Bring in the Garden
It’s that time of year. Careful indoor care can mean a more brilliant garden next year—or a brilliant start to a new one.
(page 2 of 4)
Castorani recommends selecting plants that require medium to low light. Consider ferns, palms, crotons, dracaenas, sansevierias, bromeliads, philodendrons and succulents. Herbs are lovely and fragrant, most notably basil, rosemary, parsley and oregano.
Windows that face south or west are positioned best to offer plants eight to 10 hours of sunlight daily.
If you’re low on natural light, use florescent lights, which emit little heat and won’t dry out plants. Full-spectrum grow lights are better, since they bathe plants in certain wavelengths of the electromagnetic spectrum that plants use naturally during photosynthesis. Plants grow toward the light, so make sure to rotate them to ensure upright growth.
Watering will also need to be monitored carefully. Indoor plants can fall victim to indoor heating, which means they don’t get the humidity needed to survive for long periods. Yet watering too frequently can deplete nutrients and cause root rot, especially if the plant is left to sit in water that has collected in its dish.
When it comes to watering, err on the side of dryness. If you’re not sure whether a plant needs watering, pick up the plant after it’s been watered and later, when it’s dry, then compare the difference in weight.
Lack of humidity can also affect the health of a plant. Using a humidifier can help, as can misting leaves in the morning. Andrew Olson, landscape maintenance supervisor at the Delaware Center for Horticulture in Wilmington, recommends placing pebbles at the bottom of a tray, then filling the tray with water up to the pebbles. Place the plants on the pebbles, making sure the bottoms of the pots don’t make contact with water. Bell likes to group plants around an indoor waterfall for a decorative look.
The amount of fertilizer you need depends on the type of plants you have. Because plants go dormant in winter, gardeners recommend fertilizing very little, if at all. Try diluting fertilizer to one-half or one-quarter strength and using it on a monthly basis.
Page 3: Bring in the Garden, continues...