How to Plant a Container Garden (5 Necessary Steps)

How to Plant a Container Garden

Once you have chosen an area that receives enough sunlight, selected the container, and made or purchased a potting soil mix, now the fun begins; choosing your plants and learning how to plant a container garden.

Whenever you plan to use a variety of plants in your container, make sure that all of the ones you purchase have similar requirements for sunlight, the type of soil, and moisture.

In other words, buy plants that complement each other.

Research container design concepts and philosophies.

A container should generally have one “thriller” plant as tall as the container, surrounded by mid-sized filler plants (which grow in a full, mounded form).

If you want the container to look balanced, include vining or low-growing plants to soften the edges.

“Thriller, filler, and spiller” is the name given to this design concept.

Also, do not be afraid to use just one gorgeous plant or several plants of one variety.

Many great container gardens use just a single plant variety.

How to Plant a Container Garden

There are several steps when considering how to plant a container garden. First, ensure the container has drainage holes, but they should be covered with an absorbent fabric. This will retain the soil in the container. Potting mix is added first and may include an all-purpose, organic fertilizer. Ensure it reaches within a couple of inches of the top of the container. Next, the plants need to be carefully removed from their nursery pots before being arranged in the container. The final stage is to gently water the plants and add more potting soil, if appropriate, once the container has settled.

1. Cover the Drainage Holes

Cover the container’s drainage holes with absorbent landscape fabric or window screening to hold the soil inside the container and keep out insects.

The material you choose must allow water to drain freely from the container.

2. Fill the Container With Potting Mix

Put potting mix in the container to within one to two inches of the top of it.

Mix in fertilizer, carefully following directions for exact measurements.

This is especially true if you use conventional fertilizer, which can burn the roots of your plants if you over-use it.

An organic all-purpose, granular fertilizer is usually a good choice.

Make sure to mix well.

3. Remove the Plants From Nursery Pots

Plants should be carefully removed from their nursery pots.

To do this without harming the plants, flip the pot upside down and push the plants out by pushing through the drainage holes in the bottom of the pot.

If it is stuck, run a knife around the pot, between the plastic and the soil.

If a plant seems to be root-bound, gently tease the roots apart after extracting the plant from the pot.

Next, arrange the plants in the container, keeping in mind the direction from which the container will be viewed (from the rear, front, or all sides).

4. Place the Plants in the Container

Dig a hole for every plant deep enough to be at the same depth it was growing in its nursery pot.

You should not cover the plant’s crown (the point where the stem and roots meet) with soil.

Read the labels to ensure the plants have enough space to grow to their full potential.

Your container may appear sparse at first, but it will fill up as time goes on.

Fill the space around your plants with potting soil.

Ensure good contact between roots and the earth and press down around each plant to remove air pockets.

5. Water the Plants

Water generously, yet gently, until the liquid flows out of the bottom of the container.

After the first watering, you might need to add more potting soil to account for settling.

How to Grow Pot Plants in a Container Garden

Tips for Maintaining Your Container Garden

The most important part of maintaining a container garden is watering well and providing adequate food and the proper amount of fertilizer and water.

It is generally recommended to keep the potting mix moist but not wet.

When determining soil moisture, stick your finger down to the second knuckle into the soil.

If you still feel wetness, do not water.

It is tough to water your container on a sunny day because it will dry out faster, and wind can suck moisture out of a pot.

However, on cloudy or damp days, the container might not dry out as quickly.

That said, it is easy to be fooled by gentle rain, which can often lead to a relatively dry container garden.

Depending on the weather in your particular region and how hot it gets, you may have to water them more than once a day during the summer, especially if the containers are 10 inches or less in diameter.

Regular feeding will not be required if you have added fertilizer to the potting mix when you planted the container.

However, suppose you did not add granular or time-released fertilizer to the potting mix.

In that case, you should feed the container about twice a month using a water-soluble fertilizer solution.

Every time you water containers, nutrients leach out.

Plants grown in containers, therefore, require more frequent feeding than those in a garden bed.

Final Thoughts

I hope you enjoyed my article and now understand how to plant a container garden.

The most critical aspects are covering the drainage holes, filling the container with potting mix, and adding the chosen plants carefully.

Read Me Next===>Indoor Plants Healthy Living

How to Create a Container Garden (3 Preparation Tips)

How to Create a Container Garden

Plants can be grown in containers for several reasons, and you may need to know how to create a container garden.

However, there might be circumstances in which it is the only way to succeed.

For example, when the soil in your garden is poor or does not drain well, containers make it easier for plants to thrive.

Containers allow you to move them around to take full advantage of the sun’s rays.

Even if your yard is heavily shaded, it is possible to plant sun-loving plants in containers that can be moved into the sun.

Read more

How to Fertilize an Indoor Herb Garden

How to Fertilize an Indoor Herb Garden

Having planted your mini-masterpiece, you may be wondering how to fertilize your indoor herb garden.

Obviously, indoor plants can’t get the nutrients they need from rain and garden soil and need a helping hand.

After you have chosen the herbs for your indoor garden, you must select the right fertilizer.

Unfortunately, not all fertilizers are created equal. Despite some advertising claims, they can all be overused enough to damage your indoor herbs.

Let’s look at the type of fertilizers you can use, how to apply them, and why you need a monthly maintenance schedule.

How to Fertilize an Indoor Herb Garden

There are actually several types of fertilizer you can use for your indoor garden. These include packaged granular mixes and fish emulsions. The best option is one that is water-soluble, and it should be applied at one-quarter the recommended rate. Full strength fertilizer would be too concentrated. The herbs should be watered once per week, following a thorough watering. In addition, the herb garden will require a monthly flush to remove any harmful elements or salts. Outdoor plants are subject to natural cleansing, such as through rain showers. Still, an indoor garden will need extra help to complete the process.  

1. Types of Fertilizers You Can Use Indoors

Many types of fertilizers will work for an indoor herb garden.

Fertilizers are often referred to as plant food, but that’s not strictly true.

The process of photosynthesis supplies all the food that plants need, but fertilizer can provide micronutrients.

Think of it as adding extra minerals and vitamins.

Macronutrients are also necessary, such as nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus.

You can tell if any of your herbs lack specific nutrients by looking at the colour of their leaves.

Yellow leaves indicate a lack of nitrogen, brown edges show a need for potassium, and purple leaves reveal that more phosphorus is necessary.

For indoor feeding, use a water-soluble fertilizer or one that can be dissolved in water.

These can include:

  • A packaged granular that you measure and dissolve in water before applying
  • A fish emulsion that is concentrated and must be added to water before using

2. How to Apply Fertilizers

Regardless of the type of fertilizer you choose, you will apply it at one-quarter of the recommended rate.

This is because standard fertilizer ratios are too concentrated for container plants.

In a garden, the fertilizer naturally filters out into the soil surrounding the plant and the rest of the area.

As a result, the nutrients are dispersed, and the plant takes as much fertilizer as it needs for healthy growth.

However, everything inside the pot is trapped for potted indoor herbs, so the fertilizer has nowhere to go.

As a result, a build-up can occur, and too much fertilizer can end up doing more harm than good to your plants.

To apply fertilizer most efficiently, follow this procedure once a week:

  1. Mix the fertilizer at one-quarter the strength recommended by the manufacturer
  2. Water your herb plants thoroughly
  3. Apply the weakened fertilizer solution

By watering the plant before fertilization, you will increase the plant’s absorption rate.

This is because it has already soaked up a lot of water in the potting soil, and the roots are actively soaking up the water.

If you forget to fertilize for a week or more, do not over-fertilize the next time to make up for the missed opportunity.

Instead, simply fertilize as if you didn’t miss a week.

3. Monthly Maintenance When Fertilizing an Indoor Herb Garden

It is absolutely essential to flush your indoor herb plants every month.

The containers can trap salts and harmful elements inside the soil that would usually be filtered through the ground of an outdoor garden.

