by Jennifer Poindexter
Do you need a medium-sized, perennial plant to bring color to your landscape? Have you considered growing the charity plant?
You may be more familiar with it by its other name, Jacob’s Ladder. This plant grows on long stems and has relaxed leaves that drape.
On the foliage are small blooms shaped like a cup. They come in blue, pink, white, and yellow. If this sounds like something you’d be interested in growing, you’ve come to the right place.
I’m going to tell you everything you should know to grow charity and, hopefully, have a positive experience while doing it.
Here’s how you can grow charity in your garden:
Growing Conditions for Charity
When you decide to grow charity in your garden or around your landscape, you must ensure you provide a few necessities in the growing area.
If not, you could set your plant up for failure before it really gets a chance to grow. The first thing you must consider in the growing location is the amount of sunlight provided.
Charity can grow in planting zones three through eight. It can also thrive in full to partial sunlight. However, the plant doesn’t like extreme heat or humidity.
Therefore, if you live in a warmer planting zone, it might be best to plant where charity receives morning sunlight but is protected from the brighter sun in the afternoon.
Yet, if you live in a cooler climate, the plant might be able to handle more sunlight to provide a little more warmth throughout the day.
The next thing to consider is that charity is planted where it won’t be disturbed. This is a perennial plant, so pick a location where it won’t be harmed while it’s dormant.
Finally, ensure you plant charity in the right soil and where it’ll have room to grow. Charity likes consistently damp soil that’s also well-draining.
Plus, the plant can grow to be as tall as two feet in height. Whether you grow charity in the ground or in a container, ensure the plant has room and support to reach optimal heights.
Now that you understand what this plant needs in a growing space, let’s discuss how you can plant charity.
How to Plant Charity
Charity isn’t as easy as tossing the seeds in the ground and watching it grow. However, it’s not overly complicated either.
You can grow charity using three methods. The first method is to grow the plant from seed outdoors. You’ll need a cold-frame for this method.
Depending upon your set-up, you can sow the plants directly into the soil of the cold-frame or plant the seed in a pot with soil and place the entire pot inside the cold-frame.
Either way, you can use this method in either early spring or fall. Ensure the soil and container are well-draining. You should also keep the soil consistently damp by spritzing it with a spray bottle.
This will water the plants without oversaturating them. If you plant the seeds directly into the cold-frame, as the plants become larger, transplant them into separate pots.
After the plants have become well-established, transplant them into their permanent growing location during the summer months.
Be sure to place approximately one to two feet of space between each plant as this is a sprawling flower. It can expand up to two feet around.
The next method of planting charity is to start the seeds indoors at least two months prior to transplanting outdoors.
Start the seeds in a growing tray. It should be filled with well-draining soil, and place two seeds in each cell of the tray.
This is a germination insurance policy, in case one seed in the cell doesn’t germinate, the other seed should still form a plant.
It can take up to a month for the seeds to germinate. Be sure to water the seeds by spritzing them with a spray bottle.
Wait until the last hard frost is over before transplanting the young charity plants outdoors in their permanent growing space.
The final method for growing charity involves dividing a larger, well-established plant. In early spring or fall, divide a larger plant using a trowel.
Ensure you divide all the way through the root system. If you have smaller divisions, transplant them into a smaller pot and place inside a cold-frame to give them time to grow before being permanently planted outdoors.
If your divisions are larger, go ahead and transplant them into their permanent growing location. Decide which method of growing charity works best for your set-up, and try your hand at growing this plant around your home.
Caring for Charity
When growing charity, you must do a few things to keep this plant healthy and thriving. The first thing you should do is mulch the plant each spring.
As mentioned earlier, charity prefers damp but also well-draining soil. By applying a layer of mulch around the plant each time it starts to grow, it will help keep the growing conditions accurate throughout the season.
The next thing you must do is ensure you’re watering the plant accurately. I like to use the deep watering method to avoid under or oversaturating the plant.
Deep watering means you’ll water the plant for a longer period of time, fewer days of the week. Not only does this saturate the roots at the time of watering, but it also adds moisture to the ground surrounding the plant.
As the charity plant uses the water surrounding its location, it will dig deeper into the soil to find more water. This encourages stronger, healthier plants.
You’ll know it’s time to add more water by testing the soil. Stick your finger into the dirt next to the plant. When it’s dry to your first knuckle, it’s time to add more water.
As the plant blooms, and the blooms become spent, you’ll need to practice deadheading. This means removing old blooms from the plant. The reason this is important is it allows energy to be exerted towards the younger and healthier portions of the plant.
Finally, after the flowering has ended for the season, cut the plant back to the soil to protect it for the cooler portion of the year.
By providing the necessary care to your charity plant, it should thrive around your home for years to come.
Garden Pests and Diseases Which Can Impact Charity
Our last stop of this growing tutorial is to discuss protecting your plants from potential threats. The charity plant does have a few enemies in your garden.
Thankfully, they’re few and far between. In fact, there are no common pests to report on. However, the charity plant is known for struggling with powdery mildew.
This is a fungal disease that can be treated with a fungicide or headed off before it becomes an issue. The best way to stay ahead of fungal issues is to plant in well-draining soil, ensure there’s enough space between plants to provide adequate room for breathing, and to also provide enough sunlight to the plant to allow water an opportunity to dry if it lands on the foliage and to warm the soil.
By avoiding damp, cold soil you’re stopping the ideal breeding ground for fungal issues. Stay alert to this potential threat, and your charity plant should be able to bounce back even if fungal issues arise.
You now know how to grow, care for, and protect your charity plant when growing it around your home or garden.
Add some color to your landscape by adding this cherished perennial plant to the mix. It could be the vibrant pop of color you’ve been searching for.