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Green Fingers

Stocking the Pots – Planning your landscape is difficult enough without having to think about the right plants for you indoor and deck living spaces.  When it does come to choosing your pot and container plants, you need to know how to provide the proper care for long term success.  Here are a few hints for achieving the best in natural, environmentally friendly interior décor.

Soil Mixture
First things first.  When growing plants in a container you need to follow a few simple rules for the best results.  Soil mixture is just as important as choosing the proper plant, and for pot plants, your soil mixture should be light and porous.  Avoid using raw garden soil as it may harbour disease organisms, pest and weed seeds.  You can easily prepare your own perfect soil conditions by using a combination of growing mediums, such as peat moss, compost, perlite, sterilized potting soil, and dolomitic limestone or marl.  To achieve the right consistency, simply apply the hand texture test.  First you will need to apply water to your soil mixture.  Once that is done your wet soil when squeezed firmly should form a mass.  If the mass is too dense, add more perlite as this will help loosen the soil and allow young roots to spread rapidly thus promoting healthy plant growth.

Watering
Containers will dry out quickly and will require more frequent watering than bedding plants, especially during hot, dry and windy weather.  There are many different types of containers to choose from, but I find the most popular types are made of clay or plastic.  Before purchase check to make sure that the containers have sufficient drainage holes in the bottom – this is very important as poor drainage can lead to many different problems that will affect the growth and health of your plants.  Over watering can lead to root rot and encourage disease organisms; too little water and your plants will start to wither.  It is important to know the watering needs of the type of plants you have chosen and usually your friendly nursery assistant will give you this information.  Or simply check in the plant pot.  Most plants come with basic care instructions that are placed in the container.  A healthy plant depends on its daily watering needs.

Fertilizers
Whatever you choose to grow, the plants will need to be fed.  A slow release fertilizer can be added to the soil before planting or you can provide dilute liquid fertilizer solutions of 20/20/20.  More control can be exercised with weekly feedings, simply follow the instructions on the back of the package.  Flowering and fruiting plants will require more phosphorus and potassium in their season.  Dangerous levels of mineral salts can accumulate in container soil.  Browning leaf tips will let you know that too much mineral is present, flushing with rain water can correct the imbalance.  Water so that excess water flows from the drainage holes ensuring that you have properly flushed out un-necessary minerals.

Sunshine
Most sun loving flowers and vegetables will require at least six to eight hours of sunshine to thrive, some plants may need to be moved daily depending on where they are located in order to attain the required sunshine, placing your containers on large coasters will allow you to move them easier.  For deck container plants it is important to choose plants that will thrive in their given location.  An alternative way to shelter container and vulnerable plant roots from excessive heat in to add two to four inches of mulch at the top of the pot around the soil thus protecting roots from the scorching summer heat.  
    
Choosing the right plant for your living space depends again on where it will be placed.  Not all plants like to be indoors.  Some like a combination of shade and sun, others prefer to avoid direct sunlight altogether.  Here are a few that are perfect for indoor living.

Chamaedorea Palm
Follow me to the parlour please, that’s where you’ll find the tropical parlour palm.  If you don’t have such a room, just place this popular palm where it will receive bright but indirect light.  (Height: 24” to 6’. Watch for brown tips, if these appear drench soil with distilled water to leach out salts and mist fronds with water.)

Braided ficus
Easy care instructions for and adaptability have made the ficus one of the most popular plants for the indoors.  The variegated foliage and the braided stem of this variety will really catch your attention.  (Height: 24” to 6’. Watch for leaf drop, this means that watering is inconsistent or the plant is exposed to drafts.)

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Chinese Evergreen
This plant is excellent for beginners because it’s a low light lover.  The leaves are a blend of silver grey and dark green and form upright bushy habit.  These plants prefer warm growing areas.  (Width: 6” to 8”. Height: 18” to 3’ Watch for overwatering.)

Ponytail Palm
These plants require high light levels for the best growth and can even tolerate direct sun.  Allow soil to dry thoroughly between watering. (Width: 6” to 3’. Height: 14” to 6’ Watch for overwatering.)

Tropical Landscapes  Phone: 284-541-2378  Email: [email protected]

 

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