Healthy House Plants – Healthy Soil
For the best house plants you should have the best possible soil for them. This may sound like a big order, but actually it isn’t. Today most home owners buy bagged soil and assume it is good. A potting mixture suitable for most house plants is a combination of loam, sand, peat moss and/or leaf mould. Loam is the name given to a soil which contains clay, sand, silt and humus. It varies from a sand loam to a clay loam, depending on the relative amounts of these two ingredients present. A medium loam is preferred, which may be obtained from arable land such as a cornfield or vegetable garden.
To do a really bang-up job in preparing soil for house plants the loam should consist of turfs cut from a rich pasture. But because the turfs should be cut in the spring and stacked for about six months prior to using the mixture and because many readers will have difficulty in obtaining it, we will forget the ideal loam for the time being. Leaf-mould, too, might present some difficulties because it takes about a year for tree leaves to decay.
The remaining ingredients are not ordinarily difficult to obtain. Horticultural peat moss can be bought from almost any garden centre or garden store. The sand should be coarse with particles ranging from 1/8 to 1/16 inch. Get it from a firm dealing in builders’ materials. If the loam is deficient in humus buy packaged humus to mix with it. This can be stored in your potting shed or the back of your summerhouse as needed.
For cuttings, seeds and seedlings, a “lean” mixture is required. Use equal parts of loam, sand and peat moss in accordance with the character of the loam. If it is sandy use less sand; if clay predominates increase the amount of sand. The mixture should be thoroughly mixed and then tested for acidity. For most house plants the reaction should be pH 6 to 6.5; for acid-soil plants, pH 4.5 to 5.5. If the soil reaction is too acid correct it by adding 16 to 1 ounce of pulverised limestone to each bushel. Just in case there is not enough phosphorous in the soil, mix 1-1/2 ounces of super phosphate in each bushel.
For mature plants use a “fatter” mixture such as 6 to 8 parts loam, 3 parts peat moss, 2 of sand by bulk; plus 4 ounces of a complete fertiliser with an analysis of about 5-10-5, and 1 ounce of calcium carbonate (pulverized limestone) to each bushel. Double the amount of peat moss for azaleas and Camellias.
For plants like begonia and saintpaulia (African-violet), which revel in soil containing ample organic matter and which do not demand acid soil, it is desirable to add an additional part of leaf mould or humus.
Peat moss, vermiculite (expanded mica, available under various trade names), and sand are primarily soil conditioners. They are usually sterile in the sense that they are free from injurious organisms; hence there is no need to sterilise them. They are also sterile in that they are lacking in plant nutrients, except for peat moss, in which, however, they are in short supply and not immediately available.
It is best to sterilise (actually it is to pasteurise) the loam – also the leaf-mould, separately, if it is used. The simplest way of doing this is to put 1 inch of water in a saucepan, bring it to a boil, put in the loam dry, cover and let simmer for a half hour. The odour of cooking soil is not pleasant so to avoid domestic trouble I would advise doing it outdoors.
The flower pots (clay or glazed – not plastic) should also be sterilised together with the drainage material (potsherds or fine gravel). Plastic pots can be washed when you do the dishes. Care should be taken to prevent contamination by storing the pasteurised soil in a container such as a new rubbish bin with a tight fitting lid.
It is possible to grow house plants without using soil by putting the plants in water; or by using a sterile medium such as flowerpot chips, coarse sand, vermiculite or sphagnum moss and watering with a nutrient solution.
Flowerpot chips can be made by breaking cracked or broken porous clay pots into pieces Va inch or smaller. If you do not have a supply of suitable pots, a soft porous brick can be broken up in the same way and used instead.
Many house plants are able to get along for months, or years even, in tap water. Included in this group of house plants are English ivy, Chinese evergreen, saintpaulia, red sister cordyline and airplane-plant.
The soil-less methods are for those who have difficulty in obtaining soil and also for the adventurous who are willing to take a chance. If you do not like to putter around, it is easy to buy packaged soils, sterilised and mixed ready for use. These can be quite good, or worthless, depending on the ethics of those who mix and package them.
