Potting Soil Tips for Container Gardening

Proper potting soil for the indoor gardens is one step that is often overlooked. But remember, you are providing a home for a plant and the soil need to be rich in nutrients and healthy.

Many people use recycled soil, which is ok if you follow a few rules.

  1. Sterilize the soil to make sure it has no germs or bugs. Do this by placing it in the oven on low heat, 250 degrees, for an hour.
  2. Replenish nutrients that were used up in the soil. A mix of fresh potting soil and compost will work well.
  3. Make sure the soil drains well. You can buy soil that will drain or add the drainage pellets that can be bought in garden centers.

There are specially blended soils just for indoor plants and container plants. The mixes are more lightweight and have better water holding capabilities.

There are also soils made for certain plants. And example of such a mix would be for the African Violet plants. Cacti also have their own mix which is higher in sand. So check your local garden centers for soil mixes.

Note: outdoor soil rarely ever works for indoor plants. It’s usually too high in sand or clay. Take the time to get the right soil mix for your plants.

Most pots come with drain holes in them. If they don’t, drill them yourself. A pot or container without a drainage hole will collect water in the bottom and cause root rot. Once you have a hole in the container, place a couple of layers of newspaper or a piece of broken pot over the hole. This will allow for drainage but will keep the soil from spilling out the bottom.

Container tips

  1. Pots do dry up fast, especially if they are small. Check the soil regularly.
  2. Choose plants requiring less water to make it easier to maintain your container garden.
  3. Water you plants from the bottom by setting in a pot or tray of water. This keeps the top of the soil drier and helps prevent soil disease.
  4. Most plants like misted. it gives the leaves instant water and also cleans them from dust.
  5. Use a pebble tray under most containers. It will catch any run off, moisture and soil. It also adds humidity to the air around the plants, which the plant will enjoy.
  6. Terracotta left unsealed (on the inside of the pot) will soak up a lot of your plant’s water before the plant does. If you brush on a good water sealant this prevent moisture from being absorbed. You can also mist the pot to keep it moist.
  7. I scratch the top of the soil on the planters to keep the soil loose. You get better aeration for the plants roots and this prevents soil disease.

Container gardening for enjoyment or for adding nutritional food to your table can be easy and fun if set up properly. And by making planters, collecting pots from sales and making your own soil or plant food, you can reduce the cost of growing plants indoors.

Selecting plants for the indoor container garden

What makes an indoor container garden successful? Enjoyment for the family, healthy plants and ease of care are my top concerns. By now if you have started to set up an indoor growing area you have picked out planters and selected an area in the home with proper lighting.

Your next steps should be, selecting plants.

Know your plants that you are planning to grow. Is your indoor garden herbs, edibles, flowers or a mix? If you select a picky high maintenance plant you will need special lighting and may want to grow this plant in a separate area or individual planter.

If you are growing plants with the same needs, these plants can grow in one planter. This applies to lighting and watering needs. Cacti need less water and benefit from setting on a pebble tray and herbs seem to fall in the middle when it comes to a watering schedule.

Water-loving plant (like a fern) need to be grouped together and I usually make sure they are in a higher humidly area. Watering requirements should be the same for all the plants in a single pot.

Watering, and usually overwatering, seems to be the biggest problem when growing plants indoors. Too much water leads to insect and soil diseases, so watch you new plants and if your are in doubt, go sparingly on the water.

Also, keep in mind how much sunlight your plants require. Pots heat up quickly and lose water when they are in direct sunlight so try to make sure they are in shade at least part of the day.

If you have sun-loving plants use a lighter colored pot to keep the heat of the pot down. I often use terra cotta pots for direct sunlight plants and use a pebble tray to keep moisture and humidity high for the plant.

One other way to keep moisture in the soil is to mulch the soil in the planter. You can use well-rotted compost or pebbles.

Make your indoor garden more successful with hardy plants. There are many plants that require less light and water. You may want to select these for low light areas. And many plants are disease resistant. Check the plant growing tags or talk with the garden clerk for advice.