Further, the environment inside your home is not conducive to natural cleansing processes such as rain and fresh air circulation.

This can counteract your fertilization efforts and inhibit plant growth.

If you want your indoor plants to be happy and healthy, take once a month to flush the soil.

It is straightforward and can be done while you work on other projects around the house.

  1. Put the herb plant in the sink and water it thoroughly.
  2. Allow all of the excess moisture to drain out.
  3. Once it stops dripping, water it entirely once again.
  4. Drain it entirely in the sink and return it to its sunny spot.

This simple process will remove any salts in the soil, and it is the perfect time for your weekly fertilizer.

You can also take this opportunity to mist your herbs, as they need high humidity to encourage growth.

Placing the herb pots on a tray of pebbles containing water can also help create the necessary humidity.

Container Herb Gardening

Final Thoughts

So, we have now learned the importance of how to fertilize an indoor herb garden.

Indoor plants cannot access the nutrients they need, such as nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus.

A water-soluble fertilizer is ideal and should be used at a quarter-strength.

A monthly maintenance schedule is also necessary for the optimum growth of your herbs.

Thoroughly flushing the herb pots will ensure the removal of salts and toxins from the soil.

Make time to mist your herbs as well to help with providing humidity.

If you fertilize your indoor herb garden regularly, it ensures continued growth.

You can look forward to delicious herbs year-round.

Read Me Next===>A Hydroponic System of Salads

Easy Grow House Plants

What is it that makes people want to bring the outside in? And could a house plant habit be useful for you? These questions may be on your mind when starting with house plants. In this post, you’re going to learn precisely why indoor planting is so widespread. This guide also includes lots of information on the benefits of connecting with nature. Let’s dive right in!

The History of House Plants

Our love of house plants has deep roots. History has recorded that the ancient Greeks filled their villas with violets in Terracotta tubs. At the same time, the Romans preferred blowsy roses in marble urns. The Chinese grew miniature trees in dishes. The Pharaohs soothed sunburn with aloe vera. Medieval books show monks spending hours hunched over pots of herbs, tending ingredients for salves and cures.

A few centuries later, explorers like Columbus brought back dazzling new species from the Americas. Plant fever raged; orangeries sprang up across Europe as botany boomed. From the glittering glass palaces of Kew, through a million Victorian parlours, indoor plants colonised our homes and hearts. Succulents and cacti turned the grey-glassed offices of the 20th-century green, and by the exuberant ’70s, rubber plants and Swiss cheese plants thrived in every home, civic space and Columbo movie. Clearly, our passion for indoor plants has never waned.

And now it’s blooming again. Why? Turns out all those interiors magazines showing gorgeous botanical prints on wallpaper, curtains and cushions were trying to tell us something about the real living things. Recent surveys show that houseplant sales are booming – a trend driven mainly by city dwellers, millennials, hipsters and renters. Studies also reveal that although the biggest reason for buying is home styling and decoration, it’s closely followed by people who want to improve their home’s air quality and their personal wellbeing. Instagram is jungle-lush with the trailing, the spiky and the fronded and houseplant-themed tweets run daily into the thousands.

Starting with House Plants

Which indoor plants are the easiest to take care of?

Below is a list of indoor plants that are easy to take care of:

  • Sansevieria
  • Philodendron
  • Most succulents
  • Pothos
  • ZZ plant
Starting with House Plants

But before you rush to the garden centre, think about why you’re embracing indoor planting. RHS Chelsea Flower Show gold medallist Ian Drummond believes that while the Victorians loved displaying individual diva plants that were exotic and remarkable, and the ’70s were about joyful abundance, today’s is much more environmentally aware and mindful. It’s all about considering our displays and being conscious both of the effects we want to create in our homes and to understand the nurturing benefits of our choices.

The Backlash Against Minimalism

In his book At Home with Plants, Ian together with co-author and interiors expert Kara O’Reilly, suggests we’re now seeing a backlash against everything pale, neat and minimalist and, in its place, a rekindling of thinking of our homes as sanctuaries. For Ian, plants personalise spaces, making them welcoming places to return to, relax in and recharge. But as experts on biophilia (the benefits of people connecting with nature), Ian and Kara are also keen to emphasise how much houseplants give us in return; they boost our moods and help concentration; they refresh oxygen levels and cleanse the air of nasties, converting them into their food supply. As Ian and Kara put it, “it’s a win-win situation.”

Starting with House Plants

Fran Bailey, author, florist and creator of the fantastic houseplant emporium Forest, in Deptford, would be the first to agree. “Our connection with plants is primal,” she writes in her book, The Healing Power of Plants. “We depend on them for our basic human needs, from the air we breathe to the food we eat. Today we have greater wisdom of their healing power and their extraordinary range of properties.” [bctt tweet=”House plants help us keep alert, calm us when we feel stressed and bring joy and beauty to our work and living spaces” username=”dianescorpion”].”

So, Where Do You Start?

Fran, who together with horticulturalist Zia Allaway wrote The Royal Horticultural Society Practical House Plant Book, suggests linking plants visually, using their shape, colour, texture or scale. Connecting through harmony and repetition of these elements, say Fran and Zia, creates balance; juxtaposing for contrast builds drama. So, if you’re looking for something to calm a busy hallway, try same-scaled plants, perhaps a row of kentia palms in matching pots.

Starting with House Plants

Texture vs Shape

For more impact, mix things up using texture and shape – maybe devil’s ivy toppling down from a cluster of zebra plants? Succulents and cacti are always worth the houseroom since their low maintenance nature, and almost alien appearance bring vitality to any space. Better still, bright pops of green can invigorate places you might never have considered display-worthy. A glowing run of jade plants on top of a sunny bookcase?

Indoor Plants for Beginners

To build particular moods, Ian suggests grouping plants on shelves with objects – perhaps photos, pebbles, a postcard from a holiday – for an emotional connection. The vast and vibrant range of planters available – vintage, Moroccan, rustic – will also tie a collection together and accentuate your style choice at the same time. And, best of all, once you have your display, it will continue to reward you. As Zia, mentioning a moth orchid displayed in her own kitchen, explains, “it’s bloomed non-stop for over nine months – how could a bunch of flowers ever compete with that?”

Pink Orchid

Why not treat yourself to this gorgeous orchid? Click the image for more details!

Beauty with Benefits

To fully appreciate the practical benefits of filling your home with plants, first, you have to consider their role in a space station. In the ’80s, NASA carried out a study entitled “Interior Landscape Plants for Indoor Air Pollution Abatement.” The two-year investigation, focusing on the number of pollutants absorbed by a dozen common plants, concluded that houseplants had the potential to dramatically improve air quality in a sealed environment such as a space station – but the same applies to modern office buildings and also your home.

The hero of the study was the humble gerbera. Not only does it filter out trichloroethylene (found in printing inks and paint), formaldehyde (tissues, synthetic fabric), and xylene (leather, vehicle exhausts) but, unlike most plants, it also produces oxygen at night. Flamingo lilies, weeping figs, bamboo palm, and snake plant, were all also found to improve air quality. What’s more, most houseplants don’t release pollen, making them an excellent choice for hay fever sufferers.

Improved air quality isn’t the only benefit of owning houseplants. Smell is the most emotionally evocative of our five senses. Yet, the natural aromatherapy of houseplants can sometimes be overlooked. When it comes to choosing plants that beautifully fragrance a room, Zia suggests Nelly Isler orchids for their “wonderful lemony fragrance.” “Cape jasmine and stephanotis have richly perfumed flowers and are great for a hallway to welcome guests into your home,” she adds.

Flowers Fast - The Popular Online Florist


But don’t forget, as Angie Nilson at Pelargonium for Europe explains, some of our garden flowers, such as scented geraniums, thrive indoors too, and effortlessly bring summer into your home when they’re potted up into rustic terracotta containers of varying sizes. Don’t be afraid to try displaying other scented plants such as lavender indoors – the heavenly scents will lift your mood every day.

