Accessories for Growing House Plants

Like a space traveler, a houseplant lives in a hostile environment. Just like an astronaut, a houseplant completely depends on artificial means to sustain its life. If you want to give your houseplant the best care, then you must use the accoutrements of container gardening to their fullest.

Flowerpots

A flowerpot is any container used to hold potting soil so that a plant can grow. Flowerpots may range from terra-cotta containers to old shoes with holes in the toe. A flowerpot's style plays a factor in the frequency and quality of care and attention that you must give a plant. Clay flowerpots are porous and allow air flow to penetrate into the soil, which causes your plants to need more frequent watering. Plastic containers do not breathe, so the soil will not dry out as quickly.

Watering Can

A watering can is a container built to hold water. Most watering cans have a spout at one end and a handle at the other. A watering can may also have a screen at the end of the spout to break up the flow of water and prevent plants from being injured by the water pressure. Traditional cans are made of metal, while modern cans may be made of plastic or rubber.

Potting Soil

Despite the name, potting soil is not soil at all. Soil is filled with microbes that can harm a plant in a closed environment such as a flowerpot. Instead, potting soil is made up of a blend of ingredients that do not have these microbes in them. These ingredients include loam, aggregates such as sand, perlite or vermiculite, and a fertilizer. The quantities of each component in the potting soil change depending on what type of plant for which the potting soil is formulated. Plants from dry, arid regions should be planted in soil with more aggregates like sand. These soils will drain more freely. Plants from moist, humid environments should be planted in loamy soil that retains water.

Fertilizer

Although potting soil has some fertilizer in it, the plants that are placed in the soil will use up the fertilizer. Plants should be given supplemental fertilizer to stay healthy. All fertilizer is composed of a blend of three nutrients, including nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium. A balanced fertilizer such as a 10-10-10 fertilizer blend is suitable for most houseplants. This fertilizer may be administered as a liquid mixed in with the plant's water, as granules sprinkled over the soil or as a spike placed into the soil around the margins of the plant's root zone.

Keywords: growing houseplants, indoor gardens, gardening in containers

About this Author

Tracy S. Morris has been a freelance writer since 2000. She has published two novels and numerous online articles. Her work has appeared in national magazines and newspapers, including "Ferrets," "CatFancy," "Lexington Herald Leader" and "The Tulsa World."