Learn To Unlearn The Basics of Gardening
Do you love to have a green corner at your place, but gardening intimidates you? Do you cringe on the thought of adding another plant to the "Dead Plants Society" List? Or are you born with all the colours in the leafy spectrum, other than the Green Thumb? With the global pandemic extending for an unforeseeable future, many of us have taken to gardening to balance our work lives and quarantine. However, not many of us have had a luck keeping them alive!
Did you know that over 90% of houseplants that die are due to very basic & avoidable mistakes!
As much as we would love our Methi and Dhaniya seeds to sprout like Jack's Bean stalk without any maintenance, with a little practice, your struggling days will be over. And just because you couldn't do it before, there is absolutely no reason to think, you might not be able to in the near future. Even the most experienced gardeners learn something new about their plants every day.
Here is a tutorial article for the plant newbie in you to start your green journey.
Let's get into it, shall we?
So grab your trowels, shovels and gloves and let's start gardening!
Step 1: Choosing The Right Pot Size
The size of your plant determines the size of the pot they should be potted in. The pot should be big enough to contain all the roots and have space for them to grow for a year. A pot bound plant (i.e its roots have completely filled the container it is growing in) might grow into a foliage heavy one - but ultimately doesn't have enough roots to support the growth and withers in some time.
If the roots start coming out of the drainage holes and from the top- this is clear indication that it is time to repot your plant to a bigger pot.
Drainage is of ultimate importance for the plant. A well draining pot ensures that the water is not clogged at the bottom of the pot - leading to the roots to rot. With proper drainage, the roots stay well hydrated so that the plant can grow lush. For small to medium sized pots, a 1/2 inch diameter drainage hole is enough, while larger pots might need a 1 inch diameter hole at the bottom.
While we all grew up with big cement pots in our neighbourhoods, we are spoiled for choice today with so many options for floor pots, hanging pots, railing pots. Find your ideal pot here.
Step 2 - Choosing The Perfect Soil Mix
A proper soil makes a ton of difference when it comes to your plants- especially those which are container grown. After all, who doesn't like to have a pretty succulent adorning the corner coffee table or a pretty Prayer Plant on the living space table. A good mix should be well draining and nutrient rich, to allow the roots proper feed and space to grow. But, every plant has its own soil mix ratio - make sure your plant is potted in its complementary soil so that it thrives for years to come. With the right proportions of cocopeat, compost and fertilizers crafted in it, it makes or break's your plant's health.
Find your perfect Soil Mix here!
Step 3 - Let There Be Light
No, seriously! Okay, let us break it down for you. Every plant has its sun vs shade preference, but when we say low light plants, it absolutely does not mean that the plant can survive inside a shelf, behind your couch or in a very dim dark corner of the house. With such less light, the plant will soon show signs of deterioration in the form of smaller leaves, darker leaves, less variegation, yellowing etc.
And that is a reason why plant enthusiasts simply love windows! Window sills and sides are perfect location for plants to thrive, and even indoor varieties can survive a tad bit of sun every now and then. However, more is not always good. Wild overexposure of sunlight leads to bleached leaves, dry tips and sometimes, a dead plant too. Make sure your plant is getting suitable light as per its requirements to grow and bloom well.
Step 4 - Pet Frenzy
If you are fur parent or a cat mom/dad, then this part is for you. A few plants have some relative toxicity towards pet animals and lead to issues such as vomiting, excess salivation, diarrhea etc. So whenever you are bringing home a new plant, be aware of its toxicity towards your pet, since animals love to tear up on plants and unfortunately, this translates to them becoming sick with so much enthusiasm.
However, if you really want to bring home that plant which might be a bit not compatible with your pet, try placing it in spaces where they cannot reach, like a higher up shelf, hanging baskets and railing pots.
Check out Pet-Friendly plants here.
Step 5 - Feeding and Watering
A fundamental aspect of your care maintenance is water - the amount, the frequency and even the type of water you are putting in the soil. Every plant - indoor, flower, succulent, cactus - has its own watering schedule and the quantity of water which it needs to grow well. Learn about your plant, so that you water enough for it to grow well.
Note - Most beginners believe that they should water all their plants daily in small quantities, this is a recipe for slow & painful disaster.
Common over-watering signs include yellow leaves, blackened stems, rotten roots etc.
Being in a container, the plants have no access to external nutrition through soil. In this scenario it is very important to fertilize your plants with a balanced fertilizer every 30-45 days. Important components such as Nitrogen, Phosphorus, Potassium, Magnesium, and trace elements provide the much needed nutrition to the plants to grow and bloom well.
Bonus Gardening Tips and Tricks
Certain extra tips are always helpful when it comes to blooms and plants.
- With Sunflower cousins such as Dahlia, Zinnia and other flowering plants - practice deadheading. If you have never deadheaded before, worry not. Don't let it word intimidate you, it is much easier than it sounds. Once the flower dries off, cut it off right from the base leaving a couple centimeters. Not only does it allow the plant to focus on the new growth and healthier foliage, but it is also aesthetically pleasing to watch your plant in full bloom.
- And if you are completely unsure of the plants and their care, it is always good to have a botanist or plant expert assist you on the same. We at Leafy Island, have a team of Plant Experts, who can assist you with not only the type of plants you are looking for, but also recommend on what plants that will do well in the space that your want to keep the plant at.
So? What are you waiting for? Grab a plant and get gardening, and as you get accustomed to plants, you can grow your collection. We would suggest you to go for easy low maintenance plants first before you get the more exotic varieties to your homes.