Spring Houseplant Care


March & April: As days grow brighter and longer, apply fertilizer to houseplants according to label directions. Foliage plants require relatively high nitrogen fertilizer while blooming plants thrive on formulations that are higher in phosphorus.

Wash glossy leaves every two weeks with water only to remove dust. Monitor regularly for pest problems, especially spider mites.

Shown above: Pothos ‘Neon’

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Spring Frost/Freeze Warnings

Protect your tender plants when temps get cold in Spring. Here’s how:

  • Bed sheets, drop cloths, and blankets make suitable covers for vulnerable plants. Use stakes to keep material from touching foliage. Remove the coverings when temperatures rise the next day.
  • Avoid using plastic if possible. Plastic can be used to protect plants from frost, but it’s not the best or most effective material. Plastic or vinyl materials do not breathe, causing moisture to get trapped inside.
  • Cluster container plants close together and, if possible, move to a sheltered spot close to the house. Porches and large overhangs will offer protection.
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Spring Shopping Tip!

Leonard Messel Magnolia

Here’s a tip if you love spring blooms: Purchase spring flowering trees & shrubs when they are in bloom. This takes the guesswork out of the flower’s true color and size. Internet and plant tag photos are nice, but there is nothing like seeing it for yourself. Happy spring shopping!

Snow Fountain® Weeping Cherry

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Caring for Houseplants

Houseplants sometimes struggle in winter. Here’s our list of tips for making your plants healthy and happy no matter what time of year.

• Know what light requirements your plant needs and place in appropriate locations throughout your home:

East exposure will give you intense light in the AM hours and diffused light in the PM hours.

West exposure will give you diffused light in the AM hours and intense light in the PM hours.

South exposure provides direct light ALL day.

North exposure provides low light ALL day.

• Plants don’t like sudden changes, so be sure to acclimate them gradually if you move them to a new location.

• Ideal temperature for indoor plants can vary, but for many 68° daytime and 58° evening is ideal. Night temperatures should decrease about 10° from normal day temperatures.

• Use of a pebble tray or grouping plants together can help increase humidity levels.

• Be sure your containers have drainage holes and never let your plants sit in water. This can damage and rot the roots.

• Softened water is NOT recommended for watering your plants because of high sodium levels.

• Cold water is not good for your plants. Room temperature or tepid water is the best.

• Let water set for 24 hours to evaporate chlorine and fluoride out of water.

• If you have fertilized plants through the summer months, little or no fertilizer is necessary during the winter.

• New to fertilizing? Visit our Garden Shop and ask us to recommend a product for your plants. Always READ THE LABEL and follow directions for all product applications.

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Caring for Poinsettia Plants

Keep Poinsettias looking great throughout the holiday season. Here’s how:

Protect plants from wind and cold on the way home from the store. They are highly sensitive to cold temps. Exposure below 50°F can cause them to wilt.

Poinsettias prefer indirect light. Six hours of light per day is ideal. Diffuse bright light with shades, shudders or sheer curtains.

Keep plants away from warm or cold drafts caused by opening doors or windows, air registers and radiators. This is perhaps the best thing you can do to prolong the life of your Poinsettias.

Check soil daily and water when dry. Water enough so the soil is moist but not soggy. If your Poinsettia has a decorative foil or plastic wrapper around it, punch holes or cut out a circle in the bottom so water can drain out. Place a saucer beneath the pot to catch water and discard the excess.

Happy Holidays from Sundown Gardens.

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Sundown Gardens in the News

WRTV6 and FOX59 featured Sundown Gardens in newscasts this week.

Here’s information from WRTV6 about handwatering as an option due to this year’s drought. Thanks for including us! CLICK HERE

FOX59 interviewed Sundown’s Scott Senefeld.
He said it’s time to seed and aerate now. Many customers are seeing their lawns greening up in patches. That’s pretty normal, said Senefeld.

“We’ve seen a really big bounce back in turf. Obviously there were a lot of lawns that were very burned by the dry conditions and we’ve seen a lot of bounce back that’s where the green up has been most evident. The plant material takes a little longer to bounce back depending on the age and maturity of the plant,” Senefeld told FOX59.

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It rained–a little bit! Now what?

Joe Russ, Sundown Gardens co-owner and manager of the groundskeeping division, says there are actionable items for your landscaping to keep it healthier during these dry times. 

Mulch much? Look around the roots of your plants, trees and shrubs for two inches of mulch. If it’s not thick enough, add to the mulch level to bring it up to proper depth. When combined with proper watering, the mulch will help conserve much needed moisture for your plant material.

