Tag Archive for: #howto

Are Small Fruits For Me?

Our small fruit assortment this year (2023) includes the Romeo and Juliet dwarf cherries which are part of the Romance series of bush cherries from the University of Saskatchewan.  They are a hybrid of European and Mongolian sour cherries with a sugar content high enough for fresh eating and juicing. When picked earlier they are great for pies.  The shrubs grow to about 7’ tall and 6’ wide, a size that is easy to cover with a bird net to protect your harvest.  Romeo and Juliet are hardy to -45 degrees F so they need little winter protection.  Spring starts with single white cherry blossoms and fall ends with orange foliage color.

Another cold hardy fruit on the assortment is the Hinnomaki Red gooseberries which are hardy to -30 degrees F.  These are medium sized shrubs, 2’ to 5’ tall and 3’ to 5’ wide, and each shrub can produce 4 to 5 pounds of fruit.  To enjoy the fruit, you will have to brave some thorns.  When fully ripe the fruit turns a dark reddish pink so it is easy to tell when they are fully ripe.  The fruit is among the sweetest of all gooseberries, the crisp skin has a tart, tangy flavor followed by the mellow sweetness of the flesh. If you don’t eat all the berries fresh, they’re also great for baking, canning and freezing.

This year, for the first time, we have a limited number of Prime Ark Freedom blackberries.  These are primocane fruiting thornless blackberries.  This makes the blackberries much easier to grow since there is no need to sort out the fist and second canes.  They can be cut back to about 3’’ in the winter and the following year they a later summer, into fall, crop of 1 ¾’’ long, blackberries have an excellent sweet flavor. 

We also have 3 kinds of raspberries, in two different colors, grapes, currant and native serviceberries.

Come talk to us and we will do our best to give you confidence in growing these valuable assets in your own yard. 

Acclimating Greenhouse Plants For Real Life


Acclimate Before Planting

Crucial Steps for ensuring the success of greenhouse-grown plants


Most of the plants you buy from Pine Lane Nursery grew up in our climate-controlled greenhouses and need to be gradually introduced to the outdoors before being planted or, in the case of hanging baskets, hung for the season.

To transition these plants successfully, we recommend placing plants outdoors in a protected area during the day over a period of 5-7 days before leaving them in their final growing space for the summer. A protected area is a semi-shaded place in your year that is shielded from the direct sun, wind, and temperature extremes.

  • For the 1st day, place your new plants in the protected area for a few hours then bring back indoors.
  • Repeat this for the next 2-3 days, gradually increasing the time spent each day outdoors.
  • After a few days, begin exposing the plants to the sun, also increasing the time spent outdoors.
  • After 5-7 days, plant your plants in t

    he ground or in outdoor containers when daytime / nighttime temperatures are between 50-80°. If high temperatures are expected, delay planting until early evening or morning to reduce heat-induced stress to the plants.
  • New tender annual plants, like hanging baskets, will not withstand temperatures lower than 50° so bring them in if lower temperatures are expected.
  • If you have already planted your plants and cold temperatures are in the forecast, you will need to cover them for protection. Move containers or baskets to the garage or other sheltered area during these times.

The average last frost date for our area is May 14th but diligent weather monitoring is suggested until June.

Happy Growing!


Which Fruit Tree Is Right For Me?

On April 22nd and 8am, Pine Lane Nursery will be having a Fruit Tree Tour to be followed by a Small Fruit Tour a little later in the season.  Growing fruit trees requires more patience and is more labor intensive than growing an ornamental or a shade tree.  There are of course more tangible rewards, food for example, from growing fruit trees in our area but it will require special effort and attention.  This is a preview of the fruit tree assortment for 2023.

Apples are one of the better fruits for the Front Range and there are a couple of old apple orchards south and east of the Parker area.  These orchards date back to times when fruit was not as easily transported and had to be grown more locally.  Apples are mostly self-unfruitful and will need another domestic apple or crabapple nearby and blooming at the same time in order to improve the chances of getting fruit.  Then they need bees to complete the pollination in order to set and bear fruit.  If there is a strong bee population in your area, the trees can be up to a quarter mile apart.   So if you live in a suburban neighborhood with bees, the chances are pretty good that you can get fruit on a single tree.  The Granny Smith and Golden Delicious apple trees are self-fruitful and will produce a decent crop without another apple tree nearby.  With another apple tree nearby (even of the same variety) the crops will be more abundant.  The Honeycrisp apple tree is a good choice for our area because it is extra cold hardy, resistant to fire blight, and produces high quality fruit. 

