Selasa, November 11, 2008

Creating Indoor Gardens

Indoor gardening can be tricky and there is definitely an art to doing it right. There are five important factors to consider when starting your own indoor garden; light, temperature, water, nutrition, and soil.

Light is the main source of energy to manufacture food and different plants need differing amounts, which are designated as low, medium, high or very high light.

Most varieties of indoor plants do well under normal household temperatures in the range of 70 to 80 degrees during the day and 60 to 65 degrees at night. Most tropical indoor plants will tolerate temperatures below that and can be damaged by ‘chilling injury’ if they are.

One of the most common problems is improper watering. Some plants thrive in drier conditions while other must be kept moist at all times. Too little water can cause wilting and too much water can cause root rot problems.

Don’t let the surface of the soil be your guide. Be sure to feel the soil by pushing your finger in an inch or so below the soil’s surface to determine whether or not more water is needed. Another option is investing in a ‘watering meter,’ which can give you an easy and accurate indication of when your plants need watering.
Tap water is completely satisfactory for most indoor plants and once a month, plants should be put in the sink and watered thoroughly to leach salts from the soil.

Most nurseries sell a variety of soil mixes for indoor gardening and as long as they have good drainage abilities, are aerated and have good water and nutrient holding capacity, they will be very satisfactory. It is not necessary to use specialty mixes for most types of houseplants.

Most houseplants have reduced fertilizer requirements because of their indoor environment and nutritional problems usually result from overfertilization rather than lack of nourishment. In some cases, specialty fertilizers are needed, but they are the exception.

There are literally hundreds of plant species to choose from that are suitable for your indoor garden. Here is a list of some of the most common varieties.
African Violet - among the most popular of flowering indoor plants and are available in multiple colours.

Aglaonema - compact, low-growing and hardy. A tough plant well suited for the indoors.

Begonia - an excellent indoor plant if there is adequate light.

Cast-iron Plant - often overlooked but a very hardy plant that will persist under difficult conditions.

Coleus - commonly grown outdoors in summer for its colourful foliage. It is a good indoor plant if adequate light is provided.

Dracaena - common varieties include solid green or striped foliage. All are dependable plants, especially where height is needed.

Fern - some types suffer from low humidity indoors so they make a good kitchen or bathroom plant.

Ficus - tolerant of a wide range of environmental conditions but sometimes reacts to rapid changes in environment by almost total defoliation.

Geranium - popular outdoor plants as well as good indoor plants that will flower continuously if they are given adequate light.

Jade Plant - very susceptible to overwatering and resultant leaf drop.

Palm - not the easiest of indoor plants to grow, but popular because of their height and graceful character.

Peperomia - most are small compact plants, but leaf size, shape, texture, and coloration vary widely. Peperomias are easily overwatered.

Philodendron - there are numerous species and varieties cultivated, and they differ widely in growth habit, leaf size, and height.

Pothos - one of the easiest of indoor plants to grow, well adapted to hanging baskets.

Snake Plant - one of the easiest indoor plants to grow.

Spathiphyllum - one of the most satisfactory plants for low light situations.

Spider Plant - very easy to grow and is very adaptable for hanging baskets. All are susceptible to fluoride tip-burn from tap water so be careful.

Wandering Jew - fast growing, trailing plants. Many have variegated leaves. The underside of some are also brightly purple colored.

Wax Plant - some varieties are vigorous vines which climb by means of twining. Many have highly variegated foliage, which is sometimes deeply curled or crinkled.

Yucca - grow upright and stiff and may become somewhat grotesque in appearance with age. The plant is often confused with Dracaena, but require much higher light intensities.

Written By: Ann Zaza
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