Gardening is a process of trial and error and especially so when you just start out. Here are some tips to guide you as you dive headlong into the wonderful world of plants!
Match your space and lifestyle:
All too often we buy plants first and then find a location within our homes to keep them. Instead, assess your home in terms of light, ventilation and space first and then identify plants that would suit these conditions.
For instance, if your home gets very little natural sunlight, it is better to opt to for low-light plants. Similarly, if you travel frequently or have only limited time to care for your plants, high-maintenance plants that require frequent watering and fertilising may not be the right choice for you.
Be mindful of your watering practices:
When it comes to watering, remember that less is more. More plants die from overzealous watering than under watering so it is better to allow them to dry out between waterings rather than keep the soil continuously wet. Water your plants more frequently in the summers than in the winters.
Consider sun and shade:
A majority of indoor plants can grow well in bright, morning sunlight. Still, it’s best to understand how much sun your plants need. Steer clear of intense afternoon sunshine, however, unless you want to scorch your plants’ leaves. Identify the kind of sunlight the different parts of your house receives at different times of the day and know the direction in which your windows and balconies face. Arrange your plants accordingly.
Use fertiliser judiciously:
Organic or chemical. Solid or liquid. Granular or pellet. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed looking at the plethora of options available for fertilising. Different plants have different fertiliser requirements and there are some that don’t even need it! Understand your plants and their soil and feed them accordingly. Also, follow fertilising instructions carefully, especially with liquid fertilisers as they can be quite potent. If you choose to “eyeball it”, you may end up harming your plants and the soil. In other words, fertiliser can be fatal!
Select pots and planters:
Pots are available in many different materials such as plastic, clay, and ceramic. You may even opt for grow bags. Each of them has their own pros and cons. Choose what works for you and your plant. Ensure that your pots have adequate drainage holes and use trays/ saucers to collect excess water. Also, choose the right size pot. Too small and your plants’ roots won’t have room to grow. Too large and the soil may hold too much moisture causing root rot.
Get the tools:
Invest in good quality gardening gloves, pruning shears, a spade, a trowel and a watering can/mister. Most indoor gardening activities can be performed with these tools and, if not, then just use your hands!
Lastly, don’t be discouraged if you kill a plant or five. Death is an inevitable part of everyone’s gardening journey. Learn to enjoy the process. Be attentive to your plants’ needs but don’t fuss over them too much. Be patient with them and they will reward you!
- By Melanie Lewis, Team Garden Up