Tropical Style

What Is Best Way to Plant Ficus Trees in the Yard?

Ficus trees (Ficus spp.) Aren’t cold hardy, and as a result are more commonly grown inside than outside. You can develop these trees outdoors in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 9 or 10 through 11, depending on the species. Grown outside, these trees can reach massive sizes, from 50 to 60 feet high and having a spread of 100 feet.

Select the Right Spot

Your ficus tree will have to be planted in a place where it is not exposed to full sun all year. A sun-dappled yard, lined with big trees, will offer the right conditions for a youthful ficus to develop. Ficus like warm temperatures and high humidity. Both of these conditions might be difficult to supply in coastal regions, where temperatures tend to be moderate, and inland regions in which the atmosphere is dry and temperatures more intense. Most important for ficus is well-draining soil. Low-lying areas that are often wet and flooded aren’t suitable for ficus growth.

Give the Ficus Space

Whatever location you select for your ficus, you’ll have to make sure it has room to propagate and develop. Ficus roots could be pronounced across the bottom of the back, disrupting nearby sidewalks and other structures. These trees have also a spreading habit, often growing to be broader than they are tall. Ensure there is sufficient room for the tree to achieve its entire size without crowding out smaller trees or plants. You’ll need to present your tree at least 30 feet of room on all sides.

Amend the Soil

Ficus trees require moist soil that drains well. You can improve soil drainage in the area in which you wish to plant the ficus tree by amending the indigenous soil with organic matter like compost. Additionally, 1 cup of superphosphate added to every square yard of amended soil will help root growth. These soil alterations will help your tree get off to a good beginning, but as the tree matures, roots will spread to regions of that have yet to be amended. If your natural soil is often waterlogged, eventually this will kill the tree. To prevent this situation, plant the tree on land that has some ability to drain naturally. Obviously wet soil isn’t suitable for ficus trees.


The best time to transplant your ficus tree is in late spring when new growth has formed. The hole for the root ball should be no deeper than the root ball itself. When the tree is set in the ground, the roots should not fall lower to the soil when they did if they were in the container. The amended soil has to be packed to the hole around the root ball. Afterward, water the tree deeply. While it is becoming recognized, water the ficus twice every week to keep the soil moist.

Container Ficus

If you are a gardener who would like an outdoor ficus tree for most of the year, however your climate is too cold, consider planting your tree in a container which can be left outdoors during the spring and summer, and brought inside in late fall. The container has to be lightweight for effortless transportation, and you should use container-formulated growing medium to ensure proper drainage.

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Tropical Style

Problems Potting Seedling Trees

Seedling trees are still tender and subject to damage from handling when transplanting. Planting seedlings in plant pots allows the gardener to transfer the trees to secure areas when the weather turns harsh. The dirt and other growing states can be controlled when potted. Being mindful of potting issues before transplanting seedling trees helps the gardener prevent them.


The best time to plant seedling trees is as soon as they arrive, but sometimes that doesn’t occur. When the roots are exposed to air and sunlight, the roots can dry out and die. Set the tree seedling in a trendy location and keep the root ball moist while waiting to be transplanted. Spray the roots down with room-temperature water, and do not submerge the root ball for extended amounts of time. This denies the tree seedling oxygen and can drown the skin.


The ideal container size is important because it directly affects the water-holding ability. Pick a plant pot only a few inches larger than the preceding container. A container also large allows too much water to surround the roots, while you too little doesn’t hold enough water and dries out too fast for the tree roots to absorb enough moisture.


The plant pot must have drainage holes so that the water runs freely throughout the container. Without drainage holes, water stands at the plant pot surrounding the roots drowning the tree. If you cover the drainage holes using mesh stuff to hold the dirt inside the container, then ensure that you do not use fine mesh, or mesh using extremely small holes. Check to ensure that water flows through any mesh used to cover the holes at the plant pot.


Tree seedlings need lightweight dirt to live in containers. Don’t use garden soil, which can harbor garden pests and plant diseases. Heavy soil doesn’t allow the young roots to grow and distribute correctly. Create a fantastic soil mix for tree seedlings by mixing equal parts of sand, peat moss and bark or perlite. This mixture keeps the dirt loose and also carries enough moisture to maintain the roots healthy.


