Gardening Tips: Joe Carmack of Urban Garden Center

Washington DC

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When we first had a balcony, we filled it with plants that all died in the DC heat. Looking around at other DC gardens, we've noticed we're not the only ones struggling to keep plants alive. So we asked an expert, Joe Carmack from Urban Garden Center, for some DC-specific gardening advice. Below are his summertime gardening tips...

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1. Take your houseplants outside, especially ficuses, which thrive in fresh air. If you bring out other houseplants, make sure they get the proper light exposure. For example, keep indirect light plants in the shade.

2. For sunny gardens, you may have to daily water your plants. Plants in containers quickly dry out.

3. Now is a good time to "groom" your plants, meaning: snip off dead leaves, hose them down outside, and then spray them with a mild organic insecticidal soap.

4. You can leave interior plants outside until the weather drops down to the low 50's, usually not until the fall in DC.

5. Before bringing plants back inside, repot plants that have overgrown their containers.

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6. Repot houseplants every few years. Remember to clean out old containers and disinfect them with a mild clorex/water solution or tea-tree oil and water.

For more gardening tips, you can visit Joe Carmack at the Urban Garden Center on 14th Street.

Do you have other tips for keeping urban gardens alive?

- Rachael

[photos of Garden District]

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Rachael is a fine artist and writer and when not obsessing about home decor she works in hospitality, spa and art events (