Dazzling blooms to bring indoors
image by Linda Batey
The basics of growing indoor plants are similar, no matter what the plant is. Virtually any outdoor plant can be grown indoors with the right light, water, soil and food. Once you know what each individual plant's needs are, you can enjoy lovely plants throughout your home or office and enjoy them even when it is blustery and freezing outdoors. With a bit of information and some patience, you can begin your own indoor greenery or blossoms.
Do some research on the plants that you wish to grow inside, and you'll save yourself a lot of heartache over dead houseplants. For each plant, write on a three-by-five card whether the plant prefers full sun, partial sun or shade, what the plant prefers for watering conditions, and how often and how much to fertilize each plant. Place a number at the top of the card for later identification.
Place your plants in a pot that's large enough to give them room for root growth. If there is one place where you shouldn't count pennies, it is on soil. Good soil retains moisture and has the nutrients houseplants need for optimum growth.
Place soil into the pot and then place the plant in the pot. Add soil around the plant and tamp in lightly so that the roots have good contact with the soil. Build the soil up around the sides to the same level as it previously had, either in the pot it came in or in the ground outside.
Place a sticker on the side of the pot with the number of the plant information card for easy reference.
Place your plant in the appropriate light. This is the most important part of indoor growing. A plant that likes shade or diffused light will wilt and die in direct sun, and a plant that likes full sun will die a slow death in diffused light or shade. Generally, plants purchased from a greenhouse or other grower will have a plastic tag that tells you the plant's preference. You may want to attach the tag to your plant information card with a paper clip.
Water the plant as soon as you transplant it, but don't over-water. The water should come out of the bottom of the plant pot but not fill the reservoir. The second-most important part of indoor growing is giving the plant the correct amount of water -- and no more. Over-watering forces the plant to have "wet feet" all the time and will eventually kill the plant.
Stick your finger into the soil about an inch to feel the soil's level of dryness before watering. If you're in doubt, err on the side of letting the plant be a little dry, as opposed to too wet.
Fertilize the plant and write the date on your information card. Make a note on your calender when it should be repeated. Plants that blossom need a slightly different fertilizer, and the package will be marked "for blooming plants."