While transplanting the tree seedling, analyze the roots to see whether the plant is experiencing being tightly packed. Look for curiously dead and growing roots. Prune away the larger roots with hand pruners. Loosen the others by running your fingers through the root ball. Invite the roots to grow outwardindications Spread the roots out naturally when putting the seedling from the plant pot. Don’t point the roots upward.


Lousy watering habits are a frequent source of tree seedling death. Water the tree seedling intensely, right after transplanting in a container, and then only as required afterward. Water when the top of the soil feels dry to the touch, but do not let the soil become bone dry.

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Home Painting

How to Paint a Wrought Iron Indoor Glass Top Coffee Table

Wrought iron brings a touch of the rustic outdoors in your living space, but also much rustic isn’t always such a fantastic thing. Chipped or peeling paint — or even actual rust — may mar the effect you’re aiming for. Luckily, it’s not hard to paint wrought iron, and today’s metal paints offer you a veritable rainbow of color options.

Remove the glass top of the coffee table, and then place it aside in a safe place. Glass is heavier than it looks, so enlist a helper to move the glass. If the glass top doesn’t come off, wrap it in newspaper and tape it firmly using painter’s tape.

Spread a drop cloth on your own work space. If you’re spray painting indoors, cover the wall behind your work area also.

Squirt a little bit of dish soap into a little bucket of warm water. The specific amount does not matter; 2 to 3 squirts in about 1 quart of water should be sufficient. Wash the wrought iron using a sponge dampened in the soapy water. Get into all scrollwork and crevices. Rinse the table, then wipe it down and allow it to dry completely.

Sand the wrought iron using an emery cloth to remove any rust or flaking paint that washing didn’t eliminate. Go over the table base with a tack cloth to remove the sanding dust.

Wear a painter’s mask and masks, and be sure that the room is well ventilated. Shake the use of metal primer well for a moment or so and then coat the table foundation in long, even strokes. Let the primer dry for the time mentioned on the label.

Sand the dry primer quietly using 220-grit sandpaper to get a smoother finish. Wipe the table down with a tack cloth.

Put on your protective gear and spray on the table base using paint that is especially formulated to be used on metal. Let the paint dry completely. Employ your second coat within one hour of finishing the first coat to get the best results.

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Tropical Style

Is it OK to Water Your Own Tomato Plants at Night?

Tomatoes can be negatively affected by water. Water on the fruit and leaves can lead to disease. The timing of watering is of equal concern because certain diseases known to infect tomatoes are a larger threat during the evening, when temperatures are cooler.


Watering at night can increase the probability of your tomato plant having problems with disease. Tomato diseases that are certain are the biggest threat whenever there are conditions and temperatures that are mild. This scenario can be created by watering at night.


It can negatively affect production and growth when tomato plants get water. Temperatures are cooler and less water will evaporate from the soil. In case you don’t take the evaporation rates into consideration the incidence of over-watering cans increase.

Tricky Tomato

Following a warm day, leaves of a tomato plant may start to show signs of wilting. If allowed to sit overnight at the cooler temperatures, the leaves will perk up. them, When the leaves have not perked up by morning.

When to Water

Watering early in the day is the most appropriate for tomatoes. It allows time for the plants to dry out before the day and reduces the amount of water lost from evaporation. This is also the practice for preventing diseases on your tomatoes.

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Home Painting

How to Care for Sheer Linen Drapes

Sheer linen drapes enable diffused light into a room while providing privacy. Linen, made from the flax plant, which supplies a durable selection for otherwise delicate sheers because even the thin fabric can withstand daily wear. Linen sheers need minimal care except for periodic cleaning. Dust and dirt might dirt the sheers, but it is possible to wash them in the home as needed so they remain looking their finest. Linen does wrinkle easily, especially after washing, so plan to tackle the wrinkles immediately following a cleaning.

Assess the distance between the hooks if you use a clip-on style hook. Note the measurement so it’s possible to replace the hooks following cleaning in the same distance. Measuring is not required for rod pocket sheers or those with sewn or grommet hook holes.

Set the washing machine to the warm water setting and allow it to fill. Add a mild laundry detergent to the wash water and stir it with a paint stirrer or laundry stick until it dissolves.

