Posts Tagged ‘ indoor ’

Stay cheerful in the cold

Posted on: June 12th, 2022 by Loyiso Mamahlodi No Comments

Tips for happy indoor plants during winter

Thriving Indoor Gardening

Posted on: May 17th, 2022 by Loyiso Mamahlodi No Comments
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June: Indoor winter maintenance and scale control 


Follow Life is a Garden’s indoor winter checklist for happy and healthy plants. As we enter the depths of winter, bringing the garden indoors adds a warming touch of greenery while much of the backyard goes into hibernation. If given the right growing conditions and care, your indoor plants will reward you with year-round living décor and joy. Watch out for scale! 

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indoor, winter, plants, flowers, garden, life is a garden, greenery, pests, colourful, maintain, flower, colour

Indoor maintenance checklist 

  • Fertiliser: Indoor foliage plants go into semi-dormancy during the winter, so it is not necessary to fertilise them. However, winter is the growing season of spring-flowering bulbs such as daffodils and hyacinths and plants such as cineraria, cyclamen, poinsettias, chrysanthemum, and begonia. Feed these plants every two weeks with a liquid fertiliser and water every two to three days.
  • Light and air: Most houseplants require good, indirect light – not direct sunlight, particularly damaging is sunlight striking them through glass. The light should be balanced and if not, turn the plants once a week to prevent them from becoming lopsided. Do not place plants near south-facing windows (they will feel the chill rather badly in cold areas). A north-facing window screened by a net or voile curtain is a good position.
  • Temperature: Many indoor plants originate in the tropics and therefore prefer to be kept in warmer temperatures. In cold areas and rooms heated by heaters and fireplaces, the plants will need extra humidity to keep them happy. Plants should therefore be misted with tepid water regularly to counteract the effects of reduced humidity.
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indoor, winter, plants, flowers, garden, life is a garden, greenery, pests, colourful, maintain, flower, colour
  • Water: Use tepid or lukewarm water. Your plants will be able to absorb the water easier and avoid sending them into a state of shock. Reduce the watering schedule of indoor foliage plants but never let them become bone dry. A dose of warm or lukewarm water every 10 days is quite sufficient for most indoor plants as they go into semi-dormancy during midwinter.
  • Cleaning: Throughout the year, indoor plants collect dust which can block the leaf pores, hindering photosynthesis and transpiration. Make sure that dust is removed from the top and bottom of leaves. For small indoor plants, put them in a bath or shower and give them a gentle spray of lukewarm water. For larger plants, a warm wet cloth will do the job.

Did you know? Leaf shining products are available from our GCA Garden Centres to help protect your plants from dust and keep leaves looking their best. 

  • Repotting: June is also the time to assess whether your plants need a larger container. Are roots growing out of the base of the pot? Are the new leaves on the plant smaller than the existing leaves? Does the plant dry out quickly? If the answer is yes, yes, yes – your plant needs a larger home.

Pest control: Scale alert 


  • Identification: Very small tan or brown oval insects with a hard shell that infect the stems and undersides of the leaves of indoor plants. They are sap-sucking and can eventually ruin a plant. The secretions of heavy infestations can lead to sooty mould and black fungus. The best way to curb scale attacks is to keep your plants clean from dust, in a humid atmosphere, and in optimal health,
  • Symptoms: The appearance of raised bumps on leaves and stems. Leaves may also be covered in a sticky substance. Because these insects suck the sap of plants, heavier infestations can cause yellowing of leaves, stunted growth and even dieback of the plant. If left untreated, the yellowing and dieback of the plant will increase, meaning the plant will be sapped of all its nutrients and will eventually die off completely.
  • Suggested Action: Infested plants can also affect other healthy plants near them. Keep affected plants separate from healthy ones. Remove and dispose of any infested branches, twigs, and leaves (do not put these on the compost heap – throw them in the bin or burn them). Where scale colonies on plants are not so large, they can be picked off by hand. Dabbing individual pests with an alcohol-soaked cotton swab will also work when infestations are light. In cases of larger scale colonies, treat with a systemic insecticide.
indoor, winter, plants, flowers, garden, life is a garden, greenery, pests, colourful, maintain, flower, colour
indoor, winter, plants, flowers, garden, life is a garden, greenery, pests, colourful, maintain, flower, colour

Instant indoor colour 

If you would like to add some instant colour to your home, choose from the wide range of stunning indoor plants available now at GCA Garden Centres. Try African violet, begonia, cyclamen, peace lily, calceolaria, kalanchoe, cymbidium orchids, chrysanthemums, cineraria, and primula acaulis.


Make the most of winter indoors and always remember to grow on! Visit your GCA Garden Centre for a gorgeous variety of pot plants, fertilisers, and pest control solutions. If you are unsure about products or which plants to choose, ask the friendly staff for assistance – they’re there for you! 

Spicy Indoor Gardening Industry Expert

Posted on: May 17th, 2022 by Loyiso Mamahlodi No Comments

Topic: Indoor Plants
Theme: Trending indoor plants
Industry Expert: Robyn Sher
Garden Centre: Lifestyle - Happy Life Plants


We sat down with the passionately insightful Robyn from Happy Life Plants to get all the latest juice on trendy indoor gardening. Read all about her indoor hot list, plant parenting advice, botanical boss must-haves, collector plants, and much more! 

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indoor, winter, plants, flowers, garden, life is a garden, greenery, pests, colourful, maintain, flower, colour

1. What makes indoor gardening so special? Why should gardeners opt for indoor plants in addition to or instead of garden beds outside?  

Indoor gardening is particularly special because of the benefits they share with people around them. Not only do they provide the obvious greenery, connection to nature, and a natural touch to an otherwise stark space, but indoor plants also take in carbon dioxide and release oxygen. Improved air quality creates a healthier environment for the grower and stimulates productivity, creativity, and happiness. Simply adding greenery evokes feelings of joy and accomplishment. Furthermore, nurturing a living thing and watching it grow and thrive is one of the most rewarding activities for humans. Indoor plants become like babies to plant parents and because they are in our space and in our direct care, we tend to them more closely than those outside in beds. The relationship formed with one’s indoor plants is truly special. 