Natural Healing

Fundamentally, in our technologically besotted, connected but isolated times, plants reunite us with nature – a basic human desire. Sadly, ever since the Industrial Revolution, we’ve moved further and further from the natural world’s rhythms and patterns. Long dark nights and uncomfortable winter chills are remedied at the touch of a button. Once seasonal, fruit and vegetables fill supermarkets all year round. Yet studies continue to show that mentally, physically and emotionally, being in touch with nature is essential for human well being. No wonder then that last year the RHS joined forces with the NHS at the Chelsea Flower Show. The show’s Feel Good Gardens, designed to offer a therapeutic space, will be replanted at mental health trusts around the UK to benefit patients using those sites.

Even the rituals associated with plant care can be mindful and life-affirming. Watering, taking cuttings, potting, bedding in, misting, plucking off dead petals and cleaning leaves can all be done while engaging our senses and with a focused awareness on the present. Plants are naturally tied to their own cycles, and they can remind us of our own. In our screen-fixated worlds, they offer genuine connection. The feel of the soil. The mud that clings to your fingers. Once you’re an adult, where do you even get fun like that?

Lady Palm Tree - Medium


So, it’s actually true – greens really are good for you! Stylish, nurturing, mood-enhancing and enduringly real, houseplants offer us natural, living comfort in our digitised and indoor lives. Small wonder that our love for them is growing more potent than ever. Which leaves only one question; which ones will you fall in love with? Let me know in the comments below. Happy planting!

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Easy Garden Crops Guide (Mediterranean)

Easy Garden Crops

We’re all hoping for another sun-drenched summer this year. But whatever the weather, we can always invoke a feeling of sunnier climes by using a few choice Mediterranean plants in the veg patch. The region’s food may be as varied as its landscapes, but there are specific unifying threads; good olive oil, garlic, and most importantly, an arsenal of intensely fragrant herbs. In this post, you’re going to learn precisely how to grow easy garden crops. This guide also includes lots of advice on how to have happy house plants. Let’s dive right in!

Top easy to grow vegetables, fruit and salad seeds and plants for beginners

  • Salad Leaves. Crunchy fresh leaves with a fantastic range of textures and flavours
  • Radishes. Spice up your salads with crunchy, peppery radishes
  • Potatoes
  • Peas
  • Spring onions
  • Broad beans
  • Runner beans
  • Onions and garlic
  • Rhubarb

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It’s hard to believe nowadays when it’s such a common garden crop. Still, rhubarb was once so valuable it cost more than exotic spices such as saffron and cinnamon and even drugs such as opium.

Originally a native of Siberia, it was the root, rather than the stems, of Chinese rhubarb that interested early British apothecaries, who used it to treat a variety of internal problems. My mother always said rhubarb “kept you regular”, perhaps not the most glowing recommendation.

I remember as a child being given a saucer of sugar and some stems of raw rhubarb to dip in it, rather like a grow-your-own sherbet dab, a definite improvement on the fig syrup she sometimes spooned into us.

From the 18th century, rhubarb began to be widely grown in Britain and to figure as a kitchen ingredient rather than just in the chemist. The most famous growing area is Yorkshire’s Rhubarb Triangle, where early rhubarb is grown in forcing sheds. But it’s straightforward to grow tasty stems in the garden.

Easy Herbs to Grow in Pots

There are five signature herbs of Mediterranean cooking; thyme, rosemary, oregano, bay and basil. It’s no surprise they all love sunshine, warmth and good drainage, but that’s not to say they won’t thrive in our more variable climate too. Of these five, only basil is frost tender (though admittedly bay is borderline).

Easy Garden Crops

Now’s the time to buy thyme, rosemary, oregano and bay plants. Pot them up in compost mixed with grit to ensure sharp drainage, or find them a home in a well-drained part of the garden (where the soil is light and gritty). Thyme can be grown between paving cracks; there’s nothing more evocative than the scent of crushed thyme underfoot. Sow basil in trays of multi-purpose compost under cover before gradually hardening them off and planting out in containers after the risk of frost has passed. Keep your herbs by the kitchen door for easy access.

Oregano (Origanum Vulgare)

Sometimes called wild marjoram, these pungent leaves are the perfect partner for tomato dishes and pizza. Look out for the sub-species Origanum vulgare hirtum (Greek oregano) for extra flavour. If you can’t find plants, they’re easy to grow from seed. Try Greek oregano seeds.

Bay Trees (Laurus Nobilis)

Buy the largest you can afford; older plants require less cosseting in winter. As a container-grown focal point, they’re hard to beat, especially clipped into a pyramid or standard (lollipop) shape. Choose a sunny, sheltered spot or grow in a container of soil-based compost such as John Innes No 2 with added grit for proper drainage and move it into a greenhouse over winter.

Easy Garden Crops

Basil (Ocimum Basilicum)

Sow now under cover but wait until June before moving plants outside and don’t overwater. Choose your most sheltered sunny spot or grow under glass. Compact bush basil (Greek basil) has tiny leaves packing serious flavour. Try “Lettuce Leaf” with huge leaves for tearing into a salad or grinding into pesto.

Rosemary (R. Officinalis)

Pick your variety according to its size and shape, from the erect “Miss Jessopp’s Upright” to a more prostrate rosemary with arching growth, such as “Prostatus”. Check whether it is hardy or fully frost-hardy, depending on where you intend to plant it. Otherwise, they’re remarkably tolerant plants.

Easy Garden Crops

Lemon (Citrus)

A conservatory or frost-free greenhouse offers enough shelter to get these tender plants through the colder months, and they can live outside over the summer; just remember they don’t appreciate temperatures below 7 C (44 F). Even without fruit, their leaves have an intense lemony fragrance that you can harness in the kitchen by wrapping them around grilled fish.

Fig Tree (Ficus)

With their silvery limbs and large shapely leaves, these are beautiful plants. “Brown Turkey” is the most reliable for fruiting outdoors in southern England up to the Midlands. Still, you’ll need to offer it protection to be confident of a crop further north. Fan train them against a sunny wall or grow them as a bush in a pot.

Plum Tomatoes

Select a sheltered sunny spot on the patio, planting out after all risk of frost. Feed fortnightly once the first fruits appear, with tomato feed. Water little and often. Choose a Mediterranean variety; “San Marzano”.

Gardening is Officially Good for Mental Health

[bctt tweet=”Just one 30-minute session on the allotment improves self-esteem and general health” username=”dianescorpion”]. It was also found to reduce the effects of depression and fatigue, according to research from the UK Faculty of Public Health.

The new findings support research carried out in the UK in 2017, revealing that soil contains a natural antidepressant; a nonpathogenic bacteria, mirroring the effect on neurons that drugs such as Prozac provide.

It’s all encouraging news as allotment holders start to prepare their plot for the gardening year ahead.

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How to Have Happy Houseplants

Drainage

All roots require oxygen to survive, so always use a pot with drainage. If you have a decorative container, either use a plastic pot inside it (over a layer of pebbles or clay balls designed for such purposes) or drill drainage holes into it using a drill suitable for ceramic tiles.

Aerated Soil

Make sure soil stays aerated. Compost in pots naturally compacts over time; repotting is an excellent way to keep it fluffy, but in the meantime you can aerate it by taking a chopstick (or similar) and poking holes carefully around the top of the pot, going down as far as you can without damaging the roots and wiggling it around.

Watering

Water well. Whatever the plant’s needs are, it is essential to add sufficient moisture that drains out through the bottom. It may then be necessary to ditch the water in the saucer, so the plant doesn’t sit in it.

Easy Garden Crops

Watering vs Revival

If you find you cannot keep up with watering a plant, then moving it away from the light source will slow down its growth and reduce the amount of water it needs. This is a good idea if you’re going away for a bit; move plants to slightly shadier conditions, and they’ll need less water and grow more slowly.

