Don’t have a green thumb? No problem. Remember that the plants are on your side. They want to grow and can usually endure an owner who is a little underprepared for the task. Fortunately, indoor gardening doesn’t have to be a tricky business and you don’t have to go it alone. These next 5 top tips are suitable for beginners who are starting a new hobby and for pros who want to add a few more tools to their belt.
Tip #1: Location, Location, Location
This mantra not only applies to the value of your house, but also to the geographical placement of your plants. In the worst case scenario, the wrong choice can stunt growth and even kill off your crop. So it’s important to research the requirements of each variety to avoid any neglect.
The limited availability of sunlight in most homes means that it’s rather tricky to grow plants that prefer to get their UV directly. Instead choose plants that thrive on indirect light. For example a ZZ plant (Zanzibar Gem) will feel content with minimal sunlight, and is just as happy with fluorescent light too, such as in an office.
If you do happen to have a south-facing room with plenty of windows then you will certainly have plenty of light. Plants such as Aloe Vera love these conditions as they have evolved in arid climates. This has the added benefit that they also don’t need much water. Very helpful for beginners or busy people!
Tip #2: Take the Temperature
All living organisms have their preference in terms of temperature. And while some plants are hardier than others, outdoor temperatures can easily kill off the best of them, depending on the season.
Indoor environments, on the other hand, are a lot easier to control. If you have heating or air-conditioning, it’s likely you already have the perfect precursors for plants to thrive. For most plants, temperatures around 70°F -75°F provide the best results. It is by no means the be-all and end-all if your room doesn’t always achieve this. Your plants will still grow fine.
Do take care though to keep your plants away from troublesome spots, such as directly next to a heater, or a drafty window in winter. For even more diligence, a trusty thermometer could reveal the sweet spots that your space has to offer.
Tip #3: Use the Correct Growing Medium
Growing medium is a fancy term for soil or soil alternatives. Outdoor plants have been traditionally grown in good old dirt. However, indoor plants are the new kids on the block and don’t have to conform to the ways of the past. There are many modern tools for the job including hydroponics (plants suspended in water) and aeroponics (plants suspended in the air). They are relatively easy to set up and require zero soil. Meaning that you can achieve a very clean and efficient set up.
If this sounds like too much work for you, then regular old potting soil is perfect. Compared to naturally occurring outdoor mediums, potting soil is less condensed and absorbs more water making it suitable for the more sensitive plants of the indoor variety. The downside is that potting soil retains less water due to a lower nutrient content. This is easily reversed with careful watering and periodical fertilizing, which can be anywhere from every 2 weeks to 2 months depending on the plant.
Tip #4: Water is the Lubricant For Life
But don’t over do it. The two biggest mistakes that every rookie can make is providing too much or too little of nature’s sweet nectar. While every plant is different, as a general rule, your lovely leafy dependents need to be watered once a week. In hotter locations this can be more frequent and plants accustomed to arid environments can forego a drink or too if needs must.
My best advice is to choose a selection of plants that suit your personality. If you are often away from home, then plants such as a Cacti will forgive you. If you are a natural born and excessive care-giver then the Zebra plant will take everything you’ve got.
Tip #5: The Planter is Your Limit
As a beginner gardener, your potential extends well beyond what you can foresee. What will your skills be like in 2 years, 5 years or even 10 years? The same goes for the growth of your plants. Planter size matters. You don’t want to stifle growth so choose a container that is 2 – 4 inches larger in diameter than your plant or its root mass.
Planters generally come in sizes from 10 – 18 inches for house plants and 10 inches is perfect for succulents such as Jade pants. Above that, from 24 – 30 inches, these planters are useful for small trees with large root systems and can even accommodate apple trees.
So that wraps up our indoor gardening for beginners cheat sheet. The next step is also crucial. Get out there and buy your plant! Of course, where there is a plant, there is a planter. Look through our catalogue to really get your juices going. There is a planter for any style for any space you can imagine.