2. Is it true that indoor gardening is messy and difficult? 

No, not at all! Indoor gardening is such a rewarding process and it is only as difficult as you make it. If you knock over your beloved delicious monster and the soil sprays all over your carpet, sure - it may be a messy ordeal. But general indoor plant parenting is easy to get the hang of with the right routine and simple care habits. Indoor gardening is beautifully decorative and so rewarding to anyone who endeavours to embark on the journey.


3. What makes an indoor plant trendy and what’s on the hot list now? 

Generally, the rarity or the popularity of the plant makes it trendy. The watermelon peperomia and leopard calathea are two rare plants that we only have a certain amount of and won’t get again for an undefined amount of time. Variegated monsteras and philodendrons are super hot at the moment too. Indoor plant collectors love them because they are so hard to find and not sold commercially yet. Delicious monsters (Monstera Deliciosa ) are always popular because of their widespread use in décor and design as well as their suitability for plant parents of all levels. The Chinese money plant (Pilea peperomioides) has Instagram accounts dedicated solely to it, making it a collector’s item and a highly sought-after houseplant that is in demand owing to its fame on social media. The hot list is endless, and quite frankly just being a plant parent is trendy, so get yourself a plant you love! 


indoor, winter, plants, flowers, garden, life is a garden, greenery, pests, colourful, maintain, flower, colour
indoor, winter, plants, flowers, garden, life is a garden, greenery, pests, colourful, maintain, flower, colour

4. When selecting a new plant for the home or office, what should gardeners take into consideration? 

The most important thing to consider before selecting a new plant for your indoor space is how much light the spot receives that you want to fill. The exposure to natural light will determine which plants can survive in the space. It is very important to consider where you want to put the plant and how much direct or indirect sunlight that place receives throughout the day. Once you have considered options that fit the lighting, you can then choose suitable plants you like the look of and which adhere to your plant care availability.


5. Are there any outdoor plants that can also be grown indoors and what is their shelf life like? 

Yes, there are a few outdoor plants that can be grown indoors. Certain plants are classified for both and can easily thrive with the correct care. The Sansevieria, 

snake plant/mother in law’s tongue, is an example of a very popular indoor plant that has excellent air purifying properties and also grows successfully outdoors. With the correct watering routine, a snake plant can survive indoors just as long as it can outdoors due to its hardy nature. Other examples include the umbrella plant and delicious monster. They are easy to care for indoors but will grow quickly, maintaining their size based on the pot they are in. Outdoors in shaded areas and in more humid climates, they grow wild and huge. Many other outdoor plants, however, would not get enough direct sunlight indoors and so not all of them can be brought inside. In addition, indoor plants are more specific and need tailored environments in order to thrive.


6. Please share your top three beauties for beginners to grow.

My top three recommendations for newbie plant parents are the Zamioculcas zamiifolia, ZZ plant, the delicious monster, and Chinese evergreens. All three grow easily in most spaces, don’t need added humidity, and only need to be watered when the soil dries out, which is a plant parenting routine anyone can maintain.


7. For our botanical bosses, what are your top three must-haves? 

A moisture meter to accurately test the moisture of your soil and develop a consistent watering routine per plant is a must-have. Also, the rare Calathea amabilis, prayer plant can be one of the most finicky indoor plants to grow but absolutely worth it for a botanical boss. A stylish watering can is a must too! We get so many plant parents that water their indoor plants with a cup and this simply just doesn’t show off any green finger flair. Gardeners will immediately elevate their indoor gardening by investing in a fabulous watering can that is comfortable and practical with a long spout that’s suited for smaller and elevated pots. 


8. What would you say are the leading factors in unsuccessful indoor growing?

An incorrect or inconsistent watering routine, believing that watering is feeding, and not enough light exposure. Overwatering is for sure one of the most common causes of unsuccessful indoor plant parenting. You can bring a plant back from underwatering, but overwatering causes root rot and once you reach that point there is unfortunately no going back!


9. For flourishing plants, what would you say are the most important boxes to tick? 

Firstly, feeding with plant food every 2 weeks or monthly. Also, pruning away dead, damaged or dying leaves (browning or yellow) to allow for the plant’s resources and energy to go to producing fresh, new healthy growth. Then lastly, give your plant enough light and a splash of love.


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indoor, winter, plants, flowers, garden, life is a garden, greenery, pests, colourful, maintain, flower, colour

10. Would you please let us in on a few tricks of the trade? Are there any indoor growing hacks? 

Here are a few handy hacks! Throw your left-over coffee grounds into your watering can and then water your plants, save banana peels to make organic fertiliser, and rotate your indoor plants weekly so that all sides are exposed to light to encourage even and fuller growth.


11. Are there any specific pests/problems that gardens should watch out for? 

Indoor plants are susceptible to pests owing to the lack of direct sun exposure, minimal airflow, and the convenient breeding ground when plants are grouped together. Gnats and mealybugs are the most common. We always recommend treating pests with an organic product as these plants share our living space and one would want to avoid inhaling and exposing the family to chemicals.



With so much expert indoor inspiration, your next trip to one of our GCA Garden Centres should be a well-informed breeze. Dash down your favourite nursery and get your hands on these stunning plant picks, accessories, pesticides, and garden décor. Visit the Life is a Garden website to locate a quality-approved garden centre near you. 