Transformed Garden Plants Become Indoor Plants
Autumn is a good time, before frost, to pot up a few chosen plants for continued bloom in the house long after freezing weather has brought an end to the garden season. Ageratum, lobelia, sweet alyssum, dwarf marigolds, and petunias or almost any annual having good, clean, compact foliage and sturdy stems with a promising crop of buds and young blooms can be potted and used for a house plant.
Specimens that had a late start in the garden and now are coming into maturity are good prospects. Use shallow pots from your garden shed that are just large enough to hold most of the root system. Do the potting only when the soil is quite moist so that the earth will hold the roots in a compact ball.
Very little soil other than that which is dug with the plant will be needed. but if additional earth is used it should be a screened, sandy loam. Before potting. be sure to put a few small pieces of broken pottery in the bottom of the pot for drainage and add a thin layer of sphagnum moss on top to prevent earth from getting through the drainage hole.
Water right after potting and place the plants out of direct sun for a few days until they are adjusted to the pot, then bring them indoors. If kept in a cool but bright place in the house, the browallias will bloom throughout the entire winter; ageratum and others will remain in good condition for many weeks.
The harvesting of the tender garden bulbs and tubers such as gladiolus, dahlias, cannas, tuberous begonias, Peruvian daffodils, tuberoses and others will occupy the gardener’s time and attention after light frost nips their tops, but before hard frosts kill the foliage.
All of these bulbs should be dug with great care just like caring for spathoglottis so that they will not be cut or injured by the spade or fork. The tops of glads, dahlias and cannas should be cut off close to the ground before these plants are dug; the tops of the others should be kept intact to allow the food which is in the leaves and stems to be transported and stored in the bulbs and tubers. Additional comments regarding curing and care of all the tender tubers and bulbs will be discussed next month.
October is an ideal time to construct new garden beds that will be stocked with plants next spring. If the new flower bed is to be planted with annuals, the soil (a good loam topsoil) should be at least 12 inches deep. Eighteen to 24 inches is desirable for perennials. Also, when preparing these new beds, work a good layer of barnyard manure into the soil to increase the organic content and fertility.
October is a good time to be gardening and a good time to enjoy these last blooms of the season.
Deciding What Plants to Use in Your Garden Space
There are many routes you can take in order to make a quality garden. No matter what, it is necessary that you implement some level of planning in your garden.
The reason you need to plan is because you cannot just plant any vegetable. You need to analyze the area you are planting in to determine if your crops can thrive there. Thankfully, there are tons of plants out there, so no matter what kind of environment you have, you will have a lot of options.
Croton Manny, Croton Petra, and other plants from the same genus comprise part of the category of greenhouse plants. The defining aspect of these plants is their need for filtered light, which enables them to grow to their full potential.
Indoor growers will find ferns to be a preferable type of plant. Names of plants in this category include Southern Maidenhair and Spleenwort (I think they sound a bit weird).
Next are the regular vegetables and fruits. This includes celery, lettuce, peas, and squash, as well as pumpkins and a variety of peppers.
Advantages of having all these crops includes the soothing fragrance of the flowers and vegetables, as well as the fresh air that comes with being outdoors. In order to create such a garden, you need seeds, water, light, and fertilisers.
In order to effectively tend a garden, you have to be careful with all your plants. In addition to regular tasks, you must also do activities such as trimming in order to keep the appearance of your plants at its peak.
If you need further help in deciding what to grow or need help on growing related tasks, you can consult many resources. First and foremost, you must start off by reviewing the plants you want to grow most, because there is a very good chance you will be able to.
Proper Watering To Your Plants
As has been mentioned before, you will want to select house plants that fit the environment and not the other way around. The temperature range in your home is very important to whether or not your plants will flourish. Plants also need “fresh air”, and exposure to gases, smoke and dust can damage your plants. Over time, air pollutants can be very harmful to your plants.
Remember to water all your potted plants from above the pot. The only exception to this concept is an African Violet plant, because exposing the leaves to water can be very damaging. It is hard to give them a proper watering without splashing them.
In other cases, watering from the top is the best way to be successful. Be sure that your potted plant is never filled with dirt higher than an inch from the top of the pot.
