You don’t need a large property to enjoy gardening. Indoor and container gardening is becoming increasingly popular due to the accessibility and easy maintenance of the hobby. If you don’t like weeding or having to worry about time-consuming chores, container gardening just might be for you. In this post, I will share how I implemented container and indoor gardening into my hobby.
One advantage of container gardening is the ability to garden year around. During the cold months, you don’t have to say goodbye to the flowers you have tended to all summer and grown attached to. Not only can you bring them indoors, but you can also even grow them exclusively inside.
The keys to container gardening are light, water, humidity, and soil. If you are familiar with houseplants, you are well aware of these parameters. If not, don’t worry, I will walk you through how I utilize container gardening in my home as well as outside.
Plants need light to photosynthesize. Outside, these conditions are provided by the sun, and indoor lighting needs to be replicated as naturally as possible. Plants need specific wavelengths of light to photosynthesize; not all light is created equal in the indoor environment. To mediate this, growing plants need light in the spectral range of 400-700 nm. Light near 400 nm humans see as the color violate, and light around 700 nm our eyes percieve as red. Many grow lights emit light with LED lights, making them both bright and cost-effective. I will link the grow lights here, here, and here that I like and produce good growth for my plants. Natural sunlight is always best. If you have large windows that allow natural light to fill the room, your plants will be very grateful. If not, grow lights are a good investment for a container gardening hobby.
All plants need water. Without water, plants can not absorb nutrients from the soil or complete the photosynthesis process. Unlike outdoor plants that reap the benefits of rainwater, indoor plants rely on the gardener for all essential water. Additionally, due to the controlled indoor environment, the needs of plants are much different. To tell if your plant needs water place your finger about 2 inches into the soil. If the soil is dry, your plant needs water. If the soil is damp, wait a few more days and check again. The most common mistake indoor gardeners make is overestimating how much water their plants need. In the indoor environment, plants need water less often but more deeply. When watering your plants, soak the pot until water pours out from the bottom. Wait a few weeks and check the soil before watering again.
Humidity is often the most overlooked element of growing plants indoors. In their natural environment outdoors, plants can regulate how much water they release through their leaves by judging the humidity levels allowing them to maintain a healthy balance. Indoors, especially in the dry climate-controlled air, plants will release more moisture into the air at a greater rate leading to dry leaves. Adding a humidifier or placing plants in naturally humid rooms such as a bathroom will help to meditate humidity issues with your plants.
Soil is necessary for all plants, but indoor gardens need special attention concerning growing medium. Luckily, most garden centers will have multiple formulas, and knowing your plant specifications will help in soil selection. For houseplants, a general all-purpose soil formulated for indoor plants is ideal, as the growing medium will contain all essential fertilizers and food needed for the proper growth of houseplants. For cactus or succulents medium that drains well is ideal for the health and vitality of these plants. Citrus, cactus, or palm soil has the desired balance for growing these water-sensitive plants. Indoor herbs and other vegetable plants thrive in indoor soil made for houseplants mixed with a little seed starter. This mixture allows for the proper fertilizer balance and growth but resists holding too much water leading to root rot. Mixing equal amounts of houseplants soil and cactus soil or seed starter in the pot is an easy way to provide the ideal growing medium for your plants. A word of caution, do not use outdoor flower gardens or vegetable garden soil for indoor plants. Indoor potting soil has been sterilized and is free of annoyances and bugs in outdoor soil mixtures.
Outdoor container gardening is much like growing plants indoors with a few exceptions. The light requirement for your container garden will largely depend on how much sun exposure the plants need. A more sensitive plant is best placed in the shade while a plant that loves light is best suited in a sunny location.
Unlike plants placed in the ground, potted plants cannot source water. It falls to the gardener to gauge the needs of the plants and water appropriately. During the summer, it is common for outdoor container gardens to need water daily. As with indoor plants, check the soil before watering to avoid over-watering.
As with indoor gardening, soil is a critical element in the success of the plants. For outdoor container gardens, an all-purpose outdoor potter container soil is ideal. Select a soil that is formulated for containers as the in-ground garden soil will have a higher fertilizer concentration that could burn the sensitive roots of plants in pots.
Besides watching your container garden grow, choosing the right pot is an enjoyable process. When selecting a pot size is key. Choose a pot that is not too large but allows the plant some room to grow, as the plant matures you can repot into a larger pot if needed. A pot that is too large can stress the plant as the soil remain moist for too long leading to root rot and fungal issues.
There are so many types of pots available it can be over-overwhelming. To help narrow the selection look for pots that have ample drainage holes. Many planters look attractive but are not functional for plant health. Terra-cotta pots are great for outdoor container gardens. As they are porous, air can exchange, allowing the roots to breathe. Wooden planters or large whiskey barrels are other attractive options that allow air to reach the roots and drain well. Choosing a container is the beginning of a wonderful adventure in the world of container gardening.
Above all, have fun and enjoy your gardening advanture. Happy growing!
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As always, thanks for reading. Till next time, keep on crowing.
~ The Kuntry Klucker Crew ~