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indoor, winter, plants, flowers, garden, life is a garden, greenery, pests, colourful, maintain, flower, colour

Plant Moms Botanical Boss

Posted on: April 26th, 2022 by Loyiso Mamahlodi No Comments
life is a garden, nurturing, garden, plants, nature, flowers, greenery, indoor, water

Plant Mom Addition 

May is for the plant moms! Embrace becoming a botanical boss and dig your way into the world of plant parenting with confidence. Celebrate Mother’s Day with a new addition to the family or gift mommy dearest something to help with that empty nest. Follow Life is a Garden’s guide to successful indoor gardening.

life is a garden, nurturing, garden, plants, nature, flowers, greenery, indoor, water

Seasoned plant moms

If you’re looking for a plant that says “this isn’t my first child”, these three high-maintenance favourites will glamorously show off your expert parenting skills. 

  1. Moth orchid

Tantrums about: could be anything but especially overwatering.  

Bribe it with: patience, loose bark potting mix, indirect sunlight, humidity, scheduled watering. 

  1. Maidenhair fern

Tantrums about: not being able to watch you shower. 

Bribe it with: misting, dappled light, and humidity. Also, some time outdoors where it can see the sunset. 

  1. Calathea

Tantrums about: being the only child and open spaces.

Bribe it with: bright, indirect sun, well-draining soil, lots of friends to increase humidity, and a shallow container (short-root syndrome). 

life is a garden, nurturing, garden, plants, nature, flowers, greenery, indoor, water

First-time plant parents 

When gifting or homing a plant as the first indoor offspring, go for these three easy greens that don’t always need to be the centre of attention. 

  1. Snake plant 

May give glares when: irritated by too many water kisses. 

Give pocket money and: only one or two waterings during winter and almost any light condition. 


  1. Spider plant 

May give glares when: it’s too hot to play inside  

Give pocket money and: well-drained soil, indirect light, occasional pruning of playful spiderettes.

  1. Pothos (Epipremnum)

May give glares when: grounded and unable to go anywhere. 

Give pocket money and: a hanging basket or trellis, a little pruning, and a chance to dry out between watering. 


Indoor growing guide

Regardless of what you are planning to grow, here are our top tips for successfully raising your bundles of joy indoors. 

  • Adoption: purchase plants and seedlings from our quality approved GCA Garden Centres, ensuring that your new greens have already been given the best head start in life. 
  • Containers: always choose a container with many drainage holes, and don’t forget the saucer! Purchasing a small watering can with a long spout is also a great idea. 
  • Repotting: potted plants will eventually outgrow their containers. You’ll know it’s time to repot them when there is more root than soil left inside the pot. Upgrade your pot size and replenish the soil with fresh potting mix and a splash of fertiliser. Ask your garden centre assistant for help on which plant food and soil mix to use for your particular plant. 
  • Journaling: to help organise feeding, watering and pruning times, begin a diary for your indoor plants where you can schedule your playdates properly. A journal will also help future babysitters and prevent them from accidentally doing damage to your hard work while you are away. 
  • Maintenance: to keep your plant children looking and performing their best, use a damp cloth to remove any dust from the leaves. Dust prevents plants from absorbing adequate light and clogs their stomata – the holes which they need to breathe. In addition, deadheading spent blooms will encourage more flower power while pruning promotes lush regrowth. 


The benefits of plant babies 

Indoor gardening is a fabulous hobby! You could start an Instagram page to promote your plant-parenthood journey and let the world celebrate those special growth milestones with you. In addition, gardening of all kinds promotes a connection with nature, increases happiness, improves air quality, and is really fun (and slightly addictive).


From conversation starters to filling an empty nest, there’s always a reason to get a new plant or five! Remember to check the growing instructions of your new addition and make sure you can provide the perfect place for optimal growth. Life is a Garden, and plant moms are awesome!

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Poppies and Petunias Balcony Besties

Posted on: April 26th, 2022 by Loyiso Mamahlodi No Comments
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As the sun sets to welcome the evening sky in all its colourful glory, sit back and relax on the balcony with some potted poppies and petunias for company. These lovelies are the perfect choice for all-year-round charm and vibrance. Here is Life is a Garden’s guide on how to successfully grow and care for your new patio and balcony besties.

Cute petunias in containers


Petunias are available in a range of colours, each as bright as the next. Position them in a mostly sunny spot and ensure they are never completely dry. Perform the finger test to see when to water petunias as you would rather want to underwater than overwater these babes. 



Petunias require well-draining, aerated and slightly acidic soil. Potting soil mix works well, especially if you combine it with a little peat moss to lower pH levels. 



These ladies love lots of food. Most potting mixes have the right amount of nutrients but to be sure, use a slow-release fertiliser after planting. Alternatively, compost will give Petunias the feeding they need, just remember to make sure it doesn’t interfere with the soil’s drainage abilities. 



This encourages plants to direct their energy into creating more flowers, rather than wasting it on already fading blooms. Deadheading also keeps your plant looking neat and tidy. Simply remove flowers that are beyond their prime by pinching them off from just below their base.


Perfecting potted poppies 


Poppies are a timeless classic. They might not be the easiest flower to grow but their vibrant colour and sweetness is certainly worth the extra care. Poppy varieties that grow well in pots include oriental poppies, Iceland poppies, California poppies, and Shirley poppies. Iceland poppies (Papaver nudicaule) provide an incredible, colourful show during winter.



Poppies dislike being transplanted. As such, we recommend purchasing poppy seedling trays along with a little booster food to help with the transplant shock. You can get all these from your GCA Garden Centre. Place containers in a full sun position and be sure to water the seedlings gently as they have very delicate roots. Once in flower, poppies need to be deadheaded to increase the number of blooms. 



Poppies enjoy a neutral to slightly acidic pH. They require excellent drainage but rich soil. A loamy, well-draining potting mix will be perfect. 



Poppies enjoy minimal water during and before their flowering season. They can be watered every day but ensure not to overwater each time you do. When they’re about to flower, and throughout their flowering period, water moderately, maintaining excellent drainage. 



Fertiliser should only be applied during the growing season. It is best to apply a slow-release fertiliser when you first plant them. If you didn’t, a balanced liquid feed, every two weeks will provide potted Poppies with the nutrients they need. 