Revival

If a plant dries out, immerse its pot in a bucket of water. If the compost does not seem to be rewetting quickly enough, add a drop of washing-up liquid to break the surface tension between water and soil so the soil can absorb water quickly. Bubbles will appear as air is pushed out between the soil particles. Once the bubbles stop, take the plant out and allow it to drain.

Aquaponics 4 You

Create a Winter of Flavours

Grow herbs indoors for taste and goodness

My kitchen is never without fresh herbs growing on the windowsill, especially in winter when any of the ones growing in the garden have died back.

Hardy rosemary and sage will keep going throughout the winter (just outside the back door, most conveniently), but more tender varieties such as parsley, coriander, dill and basil need to be sown and grown indoors during the colder months.

Not only do fresh herbs make the kitchen look more attractive, but they also provide a shot of flavour and nutrients to keep cold-weather chills at bay. They can be sown indoors throughout the year, and by next spring, any that remain indoors can be hardened off and planted in the garden.

Easy Garden Crops

I also found a potted coriander on the “please rescue me” stand at our local garden centre. It was looking sad and was incredibly pot bound, but had potential, so I brought it home.

It was hard to remove from its plastic pot (squeezing it soon helped loosen the compost and free the plant). Still, once it was out, I teased out its congested roots, split the coriander in two and potted them up in multi-purpose compost.

Now I have two healthy, mature plants on my windowsill for the price of one and at a good discount; and just in time for supper!

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What are the Best House Plants?

Growing plants inside can be every bit as challenging as tending your garden but is just as rewarding. It’s time to rediscover indoor plants. Plants have a few basic needs. They must receive light to photosynthesise and produce energy. Plus, they must have water, they must have nutrients, and many must have soil to anchor their roots in.

Within these boundaries, there are vast areas of difference. A desert cactus comes from a completely different world to a tropical plant. Yet, you can get both to grow in your house, possibly even next door to each other.

Plants grown in a pot are almost entirely reliant on you for all their water and food needs, while an indoor plant also relies on you for how much and what kind of light it receives. So how do we try to keep our long-term houseguests happy? In this post, I show you exactly how to pick plants that will thrive in every room of your home. So, what are the best house plants? This guide also includes lots of advice on where to place them, watering and general care. Let’s dive right in!

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Prayer Plant


Why not treat yourself to this Prayer Plant, which earned its name because of the way its leaves fold together at night like hands closed in prayer. Click on the image for the best price!

Indoor House Plants

House plants may once have had a dusty, old-fashioned reputation, but they are very much back in style. Not only can they look modern and chic, but we’re also discovering the benefits of growing indoor plants. Greenery in our homes can make us feel calmer and increase our sense of wellbeing. Houseplants also help to purify the air by removing the toxins given off by furniture, cleaning products and electrical goods. This is especially useful at this time of year when we keep windows closed. [bctt tweet=”Houseplants can remove up to 87% of the toxins in a room in 24 hours” username=”dianescorpion”]. You might think that house plants are hard to keep alive and healthy, but if you choose the right ones for the right spots and give them the growing conditions they like, they’re straightforward to care for. Use this guide to find plants that will thrive in every room of your home, making a welcome addition to your life.

Landscaping Ideas


The Eight Best Indoor Plants to Purify the Air in Your Home

  • Snake Plant
  • Pothos
  • Dracaena
  • ZZ Plant
  • Spider Plant
  • Rubber Tree
  • Bird’s Nest Fern
  • Peace Lily

#SleepHack: Pop a snake plant in your room to boost your bedroom’s night-time air quality. Unlike most other plants, which release carbon dioxide at night, this one continues to absorb it and release pure oxygen. It also filters out toxins.



The Well Jar: Biophilia is spreading in the workplace. But before you panic-dash to the doctor or call the police, this is neither an illness nor something disgraced TV presenters are accused of; it’s our need to be near nature. Those who work among nature report a 15% higher level of wellbeing and creativity; and cutting-edge companies have cottoned on. Amazon’s new meeting rooms house 400 different species of plant, and Apple is planting 8000 trees at its California campus. Bring this to your own desk with a pothos plant. It can survive in air-conditioning, grow in a jar, and absorb toxins. Plus, it’s hardy. So even you can’t kill it!

What are the Best House Plants?

Shady Corner

Verdant vs variegated: Peace Lily and Wandering Jew

Where: With their attractive foliage, these plants are great for brightening up areas away from windows, such as hallways or corners, as they can cope with less light than other houseplants. They like to stay out of the direct sun, and need to keep reasonably warm; ideally, the temperature shouldn’t drop below 10 to 12 degrees centigrade. Also, keep them away from any cold draughts.

Watering: Water regularly in summer, but don’t let them sit in water. Keep them on the dry side over winter, allowing the compost to dry out between waterings. During spring and summer, feed every three weeks with a houseplant fertiliser.

TLC: All of these like to have their leaves misted regularly.

Moving on up: These slow-growing plants are happy to stay in the same pot for several years.

What are the Best House Plants

Hot, Bright Windowsill

Stylish and easy to care for: Watch Chain Plant, Mixed Cacti, and Trumpet Jade

Where: Desert cacti and succulents are perfect for window sills where the sun comes in for part of the day. They love dry air and can cope with direct sunlight; conditions that wouldn’t suit many other houseplants. They need as much light as possible, so place them on a bright windowsill.

Watering: The easiest way to kill succulents is by overwatering. Never leave them standing in water and always let the compost dry out between waterings; push your finger down into the compost to check. In winter, water less frequently, allowing the compost to dry out completely before watering. Try not to wet the plants, as they’re prone to rot.

TLC: Water monthly with a cacti feed in spring and summer.

Moving on up: In spring, move any pot-bound plants into a container that’s a little wider. Use a specialist cacti compost.

What are the Best House Plants

Shady and Humid

Lush, lacy leaves: Delta Maidenhair Fern

Where: Indoor ferns are perfect for bathrooms and shady kitchens, as they like high humidity and some shade. Keep them away from windows and radiators, as cold draughts and hot, dry air will cause the leaves to go brown and wither.

Watering: They need moist, free-draining soil, so water every week or so. Water the compost directly and allow the water to drain away. Use a weak liquid houseplant feed every couple of weeks.

TLC: Fill a saucer with gravel or small pebbles and top up with water. Place the pot on top, making sure it’s base isn’t submerged in the water. This raises the humidity around the plant.

Moving On Up: Ferns should be happy in the same pot for a year or two. Repot in spring if roots are growing out of the base. Use a container just a couple of centimetres bigger, and fill with houseplant compost.

What are the Best House Plants

Bright and Warm

Year-round flowers: Moth Orchid

Where: Moth orchids are prolific and spectacular flowerers. They need a slightly tricky balance of lots of light but not direct sun. In winter, particularly they need plenty of light to encourage flowering. Place on or near a north-, east- or west-facing window, avoiding draughts and fluctuating temperatures.

Watering: Water into the top of the pot and let it drain away before placing back in the outer container. Do this frequently to keep the free-draining compost just moist. Lightly spray the foliage but never leave standing in water. Use orchid feed in spring and summer if a plant doesn’t flower.

TLC: If a plant doesn’t flower for several months, move it to a cooler spot for a few weeks.

Moving on up: Repot every two years or so when the bark compost is breaking down. Choose a pot that’s just large enough to fit the rootball and use orchid compost. Moth orchid roots benefit from light, so a clear container is best, with an outer glass pot. Moth orchids are epiphytic (growing on trees) so the roots are not covered by soil in nature.

What are the Best House Plants

Cool Windowsill

Delicate flowers for months: Cape Primrose

Where: Wild cape primroses grow in dappled wooded valleys and ravines in South Africa. The flowers are almost orchid-like. To grow them indoors, they need bright light but not the hot sun; an east- or west-facing windowsill is ideal.

