About Indoor Gardening

By: Luann Hays


Believe it or not, keeping the green of Spring in you life year-round, is easier than you think. While it's great fun to get outside and start planting that vegetable or flower garden, many people keep the freshness in their life even during the winter, by starting indoor gardens.

A houseplant, usually native to tropical climates, is grown indoors for decorative purposes. Houseplants also provide a natural and cost effective way to clean indoor air. According to Dr. Wolverton's NASA study, it is suggested that at least one potted plant per 100 square feet of home or office space is needed to be effective air cleaners.

Of all plants that are easiest to grow indoors, herbs are at the top of the list. Not only are they green and decorative, they're also delicious. And when grown in the kitchen, they're just a step away from the pot of spaghetti sauce or the stew that's cooking for dinner.

Get your herb plants from a good garden center nursery who will have plenty of garden advice to help you with your inside garden. You will need some garden equipment like a small digging garden tool, garden gloves, organic fertilizer and some small gardening containers. You probably already have most of these garden supplies in your garden shed.

The major factors to consider when growing and caring for a houseplant are water, soil, light, temperature, humidity, fertilizers, and pots. Most plants come with a description tag that will guide you on how to care for that specific plant.

Although the kitchen is a desirable spot, your plants will do best in a window that has at least six hours of sunlight a day, to keep the growth cycle moving along. This could be an east or south window. West windows tend to have the hottest sun, which may not be good for tender young plants, especially in Spring or Summer. If the window area tends to be extremely cold during winter nights, you may want to put the plants down on a cupboard or table until the sun comes back up.

Most indoor plants need good lighting. You can provide this through natural lighting in the room of your choice or there must be electric lighting. Darker leaved plants usually don't need as much light as others.

Here are a few varieties of plants (these require medium to low light) that are known to be suitable for indoor gardening:
Philodendrons
Boston ferns
African violets
Cyclamens
Creeping Fig

Most houseplants grow in a tropical climate which ranges from 60-80 degrees. The majority of homes are kept around this temperature; therefore, houseplants can thrive inside the home. Night temperatures should be 10 degrees lower to duplicate nature.

Be careful of your watering habits, since plants in pots do not lose their water into the earth around them like they would in a garden. Water only when the soil is beginning to dry. But remember also, that your house does not have the same humidity as an outdoor garden, and in winter particularly, indoor heating systems dry out the air. Mist your plants in winter, to keep leaves from drying out, and to prevent the proliferation of certain pests.

Keep the plant evenly moist, but there should not be standing water in the plant's saucer. This might require watering two to three times a week. Water the plant thoroughly and after 15 minutes empty any water that is standing in the saucer. A common mistake most people make in indoor gardening is they tend to over-water the plants, which may lead to rotting roots. Make sure to research the type of plant you have, because each kind of plant varies on their watering needs.

When picking a container/pot for your house plants, make sure it will drain properly. I know what you are probably thinking...many pots are sold without drainage holes! If you find one that you are absolutely in love with drill a hole in the bottom of the container, otherwise your plant will almost certainly die. Without a drainage hole, water collects in the pot and causes damage to the roots. If this isn't an option you can double pot your plant.

Choose good quality and attractive container for your indoor plants. Make sure that the pot is clean before placing your new plant into it to prevent infection and to encourage healthy growth. Your container can be pretty much anything and is only limited to your imagination. For a formal garden choose a more traditional container. Regardless of your choice of container, make sure it's not too big or too small for your planting.

Just like watering, fertilizing depends on the type of plant. If you have managed to supply your indoor garden with the right amount of light, water and humidity, fertilization may not need much attention. A good indoor fertilizer can be bought from most home depot or hardware stores. Orchids need the special fertilizer available.

Go to your garden nursery center and look thru the selections. Choose plants that will harmonize and colors that go well together. Container Gardening is fun and easy and a great way to show off your handiwork.

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