Be on the lookout for aphids and water regularly to avoid red spider mite damage. Ensure you choose a good-quality potting mix to avoid root rot.


If you’re looking to enjoy sunsets in the city, you simply can’t go wrong with these balcony besties. A wide selection of pots and hanging baskets will further help to highlight your new additions, so be sure to consider the style of your chosen containers when planning your new living décor.

Trendy Very Peri

Posted on: April 26th, 2022 by Loyiso Mamahlodi No Comments
trendy, trending, Veri Peri, Plants, Flowers, green, Greenery, Life is a garden, purple

The Pantone colour of the year is Very Peri – a courageous, statement-making violet-blue that generates creativity and inspiration in the garden. Cultivate some confidence and curiosity this autumn by incorporating planting a striking variety of purple Veri Peri stunners. Here is Life is a Garden’s grow guide for 2022. 


Eternal purple bliss

According to the trend-setters at Pantone, “17-3938 Very Peri is a dynamic periwinkle blue hue with a vivifying violet-red undertone that blends the faithfulness and constancy of blue with the energy and excitement of red”. In addition, this colour represents:

  • Newness
  • Mending and healing  
  • Courageous creativity 
  • Imaginative expression 
  • The power of manifestation 

With such passionate connotations connected to this colour, there really is only one thing left to do – GCA Garden Centre here we come! 


trendy, trending, Veri Peri, Plants, Flowers, green, Greenery, Life is a garden, purple
trendy, trending, Veri Peri, Plants, Flowers, green, Greenery, Life is a garden, purple

Elated tasty edibles  

Did you know? The health benefits of purple food include anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties. Anthocyanidins are responsible for the purple pigment in our edibles and also helps to boost the immune system. 

  • Fruit: blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, red grapes, figs, plums, and passion fruit. 
  • Veggies: Beetroot, eggplant, red cabbage, purple cauliflower, and sweet potatoes. 


Idyllic indoors for 2022

Did you know? Having shades of purple plants around the house helps to invoke peace and happiness. There’s a lot going on in the world, so if you’re looking to reap a little more optimism for the new year, grow these:

  • Calatheas, cyclamen, orchids, and rubber tree plant (Ficus elastica).


Top tip: Remember to check the sowing and growing season chart on all seed packets, seedling trays, and pots for the best time to introduce your new purple splendours to the garden. 


trendy, trending, Veri Peri, Plants, Flowers, green, Greenery, Life is a garden, purple
trendy, trending, Veri Peri, Plants, Flowers, green, Greenery, Life is a garden, purple

The most brilliant bulbs

Did you know? When looking at these Veri Peri inspired bulbs, the warmer red-purples are seen as more energetic to the human eye, while the subdued blue-purples are seen as peaceful and contemplative.

  • Plant crocus, hyacinth, allium, tulips, liatris, dahlia, anemone, and agapanthus.


Anything but ordinary annuals 

Did you know? Pairing these Veri Peri annuals with hues directly across the colour wheel, such as lime greens and yellow, will create a dynamic contrast in the garden that brings out the best of both extraordinary colours. 

  • Plant heliotrope, petunia, poppy, verbena bonariensis, ageratum, nierembergia, verbena, bachelor’s buttons, statice, calibrachoa, torenia, scaevola, morning glory, and sweet peas.


Peaceful (but popping) perennials

Did you know? You can create an analogous hue bed by grouping your red-purple and blue-purple perennials together. Experiment with hot and cool-coloured pallets around the garden for a popping landscape this season. 

  • Plant clematis, baptisia, lupine, iris, campanula, salvia, asters, phlox, Russian sage, perennial geranium, viola, lavender, aconitum, nepeta, delphinium, aquilegia, echinops, platycodon, and pulsatilla.


Remember that

Perennial plants regrow every spring while annuals only live for one growing season. The advantage of perennials is that they don’t often need replacing (if well looked after), while annuals reward the garden with unique seasonal charm.  


trendy, trending, Veri Peri, Plants, Flowers, green, Greenery, Life is a garden, purple
trendy, trending, Veri Peri, Plants, Flowers, green, Greenery, Life is a garden, purple

Show-stopper shrubs

Did you know? Of all the colours, purple is most associated with rarity, royalty, magic, and mystery.  Back in the day, some Roman emperors even forbid their citizens from wearing purple or they would face the death penalty! 

  • Plant buddleia, lilac, wisteria, hydrangea, vitex, ceanothus, azalea, rhododendron, and Texas sage., and rose of Sharon.


Cool-season annuals to inspire you NOW  

Begin your Veri Peri adventure this month by planting these chilled out, charismatic lovelies in beds and pots for a little upliftment as we head into shorter days and longer nights. You can purchase these plants along with fertilisers, compost, and other gardening accessories from your favourite GCA Garden Centre. 

  • Alyssum 
  • Vygies
  • Pansies and violas 
  • Petunias 
  • Primulas
  • Antirrhinum (snapdragons)
  • Delphinum (larkspur) 
  • Phlox
  • Lobelia 
  • Dianthus


Become part of the trendy gardening vibe-tribe and have fun playing with the Pantone colour of the year. Bring in excitement, courage, and joy by growing some of these truly gorgeous plants. Life is a Garden, and it’s a purple party! 

trendy, trending, Veri Peri, Plants, Flowers, green, Greenery, Life is a garden, purple
trendy, trending, Veri Peri, Plants, Flowers, green, Greenery, Life is a garden, purple
vERY peri
Life is a Garden

A trellis for your thoughts DIY Rope Trellis

Posted on: October 19th, 2021 by Cassidy No Comments
DIY Trellis

Let your climbers come up and play with this rustic DIY rope trellis for all your indoor and outdoor explorer plants. You can create this trellis using upcycled materials lying around at home, or go totally eco-friendly with organic materials scavenged from the garden. Enjoy all the benefits of trellis growing and get the most from your curious creepers this summer.


