space to call my own, the entire property is absolutely riddled with Oriental bittersweet. This invasive vine manages to strangle (and often kill) every plant it comes in contact with—we’ve lost…

while I consider myself lucky to have a beautiful outdoor space to call my own, the entire property is absolutely riddled with Oriental bittersweet. This invasive vine manages to strangle (and often kill) every plant it comes in contact with—we’ve lost full-grown, 100-year-old trees to it—and it’s near impossible to get rid of once it has a foothold.

Given how awful this plant is, I was shocked to find out that some nurseries actually sell it as an ornamental plant. In fact, it’s fairly common to find invasive species and non-native plants in garden centers, and while they might look pretty—bittersweet gets festive red berries with orange shells in the fall—these plants aren’t great for our local ecosystems. That’s where “ungardening” comes in. We spoke to an ecologist about how this new gardening movement can help reverse ecological decline and build habitats for local wildlife, and it turns out that it’s perfect for anyone with a laissez faire gardening style (like me!).

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Does This Internet-Trendy Plant Food Actually Work?

TikTok has brought us some of the greatest life hacks including cleaning tips, cheesy, creamy pasta recipes (feta pasta, anyone?), and all-around entertainment (raise your hand if you’re still scarred by #bamarush!). But today I’m not here to talk abou…

TikTok has brought us some of the greatest life hacks including cleaning tips, cheesy, creamy pasta recipes (feta pasta, anyone?), and all-around entertainment (raise your hand if you’re still scarred by #bamarush!). But today I’m not here to talk about Kendra Scott earrings or the Lululemon Align Tank that every 18-year-old freshman at ’Bama rocked on the Tok. I’m here to exercise my green thumb and get down and dirty with plant TikTok.

How to Make TikTok Plant Fertilizer

A few weeks ago, Armen Adamjen, aka creative_explained, shared a video on TikTok demonstrating how to use just three basic household ingredients—spent coffee grounds, cinnamon, and seltzer water—to create an instant plant fertilizer for indoor and outdoor plants. Armen’s instructions? Just combine 4-6 tablespoons of coffee grounds with one teaspoon of cinnamon and one cup of club soda in a large measuring cup. Mix together until combined. Pour the mixture over the soil of your plants once every two weeks and watch as your plants thrive. At first glance, it seems like the perfect way to get a second life out of used coffee grounds—but was it more than that? “What we have here is a super powerful mixture with potassium, phosphorus, nitrogen, and more minerals,” says Adamjen, adding that this combination of minerals is natural plant food. But does this combination actually benefit your plants?

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The Very Best Flowers to Plant in the Fall

Even the best cared-for yard can look a little worn by the end of the summer when many plants are covered with powdery mildew, a widespread and easily identified plant disease (for reassurance, it does not kill the plant, it’s just unsightly). Planting…

Even the best cared-for yard can look a little worn by the end of the summer when many plants are covered with powdery mildew, a widespread and easily identified plant disease (for reassurance, it does not kill the plant, it’s just unsightly). Planting some fall-blooming flowers for a fresh look is a perfect remedy to perk up your yard.

Fall is also the time to plant spring-blooming bulbs that provide the color splashes we crave after a long winter.

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Wait—Have We Been Watering Our Houseplants All Wrong?

I was just minding my own business, scrolling through Instagram, when I came across a video of plant care tips that “everyone should know.” Naturally, I watched it to see if I was following said tips, and in addition to basic things like using pots wit…

I was just minding my own business, scrolling through Instagram, when I came across a video of plant care tips that “everyone should know.” Naturally, I watched it to see if I was following said tips, and in addition to basic things like using pots with drainage holes and “quarantining” new plants to avoid bug infestations, one of the suggestions was to bottom-water your plants.

Now, I’ve always bottom-watered my African violets because… OK, I’m not sure why exactly, but my mom told me to. However, I don’t do it with any other plants. Curious if there were actual benefits of the practice, I went down a rabbit hole about bottom-watering, and it turns out it’s highly touted and actually recommended by a lot of plant experts. Here’s why.

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4 Steps to an (Almost) Bug-less Garden

“Something is eating my so-and-so plant, what should I spray?” is a question I get asked… very often. My answer is always short and rather brusque: “Nothing, before you know what you’re up against.”

There are almost one million insect species in the w…

“Something is eating my so-and-so plant, what should I spray?” is a question I get asked… very often. My answer is always short and rather brusque: “Nothing, before you know what you’re up against.”

There are almost one million insect species in the world but only three percent of them are viewed as pests. Indiscriminately treating anything that visits your garden plants in search of food or shelter with a wide-spectrum insecticide does more harm than good, because it kills everything that crawls and flies, including beneficial insects and the pollinators we need so badly. It’s also a waste of time, effort, and money—plus, it can create a health hazard for humans and pets.

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The Teeny-Tiny Garden Trend We’re Obsessed With

Bottle gardens are pretty much exactly what they sound like: small “gardens” planted inside a sealable bottle or container that are sometimes also referred to as terrariums. The particularly neat thing about bottle gardens is that, if done properly, th…

Bottle gardens are pretty much exactly what they sound like: small “gardens” planted inside a sealable bottle or container that are sometimes also referred to as terrariums. The particularly neat thing about bottle gardens is that, if done properly, they can become self-sustaining ecosystems that require little to no ongoing upkeep.

Choosing the Right Container

The container that you choose for your bottle garden will determine how many plants you can fit inside and the size of the plants that you add. Also keep in mind that the smaller the opening is, the harder it will be for you to get your plants inside the container initially. Ideal bottle garden containers have lids and can be sealed (otherwise you’d be creating an open terrarium which is slightly different!), are made of glass that’s clear versus opaque, and are tall enough that some space is left between the top of the plants and the bottom of the lid.

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All the Signs That It’s Time To Repot Your Plant

There comes a time in every houseplant’s life when an upgrade in living accommodations is required, and it’s time for a repotting. This could be because your plant has outgrown its previous potting container or because it simply needs a soil refresh. E…

There comes a time in every houseplant’s life when an upgrade in living accommodations is required, and it’s time for a repotting. This could be because your plant has outgrown its previous potting container or because it simply needs a soil refresh. Either way, repotting is an important part of keeping your plants happy and healthy long-term. Here’s what you need to know when it comes time to transfer your plant to a new home.


Signs It’s Time to Repot

When it comes to how often houseplants should be repotted, it’s unfortunately not an exact science. It varies depending on the plant, the age of the plant, and the conditions in your home. Generally, young plants will need to be repotted more often than mature, established plants, but timing can ultimately vary.

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