Some pro tips from our customers about what they love to grow and why

in the hot house

You glorious gardeners inspire us daily. Your style, your patience, your quirks, your wins and learnings. 

Here is some intel on gardening (and life) from some of our most seasoned growers. (We found their words especially inspiring now that spring is finally in sight.)
   
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Indira  – growing Zone 7a 

What was your favorite Plantgem last season? 

The Café au Lait Dahlia, which is almost a cliché until you see it. I’ve tried other Dahlia bulbs before, but this is the first time it worked. The blooms were big, prolific, and lasted for a long time. The color is also amazing – creamy and pink-peachy. Café au Lait is one of the most popular Dahlias, and when you see them real life you’ll know why. 

I also loved the Totally Tangerine Dahlia. This one went late into the season — I got Dahlias well into November. It just went wild and kept producing. 

Any growing tips?

I did grow it in a pot, which is not always recommended, but if you have at least a 20” diameter pot, it works. You can also cut the clump in the center (wait until the frost has passed!). Plant them 8” deep and then mulch them. When you see the first sprout, water. When you see three sets of leaves, pinch the top growth, which supposedly makes it grow bushier. Keep watering as needed. Drench the leaves to revive, as necessary. 

Any other advice? 

These plants do well with a lot of sun. Climate change allows us to leave tubers in the ground (as long as it has one eye it’s viable!). It’s such a pleasure to plant something and leave it alone and watch it grow. In complicated times such as now, small pleasures are what get us through the day. 



Dyane  – Growing Zone 6a 

What was your favorite Plantgem last season? 

The Dahlias – Café au Lait and Mr. Franz. I snatched up the Café au Lait (they’re notoriously hard to find!), and they did beautifully. What’s interesting is that each of my gardening plots has different soil, and in each plot the flowers were very different in size and color. Some were huge and prolific, and some were smaller but with more vibrant color.

Any growing tips?

When I wasn’t getting good results, I learned about Epsom salts. Do the best you can to amend your soil, but nutrients like the magnesium in Epsom salts make a difference. 

Any other advice? 

I used to kill everything and now I consider myself an amateur master gardener. The point is, don’t give up! If you love plants and flowers, you always have another year to overcome your mistakes. I am beyond happy with everything I’ve gotten from Plantgem. Everything from products to customer service has been extraordinary. I’m a customer for life. 

  

Hannah  – Growing Zone 5 

What was your favorite Plantgem last season? 

Daffodils and peonies are the only things I’ve tried so far. The daffodils had curly inner petals and really beautiful, unusual faces. The Golden Frolic peony stole my heart. 

Any growing tips?

I just followed the instructions. Bulbs are bulbs and if you get the right depth of soil and location, and it usually works out just fine. 

Any other advice? 

Right now, it is not quite planting season, and I walk around my garden wondering what beauty is about to emerge, and it’s the thing that gets me through the darkest months. I think the Plantgem products are really beautiful, and I’m excited about them. Looking forward to this Spring!

 

  

Elyse  – Growing zone 10a

What was your favorite Plantgem that you grew? 
I’m excited that my pair of Peonies (Green Halo and Pink Spritzer), are a success so far and leafed out beautifully this month. I was super excited to try growing Peonies for the first time, but I’m actually leaving them with a friend in California when I move to Austin next month, because it will be hard to transport them without disturbing them, and I don’t think they’ll be particularly happy there. 

I am taking the Quitzen that hasn’t come up yet (hopefully it will), and we’ll see how it does! I also have tons of Dahlias on order and can’t wait to have the space for them. I’m going to go crazy in Austin. I have an actual yard, and I can’t wait to fill it with flowers and fruits and herbs and veggies. Right now I’m limited to houseplants and some outdoor containers on the tiny deck of my Bay Area apartment. I did get some homegrown saffron out there this winter, which was really gratifying, and currently I have some Anemone Mistral  corms starting to bud. They look really cool and are my first Anemones.


Any growing tips?

My favorite tip for houseplant success that I read in some garden advice article recently was: “buy a healthy plant.” LOL.

I’ve been garden-obsessed for well over a decade and after much confusion about absolutely everything, and killing tons of plants along the way, I am finally starting to feel pretty competent in the garden. I think the best thing to do when you’re learning to garden (or adding new things to your garden) is to identify a specimen or general type of plant you’re interested in, make sure it’s reasonably suited to your environment, and just give it a try! Learn all you can about it, and don’t trust a single source for care advice (it’s going to vary based on your location and conditions anyway). 

There’s no single path to success for any plant. Just experiment and enjoy the journey, and don’t worry too much when you inevitably pick a plant that doesn’t end up working out in your space, or a seed that doesn’t sprout, or whatever. If it doesn’t work, don’t be afraid to re-assess your approach and try again, but don’t force things - you don’t want every plant to be a special challenge that needs constant care. Sometimes it’s fine, and you can accommodate a plant you are unreasonably attached to growing, despite your environmental challenges. For example, I have a Vanilla Orchid on a 3-foot moss pole, under a grow light, in my apartment right now, seemingly very happy, though who knows if it will eventually be happy enough to bloom for me! Other times, you just accept that a certain plant is not suitable for your space and move on. Like, you’re just not going to be able to grow a banana, not even just an ornamental one, on a shady Northern California apartment deck. (Not that I’d know anything about that specific situation firsthand or anything…)

Any other advice?

Talk to your plants, they really love it. And support your local pollinators!