Let Gardening Brighten Your Days

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WINTER GRAYS AND damp ground can make for dull days. Did you know houseplants are reported to improve concentration, boost one’s mood, and lower stress? Most houseplants are natives of shady, tropical locations that are adapted to grow within our homes and can be found for sale in big box stores or even your favorite grocery. Perhaps a friend has gifted you with a cutting? Indoor plants have basic needs: a container, potting soil, light, water, and temperature.

Containers come in all shapes, sizes, and materials. Choose ones with drainage holes in the bottom. Set on a small saucer to catch water overflow.

Specifically use potting soil or soil-less mixtures blended for indoor plants. Or, create your own from peat moss, perlite, and vermiculite in equal amounts. The growing medium should not pack too tightly and be light and airy.

What kind of natural light does your home offer? East and west facing windows with no curtains or a very thin sheer equal HIGH light levels. South facing windows with no curtains or thin sheer equal MEDIUM in summer and HIGH in winter. North facing windows provide LOW light levels. Achieve low light levels by placing plants several feet away from east, west and south facing windows.

Proper watering is gauged by the finger test: if the soil feels damp – don’t water; water when it feels powdery. Allowing water to appear in the saucer ensures the root ball is sufficiently hydrated. Empty remaining water from the saucer after a few hours.

Most indoor temperatures average between 60-80 degrees Fahrenheit. During winter, the heater tends to lower humidity levels within our homes. To compensate, group plants together. Also try adding small pebbles, like fish gravel, in a plate with a small amount of water, placing plants on top.

Succulents or a small cactus is a sure success for first time gardeners. Happy Growing!



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