Press the sheers into the water following the device fills with water. Only add two or three drapes, or enough to get a half load.

Run the washing machine on the gentle cycle for three minutes, which is long enough to take out the dirt from the sheers but won’t make the fine linen to tangle.

Turn the machine putting to your rinse cycle to get a final rinse. Adjust the temperature to cold water. Rinse and drain your machine, but turn it off before the spin cycle.

Eliminate the linen sheers from the machine. Dry in a tumble drier with two little terrycloth towels, setting the drier on the permanent press setting. Run the dryer for several minutes to eliminate most of the excess moisture.

Replace the curtain hooks and hang the sheers instantly while they’re still damp. Straighten pleats and corners. Linen dries with fewer wrinkles when it is hanging.

Place an ironing board close to the curtain and drape the curtain over the board while it’s still hanging. Press the damp linen with a iron to the medium heat setting to eliminate any wrinkles. Linen releases wrinkles readily when it is damp.

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Tropical Style

Plants that are beneficial for Windowless Offices

Although green plants are not a substitute for a window, plants bring a little bit of the natural environment to a windowless office, with benefits that stretch beyond their ornamental qualities. A study by Washington State University’s Manager of Horticulture implies that plants produce a much healthier environment and increase productivity by lowering employee stress and exhaustion. Though most plants need a few hours of daily sunlight, a few hardy plants withstand low light.

Cast-Iron Plant

Cast-iron plant (Aspidistra elatior) is a tough, reliable, low-light plant that reaches heights of 18 to 24 inches at maturity. The plant tolerates a number of conditions, including owner negligence, moist dust and leaf. Ideally, cast-iron plant is watered frequently enough to keep the potting mixture evenly moist but not soggy. Cast -iron plant thrives in normal daytime temperatures and cool nighttime temperatures of about 50 degrees Fahrenheit.

Chinese Evergreen

Chinese evergreen (Aglaonema) is a showy, low-maintenance plant which adapts easily to low-light conditions. The leaves of Chinese evergreen range from light green to dark green, with grey or silvery streaks based on the range. Size of this plant from 1 to 3 feet — also varies. Chinese evergreen prefers evenly moist soil and nighttime temperatures of 65 degrees Fahrenheit.

Snake Plant

Named for its stiff, spiky leaves, snake plant (Sansevieria trifasciata), also known as mother-in-law’s tongue, is an impressive plant which tolerates nearly any light level and normal room temperatures. The green leaves, together with bands of dark green, white or yellow, attain heights of up to 4 feet. Snake plant is a drought-tolerant plant which requires very little water, particularly during the winter.

Passion Lily

Peace lily (Spathiphyllum) is a flexible plant which displays deep green, sword-like leaves, reaching adult heights of two feet. The plant blooms sometimes throughout the year, even in low-light conditions. The blooms, which continue as long as six weeks, are white when they appear, eventually turning light green. Peace lily is a low-maintenance plant that prefers evenly moist soil and normal room temperatures.


Dracaena (Dracaena marginata) is a tough, elastic plant which eventually grows a thick trunk and a tree-like shape, reaching heights of up to 8 feet. Dracaena comes in many varieties, including corn plant (Dracaena fragrans), appropriately named for its corn-like leaves; dragon tree (Dracaena marginata), with narrow, maroon-striped leaves; gold dust dracaena (Dracaena godseffiana), with rounded, gold and white speckled leaves; and striped dracaena, (Dracaena deremensis), that displays shiny leaves with grey and white stripes. Dracaena thrives in evenly moist soil and normal room temperatures.

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Home Cleaning

How to carry out a Safe Upholstery Cleaning for Home Needs

Whether it’s an elegant tufted headboard or the couch you couch on every evening, wash the fabric effectively without harsh substances by sticking to goods you probably already have in the home. Decide whether your furniture’s fabric is water- or solvent-cleanable by looking for a “W” or “S” on the label or reading the maintenance manual provided by the maker. To get “W” or water-cleanable fabrics, vacuum thoroughly, treat stains and clean using steam or sudsy water. If you’ve “S” or solvent-only upholstery, vacuum, treat stains and absorb smells with baking soda or kill bacteria with vodka. Test every product suggested in a hidden area before using it on your upholstery.