Cherry trees can be either sweet or sour.  The sour cherries are self-fruitful producing a good crop from a single tree but the crops are heavier for each tree when there are multiple plantings.  The Montmorency cherry was grown commercially in the Longmont area until the late 1950’s when a hard freeze killed most of the trees.  The Evans Bali cherry from Canada is extra cold hardy and has a slightly higher sugar content making it more suitable for fresh eating when fully ripe.  Sweet cherries are mostly self-unfruitful needing another sweet cherry for cross pollination.  The Stella and Lapins cherries are self-fruitful sweet cherries and will pollinate other sweet cherries such as the Bing, the sweetest of the sweets.  Cherries are in the Prunus family and all parts of the plant except for the ripe fruit pulp are considered toxic to dogs, horses, and humans. 

Peach trees are mostly self-fruitful, but you will get more peaches if there is another peach tree within 100’, even if it’s the same variety of peach.  Peach trees bloom early with showy pink blossoms.  Sometimes that is too early and the flowers are frosted off before the fruit sets.  That means no fruit for the season but the trees usually survive and will come next year to try fruit again.  The Frost peach tree blooms a little later and could avoid some of our late spring frosts.  The Contender peach is the most cold hardy of the peaches, rated at zone 4 (-20 to -30°F).  If the flowers miss the frosts, it is one of the more abundant producers.  Peach trees flower and fruit on one year old branches and the old grey branches should be pruned away yearly in late winter to early spring, up to 40% of the tree may be removed.  Peach trees usually live about 12 years so planting a new tree every 5-6 years means there will always be at least one producing tree, frost permitting.  Peaches are in the Prunus family also so don’t eat the pits!

Pears are mostly self-unfruitful and will need another different type of pear growing nearby (100’) for cross pollination in order to bear fruit.  Pears are highly susceptible to fire blight but do have the potential to live and produce fruit for up to 70 years.  Common or European such as the Anjou and Red Bartlett are best picked early and ripened off of the tree.  If left on the tree, the fruit tends to have a gritty / grainy texture.  The Summercrisp pear came from a chance seedling of ‘unknown’ heritage and some of that heritage must be from an Asian pear because Summercrisp pears can be left on the tree until they have a nice red blush.  At that time the fruit can be picked and eaten fresh from the tree and is crisp and crunchy with a sweet flavor.  All pear trees have white flowers in early spring and can have outstanding late fall colors. 

Plum trees can be self-fruitful or self-unfruitful.  European ‘prune’ plums are usually self-fruitful.  The Mt. Royal plum is an example.  It came from Canada in the late 1700’s and a single tree can produce good crops at elevations up to 7000’.  Hybrid plums can be self-fruitful or self-unfruitful.  The Santa Rosa plum is a complex hybrid of American, European, and Japanese plums developed by Luther Burbank in 1906 and is self-fruitful.  The Superior plum is a natural cross between American and Japanese plums and is self-unfruitful but can be pollinated by an American, Japanese, or hybrid (of the two) plum such as the Santa Rosa.  The American plums fall mostly into the small fruit category though the Prunus americana can be pruned into and maintained as a tree form.  Again, do not eat the pits!

Pushing the envelope, a little, the tree forms of the North American native Serviceberry produce a tasty blueberry-like fruit as well as having profuse white spring flowers and great fall color.  The ‘Caddo’ sugar maples, such as Flash Fire and Powder Keg are from the ecotype native to Oklahoma.  They are better suited to our area than the eastern sugar maples if you want to make your own Maple Syrup.


Join us for the tour and we will do our best to give you confidence in growing these valuable assets in your own yard. 

What is a Kokedama?

The name Kokedama literally translates from “koke” meaning moss, and “dama” meaning ball. These moss balls are a centuries old tradition in Japanese gardening and are somewhat related to the accent plants often shown alongside a Bonsai. This style has experienced a resurgence as a modern art form, as it is a unique way to present plants and flowers and bring a little more nature into your space. A Kokedama can be created with a wide variety of plant species, providing a range of possibilities!

