Water and Fertilizer.
Indoor plants need water and nutrients to grow and produce flowers and fruit. Depending on what growing medium you use, your watering quantity and schedule will be different. Plants grown in containers dry out more quickly and need more watering, and all containers, whether they contain soil or not, should have drainage holes on the bottom unless they are aquatic or bog plants. As a rule of thumb, you know your plant is watered enough if the soil is slightly moist to the touch; however this varies for example between cacti and carnivorous plants, but usually only the watering frequency need be adjusted to suit different plants. The temperature of the water should be approximately 20ºC, although some special plants may like it colder or warmer. The most common cause of death of indoor plants is counter-intuitively overwatering. Plants can usually recover from under watering eventually, but overwatering rots the roots so that the plants effectively drown. Make sure water is not being trapped in the container when it is not meant to.
When it comes to indoor gardening, most indoor plants eventually need an extra boost of nutrients to replenish that of the growing medium to continue strong growth. There are many organic fertilizers and hydroponic nutrients for indoor plants, and some non-organic. Read about each one to find out which will be best for your plants. Look for fertilizers and hydroponic nutrients specific to indoor growing if possible. Each package will contain instructions about the fertilizer’s use. While fertilizing is important, it’s equally important not to over-fertilize. Nutrients and fertilizer are intended to help indoor plants grow, but they are not a magic serum that should be abused, as this will affect your soil’s pH value, which in turn will be detrimental to plants’ health. It is better to under fertilize than over fertilize, as over fertilizing will ‘burn’ a plant’s leaves and leave it looking ugly and unhealthy. Also, consider foliar feeding for certain large leaved plants, as they can polish and nourish the leaves making them look even more attractive. This foliar feed can be applied as a spray or a rub, or in the case of carnivorous plants, a juicy mealworm!
If you’re growing vegetables, flowers or fruiting plants, your indoor gardening will be subjected to different stages of growth. Initially they will be in a growing stage for a certain period, but after this they will (if all goes well) eventually reach their flowering, fruiting and harvesting phases, if applicable. It is important to read about the life cycles of your plants and learn the signs which will tell you when your indoor plant crops can be harvested. It’s important not to pick a crop too early, as you’ll end up with small gains or bad tasting produce, but equally important not to pick too late, as this can compromise the quality of your vegetables, fruits, and other harvested parts.
Pests, diseases and pesticides.
Fortunately, bugs and diseases rarely reach your home living quarters. However, when they do, they can cripple, maim or even kill your plants. Diseases often spread in compost, so try not to re-use compost from old or diseased plants. Consider sterilizing non-soil growing mediums with hydrogen peroxide (organic) before use. When you see a diseased part of a plant, cut it out immediately and or isolate the plant from the others until it recovers.
Bugs however can be even more annoying. Spider mites, aphids, thrips and fungus gnats and other creepy crawlies love to munch on juicy exotic leaves. It is best to keep plants away from sources of bugs if possible, but otherwise you can often remove or kill bugs by submerging plants in room temperature water for 10-30 minutes. Some people use pesticides which can work very well, but a side effect is that helpful bugs are also killed and your health may also be affected. There are a plenty of organic pesticides that work quite effective as well, therefore take your health and the environment into account when choosing the right pesticide. It is up to you how you want to control pests. Look regularly for signs of damage to stop the problem when it is small.
Some chemicals damage plants, such as aluminium (severely stunts growth), oils, solvents and build ups of mineral deposits. Make sure you keep your indoor garden as fresh and free of damaging substances as possible.
Putting it all together.
So far you have read this and it may seem like a lot of information to take in. Try organizing your plant information together using the information available on the internet. When you have your plant’s information, sketch or imagine your creative and unique indoor garden and match it up to what the plant requires. You want your indoor garden to last for years to get the best results, as such carefully plan your design or follow a guide. At excite we want to help you design your indoor garden so remember to read up on more of our guides and posts regularly to keep informed.
We hope you are now inspired to make your own indoor garden now, happy planting!