The best way to ensure a proper soaking of a plant, is to fill it to the brim and to allow the water to soak down to the roots until the extra water flows out of the drain holes at the bottom of the pot.
For plants that prefer being watered from the bottom, the process is just the reverse. You pour the water into the drainage pan at the bottom of the pot. You allow it to soak up through the dirt and then the soil on top will be damp to the touch. Once this is accomplished, you can rest assured your plant is properly wet.
Never allow water to stand in the drainage dish, this will cause the cause damage to the roots. Be especially careful to avoid this with any plants housed in a jardiniere. After a period of an hour, lift the pot from the drainage dish and check to make sure there is no extra water left over.
There is another method you can use when watering, it is called wick watering. This is a relatively newer system that uses a thick braided wick, to provide even watering all the way to the roots. You can even buy pots for plants that are designed strictly for this purpose at your local gardening store. The pot is on a covered saucer, on which the pots is placed, and then filled with water. The wick extends from the saucer through to the drainage hole at the bottom of the pot. As soil gets drier, water is gradually absorbed through the wick and distributed through the soil
Proper temperature is also very important, you want to keep your plants exposed to room temperatures or slight warmer. Do not water plants with cold water, because this can cause them to blight. If your tap water is “hard”, it is a good idea to install a water softener to rectify the situation.
Selection and Care of Indoor and Outdoor Plants
Selecting a plant to fit the environment you plan to put it in is the most important of steps towards having beautiful, healthy plants, flowers and vegetables. Make sure the plant you choose fits the environment it will live in. Temperature ranges, pollutants in the air, and ease of care issues are all things that must be considered.
A house plant is subjected to “dirtier” air relative to the fresh air outside. However, this is compensated by the steady temperature and better care it receives versus what it would likely get out of doors. This means that plants that are not normally native to the area can be grown indoors-tropicals, seasonals, etc.
Air flow is important to the health and survival of most indoor plants. In the summer, this is an easy task-just open the windows for a while and let the air circulate. In winter, this is more of a challenge. The easiest way to accomplish this in winter time is to open a window well away from the plants (to avoid a draught) and let the daytime air circulate a little. Keeping plants out of cold draughts is a must, as even the shortest-duration, cold breeze can mean death to a tropical plant.
Watering plants is another concern that requires some attention. Knowing how much water your plant needs and how well its container drains are paramount to success here. Humidity, heat, pot size, plant type, soil type, and more all contribute to how often you should water a plant. Some will require water daily, some weekly, some hardly at all.
Obviously, in a hot and dry room, plants will need much more water than they will in a humid, cooler room. So plants in the living room might need water more often than plants in the bathroom. Plants such as cacti or needled leaved plants will need much less water than plants with broad leaves or ferns.
Over watering is just as dangerous as under watering and if you have a choice between the two, under watering is best. Learning to give the proper amount of water is the solution you should aim for, obviously, so learn how your plant thirsts, how its pot drains, etc. and get the timing right.
You’ll learn when to water your house plants over time, as you observe and learn their needs. When raising indoor plants as well as outdoor plants, it’s not difficult once you get in the habit of watching and monitoring the watering and its effects. Soaking the plant and then leaving it without water for a time is better than constant watering-for both you and the plant.
Having plants is a little work, but pays off well in the beauty and healthy living it provides to you and your home. Enjoy your plants and make your life more beautiful!
Ways How To Fertilise Indoor Plant
Fertilisers and plant food both do the same thing for your houseplants. Plant food is simply a more concentrated way of adding nutrients to the soil than manure or other fertilizers. Feeding your plants is necessary, but there are several ways to accomplish this.
Like other living things, house plants need food in other to grow and survive. Plants get their food from the air, in the form of gasses that enter the plant through the leaves. The most important of these is carbon dioxide. Plants also get their nutrients from the soil, in soluble minerals that are absorbed to the roots along with water. While you cannot change the gas content in the air, you can add nutrients to the soil.