A trellis gives you the edge

When planting edibles and decorative plants against a supportive trellis, you:

  1. Save space by going vertical and neaten up your garden’s appearance.
  2. Are able to home more indoor plants and grow more food in less space with easy-peasy harvesting.
  3. Grow clean, ‘normal looking’ produce, instead of odd shapes splashed with dirt.
  4. Reduce disease and insect damage by improving air circulation around plants and also by keeping foliage off the ground where soil-borne diseases can quickly spread.
  5. Make it easier for pollinators to access flowers.
  6. Experiment and play with architecture, landscaping, and visually intriguing décor.
  7. Grow healthier plants with increased exposure to indoor lighting or outdoor sunlight.
  8. Are able to prune and apply fertiliser much easier than if plants were on the ground.
  9. Equip your plants with better support to withstand strong winds and rainfall.
  10. Cover up baren walls and fences, and create your own indoor living walls.
Roses on Trellis
Inquisitive indoor climbers

Here’s a list of five fabulous indoor creepers and climbers for inspiration.

  1. Heartleaf philodendron (Philodendron hederaceum)
  2. Pothos (Caution: toxic to cats, dogs, and children if ingested)
  3. Wax flowers (Hoya carnosa)
  4. Creeping fig (Ficus pumila)
  5. Maidenhair vine (Muehlenbeckia complexa)
Edible outdoor explorers

Plant and sow these scrumptious edibles on a trellis and maximise your harvest.

  1. Beans
  2. Peas
  3. Tomatoes
  4. Melons
  5. Summer squash

Available in pots, seedling trays and seed packets from your GCA Garden Centre.

Maidenhair vine
Tomatoes on Trellis
Melons on Trellis
Begin your trellis assembly

You will need:

  • At least 5 sticks from the garden or 5 store-bought wooden rods
  • Some harvested fresh and pliable vines, or some bought twine
  • A nail and hammer

*Top tip: If you’re going organic, try collecting an interesting variety of sticks to give your trellis the ultimate rustic and raw look.

*If sleek is more your style, try painting your wooden rods white and pair them with a natural-coloured twine for an elegant look.


DIY Trellis

Get busy:

  1. Firstly, decide where your trellis will go and think about the size of your space and the plant you would like to grow. You may need more or less rods, depending on how large your desired trellis is going to be.
  2. Find a good workspace where you can lay out all your goodies. Begin arranging your rods/sticks like a ladder, leaving a distance of about 5 to 10 cm between each stick. The gap will depend on the size of your plant and whether it will bear fruit/veg.
  3. Using the twine or wet vines, tie and secure the ends of both sides of the rods/sticks to the one above. Continue connecting your pieces to form a ladder or hanging bridge.
  4. Secure an additional piece of twine or vine to the final stick or rod, which will go around the nail on the wall. If you’re building a larger trellis, you may need to hang your creation from more than one nail.
  5. Plant your new treasure below your trellis and enjoy admiring the new heights your plant will be able to reach!

*Top tip: Your GCA Garden Centre is loaded with SO MANY creepers and climbers to choose from, for both indoors and out, as well as rankingly robust edibles. Grab a bag of compost and fertiliser while you’re there to ensure all explorer plants are off to their best start in life.

DIY Trellis
DIY Trellis
DIY Trellis
DIY Trellis

There’s plenty of room for creativity with this DIY trellis project. Go as rustic or sophisticated as you like and enjoy experimenting with different design shapes. Help your indoor plants attract the attention they deserve with a complimenting trellis to support all their glory. Improve your edible yield and harvest some sexy looking fruit. Life is a Garden, so give yours a little lift this summer!

How to perfect the art of indoor gardening 101 Indoor Gardening

Posted on: May 10th, 2021 by Cassidy No Comments

Indoor plants promote good mental health, super Zen vibes, texture, air purification, and something beautiful to appreciate as you go about your day. Life is a Garden, indoors too, and there’s a plant just waiting to bring that side table, desk, and bookshelf to life. Good old potting soil, fertiliser, and a watering routine makes all the difference in maintaining an indoor haven.


Checkout these 5 top tips to perfect the art of indoor gardening:
  1. Choose the right plant and place: Start off with an easy plant from our BF (beginner-friendly) suggestions below. Checkout your space and see where’s the gap to be filled. Choose a plant that likes the light conditions of your chosen area.
  2. Choose the right pot: Choose a suitable sized pot with good drainage holes and don’t forget the saucer that catches excess water (we’ve all been there, #rookieerror).
  3. Get good potting soil: A bag of delicious potting soil goes a long way! Visit your GCA Garden Centre and grab a bag to get you going. Add a couple of small stones to your pot before adding potting soil to help with drainage and root rot prevention.
  4. Get to know your new friend: Understand the light, watering, and soil requirements of your plant. Observe how plants react in the space and change their position if needed. Poke your finger into the pot and feel the soil, this will tell you if your plant is ready to be watered. Alternatively, you can also purchase a moisture meter from your nearest GCA Garden Centre.
  5. Feed your new friend: Generally speaking, every 6 weeks is a good time to feed. The new plant baby depends on you now to maintain the nutrient integrity inside the pot. Your GCA Garden Centre guy can advise you on the best soil and fertiliser for your plant.

Try this: To help you choose the best plant for a room, you can now download an app that measures light intensity – how efficient is that! #nomoreexcuses

Here are our top 10 plant picks that’ll bring in colour and freshness to your space.

Look out for the *BF (beginner-friendly) options for novice gardeners. 


1. Button fern (Pellaea rotundifolia)

Light likes: Pellaea enjoy humidity with no direct sun, high to medium light will do.

Soil & water: Let the top layer of soil dry between watering, they don't like soggy.

On the weekends: These plants can be found chilling in a humid bathroom on the windowsill or in a hanging basket. Their dark-green, evergreen, button-like leaves like to explore.


