You don’t need to actually own a garden in order to enjoy the joy of gardening. In fact, you can turn any home or living space into your own indoor garden.
In case you don’t have a suitable place at home you can put your plants in a grow tent instead.
Growing plants indoors became popular back in the Victorian times when the aristocracy began flaunting their exotic lifestyles with beautiful plants and flowers like hibiscus, palms, and abutilons.
In the 1970s there was another boom in the indoor plant growing, but in those years, plants like spider plants, ferns, Swedish ivy, and other foliage plants gained popularity.
Today, more people are looking for ways to bring nature into their homes, which is why there is such a wide selection of house plants available in the retail greenhouses. Some of the most popular flowers and plants which indoor gardeners are bringing into their homes include orchids, begonias, gardenias, pentas, geraniums, and others.
You can easily create your own beautiful garden at home by following some general rules and guidelines to keep your plants healthy and thriving, as well as to keep you motivated and frustration free.
Plants have a lifespan as we do
Keep in mind that plants are living things and as such, they do have a certain lifespan. True, there are some plants in nature which can outlive any human being, but chances are if you are growing your own plant at home that it will live, thrive and at some point die.
So, if you find that one of your houseplants is struggling and nothing seems to be able to save it, maybe it is time to let go, and get a new one instead. Keeping unhealthy, old and tired plants at home is not only unsightly but can also attract insects.
Some flowers which are usually presented as gifts, such as cyclamen, azaleas, poinsettias, cineraria or chrysanthemums are really beautiful but they need to be discarded after they stop flowering, in most cases. Of course, with proper care and attention, you may be able to keep these flowers until they bloom again, but this could be a difficult task, especially for beginners.
Choose the right type of soil
If you really want the best for your indoor plants, you should pair the soil you use with each plant type. For example, for succulents or cacti, you may want to get a coarser and drained soil which is mixed with a third of sand.
As for ferns or African violets, you should opt for a soil mix with a larger percent of humus from bark, compost or leaf mold.
If orchids are the flowers of your choice, you should use sphagnum moss or fir bark.
If you are not sure about the type of soil to pick for a particular plant, make sure to read the label of the plant or ask the staff from your local greenhouse for advice.
Many people prefer using a soilless mix including perlite, vermiculite and peat moss for indoor plants because it is more sanitary and does not attract pests or insects. This type of potting mixture though requires a consistent supply of nutrients and fertilizer for your plants.
Climatic conditions, watering, and nutrients
These three factors are equally important for your beautiful indoor garden, so you need to ensure that they are all right and properly balanced if you want your plants to grow healthily and thrive for long.
In nature, plants are usually accommodated to fluctuations in the temperature of at least 10 degrees from daytime to nighttime. So, if you can ensure this type of fluctuation at home, this will create the perfect environment for your houseplants.
Also, plants do rest during the winter, which is why you should cut down the fertilizer and water in the coldest months and when the light is at its lowest. When the spring comes, you can “wake” your flowers up by starting to feed them with fertilizers and nutrients and watering them more often.
The humidity level
Most plants thrive well in conditions where the humidity is 50% or higher, even though they can survive at lower humidity levels of 30-40% too.
In the winter, the humidity levels indoors can fall to 10-20% which is why you should ensure more moisture for your houseplants by misting them or by using a cool vapor humidifier. A humidifier will not only help keep your plants alive and healthy but will help you breathe easier and stay fit as well.
You can also bunch your plants closer together during the winter so that they humidify each other when releasing moisture from the evaporation which occurs after watering them.
Most novice indoor gardeners tend to overwater their plants, which is one of the main reasons for plants dying on them. Resist the urge to follow a strict schedule for watering your home garden. Instead, check the soil by looking at it or by inserting your finger in it to see if it is dry, damp or soaked. Water your plants when it is dry, and abstain from watering them if the soil happens to feel and look soaked.
When you water your plants, ensure that you do so until some water starts leaking from the drainage holes on the bottom. This means that the water has reached the bottom parts of the roots, and will help prevent the development of a shallow root system which results in a weak plant.
Avoid using chemically softened water and if your water is too hard – demineralize it in order to keep your plants healthy and alive.
Water the houseplants before the sun rises high, in order to avoid the water from evaporating before reaching the roots when the sunlight is too bright.
Do not overdo it with the fertilization of your indoor plants. Always follow the instructions on the package, and make sure you water the plants before applying fertilizer. Periodically, flush out the soil with clean water in order to prevent the build-up of salts from the fertilizers.
Provide sufficient lighting
Different plants have different light needs. Most edible plants and others prefer at least 12 hours of direct sunlight, while some plants will grow well in spots with diffused or low light.
It is advisable to read the labels on your plants or to ask the greenhouse staff about the lighting requirements of each plant in order to find the perfect spot for it in your home.
Most flowering plants and foliage plants love the direct sunlight and should be placed at least 3ft. from a south facing sunny window. For plants which prefer indirect bright light, the best location is at 3-5 ft. from a south-facing window or at up to 3 ft. from a north facing one.
As for the house plants which thrive well in diffused lighting, you can place them close to a north-facing window or further away (6-8 ft.) from a south facing one.
Remember to move your plants closer to the light source in the winter when the sunlight is not as strong and bright.
In order to keep your flowers and plants blooming all year around, you may want to consider using some specialized supplemental lighting too.
So, as you can see it doesn’t take too much to enjoy the beauty of your own indoor garden. All you need is some time, consistency and quite a lot of love to keep your plants and flowers alive, well and gorgeous looking!