Even if you start with good potting soil, eventually your plants will need plant food to supplement the minerals in the soil. Outdoors, the soil is replenished every year by decaying plants and natural fertilisers that add nutrients to the soil; indoors, your soil is isolated from these events, and it will need to be replenished by you. Use plant foods or fertiliser to increase the nutrient content of the soil, and your plants will thank you by thriving in your home. Many beginning gardeners do not understand the importance of fertiliser, and their plants will not thrive because of this oversight. Fertilising your plants is very simple and you will be rewarded with beautiful plants.
Fertilisers and plant foods will replace mineral nutrients that the plant has drawn out of the soil. While all types of soil have hundreds of different minerals, your plants mainly need nitrogen, phosphoric acid, and potash. These three ingredients are found in animal manure and commercial plant foods. They are more concentrated in plant foods, because these have been specially formulated to replace these minerals.
Manure, including that of cows, sheep, and chickens, has been used for centuries to help plants grow. However, it can be difficult to use indoors on your house plants. It is bulky, hard to store, and of course has a smell that you probably don’t want in your home. It is also difficult to use in small doses on your houseplants, because it is not as concentrated as commercial plant food. If you use manure on your houseplants, you’ll need large quantities, which you must work into the soil by hand.
Many home and house plant gardeners use liquid manure as fertiliser instead. Steep a bag of cow manure in water, which will dissolve the mineral nutrients. Then, this strong water solution can be diluted to feed to your plants. However, you’ll still need the space to store it such as your shed, and it can take some time to make this solution. If you don’t have space or time, choose a commercially prepared plant food for your houseplants. It is very concentrated, making it easy to store. Plus, it can be used in small quantities, perfect for feeding a small group of indoor plants
Different kinds Of Plants Categorised
Different kinds of plants are categorised in many ways. One specific method classifies plants depending on how they are used. These uses include food, medicine, industry, or simple decoration.
Category number one is plant you can eat. These are plants that are cultivated by agriculturalists from farm crops, both commercial and privatised. These edible plants are the majority of what farms turn out. Most of the edible plants we are discussing are vegetables or fruits, but there are also many others that qualify as plants that can be eaten. Some of these are herbs, seasonings, nuts, and legumes. Nuts are nothing more than dried and hardened fruit seeds. Herbs, whether fresh or dehydrated, are just flavorful plant life. Seasonings are simply different fruits or scraps of bark that have been dehydrated for market. Some beverages, like coffee and teas, are also procured from edible plants.
Plants used for medicine is our second category. This category includes all plants that have medicinal benefits, many of which are cultivated specifically for use in prescription drugs. Medicinal plants only count in this category if they do not need to be modified chemically. Opium is one such plant, and it is used in several pain relief drugs. Codeine and morphine are two good examples. Opiate drugs are manufactured with poppy sap after it has been refined and dehydrated.
Some plants that are medically beneficial do not require any processing whatsoever. For example, witch hazel is a wonderfully effective anti-itching agent when massaged into the skin. It can be a great help for those with chronic dry skin or anyone suffering from insect bites. The yarrow plant will help the body ward off poisoning. Many plants are used as antibiotics, including garlic, which can help cure infections. Peppermint and dandelion are often employed to aid problematic digestion.
Other plants that have medicinal properties are eaten or used raw. Witch hazel can be rubbed on the skin and is helpful with itching that accompanies bug bites and skin dryness. Yarrow is a type of plant eaten to relieve poisoning. Garlic is an antibiotic and can stop infection, while dandelion and peppermint are used to treat digestive problems.
Plants used in industry are very common, as well, and as such are our third category. Some plants produce usable oil, such as the oil palm. Other plants produce fibres that can be used for clothing and other materials, such as hemp and flax.
Our last category is the decorative plant category. If you live in or travel to the suburbs regularly, you will see that it is very fashionable! Many suburban homes will have extravagant, multi-colored gardens displaying many plants from this category, as they have no use besides their aesthetic appeal. Ivies, poinsettias, tulips, a number of trees, and many types of shrubbery all fit into the decorative definition. They look very nice alongside your summer house
Placing plants into usage categories can be a practical manner if defining different kinds of plants. People should always remember how many uses these various plants give us, and how much our lives would be inconvenienced if they did not exist. This is a prime motivation to defend these plants natural habitats!