2. Blue star fern (Phlebodium aureum) *BF

Light likes: Medium to high light with no or partial direct sun, they are very adaptable.

Soil & water: Enjoys moist over dry, water well when plants are thirsty.

On the weekends:  Their forest-like foliage, with curious wavy blue-green fronds, can be seen fluffing about and grabbing attention everywhere they goes.


3. Bird's nest fern (Asplenium nidus)

Light likes: Medium to bright, no direct sun. These ferns like warmth, humidity, and moisture.

Soil & water: Moist, rich, and loamy does it.

On the weekends: Plants are always cheerful with tropical light green fronds, resembling banana leaves. They are good at limbo, but don’t touch their new fronds while growing.

4. Kumquat tree *BF if you follow the rules

Light likes: Super bright light, even direct sunlight if possible. It enjoys the patio too.

Soil & water: Regular watering with excellent drainage.

On the weekends: This happy-go-lucky beauty can be seen showing off dozens of bright little orange fruits. Plants are good at inspiring new jam and preserves recipes!


5. Swiss cheese plant (Monstera deliciosa) *BF+

Light likes: Medium to bright, no direct sun, but they like warm corners.

Soil & water: Good drainage with weekly watering.

On the weekends: You may find them looking for things to climb on with their flamboyant, large and in-charge leaves. Beware, this beaut bites and is toxic to pets.


6. Triostar Stromanthe (Stromanthe sanguinea)

Light likes: Near a window with plenty of natural light, no sun. Rotate your pot weekly.

Soil & water: Well-drained, fertile soil that is kept moist but not soggy.

On the weekends: These plants are the pretty, popular type with impressive, vibrant pink foliage that’ll make you blush. Triostar’s gonna’ make you work for it though, be prepared.


7. Dragon tree (Dracaena marginata) *BF+

Light likes: The brighter the better, but they are adaptable.

Soil & water: Good drainage and regular watering.

On the weekends:  Plants are rugged and attractive with striking green, sword-like, red-edged leaves that stand at attention. Your friends may be jealous of your plant's good looks.

8. Flaming sword (Vriesea splendens)

Light likes: They enjoy some morning sun with high light throughout the day.

Soil & water: Add some orchid mix to your soil, infrequent watering but not all the way dry.

On the weekends: They can be seen proudly parading their yellow-orange blooms that look like fun swords. Sadly, they do decline after blooming but they’ll leave you with offsets first.


9. Cymbidium orchid (Cymbidium spp.)

Light likes: Partial gentle sun and good light is their kind of vibe.

Soil & water: Loamy, moist, well-drained soil.

On the weekends: Their stunning sprays of large blooms are a sight to behold! Appreciate it while you can, it’ll be a while before you see their flowers again.


10. Areca palm (Dypsis lutescens) *BF

Light likes: Plants enjoy sunlight and warmth.

Soil & water: Avoid soggy soil but water them moderately.

On the weekends: These often golden-trunked, bamboo-looking darlings can be seen growing tall at their own pace, taking time to extend all their friendly fronds.

To help keep your indoor plants looking their best and breathing well, use a damp cloth to clean their leaves from any dust. Remember to checkout which lovelies are ready to plant now, or plan ahead for the right season and home your dream indoor gem. A spray bottle is also super handy to have around for quick watering touch-ups. See what’s potting at your GCA Garden Centre and have fun perfecting the art of indoor gardening!

May in the Garden Checklist Gardening Checklist

Posted on: April 12th, 2021 by Cassidy No Comments

Be a winter-winner, get your May maintenance in check, sow cool-season seeds, and grow with the flow as we enter our last month of autumn. We’re celebrating our adaptable green fingers by also highlighting Africa Month and all our glorious indigenous glory. The party doesn’t stop there – say hello to Phlebodium, the perfect indoor plant baby to gift to the woman you adore this Mother’s day!


Crispy blooms to plant

Bulb up: Honour our African heritage with a jive of colour from Sparaxis (Harlequin Flower), ixia, and Tritonia. Try also these perennial bulbous plants: Sweet garlic (Tulbaghia fragrans), Weeping anthericum (Chlorophytum saundersiae), Red-hot poker (Kniphofia praecox).

Bush out: Pork bush (Portulacaria afra) is a lekker local hero hedge. Good as a barrier plant, tolerates frequent pruning, extremely drought-resistant, and fast-growing.

Succ in: Aloes are in full swing, oh yeah Try Peri-Peri, Sea Urchin, and Porcupine.

The 4 P’s: Get down to your local GCA Garden Centre and start planting with the 4 P’s - poppies, pansies, petunias and primulas.

Rose bed revival: Long-stemmed roses can be picked now. If the plants are in full leaf, continue with your spraying programme but reduce watering. Plant winter-flowering annuals like pansies, poppies, or compact snapdragons, around rose bed edges to give them a revived burst of colour (and hide bare branches).

Split & divide: If the following perennials have stopped flowering, they’re ready for the operating table: Japanese Anemones (Anemone japonica) and Obedient plant (Physostegia virginiana).

Be wise, fertilise: Annual stocks and larkspurs benefit from extra nitrogen to promote good growth and flowering throughout winter. Consult your GCA Garden Centre expert for advice on liquid fertilisers and other plant food.


Eat like a winter-winner 

Eye candy: Add rows of ornamental (and inedible) kale between other winter vegetables. Companion plants include beetroot, violas and pansies (both have edible flowers), onions, nasturtiums, and spinach. Ornamental kale makes an unusual but stunning winter option for colour.

Mixed masala: Interplant leafy winter veggies and root crops with herbs like lavender, thyme, oregano, parsley, yarrow, and comfrey.

Cuppa’ your own Joe: The coffee plant (Coffea arabica), which is actually a TREE, will earn you kudos from coffee snobs if you can manage to grow it successfully in a high-light indoor area. Imagine grinding home-grown beans? Count us in!

