Monday, March 8, 2010

Why not bring the outside in?

I was asked to do an article on Houseplants. No Problem! I actually did a lecture on houseplants a couple of months ago and produced a handout. It looked something like this:
How to Care for your

This leaflet is designed to familiarize you with the basic aspects of Houseplant care rather then attempting to acquaint you with specific cultural requirements of the more than 250 commonly grown plants known as houseplants. They help us stay in touch with nature and, in a sense, "bring the outside indoors."

Select only plants which appear to be insect and disease free. Avoid plants which have yellow leaves, brown leaf margins, wilted leaves, spots or blotches and spindly growth. Choose plants that really appeal to you. If you don't like the plant, you won't want to take care of it.

LIGHT: Light is probably the most essential factor for house plant growth. Light levels are classified in four categories: Low, Medium, High and Very High. Few homes have areas with sufficient light levels to grow plants that require Very High Light, so we will concentrate on the other three. High light plants can usually be grown well near windows or glass doors with western or southern exposures. Your Medium and Low Light plants are your best bet for Houseplants. These guys will do well in just about any window in your house.

WATER: Over and Under watering are the two biggest problems of houseplants. The general rule of thumb is: Stick your finger into the soil up to between the first and second knuckle. If moist, don't water, if dry, water. Make sure to give your plants a good drink. Water should be running out of the bottom of the pot.

FERTILIZERS: Use a good household plant food, there are many on the market. Follow the directions on the box. Again, a good rule of thumb is every two months from March until September. Growth slows during Fall and Winter and feeding is not needed.

CONTAINERS AND SOIL: Almost any type of container can be used for your plant. Just make sure your plant fits in it and the plant is not too top heavy so that it falls over. The most important thing to remember is that it have good drainage. Holes punched in the bottom will accomplish this. If you have a very pretty pot you want to display your plant in, but don't want to punch holes in it, no problem. Put your plant in a pot that is a little smaller than your pretty pot. Just remember to empty any water that accumulates in the bottom before returning your plant to the window sill.
Any kind of commercial potting soil will work. Again, you can buy all different kinds at the store. Do not use soil from your garden however. It will turn very hard and has the possibility of introducing weed seeds and insects into your home.

I hope this answered your questions. If there is something more specific you needed info on, please let me know.
Happy Growing!

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