Watering: It’s important not to overwater, so wait until the compost feels dry and don’t let the plant sit in water. Take care not to splash the leaves as this can cause brown marks. Feed every couple of weeks with a high potash fertiliser, such as liquid tomato feed, at a quarter of the recommended dilution. In winter, water less and don’t feed.

TLC: Older leaves naturally turn brown at the top. Remove the unsightly tip or the whole leaf at the base with secateurs.

Moving on up: Transfer into a slightly larger part each spring; not too big though, as these plants flower more when somewhat pot-bound. Use houseplant compost and add some perlite to improve drainage.

Tackling Pests and Problems

  • Greenfly and blackfly/aphids are best blasted off with water from the tap.
  • Powdery mildew is often caused by dryness and not enough air circulation.
  • Mealybug can be destroyed by dabbing with a paintbrush dipped in alcohol. Heavily infested plants should be composted.
  • Red spider mite thrives in a dry atmosphere, so mist the leaves regularly and use a biological control.
  • Scale has a waxy shell and clings to the plant. Destroy with alcohol or biological control.
  • Grey mould is often caused by too much humidity in winter. Cut off infected leaves and bin.
  • Whitefly are tiny white, moth-like creatures that suck sap. The biological control Encarsia is effective.

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Edible Flower Arrangements

Edible Flower Arrangements

It is no secret that flowers are incredibly versatile plants, and in this post, you are going to learn precisely how to create edible flower arrangements. Flowers are beautiful, can be used as ingredients in lotions and perfumes, work well in art, can be used for colours and pigments, and so much more. But did you know they can be used in edible flower arrangements?

That is right; edible flowers and also some weeds are a great way to get an extra kick of vitamins C and A in your diet and can be grown in your own home or garden. Therefore, this guide also includes lots of suggestions for the best flowers to use.

The greens and petals of some weeds and flowers can have wonderful effects on your health, and generations of people have been eating these edible treats for years. But it is important to note that not all flowers are edible. In fact, some can be poisonous if consumed, so knowing which flowers you can eat and which you should not can definitely come in handy.

The following is a list of edible flowers, their benefits, and some reasons why you should add them to your diet. Let us dive right in!

Best Edible Flowers

  • Borage blossoms
  • Courgette blossoms
  • Hibiscus
  • Lavender
  • Pansies
  • Roses
  • Sage flowers
Edible Flower Arrangements

Edible Flower Arrangements

Different flowers, weeds, and greens have various health benefits. Some groups are rich in vitamins and minerals. In contrast, others aid specific bodily systems such as the digestive tract, cardiovascular systems, and others. The following are edible flowers grouped by their health benefits.

Edible Flowers High in Vitamins and Minerals:

  • Marigolds, portulacas, purslanes, roses, and chives are all rich in vitamin C.
  • Edible weeds such as dandelion flowers are also high in vitamins A and C, and the greens are chock full of healthy minerals, phosphorous, calcium, and iron. These help build strong bones, reduce cholesterol and inflammation, and regulate weight and metabolism.

Digestive Aids:

  • Elderberry and calendula blooms are the leading flowers which help with digestion. Frequent stomach problems such as cramping, bloating, irregularity, and constipation can be improved by adding these flowers to your meals.
  • Goldenrod blooms also assist with digestion in addition to their work to soothe urinary tract infections and even relieve allergies. They can be added in salads, to baked goods, or used as a garnish for main courses. If used to make teas, they can be excellent for reducing fevers and stimulating the immune system.

Stress and Sleep Aids:

  • Vibrant California poppies, soft chamomile blooms, and lavender flowers are well-known sleep and stress aids. They come in oils, teas, lotions, drops, medications, and even bath soaps. They are a delicious and natural way to unwind at the end of the long day and promise a night of restful sleep.
  •  
Plant Stand


Why not treat yourself to this Bamboo Five Tier Potted Plant Stand? Click the image above for the cheapest price!

Detox Aids:

  • The Hibiscus flower contains several antioxidants which can prevent cholesterol deposits and even help liver problems and disorders. Antioxidants are useful anti-ageing nutrients, which also reduce the risk of cancer and inflammation. They cleanse the body of toxins which build up every day from the foods we eat. They remove stress, dirty air, and some everyday household products. When the body is cleansed of these, you feel better, more alert, lighter, and even happier.
Edible Flower Arrangements

Pain Relievers:

  • Honeysuckle and hyssop flowers are excellent edible flowers for relieving respiratory problems as well as soothing pain in the stomach and colon. Mullein flowers help with these problems as well as headaches and other everyday body aches.

Antibiotic vs Anti-inflammatory Aids:

  • [bctt tweet=”Nasturtiums are useful little flowers that contain natural antibiotic properties and are great when fighting an infection or bacterial illness.” username=”dianescorpion”]
  • Red clover blooms are even more useful as they are an effective blood purifier and can be consumed through a great tasting tea.
  • Violets and violas contain anti-inflammatory properties as well, which help with relaxation and soothe the worst symptoms of colds and fevers.

Look for Recipes

Once your garden is in full bloom, you can begin exploring natural recipes for your edible greens, flowers, and weeds.

Teas, salads, baked goods, jellies and jams, loaves of bread, stir-fries, roasts, and several other dishes can include these delicious and natural additions. Your family will enjoy the health benefits which come along with them.

These blooms and more are an excellent way to get to nature and brighten up your diet. There are some flowers such as apple, pear, lemon, orange, begonia, tulip, and more, which are perfect just for flavouring. Add to your garden and see what you can really do!

Edible Flower Arrangements

Best Edible Arrangements

The best place to buy edible flowers is at your local market, run by farmers. They will have a large selection, and you can make sure they are organic and not sprayed with pesticides or other chemicals.

You can also check the produce section at your grocery store (not the floral part) or order them online with websites which post overnight for optimal freshness. You can even grow your own; be sure to learn the proper method of food safety.

Turning to nature is undoubtedly an effective and smart way to achieve your best health. You should bear in mind that many of these natural remedies are not always backed by doctors or even approved by the National Health Service.

Alternative health shops and websites may offer glowing reviews of these edible flowers and the natural remedies they offer. Still, it is up to you to do thorough research before adding these to your diet.

Once you have ensured that the flowers, greens, and weeds you want to consume are indeed safe, you can begin to use them to enhance the flavour of your food and your health.

  1. Wash the flowers carefully before using them. Use a clean pastry brush to wipe off any stubborn insects or residue.
  2. Wait for a dry morning to pick young buds and flowers. This keeps the flavours and colours more intense before the midday sun has had a chance to actually dry them out.
  3. Use flowers on the first day you pick them for the best results or pop them in the fridge for a few days at the most. If you decide to freeze your flowers, make sure you cook or infuse them to get the most out of them.

Your Own Organic Vegetable Garden

During the last few years, there has been a change towards the use of machines and homogenisation of farming. This includes pesticides, additives, herbicides, synthetic fertilisers and mass-production techniques. All this is clearly affecting mankind’s health, and new diseases are spreading rapidly amongst humans and animals (bird flu and coronavirus being the most recent ones).

The World Health Organisation produces information. They show how the use of chemicals and other artificial products on food, plus the manufacturing processes involved, are actually a serious threat to our health.

You may actually have space for a few pots or even have a small piece of land. It is a wise decision to grow your own organic vegetable garden. Today I am presenting you with seven reasons for doing this.

Garden Inspiration

No Additives, Fertilisers or Modification

1. You will have no additives in your vegetables. Research by natural food associations has shown that additives in our food can cause heart diseases, osteoporosis, and migraines.

2. There will be no pesticides or synthetic fertilisers used. Chemical products are applied to crops all the time, regardless of plagues of insects or weather conditions, and affect the quality of the vegetables. Besides, pesticides are usually poisonous to humans.