Un-gogga your cabbage: Pull up old sweet basil plants, chop them up, and then use them as a natural insect repellent mulch around your cabbages – fancy, na?

If it’s yellow, it ain’t mellow: Prevent disease by removing all yellow leaves from brassicas such as Brussel sprouts, cabbages, cauliflower, and broccoli.

Fruitful advice: Feed avocado trees with 3:1:5 and mulch ‘em up. Plant litchis and citrus, while also keeping mango trees dry before their flowering starts. In coastal and lowveld areas, feed granadillas with a nitrogen and potassium combination fertiliser. Seek advice from your local GCA Garden Centre.


Tricks of the cool-season trade

Prevent pests: Prevention is better than cure! Remember that good soil + good drainage + mulch + fertilising/feeding = a healthy plant with more flowers, more fruits, and more veg!

Spray away: Keep spraying those conifers with insecticide.

Rake it, baby: Rake fallen leaves off the lawn to prevent them from blocking out sunlight, and then pop them on the compost heap. Coastal gardeners can still apply one more dose of fertiliser before winter sets in.

Freeze alert: Make sure that you don't water too early or too late – wet plants will freeze, haai shame!



Giving life to 2021’s trends Trends Article

Posted on: March 10th, 2021 by Shahnee Stockigt No Comments

When life gives us manure, gardeners make compost! As such, Life is a Garden would like to invite all green fingers to welcome 2021 as The Great Reset – a time to reconnect with our home space, a chance to grow food and deepen our connection with nature, an opportunity to shape remote working environments, and the ideal excuse to expand outdoor entertainment areas. Here are the top trends for the year to inspire you and help support adjusted lifestyles at home. Let Mother Nature work her magic to lift those spirits and make every space a place for life to shine!

Trendy colours that celebrate life

The Pantone colour of the year is grey and yellow: grey representing fortitude and yellow symbolising happiness. Together, these colours send a message of positivity, supported by a solid foundation (grey) upon which to build joy (yellow). Cultivate resilience and hope by planting these beauties below:

Sun in your pocket

  • Yellow canna lily: full sun in beds or containers, bold and bright, frost-sensitive.
  • Alstromeria (Inca lily): full sun or semi-shade, good cut-flowers, needs winter munching.
  • Anigozanthos bush bonanza: full sun or semi-shade with bright, golden-yellow flowers.
  • Marigolds: full sun or semi-shade, drought-tolerant, attracts butterflies, repels pests.
  • Sundial yellow portulaca: full sun annual, fine-textured foliage, low ground-hugger.
  • Yellow capsicum: a full sun veggie, sprout seeds indoors in spring.
  • Cape honeysuckle: full sun or semi-shade, attractive ornamental shrub, good for hedges.
  • Snapdragons: full sun for beds or containers, gorgeous horizontally-growing blooms.
Yellow canna lily
Sundial yellow portulaca
Cape Honeysuckle

Grey for greatness

  • Senecio cineraria, or silver dust: create contrast with this fine, low-growing sub-shrub.
  • Senecio Angel Wings: robust in size with an angelic silver/grey sheen, an absolute stunner!
  • Dichondra silverfalls: drought, frost, and salt-hardy for full sun spots in beds and pots.
  • Lamium: grow best in partial/full shade to avoid scorching the leaves of these pretties.
  • Lavender varieties with grey foliage, Petunias with silver flowers, as well as succulents from the Echeveria family with interesting thick-leaved rosettes.
  • Salvia lanceolata: hardy and water-wise, this grey-green aromatic shrub is for full sun spots.


*Pantone planting tip: We’ve given gardeners some of the top yellow and grey plant picks for the year. Take our suggestions with you the next time you visit your GCA Garden Centre and inquire about seasonal planting and sowing. Your GCA expert will be able to recommend which beauties can be planted now and help you plan ahead for your Pantone paradise.

Senecio cineraria
Dichondra silverfalls
Uplifting utopias in small spaces

Balcony, patio, and container gardening allows everyone to become part of the eco-tribe, regardless of space limitations. You can always go vertical or experiment with hanging baskets too. Include these lovelies to your small-space haven for a gorgeous breath of fresh air and tranquil vibes:

Easy indoor elegance

  • Peperomia: a favourite ornamental foliage with intriguing, fleshy leaves, easy to care for.
  • Philodendron: available in vining and non-climbing varieties with large, glossy foliage.
  • Spider plant: produce a rosette of long, thin, arched foliage, good for baskets and texture.
  • Fiddle-leaf fig: has a tropical feel with eye-catching, large-veined, violin-shaped leaves.


Ideal outdoor delights

  • Zinnia marylandica: a drought-tolerant, full sun hybrid for beds, borders, or containers.
  • Impatiens: for shady areas, a brightly-bloomed annual available in many colour varieties.
  • Pansies & Violas: super cool-season contenders for colour in semi-shade or full sun areas.
  • Begonias: stunning foliage and lovely blooms for pots, baskets, and beds with gentle sun/semi-shade.


The collector’s dream

  • Senecio Angel Wings: salt and drought-tolerant with incredible silver/grey foliage.
  • Novelty Petunias: decorate with Circus Sky, Amore Heart, Hippy Chick, and more!
  • Carnivorous plants: Sundew, Venus flytrap, the American trumpet pitcher, and the Tropical pitcher plant are simply fascinating plants to collect and admire.
Plant-tertaining for precious pollinators

Welcoming nature’s handy helpers is simple and magnificently rewarding! Get your veggies pumping, your flowers flourishing, seeds spreading, and most importantly, help sustain the precious eco-system in your garden.  Attract bees, butterflies, dragonflies, birds, and eco-barometers like frogs and lizards by planting these:

·       Salvia

·       Borage

·       Lavender

·       Sunflowers


·       Pentas

·       Echinacea

·       Marigold

·       Antirrhinum (Snapdragons)


*Pollinator tip: Remember to provide a fresh water source for your all your visitors with a way in and out to avoid any casualties. Consult your handy GCA Garden Centre advisor to see which plants can be sown and planted according to season.


