The Great Indoors

David Abrego

If you don’t consider yourself an outdoor gardener but still enjoy the natural beauty and benefits of plants, then consider taking the pastime indoors. Since they’ll be growing in an unnatural environment, all the plants’ needs – light, temperature, water and nutrients – must be provided.

First things first: When you bring your plants home from the nursery, you will need to acclimate them to their new indoor environment before choosing permanent locations.

Then, consider lighting, temperature and irrigation needs.

  • Light is necessary for any plant to perform photosynthesis and make food. Pale leaves, little or no bloom and leaf drop are all symptoms of insufficient light. Rotate plants to help them get equal light all the way around.
  • Stable temperature and humidity are key. Avoid placing your plants directly in front of vents. In warm temperatures, plants will require more water. Spray leaves with pure water vapor to offset the losses by evaporation and transpiration.
  • Before watering, check the moisture level of the potting soil. Proper watering depends on the plant species. Broad-leaved plants and tender herbs require more, while narrow-leaved species typically need less.

Finally, because there are no natural nutrient reserves, your indoor plants will need a supplemental diet of nitrogen for growth, phosphorus for formation of leaves and new shoots, and potassium for strength and endurance.

The key to successful indoor gardening is being mindful of your plants’ care. Not all plants are the same and often require different maintenance needs, so read up on the plants you select.

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