Having plants on the inside may seem a little fruity to some, but there is much-documented evidence to suggest the effects on mental health that plants provide. They also remove toxins from the air, improving the air quality. If you look after your houseplants, they will look after you!
So how do we achieve the care required for indoor gardening?
The first step is looking at bugs. The US has millions, so I won’t bother at this stage to go into details, but here are a few pointers to push them in the other direction:
- Rubbing alcohol works well, just spray a little on the critters and watch them go.
- Silicon and horticultural oils also help.
- Chilli pepper. A personal favorite.
So that’s the first step. Are there any other problems? Well, yeh, there are a few more things to think about…
How to water indoor plants?
Poor drainage is linked with watering your houseplants. At the start of their venture, many new green-thumbs are uber-keen to care for their plants and actually over-water their babies. This is just as lethal as neglect because if the pot is poorly drained, the water will sit at the bottom and rot the roots, leading to the plant dying, which results in more watering, which rots the roots you see the downward spiral. Take care when taking care.
Try using filtered water, and tap water contain many minerals that harm plants (and humans?!).
Indoor Plants and Air Issues
The best indoor houseplants are tropical plants (Asparagus ferns are great!). Tropical plants require heat, and this can be a problem if the indoor temperature swings consistently. Another problem is light. If you struggle to expose the plants to light, fluorescent bulbs can be used as a much cheaper solution to grow lights.
Indoor Plants and Soil
Once again, as with the watering, don’t over-do the fertilizer when starting off. Most potting soil contains enough nutrients to last pot plants for a year or so. Too much fertilizer will simply burn the plant. When fertilizing, dilute the mixture well, even beyond what is recommended.
Also, pick up any dead leaves that drop into the pot, as these spread disease more quickly.
Also, check out my article “My Fuchsia Looks Dead.”
The Garden in a Pot
Many of us live in condos, city apartments, and units, with not much available space for even a small garden, let alone a front garden and lawn. But it doesn’t have to be all concrete and gloom. With a little ingenuity, container gardens can transform your home and outdoor balcony into flourishing beauty.
However, to achieve this, we need to think about a few things to get some healthy plants blooming in beauty.
Think how big the plants will grow before you put them in a container or plastic bottle. Upright plants will need a wider base for the root structure, and crawlers will need a pot deep enough to lazily drape over.
As the plants grow, the soil will dry more as the roots will be more demanding of water. Water them more often as they get bigger!
All pots should have drainage. This can be achieved simply by using the plastic pots one sees at a nursery or even just using 5cm or gravel at the bottom of a container.
Don’t use the dirt from the garden. The potting mix should be used (preferably a good one!). This can be bought at the local nursery. Chunky potting mix is better as the soil will remain looser, and for those who want to go a little further, mix in a little peat or perlite to retain the soil moisture for longer.
It is important to choose plants that require the same amount of water, light, heat and food. For example, the amount of sun exposure required for one plant could kill another. It also helps to choose plants that can withstand a lot of sun exposure and the dry soil of a container.
Container gardens look best when you can see the container. Choosing plants that will dwarf the container/ smother the container should be avoided.
Keep in mind that container gardens dry out more quickly than a garden bed, and although the species you select may love to sun-bake, it always helps to position the container so that it gets at least a little shading during the day.
Also, think about the light that can be reflected off walls during the day.
Water, the Elixer
In summer, you should be checking the soil twice daily to see if it is too dry. Water often in summer (up to twice a day), and less in winter. Remember that the container dries quickly, and this can be a swift death to your baby.
You can buy potting mixes with fertilizer already mixed in. Either way, you’re going to have to replenish the soil eventually. You can mix in a time-released fertilizer at the planting stage and use water-soluble fertilizer every 2-4 weeks.
Ch- ch- ch- ch- Chan-ges
If a plant is fading, change it. This keeps the pot looking rejuvenated all-year-round. The sequence of bloom for different species is up to you. A little homework goes a long way.
So here we are; these tips should help you on your way to getting a little blooming to liven up your living space. Enjoy.
I hope this helps you on your way to pulling the outside in.