Edible Flower Arrangements

3. Your plants will not be genetically modified (GM). Antibiotics, drugs, and hormones are used on vegetables to grow more, larger varieties. One of the consequences of this practice are vegetables which look all the same and are usually tasteless. We end up consuming the hormones which have been used on the greens, with the potential risks for our health.

Health, Taste and the Environment

4. Eating your own organic vegetables will be much more healthy for you. They will not contain any of the products or chemicals named above, and they will be much more natural than any ones you would find at the supermarket. Your health will not be at risk because you will know that nothing artificial has been added to your vegetables.

Edible Flower Arrangements

5. Undoubtedly, your own organic vegetables will be much tastier. The use of pesticides, synthetic fertilisers, hormones, and antibiotics make plants grow unnaturally and take the taste away from them. With organic vegetables, your cooking will be enhanced as their flavour will show fully.

6. Organic farming is friendly to the environment. Because you will not use pesticides or other equally harming products on your vegetables, you will not damage the soil or the air with the chemical components.

7. When you grow your own organic vegetables, you are contributing to your personal self-sufficiency and the sustainability of the planet. Small communities have been founded where members exchange products which they grow naturally, thus contributing to creating a friendly and better place for us all.

Edible Flower Arrangements

In the end, eating organic products means that we do not add anything else to them than they would naturally have. As you can guess, additives, fertilisers, pesticides or hormones are not components of naturally grown food. To better care for your health, grow your own organic vegetables; a few pots is all you need.

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Cleaning Plant Leaves

Cleaning Plant Leaves

Outside, rain doesn’t just provide water to plants; it also washes off dust, fallen petals, pollen, dead insects and other detritus that can collect on the leaves of a plant. In doing so, it keeps the sunlight-absorption rates of the leaves as high as possible. When it comes to cleaning plant leaves indoors, that is an entirely different matter.

Inside, of course, there is no rain to provide that service for house plants, and also potentially a lot more dust that can accumulate on their leaves. A little cleaning now and then keeps the plants bright and healthy, and also removes any pests that might have taken up residence. The foliage of houseplants can develop a dull appearance over time due to the build-up of minerals from your water, or from regular dust and dirt accumulation.

How to Clean

Cleaning methods depend on the plant type and size. A delicate maidenhair fern cannot be cleaned in the same way as a thick and waxy-leaved fig. There is no right way to go about it; deploy common sense and any available materials. For most, a quick shower is sufficient; though for the most delicate-leaved, use a misting spray bottle rather than a power shower. Fill a spray bottle with warm water. Add ¼ tsp liquid dishwashing soap without degreaser. Put the spray nozzle on the bottle and shake it to incorporate the detergent into the water. Direct the shower up from underneath to clean the undersides of the leaves. Wipe the leaves off with one side of a clean cloth. This will remove the mineral deposits or dirt, causing the plant to look dull.

Clean Plant Leaves

If a plant hasn’t been cleaned in a while, has got a little greasy as well as dusty, (typical for kitchen plants), and/or has large waxy leaves on which water spots would be apparent, combine the shower with a gentle rub using a soft cloth or piece of kitchen paper along the top and the bottom of the leaf. Hold and support the foliage on the other side as you do this to avoid breaking or damaging it. Water-based baby wipes, without added fragrances or chemicals, are also great for wiping leaves. For the most delicate and intricate plants, such as succulents, use a soft paintbrush to dust the leaves, or a damp cotton bud to clean them.

Cleaning Plant Leaves

Leave plants to drip-dry away from direct sunlight, as they may scorch, before returning them to their usual spot. If limescale spots could be a problem, dry each leaf carefully with a soft (microfibre) cloth.

Leaf Shine

It is possible to purchase a polishing spray, “leaf shine”, that can be used to clean and polish leaves in one go, giving them a shiny and spot-free appearance. Still, these are best avoided because they can block the pores, leaving the leaves unable to absorb carbon dioxide.

Plant Basket

Six Indoor Plants Which Love the Dark

It was a long search that took me more than ten years. But finally, I found it; an indoor house plant that will brighten up the end of a corridor five metres from my front door. The Aspidistra, commonly known as the Cast Iron plant, has graced the drawing rooms of many an otherwise drab Victorian English manor, and now graces my suburban brick home.

Many gardening experts describe the Aspidistra as one of the most robust and most adaptable house plants. Its long blades of slender dark green, or variegated dark green and white leaves, shoot straight out from the soil, but in clumps and up to 75 cm in height and 15 cm wide.

Cleaning Plant Leaves

It is a low maintenance plant but still maintains its sweet nature. It requires very low light, average temperature and humidity and just occasional watering.

Other Plants That Do Not Need Much Light

Low-light plants are usually defined as those that can survive in a spot that is four to five metres from a bright window. Just enough light to read by comfortably, but where artificial lighting switched on by day would give a brightening effect.

Cleaning Plant Leaves

Why not treat yourself to this Calathea Plant and bring life and colour to your home?

You can easily find the Aspidistra in your local garden centre nursery. Also, five other plants that will suit deficient light situations are the following:

Aglaonema (Chinese Evergreen) are among the few plants that prefer only moderate light and adapt well to low light. It has large dark green oval, then tapering, leathery leaves, later developing a strong base.

Dracaena deremensis varieties (also known as Happy or Fortune Plants) are slender leafed and usually white variegated. The Dracaena family are tough plants crested with decorative rosettes of foliage.

Holly fern, which adapts to low light, and the Boston fern will remain in low light for many months but need a spell in brighter light to rejuvenate.

Neanthe Bella or Parlor Palm is more suited to low light situations than most palms.

Sansevieria (also known as Mother-In-Laws Tongue) stands low to very bright light and has waxy, erect leaves, usually with cream-coloured margins and an unusual banding of the grey-green centre.

Cleaning Plant Leaves

If you are finding it difficult to find a plant that will brighten up that dark corner, why not try one of these hardy and lovely favourites of mine?

Start Plants Indoors

[bctt tweet=”With house plants, as with all gardening, the key to success is to start small.” username=”@dianescorpion”]It is very easy to get carried away in garden centres, nurseries and on the internet. Try just a couple, to begin with, rather than filling the entire house with plants, and see how you get on with those before slowly expanding and accumulating a collection.

Remember that all of these plants will take time to look after, and take up space. However, getting started with house plants is very easy. If you have the necessary space and funds, gradually establishing a collection is simple.

This website will help you on your way with further articles. It details some of the ways to get hold of suitable plants, what is needed to care for them, (minimal that isn’t already in a kitchen drawer), and a few basic techniques; for example, sowing seeds, potting and repotting plants, and supporting climbers.

Tips for Healthy House Plants

Houseplants bring a little bit of nature indoors; a beautiful touch of green that’s not only soothing, but that softens hard lines and glaring lights in a home or office. They can even improve indoor air quality.

“Houseplants can be a natural way to decorate your home,” says Bayer Advanced™ garden expert Lance Walheim, who is a regular contributor to Sunset magazine and who has authored or contributed to more than 30 books. “They can last for years if you provide the proper care”.

• Match plants with light conditions. Houseplants vary in their light requirements. Some prefer intense light found right next to a south-facing window. Others thrive in the soft morning light of an east-facing window.

Cleaning Plant Leaves

• Use quality potting soil. Good potting soil, (never use regular garden soil in containers), promotes healthy roots by providing a balance of proper aeration, nutrition and moisture-holding capability.

• Water properly. Houseplants need frequent watering. Stick your finger into the top five centimetres of soil. If it is dry, it’s probably time to water. Water thoroughly, so the entire rootball is wet and the excess water runs out the bottom of the pot. Don’t leave standing water in the catch tray for more than a day or two because that can promote root disease.

• Fertilise regularly. The frequent watering required by most houseplants leaches nutrients out of the soil. Be sure to fertilise regularly.