There are many good indoor gardening books available and places online to look for gardening plant advice. The best advice I can give you for a successful garden indoors to know you plants and to keep you garden area tidy.

Watering tip: Always water from below. This prevents soil diseases. Also let the pot properly drain. after watering. Never let it sit in water.

Indoor Container gardening tips

Container gardening is becoming more important as a garden style every year. One reason is the ease in setting up a garden area. Another reason is this garden style will also work in apartments and small space garden areas. With winter approaching and gardening moving indoors here are three starter tips for creating your indoor container garden.

1.  Choosing the Proper Material for Your Garden Pots

Garden pots are made from a variety of materials. Some are heavier, some more durable and some more stylish. Cost and the use of the planter will determine what you purchase.

Heavier plants work best for plants that may be in a high traffic area and you do not want to tip over. Also do you use plastic planters, ceramic or terra cotta? Humidity in the home will help you make the best selection. Also if you have a home with active children and pets you may want to consider plastic.

At this time of year I dumpster dive for planters. Two days ago I brought home more than 100 planters. Many were in great shape. A few were stylish planters I will save for next year and use as a focal planter in gardens. There were narrow planters for windowsills and several hanging baskets that will work for the enclosed porch and a mini herb garden.
A few of my found planters were damaged and will either be used for holding transplants, starting seeds or as a base for creating a new planter.

2. Consider the size of the planter

The kind of plant or plants you will be planting will help determine how big the pots you will need to have. Most plants need at least 6 inches of space to grow. So a 12-inch pot would hold 3 to four plants. I would select 3 plants with another plant that hung over a side. Just remember, the plants in a planter the more water it will use.

I like to use strawberry planters in the house in the winter. You get a rich feel of space and plenty of color. They are a bit more expensive but off-season they are usually on sale. And with care they will last for years.

3. Add Variety to planters

Changing the size and shape of your planters will add pizzazz to your indoor container garden area. I rarely even have one lone garden pot. And for some reason, uneven numbers have more of a flow and inviting look.

Place the larger planters in the back and smaller pots in the front. You might also want to have the garden set on steps or a taller plant stand to give more height to the garden area.

Setting up an indoor container garden is quite easy. Once you have selected your plants and chosen an area for the containers the next step to a successful garden is proper soil and climate.

Four Reasons to Give Indoor Plants as gifts

There are many attractive plants that can be kept indoors through out the year. And with winter weather approaching the addition of indoor plants to the home will create a warm natural look. I know in the winter months I enjoy plants and flowering plants scattered throughout the house.

Cut flowers are also a nice touch in the winter months and I do use them but flowering plants make a longer lasting floral display. And if you display them in a create way they make a stunning room accent. Artistic pots, small figurines and lighting will create unique looks.

Here are four reasons why you should give plants as a gift or thank you for the holidays.

1.  A flowering houseplant will improve a window or a table setting and add cheer to most home decors. And later in the spring or summer months most plants can be moved outdoors. This will add to the patio or backyard area.

2.  Plants can last for years and have even been handed down from family member to family member. So a plant is a gift that will be enjoyed for years.

3.  Plants add to air quality and remove toxins from the air. Houses that are more closed and sealed from fresh air have better air quality when plants are added to the environment. Its been proven that homes and businesses with plants have a healthier air quality.

4.  Children enjoy watching plants grow and if you give them the task of caring for the plants they will learn the importance of living plants and caring for something that lives. And if the plant is unique, like a Venus flytrap, your children will learn from watching the differences in plant species

Best of all plants will encourage an appreciation in our children for living things.

There are many reasons to give plants and grow plants indoors. And with the holiday season approaching for many of use there will be colorful plants available for any home and occasion

NOTE: There are several types of christmas plants and indoor plants that may be poisionous to pets and children. If this is a concern, please research the plant or ask the store or nursery if the plant is safe. For example, Poinsettias are beautiful but toxic.

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