South Florida is a land of lushness, but not all of us were born with a green thumb. Stuart resident Alisia Kifer—better known as the Garden Goddess—is the lead horticulturist at Heathcote Botanical Gardens in Fort Pierce. She started Garden Goddess LLC in early 2020 to provide garden design, education, and sourcing advice, and you can find many of her lush plants for sale at The Roasted Record in down- town Stuart. Here, Kifer shares her top plant-care tips.
Find Its Happy Place. Get a feel for where the plant wants to be. Indoor plants should be suited for low light. For outdoor plants, I leave the plant in the pot I bought it in and move it around my yard. If it begins to wilt, I change its location. Once I find a spot where it’s thriving, that’s when I either repot it or plant in the ground.
Get the Right Mix. I generally use one part soil, two parts perlite, and one part compost.
Don’t Overwater. A good way to check if a plant needs watering is to grab a wooden chopstick or skewer from your kitchen and push it into
the soil. If the stick comes out dry and clean, water your plant. At my home in Stuart, I usually water twice a week in the morning or evening.
Feed It. Micronutrients like zinc, boron, and manganese are essential to plant growth. Select a fertilizer with these in it or add a supplemental one. Epsom salt in small doses is great for supplying trace minerals.
Give It a Haircut. Cutting dead flowers or blooms helps support regrowth. Trim dead or dying leaves back to the base of the main stem.