Aquaponics 4 You

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Humidity, Cleaning and Pests

• Increase humidity and avoid drafts. Keep plants away from heater vents, doorways or drafty windows. Increase humidity by setting plants on trays layered with small pebbles and filled with water. Or place them in naturally humid areas like kitchens or bathrooms, (but only if there is adequate light).

• Keep the foliage clean. Dust that accumulates on the leaves of houseplants will block light and harbour insect pests. Clean leaves by wiping them with a moist towel or, in mild winter areas, take plants outdoors and hose them off. See the start of this article for further instructions.

• Control insect pests. Many insect pests, including aphids, whiteflies, mealybugs and scales, can quickly get out of control on houseplants. You can keep them at bay with Bayer Bug Free. It is useful for control of whitefly, greenfly, blackfly, scale insects, spider mite and mealybug. It can be used on ornamental garden plants including houseplants, trees and shrubs. Certified for organic use by the Organic Farmers and Growers. Use pesticides safely and always read the label.

Cleaning Plant Leaves

Thank you for reading my article, and I hope you found some useful advice on cleaning plant leaves, discovered indoor plants which love the dark, and enjoyed my top tips for keeping your house plants healthy. Please leave any comments or questions below, and I will get back to you soon.

Indoor Plants Healthy Living

Indoor Plants Healthy Living

Having a basic understanding of photosynthesis will lead to an appreciation of what plants need to grow and thrive. Having healthy indoor plants leads to a healthy living lifestyle.

Photosynthesis

In case school biology classes seem an awfully long time ago, these are the essential facts. Plants make their own food through a process called photosynthesis. To do this, they need light, water and carbon dioxide.

Limiting any one of these factors can lead to the plant struggling or even dying.

Indoor Plants Healthy Living

Plants photosynthesise using a chemical called chlorophyll, which is what makes plants look green, absorbs sunlight and turns the carbon dioxide and water into glucose (sugar) and oxygen. Some of the glucose is stored as starch, while the rest gets used up as energy for the plant to grow. A plant requires a range of nutrients to create chlorophyll for photosynthesis and other processes within it for healthy growth. Outside, there is plenty of sunlight, carbon dioxide and (with adequate rainfall) water, and the soil can provide the necessary nutrients. Indoors, gardeners need to provide water and nutrients and to position the plant for sufficient light.

Applying the Science

Rule one when caring for any house plant is to put it in the environment in which it has evolved and to which it has adapted. In other words, a cactus that has grown in the arid, sunny climate of a desert will not do well if it is kept in a shady, humid bathroom. Likewise, a Swiss cheese plant adapted to the lower levels of the tropical rainforest will not do well on a bright, and drafty window sill.

Rule two is to try and make sure that the plant is never stressed by lack of water, light or nutrients, as this will weaken it and make it more susceptible to disease and pest infestation. Checking plants daily will take just a few moments, but is far better for the plant than having to take remedial measures every now and then.

Keeping Plants Tidy

When a house plant becomes a little too happy in its situation, some action may be required to keep it from taking over the house. To an extent, not being in its ideal outdoor environment (for example, a dry, cold living room rather than a tropical jungle) will keep a house plant’s size under control. Restricting the roots in a pot and not over-feeding will also help. However, to further control a plant’s size, it can be pruned, either above or below ground.

Root Pruning

Root pruning is simple and best done in spring when the plant is growing well. Remove the plant from the pot. Use a sharp kitchen knife to shave off a couple of centimetres of roots and compost all the way around the root ball, then put it back into the pot with some fresh compost to fill the gaps.

Indoor Plants Healthy Living

Promoting Flowers and a Better Shape

Pruning is also done to make plants more attractive; to encourage a better shape or more flowering. Plants that would naturally grow leggy, single stems, such as geraniums or chrysanthemums, can be pinched out as they grow. This will encourage a bushier shape that bears more flowers. Regularly snip or pinch out the tips of new growth. This method also works well for herbs.

Climbing and Larger Plants

Climbers and trailing plants can have their shoots cut back when they reach the extent of their supports, or start getting in the way. Trimming little and often is better than an infrequent drastic cut back. Likewise, pruning the woody stems of larger plants is better done by cutting back no more than a third at a time.

Indoor Plants Healthy Living

Indoor Plants Healthy Living

The guiding principles should be:

  • Always cut back to just above a bud
  • Refer to the individual plant’s requirements in the Plant Files of this website
  • Learn how to best care for plants through observation of their growing habits in their unique situation
  • Think twice and cut once

General Housekeeping

All house plants will shed old leaves at some point. Remove these and any other detritus, and promptly cut back dead stems to avoid rot setting in, which can spread to the plant, and to retain a healthy, green appearance. Having healthy indoor plants leads to a healthy living lifestyle.

Indoor Plants Healthy Living

Orchids

Different species will suit varied room conditions. They are grown not for their foliage but for their long-lasting displays of beautiful, delicate and intricate flowers. Orchids like high humidity around their leaves, and do not like to sit in wet compost. The best compost option is a free-draining potting mix consisting mainly of bark chips (buy a proprietary orchid compost). Keep the plant in a pot with drainage holes. Its roots will also protrude above the pot but don’t be tempted to tidy them inside because if you do they will rot.

Water thoroughly about once a week, ensuring all excess has drained away, and mist to supplement humidity when required. Feed using a specialist orchid fertiliser once a month, spring and summer. Keep the leaves clean. Prune only to remove dead leaves, flower spikes and roots.

Click here to buy your very own Orchid Apollon! 

Indoor Plants Healthy Living

Moth Orchid (Phalaenopsis)

Give this plant bright but not direct light. Avoid fluctuating temperatures, although flowering can be induced by moving to a cooler room for a month. Produces tall spikes of flowers from flat, almost rectangular rosettes of dark-green waxy leaves. Flowers can last for months, and colours vary between varieties. Prune the spike back to its second joint below the flowers once they’ve finished, and it may produce a secondary spike.

Cymbidium

Similar flowers to the moth orchid but its leaves are tall and strappy. Give this plant bright but not direct light. As flower spikes develop, keep the temperature below 15 degrees centigrade; otherwise, the buds can drop off prematurely.

Vanda

Best grown in an open-weave or slatted basket, out of which their roots can hang, species of Vanda have a flat, fan-shaped rosette of leaves. The flower spike is produced from the top of this rosette. Allow bright but not direct light and relatively humid conditions; supplement by misting the roots daily, more often if very dry, but always allowing to dry them out between watering. Feed by misting with a diluted fertiliser or plunging in a diluted solution for 10 minutes once a week. Having healthy indoor plants leads to a healthy living lifestyle.

Six Easy Tips on How to Care for Your Plants

Many people worry a lot when it comes to caring for their plants. When talking about house plants, there is no need to panic. There are just a few things you need to consider.

Watering

A watering can is a must-have in every home. It is recommended that you purchase one with a narrow spout to ensure adequate watering. However, that does not always apply, so the finger test may come in handy. Insert your index finger up to the first joint into the soil. If you feel that the earth is damp, don’t water it. Otherwise, do.

Indoor Plants Healthy Living

Feeding

With foliage plants, they always need to be high in nitrogen. For flowering plants, on the other hand, K2O is needed. Fertilisers such as the slow release ones can be mixed with the compost. However, some plants such as cacti and orchids need special feeds. Feed plants based on the height of their active growth.

Lighting

Plants such as Sanseveria and Aspidistra require no shade. They can be placed away from a window. Spider plants need semi-shade. You can put plants like these near a window that does or does not get sunlight. Others need the sun or perhaps no sun at all, such as cheese plants.

Temperature, Humidity and Repotting

Temperature

With houseplants, they can survive in temperatures a little bit higher than 15 to 25 degrees centigrade or 55 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit. However, drastic fluctuations in temperature may not be suitable for them.