Know the details. Review the details of the watering ban on the Citizens Water website. Handwatering is permitted. As a matter of fact, handwatering at the base of plants is better for plants since it maximizes the water which gets to the root system, limits water on foliage and also helps to minimize water waste. Our crews can assist watering-ban affecting homeowners with handwatering service (estimates available), if needed.

Pruning helps. Newer growth will tend to dry out faster in these hot and dry conditions. Some light hand pruning to remove new growth will help to minimize die back and also keep your plants looking healthy and natural; be sure to water the plants before and after pruning  and don’t hard shear, and remove any dead limbs or foliage.  Also, be sure to dead head perennial and annual flowers, as well as removing any spent foliage.

Got  Stress?  If a plant is starting to brown, it isn’t necessarily dead (yet). Check the stems and buds to see if they’re still green and pliable. If so, there’s a good chance the plant can rebound.  It is important to keep the plant routinely watered in order to give it the best chance for surviving.

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Sundown Gardens featured in Indianapolis Star

If you missed it (we hope you didn’t), Sundown Gardens was featured in the Indianapolis Star over the weekend. One of our custom landscaping projects with an outdoor pizza kitchen was photographed. Joe Russ also was interviewed. Thanks Indy Star for including us in this story! Indianapolis Star Saturday, July 30

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Some homeowners are finding it tough to keep up with sprinklers and irrigation systems during this long dry, hot June. Our clients and customers are asking, “So what happens to my lawn if I can’t water?”

Armed with the right information, your lawn will return to green:

  1. If you simply can’t keep up with watering or choose not to water certain areas of the yard during the summer heat and drought, the turf goes dormant. Although the turf area will brown out, with minimal water it won’t necessarily die.
  2. Key here to keeping the lawn dormant: Keep traffic to a minimum on the turf. That means no mowing and limit people, animals or anything else on the lawn.
  3. Keep in mind, plants need routine deep soaking water to survive. They don’t go dormant. If you have to choose between lawn and plants—choose plants. Without regular watering flowers and plants will die off.
  4. Click on these resource links that have good information on turf tips and water conservation during this time of heat and no rain.


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Watering tips for a healthy lawn

It’s been very dry these last few weeks. Watering your landscaping is crucial to keeping a healthy lawn and landscape. The following guidelines will ensure a proper amount of moisture through the hot dry periods of summer.

  1. Ideally you should water your lawn between 4 a.m. and 7 a.m. This is the time of day that it is generally the least windy and coolest and water pressure is at its greatest. This will help to prevent losing moisture to evaporation. Watering turf during midday is not very effective since a large amount of water is lost to evaporation. Evening watering is also not recommended since it does not allow the lawn to dry out before night, increasing the chance for fungus problems.
  2. Try to avoid irrigating on the day that your lawn is to be mowed. To get the best quality cut your lawn should be mowed when it is dry.
  3. Always try to water your lawn the day after you are mowed. Lawns are stressed after being mowed; watering will help to minimize the stress.
  4. Do not water every day. Industry experts recommend letting the lawn dry out between watering. Watering less frequently (every two to three days depending upon conditions), but longer, will encourage deeper root systems thus creating a healthier lawn.
  5. Your lawn requires one inch of water per week this will allow the top four to six inches of soil to get the proper moisture to sustain your lawn. Natural rainfall will help dictate how often you irrigate your lawn, but you must keep track how much rain actually falls.
  6. Your irrigation system should be set to run at 100% and the time that each zone runs should be set accordingly. You want each zone to run long enough to thoroughly soak the ground but stopping before puddles are created or run-off occurs. When setting up the zone times the following factors should be taken into consideration. Is the lawn area in full sun vs. shade? Shady areas will hold moisture longer and therefore will not need as much irrigation as sunny areas. Is the ground flat or on a slope? Run-off will occur quicker on sloped areas therefore
  7. you may need to turn the time down but water these areas more frequently to achieve the desired moisture level. Also, keep in mind that spray heads require less time (five to 15 minutes) than rotor heads (10 to 30 minutes).
  8. Your irrigation control clock most likely has a manual turn on setting so that you can run the whole system or just specific zones if the need arises to give the lawn additional attention above and beyond the normal watering schedule. Please familiarize yourself with this feature.
  9. Finally, make sure that your irrigation system is in good working order. Make sure that all irrigation heads are adjusted properly to overlap and provide complete coverage of the lawn areas.
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