Have your permaculture and eat it

Homegrown goodness is all the rage and with deliciously good reason too! South Africans are rediscovering the pleasure of growing food and harvesting the fruits (and veg, and herbs) of their labour. Any open space is an opportunity to unleash your inner permaculturist and start a #victorygarden, which benefits not only your own family but also the community around you. Sharing your harvest with a hungry tummy is awesome!

Cool-season crispy crops

Spinach and leafy greens, thyme, spring onions, garlic, peas, cauliflower, cabbage, and microgreens.

Scrumptious summer harvest

Tomatoes, carrots, broccoli, watermelon, cucumber, peppers, berries, squash, basil, and sage.

*Grower’s reminder: Make sure to plant and sow according to your province and season. Your GCA Garden Centre is loaded with seed packets, seedling trays, fruit trees, herbs, compost, and more!


Tiny plants for desk delights
  • Tiny plants are the sweetest little solutions to green-up your workspace and help soothe the working mind. They are fast-growing and will still look lovely as they get bigger. Baby greens are also a great choice for beginner gardeners who are still learning the tricks of the green trade. Keep your babies in small pots to limit their growth or replant them outdoors later.
  • The polka dot plant(Hypoestes phyllostachya): brightly spotted leaves in shades of pink, purple, white, red, and other hybrid colours.
  • Calandiva, or flowering kalanchoe: profuse long-flowering blooms available in many colours.
  • Fittonia: perfect for indoor décor with striking contrasting veins running through the leaves.
  • Succulents from the Sempervivum family are fab no-fuss plants, and they produce offsets.
  • Microgreens: super cute seedlings of edible plants and you can snack on them too!
  • Mini tomatoes and pot peppers are must-haves to add to your tiny edible collection.


There you have it – your top trends for the year and a ton of inspiration to keep you going during The Great Reset! Keep your hearts green, teeming with life, and your green fingers ever on a mission to let Mother Nature shine. Our Life is a Garden, always, so pick a trend, plant away, and harvest that happiness for you and your loved ones to enjoy.



April in the Garden Checklist Gardening Checklist

Posted on: March 9th, 2021 by Shahnee Stockigt No Comments

Like the calm before the cool, winter preparations are smooth sailing this month with Life is a Garden’s crisp April checklist. Gardening during the cooler months definitely has its own challenges, but also so many exciting flowers and veggies to look forward to. Did someone say spring bulbs already? Head over to your GCA Garden Centre and let’s plant right in!


Chillax with flowers
  • Bulba-licious beauties: You can plant all spring-flowering bulbs now, hooray! Bulbs with fingers or claws, like ranunculi, should be planted with their fingers pointing downwards. Try plating small bulbs like anemone, leucojum, muscari, lachenalia, tritonia, and ranunculus, or larger bulbs such as hyacinth, freesia, and Dutch iris.
  • Pretty and pleasing: April is the perfect time to buy and plant out pretty primula, poppy, pansy, and gazania seedlings.
  • Indoor inspiration: Spathiphyllum, known also as Peace lily, is an easy-care, low-light houseplant with majestic, long-lasting white blooms.
Dutch Iris
Spathiphyllum Peace lily
  • Colourful corners: Try planting a corner of ericas, restios, leucadendrons, and Proteas – they provide stunning autumn and winter colour.
  • Balmy blooms: Plant cool-season annuals at the base of bare-stemmed bushes. Choose sun lovers like alyssum, calendulas, dwarf snapdragons, lobelias, Namaqualand daisies, phlox, and pansies.
  • Bedding babe: Available in many bright hues, Cineraria enjoy moist soil in semi-shade beds.
  • Pot of purple: Lavender is waiting to perk up your patio pots with an easy-going purple flush.
Feeding and frost
  • Feed aloes and flowering succulents for a glorious winter show.
  • If you’re living in a frost-prone area, be sure to purchase some frost protection from your GCA Garden Centre before winter arrives in full force.
  • Continue feeding your evergreen cool-season lawn to ensure it remains lush during winter.


In the grow-zone
  • Grow garlic bulbs, which you can purchase from your GCA Garden Centre. Pick a sunny spot with well-drained soil and plant the cloves about 15cm apart in drills of about 7cm deep.
  • Plant a lemon tree now to enjoy summer lemonade on the rocks!
  • Veggies to be sown now include: peas, parsnips, carrots, onion ‘Texas Grano’ (short-day varieties), beetroot ‘Bulls Blood’ (the leaves provide extra vitamins for winter), broad beans, winter cauliflower, and good old broccoli.


Green steam ahead
  • Start sowing herb seeds in windowsill containers. Avoid leaving your babies near glass overnight as the cold chill may affect their growth.
  • Revitalise your veggie beds to boost winter crops and give roots added nutrients. Mix in a hearty dose of compost to your soil with a handful of organic bone meal.
  • Prune back old canes of raspberries and blackberries that have finished fruiting.
  • Feed citrus trees with a general fertiliser and a handful of Epsom salts.
Garlic bulbs
Lemon tree
Sow herb seeds
Prune rasberries

Enjoy your time chilling out and ticking off your April checklist. Ride the wave of cool-season thrills and all that’s up for grabs in the garden. Whether you’re maintaining, sowing, planting, or pruning, there’s always something to do in the backyard. Life is a Garden – welcome the refreshing autumn breeze into yours.

Greenery Indoors

Posted on: June 25th, 2020 by Shahnee Stockigt No Comments

Indoor plants are high fashion and are being used to decorate all rooms in the house, especially the living areas and kitchens. Score some points on the trend barometer by going leafy indoors. Large leaf plants are trending in large and medium-sized pots. Here are some hot favourites:

Tip: Indoor plants will all benefit from regular feeding – consult your local GCA Garden Centre.