The distinctive round shape can be made by first molding a compact ball of soil, roughly the size of a grapefruit. Traditionally this would be made with an Akadama, or Bonsai soil, which is clay based. The clay granules are mixed with peat moss, and together they provide minerals to the plants and offer a balance of moisture retention and drainage. This means that the soil holds enough water for your plant, but releases enough as to not oversaturate the roots. A more cost-effective option is to use a standard potting soil, or a cactus and succulent mix, however this can dry out more quickly.

Once your clay ball is made, you can give it a little toss in the air to make sure that it holds together well enough. If it is still crumbly, add a little water until it keeps its form. Then you can either split it in half or use your fingers to create a hole in the top. Your plant should be removed from its pot and as much soil as possible cleaned from the roots. The roots will then be either placed in the hole, or sandwiched between the two halves. The ball will need to be re-formed around the roots to ensure they are snuggly held within and the ball will still retain its shape.

A sheet of sphagnum moss is wrapped around the ball, up to the base of the plant, and then secured with twine, wire, or nylon string. The method of wrapping is up to the individual, and can be a creative way to add unique detail. You want to wrap the binding around enough to ensure that the moss is held in place, and after that it is a matter of decoration.  The moss balls are traditionally displayed on a shallow tray or dish, but can also been displayed as hanging plants.

How do you water a Kokedama?

Luckily, this is a relatively straight-forward task! The best way to determine if it needs water is to feel how heavy it is. You can also check the moss to see how dried out it feels to the touch. How easy is that? Soaking the ball in water for about 10 minutes should be more than enough to make sure it is saturated.

What kinds of plants can be used?

There are many options for plants that will do well as a kokedama, and this allows for a wide variety of styles. However, the primary thing to take into consideration is how much moisture the plant can tolerate. Plants that are typically prone to overwatering will not do well sitting in the consistently moist soil, and should be avoided. This primarily includes cacti and succulents; however, these are not out of the question if using an appropriate soil. Always check the requirements of the plant, to ensure that you are selecting one that will thrive. Also take light conditions into consideration. These balls should never be placed in direct sunlight, as it will dry out and “burn” the moss, making it crispy and brown. So, plants that prefer from low to bright indirect light will do best.

Some plants to consider:

  • Ferns (be sure to still mist them, as our dry air in Colorado can still be problematic)
  • Pothos
  • Philodendron
  • Ivy
  • African Violet
  • Peperomia
  • Begonia
  • Money tree
  • Spider plant
  • Ficus varieties

If you want to learn art of Kokedama yourself, join us for a fun hands-on workshop on March 11th. We’ll provide instruction, assistance, and all materials! Space is limited, registration is Purchase tickets HERE.

Houseplant Care

Selecting Your Plants & Finding the Right Space for Them:

Choose Plants Based on the Light Conditions

  • Each plant will have the specific light requirements that it needs to thrive. Some may love direct sun, while others may prefer bright, filtered, or low light. When you have a specific spot in your space that you are looking to add a plant, it is important to ensure that you choose one which will be happy in the available lighting conditions. An aloe plant may love to sit in the window to bask in the sun, while an African violet prefers the protection of filtered light. Consider carefully which type of lighting the space will offer to your plants.
  • Bright or full light – Full sun for at least 6 hours a day, usually in a west or south facing window.
  • Bright, indirect light – The plant is in a room which has many windows and allows a lot of light in, but the plant is not directly in the sun. This usually includes east-facing windows, though west and south-facing windows are acceptable as long as the plants are in the interior of the room.
  • Filtered light – Light which has been obstructed or diffused in some way. The plant may receive sunlight that is dappled through a tree outside the window, filtered through sheer curtain/blinds, etc.
  • Low light – No direct light, usually north-facing windows or windows which are obstructed and shaded.
  • If you are purchasing the plant without a specific location in mind, it is a good idea to consider the plant’s needs and whether you do have a space that will fulfill them.