Humidity

Some houseplants require a humid environment. One tip to maximise humidity is to put the pot inside a larger container and fill in the gaps with stones or compost to keep in the moisture. The compost will not dry out. Plants are capable of creating their own climate if grouped together. This tip can also be used for keeping the soil moist. If you want, you can spray them with water once or twice a day, depending on the temperature.

Indoor Plants Healthy Living

Repotting

Other plants require repotting for optimum growth, but some may not be suitable for this treatment. They would not want their roots to be disturbed, or other plants’ root systems may be too small. One way to check if your plant needs repotting is to turn it upside down. Tap the pot to release the plant and check its roots. If the roots are all you see, then repot.

You just need to have a little care for your plants, and in turn, you’ll reap their benefits. Don’t only have plants that can add to your house’s beauty; you can also learn how to respect and nurture life in its varied forms. Having healthy indoor plants leads to a healthy living lifestyle.

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Indoor Hanging Basket Plants

Hanging Garden Pots

Bathrooms, with their warm, humid atmosphere, make an ideal place to keep a houseplant. It will help to remove some of the moisture in the air. Subsequently, less frequent watering is necessary; a win-win situation! However, there can often be a smaller surface and floor space. The solution is to hang the plants from the walls or ceiling.

Choosing a Container

The 1970s trend for macrame (knotted string) potholders has recently come back into fashion. Still, there are also plenty of other more minimalist designs of hanging pots available. They can all attach to walls or ceilings. Outdoor hanging baskets, when lined sufficiently, are an inexpensive option that can hold several specimens in one container.

Macrame Hanging Garden

What to Plant

Refer to my Plant Files for examples of plants that will thrive in a bathroom’s microclimate – primarily all those that originate from jungle habitats. Avoid any spiky or scratchy plants, for obvious reasons!

Planting

As with standing pots, hanging containers can either receive the plant directly or house a plant that’s in a plastic pot. Take into account the weight of the plant and compost when wet, and avoid using heavy pots. Likewise, make sure that the wires or string and wall or ceiling fittings are up to the job and can take the strain.

Repetition and symmetry always look good, so consider having two identical planters and plants, such as spider plants (Chlorophytum comosum) hanging either side of a window.

A Natural Screen

Use several long trailing plants, such as species of ivy (Hedera) or hearts on a string (Ceropegia woodii), suspended in a line at the same height to create a screen, perhaps in place of a window blind.

A Hanging Forest

Suspend a collection of plants from the ceiling. Hang them close together but at different heights, considering the heights and trailing habits of each plant, to display them to their best advantage.

Hedera helix Goldchild

This colourful evergreen climber will light up a partially shaded corner, even on dull winter days. Olive green, lobed leaves sport broad gold margins which reflect the light beautifully. Hedera helix ‘Goldchild’ is an attractive self-clinging climber, scaling walls and fences without the need for extra support. Perfect for creating a low maintenance, evergreen background for other shrubs and perennials. Height and spread: 3m (118″).

Click here to buy your very own gorgeous Goldchild! 

Hanging Plants Goldchild

Grow ivy in any moist, well-drained garden soil in a sheltered position, in full sun or partial shade. Ivy will perform exceptionally well on alkaline soils, although plants are also tolerant of a wide range of different soil conditions.

Prune your ivy plants to fit the space available. Plants can be trimmed at any time, although spring is the best for renovation pruning before the new growth starts. Caution; irritant to skin and eyes, harmful if eaten.

Maintenance

It is usually easier to leave a hanging plant where it is for watering, but if taking it down, stand the pot on an upturned bucket or put it on the edge of a work surface so that the trailing stems are not broken by being pushed horizontally.

Water thoroughly as usual, but pour on very slowly with plenty of pauses, to allow the water to seep in and avoid potential overflow onto the floor.

Grow Nine-Piece Zinc Planter Set

This 9-piece set of zinc planters is perfect for fulfilling all of your planting needs.

It is suitable for a range of different uses, from planting flowers, herbs and small plants to storage or as a desktop stationery holder.

Click here to buy your own zinc planter set!

Zinc Pots Set

Suitable for indoor or outdoor use, these planters have been designed without drainage holes so that they don’t leak water.

These durable planters are made from galvanised zinc for both durability and strength.

Kokedama and String Gardens

The Japanese art of kokedama (literally meaning “Moss ball”) involves no pots at all. Instead, plants grow from a ball of clay and moss formed around the roots, which can then be placed on a surface or suspended from the ceiling. This technique looks most effective when used on groups of the same plant – a display style called a “string garden”.

What to Plant

Almost any plant can be planted in a kokedama, but some work better than others. For temporary, easy-to-create displays, use flowering bulbs such as snowdrops and species of Muscari. More permanent plantings could be made from most perennials (although avoid those with large, leaves that will wilt quickly) and traditional houseplants. Many string Gardens are made using tree seedlings, which are ideal, as they are slow-growing.

Kokedama from Bulbs

Temporary plantings of bulbs (bare of any soil) need only be wrapped in a good-sized ball of moss and string, then misted thoroughly before hanging.

Method

Take the plant out of its pot and carefully put to one side. Fill the pot with two-thirds peat moss and one-third akadama (a specialist bonsai soil, available online).

Then, tip the mixture into a bowl and mix thoroughly with enough water to stick it together.

Crumble away the potting compost from the plant’s roots, then mould the kokedama mix around the roots, to form a ball.

Wrap the ball tightly in sphagnum moss (available in bags from garden centres and online) so that none of the soil mix is visible.

Use string to wrap the whole thing in a crisscross fashion. If the plant is to be hung up, add another long loop of string, carefully secured to the plant, so that the plant’s stem is at the top of the ball when suspended.

Landscaping Ideas

Maintenance

Check if a kokedama plant needs water by weighing it – the lighter it feels, the less water it contains. To water, take the plant down and submerge in a bucket of water for an hour, remove and let it finish dripping (hang it over the bath or sink) before returning it to its usual spot. A half measure of liquid fertiliser can be added to the water in spring and summer.

Supports and Training

Growing a climbing plant is a great way to fill your house with foliage without taking up a lot of floor space, as it grows from a single pot. They can be trained over archways, around windows, up a stairwell or around a conservatory. Provided they get the light and conditions they need, they can adapt to most situations. If you are looking for advice on the best tall indoor house plants, there are some suggestions below.

Training a Climbing Plant

It is always easier to put in the support system for a climber before the plant reaches the point at which it will need it, rather than trying to fiddle around supporting it after it has started to grow. The easiest way to create a training system is to use strong wires, stretched taught between eyelet screws and attached to a wall, staircase or the wooden trim of a conservatory.

If the plant is naturally twining, it will wind itself around the wire, and little intervention will be needed other than to tuck in a wayward stem here and there. Others will need regular tying in. How often you will need to do so depends on the plant, but, in general, ties should be placed at intervals so that the stem is not bowing significantly below the wire.

Use soft horticultural twine to tie in the stems using a figure-of-eight tie. Loop the twine around the stem, cross over the ends and loop around the wire, always tying off against the wire rather than the stem. Avoid tying the twine too tight; you should allow a little space for the stem to grow in thickness. Check ties regularly and replace them as necessary.

Once a climbing plant reaches the end of the support system (eg it has grown all the way over an archway or doorway), the growing tips will need regular pruning to stop it growing any further.

Indoor Trellis

Less vigorous climbers can also be trained over a trellis, obelisk or other wire structure that is secured within their pot. Try wiring two hanging baskets together and placing them in the top of a large pot. Train the plant (ivy, perhaps) around the structure to create a dome shape.

Supports for Tall Plants

Many tall palms and other plants will happily grow up without the need for supports, but others will need something to lean on. A bamboo cane is the cheapest and easiest option, and some plants will come supplied with a mossy pole in the pot (such as Monstera deliciosa, Swiss cheese plant), into which the plant can root and thereby pull itself up.

Alternatively, a small metal or wooden obelisk could be put in the pot for the plant to grow up and through.

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