• February: Drainage

    Indoor plants need to be grown in pots with good drainage.  The drainage hole should be covered to avoid the growing medium from washing out.  Paper coffee filters and sections of old pantyhose are excellent choices for covering the drainage holes.  Both will allow the excess water to drain but hold in the growing medium.  It is not necessary to place a layer of pebbles or broken crockery in the bottom of the pot.

  • February: Plastic Versus Terra Cotta Pots

    Growing medium in terra cotta pots will dry out more quickly than in plastic pots.  If you want to use terra cotta pots, soak the pots in water for several hours before using.  If you are re-using a pot, be sure that it has been thoroughly washed out and disinfected.

  • February: Growing Medium for Indoor Plants

    Indoor plants should be grown in a growing medium that is formulated for potted plants.  Put the growing medium in a bucket and mix it with water.  The medium should be moist to the point that it will stay together if you squeeze a handful of it but it should also fall apart into crumbs when you stir that handful with a finger.

  • February: Watering Your Houseplants

    Check the soil before you water your indoor plants.  Stick your finger into the soil to a depth of about 2 cm.  If it feels dry, water it.  It is better to give your indoor plant a thorough soaking once a week rather than a little bit every day or two.    After about 20 minutes, pour excess water out of the saucer or container in which your indoor plant is sitting.

  • February: Know Your Indoor Plant’s Needs

    Plants are individuals and all have their specific needs.  Take time to research what your plant’s cultural requirements are.  Some indoor plants like to dry out before they are watered.  Others require that their soil remain consistently moist.   Growing indoor plants is not a science of ‘one size fits all’.

  • February: Early Start Seeds

    Some annuals such as snapdragon, petunia, portulaca,  ageratum, and bacopa all need to be started from seed indoors 8 to 10 weeks before the last frost date.  Add on an extra week to allow time to harden off the plants before putting them in the garden.

  • February: Top-dressing Large Houseplants

    Houseplants that are too large to transplant will greatly benefit from a top-dressing of compost.  Remove 2 cm of existing soil or compost and add some fresh compost.

  • February: Is Your Houseplant Pot-Bound?

    Your plant will give you clues if it is feeling pot-bound.  Roots will be growing out of the bottom of the pot and growth will be very slow despite good light and regular feeding.  Turn the pot upside down and remove the plant.  If the roots are all matted and very little soil is visible, the plant is likely pot-bound.  Remember that some plants like to be pot-bound.

  • February: Clean Your Houseplants

    Dust and oils can build up on the leaves of your plants, blocking light, making it difficult for them to “breathe” and increasing the risk of disease. For large, smooth-leaved plants, a wipe-down with a moist cloth works wonders. Plants with small or narrow leaves will benefit from a rinse from the kitchen faucet sprayer or a quick turn in the shower. For hairy leaves, such as those on African Violets, employ a soft toothbrush gently,

  • February: Growing Medium for Starting Seeds Indoors

    When starting seeds indoors, always select a growing medium that has been especially mixed for starting seeds.  It should not contain a slow-release fertilizer.  If you want to mix your own growing medium, combine 4 parts of very fine, screened compost with 1 part vermiculite and 1 part perlite and 2 parts peat moss or coir.