Select the Right Pot or Planter

  • Not all pots and planters will be suitable for every plant. For instance, you may find the perfect pot and then realize that it does not have drainage in the bottom. This is a key point to consider, as without proper drainage you run a higher risk of overwatering. This can create root rot and attract pests, such as fungus gnats. If your pot does not have drainage there are some options to help, however keeping an eye on the soil moisture and being careful when watering is going to be the biggest component. One common suggestion is adding rocks to the bottom of the pot, which helps by raising the soil from the bottom of the pot, allowing the water to drain out so it can more fully dry. This is especially important if you have plants which do not like too much water and prefer to dry out. Another option is to leave the plant in its plastic nursery pot, which will have holes in the bottom, and simply place this inside of a decorative pot. You can then remove it when you water, allowing it to drain, and then put it back inside of the other pot. This method is more ideal, as it will allow for less chance of overwatering.
  • If your pot does have drainage, think about how you will water it. Is it a plant which needs frequent watering? Is it going to be difficult to move it when watering, such as with large, heavy pots? If so, make sure that it has a pot with a built in saucer or purchase a saucer separately which can sit underneath to avoid runoff. You can do this for smaller plants as well, or you can simply carry them to the sink or bathtub to water them.
  • The material of the pot matters as well, as this can factor into how quickly the soil dries out. For instance, porous material such as terra cotta will dry out much more quickly and is better suited for plants which don’t need to retain as much moisture (succulents, cacti).

Consider the Other Inhabitants of Your Space

  • Like any plants, some houseplants are completely safe while others may be toxic, or even poisonous. If there will be pets in the space, this should factor in to which plants you choose and where they will be placed. Any which are even mildly toxic should be placed in areas that are out of reach from your critter friends. They will not know any better and may rub against or chew on the plants around them, or even just dig into the pot, so it is important to ensure that they will not be severely harmed if this happens. More common signs of toxicity may include vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, and unresponsiveness. More severe reactions can include tremors or seizures, unconsciousness, organ failure (kidneys, liver), and abnormal heart rates. Call your vet or seek emergency care immediately if any of these occur.
  • Something else important to note is that plants do not have to be ingested to be harmful. Some plants may excrete substances that can cause irritation, or worse, to the skin. An example is the beautiful firestick plant, or pencil cactus. This plant is toxic to humans and animals, and can release a milky white sap which will cause severe irritation and burns to the skin, mucosa, and eyes.
  • Doing your research beforehand will help to prevent any incidents. If you have specific plants in mind, you can easily find information on their pet safety. Otherwise there are many resources which can provide suggestions for pet-safe plants.

Caring for Your Plants:


  • Determining the watering needs of your plants is just as important as their light needs. Some people prefer to go “low maintenance”, as in plants that don’t need a lot of hands-on care. The most common options here would be succulents, cacti, snake plants, and ZZ plants. This may seem limiting, but luckily these still offer a ton of variety!
  • If you are planning to be more hands-on then you’ll have more of a selection, based on how often you are willing and wanting to water. However, it is important to note that sometimes being too hands-on can be just as detrimental, if not more. Over-watering can actually occur more easily than under-watering, and it is important to pay attention to the soil moisture before watering again. You’ll eventually get into a rhythm where you know how long in between watering each of your plants prefers, but until then it is better to check manually. Gently dig your fingers into the soil and see how far down it has dried. Knowing the water preferences of each of your plants is key here. Some like to fully dry out, while some only need the top 1-3 inches of soil to be dry before wanting more water. Others may prefer to remain in lightly damp soil.
  • If your plant is struggling, how do you determine whether it is over-watered or under-watered? Assuming, of course, that it is a watering issue, first check the soil to see how wet it is. But also looking at where the plant is dying will actually tell you a lot, as will how it feels. Is it soggy, squishy, or deteriorating from the base close to the soil? Are you able to pull the dead pieces out from the soil with no resistance? These are likely signs of over-watering. Is it crispy and browning at the tips and moving inward? Are the leaves curling in? This usually indicates under-watering.
  • Either can potentially be remedied and won’t necessarily mean the end for your plant. If you have over-watered once or twice, you can simply let it dry completely out before watering again and it should bounce back. If this is a chronic issue and the roots are already starting to rot (you may even notice a slight smell in this case) then you’ll want to repot with fresh soil. Remove the plant and its soil from the pot, separating as much of the wet soil as you can from the roots. If you notice any roots that look rotten or waterlogged, you may have to trim these off. Repot in fresh soil and wait a few days to water. If the plant has been under-watered, then the quickest fix is obviously going to be to give it some water! You should be able to easily determine whether the plant is completely dried out or not, and if it still has some life then getting the watering back on track should help to revive it. A humidifier can also help to add some moisture, however the leaves which have already died or dried out will need to be removed.
  • Helpful tips: Write the type of plant and its light/watering needs on a small plant marker (like those used in the garden for ID) and put that in the pot. This will keep the information readily available until you are more familiar with your plants and their needs. You may also consider purchasing a water meter, to help monitor moisture levels.