Eliminate the Dirt

The majority of the dust covering your upholstery is loose dirt and dust which you can suction off with your vacuum cleaner. If your upholstery has tufted areas or deep seams, use a can of compressed air to blow the dust and dirt out. Then, fasten the upholstery attachment to the hose of your vacuum and vacuum left to right across the fabric, starting from the top and working your way down. Finish by scrubbing in the direction you desire the fibers of this upholstery to lay. Fix your method to your particular piece of furniture: Utilize a crevice tool to enter hard-to-reach-areas; remove cushions to vacuum all sides and underneath; or put your vacuum to the smallest possible setting and then cover the attachment with an old piece of pantyhose when cleaning delicate fabric.

Treat Visible Stains

Identify and treat discoloration right once you vacuum; scrubbing first prevents grinding loose dirt to the fabric while you spot treat. For most stains on water-cleanable upholstery, combine equal parts light, fragrance-free dish soap and water and whip the combination until frothy peaks form. Incorporate a white cloth or soft brush in the solution and gently exercise any stains, then rinsing with a wet, clean rag when you’re done. Treat tough stains, including wine spills, soil marks and grass stains, on water-cleanable and marks on solvent-only fabrics with 3-percent hydrogen peroxide. Wet the corner of a white rag and then dab the stain until it lifts. Plain vodka employed in precisely the same manner works beautifully also, especially for oily stains. In some cases you can clean overall discoloration from solvent-only fabrics using the whipped soap, however analyze the option in a hidden area.

Deep Cleaning Water-Washable Upholstery

Utilize a steam cleaner along with the suds made when you add a few drops of mild dish soap to water to offer water-washable upholstery a comprehensive cleaning. Steam cleaning uses steam sprayed from a nozzle to kill odor-causing bacteria. If you choose to wash with dish soap, mix the water and soap until suds form on the surface. Slide a soft brush in just the suds and gently apply it to the upholstery with gentle strokes. Rinse well with a wet sponge when you’re done, dry the upholstery fast by turning on fans and opening windows, fill out a spray bottle with half distilled vinegar, half water. Apply this evenly to the upholstery and allow it to dry; the vinegar dissolves some lingering soap deposits.

Deodorizing Solvent-Washable Upholstery

Solvent-cleanable fabrics often require harsh cleaning chemicals for cleaning. However, if you vacuum thoroughly and treat stains using vodka or peroxide, then all that is left is to remove odors. Sprinkle baking soda evenly above the upholstery, wait a minimum of two hours and then vacuum it up. To get heavily-soiled fabric, spray the upholstery down first using economical plain vodka. Apply it in an even layer, allow it to dry and then proceed with the baking soda system. Meanwhile, the vodka kills germs and refreshes the fabric without leaving any unpleasant residue.

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Tropical Style

Could I Trim the Top of Spartan Junipers?

If you are developing a juniper cultivar known as “Spartan” (Juniperus chinensis “Spartan”), you are probably knowledgeable about its tall, narrow shape. A Chinese juniper, this variety reaches 15 to 20 feet tall, but only grows 4 to 5 feet wide. Although this evergreen does not require routine pruning, a “Spartan” juniper that’s becoming too tall or contains some spreading branches near its top can be cut back successfully, as long as you follow several guidelines.

Selecting the best Time

“Spartan” juniper grows in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 5 through 10, getting partially dormant in winter, when its growth slows. It is possible to do a small amount of light pruning at any given time, but in case you are intending to do major pruning, it’s ideal to postpone this until early spring, just before the dormant buds open and new growth appears. This takes advantage of the new flush of spring growth that starts soon after your pruning semester, while also letting you remove any divisions damaged or broken during winter storms. Avoid doing any major pruning in late summer.

Trimming the very best

To trim the surface of a “Spartan” juniper, cut the terminal end of each branch to remove the final, or apical, bud. This encourages development of new side shoots, encouraging the plant to become more full and giving it a powerful shape. Junipers are typical evergreens and can not produce new growth from brownish, leafless branches, known as “dead wood.” When pruning, you can cut the branches back badly, but make sure that you leave some green leaf on the plant and do not cut so drastically that only dead wood stays, because this can destroy the shrub. To prune the top back more gently, trim back about one-third of those divisions in the initial pruning semester, then repeat this again during the next two seasons to complete the job. Sterilize your pruning blades by wiping them with a cloth soaked in rubbing alcohol between cuts. This helps prevent the spread of plant diseases.