Humidity & Temperature Regulation

  • The environment in your space can factor greatly into the health of your plants. Here in Colorado we have a very dry, arid environment so we may have to work overtime for certain plants to survive and thrive. Moisture loving plants such as ferns, and those who require more humidity such as Fiddle Leaf Figs, have a tougher time and typically require more effort when it comes to creating the right atmosphere. A humidifier can be used, and is highly encouraged, in regions like ours if you’re growing plants which are used to more moisture in the air (plus, it is good for us too!).
  • Temperature can also be a factor in maintaining the right environment. Tropical plants that love heat and moisture will struggle during the cold, dry winters here if we don’t help them out! Regulating the temperature is important, and you can research each plant for its preferred temperature range. For instance, a Peperomia Frost prefers to stay within 60-80 degrees F.

Fertilizing Your Houseplants

  • Just as with your plants outside, your indoor plants will need a little food every now and then. Using a houseplant fertilizer can be helpful when your plants are in need of a nutrient boost. And this, of course, can also vary based on the type of plant. Researching your plants is important, as they may have very different needs. There are high-quality generic houseplant fertilizers available, however there are also some formulas created specifically to meet the needs of individual plants. You may find that some plants, such as orchids or fiddle leaf figs, have their own fertilizers on the market due to their more specialized needs.
  • Determining when to fertilize can be the more challenging part. Some people suggest fertilizing once the plant growth appears to be stagnant, however many people don’t notice this, or know what is considered stagnant as plants have different growth rates. Other sources recommend a regular fertilization schedule, depending on the plant. It can range from once every few weeks, to once every few months. You will want to start a few months after it has been potted, as the nutrients in the soil should be able to provide what is needed at first. Once these have been used up you can begin to supplement with a fertilizer. In general, you typically do not need to concern yourself with fertilization during the wintertime as plants are likely either dormant or just not pushing much new growth at this time of year. In the spring and summer, when they are flowering or pushing new growth, you can start adding in your fertilizer to help give them a boost.           
  • Helpful tips: Amending your soil when potting can also provide extra nutrients, reducing the frequency of fertilization. Worm castings are an easy and affordable option, which are gaining popularity due to their wide variety of benefits and the fact that they can be used with indoor and outdoor plants. Some people even enjoy keeping a worm bin at home to have access to fresh castings for their garden or houseplants! Worm castings are digested and processed organic matter which is then left behind, enriching the soil. They contain a variety of beneficial nutrients and minerals, such as concentrated nitrates, calcium, magnesium, potassium, and phosphorus. They offer an organic fertilizer which can boost the plant’s growth and protect the soil and plants from diseases. You can mix the castings directly into the soil, and then top off once a month by sprinkling on the surface of the soil and watering in. Another method of application is watering with a brewed “worm tea”. These formulas can be brewed to different strengths based on what they are being used for, we recommend finding recipes and playing around!



  • Repotting, in some instances, can be more about providing fresh soil rather than actually relocating the plant into a different pot. After a while (usually just a few months) the soil in which the plant is living will become depleted, as all of the available nutrients have been utilized. The soil can also become compacted from repeated watering, which can affect its water absorption. When heavily compacted the soil may have trouble soaking up water or allowing it to drain out. Providing fresh soil will offer relief to the roots and let them “breathe”, and allow the plant to receive the proper amount of water.
  • Over time your plants will likely need to be moved to slightly larger pots, to avoid getting root bound and to allow more room for growth. Your first instinct may be to give them lots of extra space, thinking that this will allow them more time to grow into it. In actuality, many houseplants prefer to be a tad bit snug in their pots. When upsizing, you typically want to stick with only increasing the size 1-3 inches in diameter. So, if your plant is currently in a 6” pot, you would only want to increase to 7-9”. This can also help to prevent over watering, as there will be less over-saturated soil for the roots to sit in.
  • Repotting, whether just freshening up the soil or also moving to a larger pot, in most cases should be done every 6-8 months. However, if your plants are experiencing vigorous growth and want or need to be repotted sooner this is perfectly fine! Try to avoid doing this too often, as consistent disturbances to the roots can stress the plants out.

We hope these tips have been helpful, and you can feel more confident in your houseplant endeavors! As always, please feel free to contact the knowledgeable folks at Pine Lane Nursery with any questions or concerns that you may have. We’re here to help you select the right plants for your space or problem solve any issues you may be experiencing.