More Trimming and Tying

After you prune back the very top of a “Spartan” juniper, watch the new growth to decide if you need to shape the tree more. When side branches appear, you can prune back any that protrude outside the main canopy to help preserve the juniper’s narrow, columnar form. If only a few branches need trimming, you can do it at any given moment. For more major trimming, delay until the next spring. If branches start to lean away from the main portion of the plant since they produce new development, it is possible to keep these in position by using soft ties or plastic straps, which you can buy in nurseries, anchoring them into main branches to train them into position. Leave these in place until tender new growth strengthens, which can take a year or two.

Giving Extra Care

Junipers are usually tough shrubs that need little special care, tolerating drought and other tough conditions well. But after providing a “Spartan” juniper a major pruning, provide the plant some additional care. Make sure it gets about 1 inch of water weekly, including water from rain. Water the plant during dry spells, especially during the summer. Insert a 3- to 4-inch layer of organic mulch under the canopy to help conserve soil moisture and keep down weeds. Do not allow the mulch touch or rest against the plant’s back, since this can encourage infection and decay.

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Tropical Style

The way to Fix Alkaline Soil With a pH of 7.5

Understanding your soil’s pH and the best way to handle it are secrets to successful gardening. Soil pH affects nutrients that control plant health and growth. If your garden soil tested at 7.5 pH, it is just above the neutral point of 7.0. Before you begin adjusting soil pH, understand what your soil results imply for your own garden and its plants. Depending upon your gardening objectives, that soil pH might be precisely where you need it.

Interpreting Soil Results

When thinking about soil test results, don’t believe in absolutes. Several factors affect pH, such as seasonal variations. Soil type and composition, biological activity, organic matter, soil salts and soil moisture all affect your results. A dried-out sample yields different results than the same sample moist. Variability comes with the territory. The pH scale runs from 0.0 to 14.0, with pH under 7.0 considered progressively more acidic and pH above that mark deemed increasingly alkaline. The University of California advises the accuracy of soil pH readings is either plus or minus 0.5 pH units. In other words, your 7.5 soil might be anywhere between 7.0 and 8.0.

Realizing Soil pH

The best soil pH level for the lawn is based upon the plants you want to grow. For plants to utilize soil nutrients — naturally present or added through fertilizers — the enzymes have to stay soluble. Because pH changes, reactions happen that limit a plant’s ability to absorb certain nutrients. Many components, such as iron and iron, stay most accessible plants in low-pH, acidic soils. Plants that need those components in bigger quantities suffer in alkaline soil, but those plants are exceptions. Most plant nutrients reach their peak access in near-neutral soil pH. That range from 6.5 to 7.5 is the perfect soil pH for most plants.

Lowering Soil pH

Common garden clinics like adding organic matter and using fertilizers lower soil pH gradually. Base major changes only on recommendations from a respectable soil laboratory. Products and amounts depend on your soil’s specifics. Incorporating elemental sulfur, for example, in the top 6 inches of soil at a speed of 1/2 pound per 100 square feet lowers pH from 0.5 unit at loamy soil. Sandy soils, however, only need one-third that amount, while clay soils may take nearly double. Overdoing pH adjustments can leave soil toxic, so follow recommendations carefully. Wear protective clothing, such as gloves and safety instinct, whenever utilizing substances, and prevent all contact with exposed skin.

Living With Alkalinity

Trying to remain naturally alkaline soil in acidic pH ranges is an endless battle. Alkalinity, typical in arid regions, comes as indigenous stone weathers and low precipitation fails to clean elements away. These natural processes always replenish soil’s alkalinity. Think container growing to get plants that require acidic soil. For many other plants, 7.5 pH soil might be perfect. Several drought-tolerant plants, dry-region natives and Mediterranean natives prefer slightly alkaline soil pH. Align your lawn plans with your soil, and you’ll jump the need for constant soil alterations.

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