For Healthy Plants, Avoid the Most Common Mistakes

We all (does anybody disagree?) like having plants in our homes. Maybe because they bring color to the house, because they complete the design, improve the air quality or perhaps you are a huge nature lover. One thing is for sure: plants bring joy. Except… for the moment when you them drying or having yellow leaves or go limp. That moment is heart-breaking.

So let’s review the most common mistakes people make with indoor plants.

  1. Not knowing what you buy

It’s a must to buy plants with labels. If you don’t know the name and core instructions of a plant, you don’t give it any chance to survive.

  • Not giving the plants the light and sun they need

Do not forget each plant needs specific environmental conditions. Putting a plant where you think it looks good, without taking into consideration how much sun and light it needs is a big mistake. If you put it into direct sunlight, it probably won’t survive. If you put it in a place where sunbeams don’t reach with their life-giving magic, your plant’s life is again in danger.

  • Putting them in the wrong place

Like the radiator, for example. Yes, it is recommended for most plants to be next to the window, but find a way to do it wisely. If you have a radiator nearby, the constant heat will dry your plant.

  • Too much water or too little water

As I was saying earlier, you need to know what each plant needs.

While cacti and succulent plant prefer dry soil (they need water every 2-3 weeks even 4 weeks), flower plants need to be watered more often (every 2 days or 4-5 days, depending on the environmental conditions and type of plant). So read the instructions carefully and take care of the plant accordingly. Please see more about growing essentials here.

  • Not checking the roots

So you bring the plant home and you move it to the proper pot with the proper soil. For the next few months, all you need to do is water it and groom it. See more about maintenance here. But do not forget to check the roots, as they are constantly growing and might not have enough space in the pot. If this happens and you do not move the plant to a bigger pot, the root dies and then the leaves fall ill. Of course, take care to move the plant in its recommended period – usually in autumn or spring, but each plant is different.

Here are basics of growing garlic in containers in your home

Garlic is one the essential spices that the majority of us use to add another level of taste to our dishes. The vegetable belongs to the Allium family, which also contains onions and shallots. The bulbs are the most powerfully flavored, but the green parts are also edible.

While garlic is widely available at any grocery store, more and more people are growing open to the idea of growing their own crop of garlic at home.

The good news, you don’t necessarily need to have a garden to do so, as garlic can grow in containers indoors. And you’ll never, ever have to worry about vampires again.

Yet, growing garlic requires a bit of effort. And the right container. That’s right, you need to make sure you get one that’s at least 18-inches deep and comes with holes drilled at the bottom for excellent drainage.

Keep in mind that garlic is prone to developing fungal root disease. So on top of opting for a pot with drainage holes, you need to pick a soil that drains well too. Don’t use regular garden soil in your pots. Instead get a high-quality soil-less potting mix from your gardening store.

Another thing to worry about is finding a proper spot to place the pot around the apartment. Keep in mind that garlic plants need at least 6 hours of bright sunlight per day.

When grown under the right conditions, garlic can grow to maturity in nine months. The best time of the year to plant your garlic is in the fall, typically before the first frost.

Of course, timing will vary with local climate. However, you need to give your plant 6 to 8 weeks to develop good roots, but not enough time for it to form top growth.

To start planting, simply take a bulb and peel the skin off. Separate the cloves and insert them into holes you’ve dug 2-inches deep and about 6-inches apart. Next, fill your container with potting soil about 3-inches at the top of your container. If the potting soil you’ve purchased doesn’t include one, you might want to mix in a slow-release (organic) fertilizer.

It’s advised that you don’t try and plant cloves you purchased from the local supermarket, as most are treated to prologue shelf life. This means it’s harder to grow new plants from them. Instead turn to your local nursey or simply purchase seeds from the local gardening shop. You can also order garlic plants off the internet.

Garlic doesn’t have to be watered every day, but it’s important you don’t leave the soil to get dry. Just stick your finger 1-inch below the surface. If it’s dry, then it’s time to water your plant.

Garlic comes in many varieties including hardneck, softneck and green garlic. The softneck type brings the more intense flavor and it tends to grow bigger bulbs. It’s perfect for those who live in warmer climates.

Want to grow chives in your apartment? Here’s how

While you might certainly be familiar with garlic and onion, you probably don’t know much about chives, now do you? Part of the large onion family, chives are perennials, which means they return year after year. And unlike onions, chives are used mostly for their green stalks and not their weakly developed bulbs. These plans are mainly used for seasoning salads, stews, soups and more. They also make for pretty tasty garnish thanks to their subtle garlic flavor.

Chives are very hardy plants that tend to grow up to 10-12 inches tall. And in mid-summer they produce round, pink/violet flowers, so they are a truly great addition to any garden, old-school or urban.

The good news is that chives are really easy to grow indoors, so even if you don’t have access to a garden, you can still plant them in your apartment. There are two main types of chives: the common one and Chinse type. Both can be cultivated the same way. Although the former species will grow slower.

Chives aren’t fussy plants. They tolerate lower light and the eventual temperature fluctuations. But it’s recommended they get at least 4 hours of sunlight per day, preferably 6.

You can grow chives from seeds, but they will start producing quicker if you grow them from divisions from fully-grown plants. Place them in a fertile, well-drained soil. Again, it’s important to stress that the pot you choose to grow the plant in needs to have holes at the bottom to facilitate drainage. It’s up to you whether you add a little organic fertilizer into the mix, so you’ll obtain the best results.

While chives can grow in any type of container, it might be worthy to note that plastic pots can deteriorate in time. Especially if you’re keeping them outdoors, in an open balcony for example. Alternatively, ceramic and stone containers are more durable, however they can prove quite difficult to move around. Another option would be clay pots which dry out quickly, but they are prone to breaking easily. So when choosing a pot for your plants it’s important to weight out the pros and cons.

Chives like a lot of water, so make sure feed your plants frequently. Make sure that the soil is most, but not damp. This facilitates root rotting which eventually leads to the plant’s death. Chives aren’t prone to any particular disease, so the only main requirements are to keep the water flowing and provide good drainage.

As for soil, abstain from using plain garden soil. Instead go for a lightweight and porous mix which you can buy at your local gardening store. The soil needs to be able to retain moisture, yet drain easily.

When planting chives bulbs, make sure to bury them at least six inches apart, so they can have plenty of room to grow and spread. Like in the case of onions, the chives bulbs tend to multiply quickly over a few years. So this is the easiest method of propagation.

What you need to know in order to start growing rosemary in containers

Rosemary is a perennial woody evergreen herb that was originally found in the Mediterranean region. It can be easily recognizable by its needle-like leaves with silver tops and pink/white or blue flowers.

It’s a very common herb, one that can be found in many kitchens around the world. But you know what beats having to run down to the local supermarket to get your dried bag of rosemary? Having fresh rosemary in pots available at your discretion at home.

Rosemary is a great source of vitamins (including A, C, B6), as well as minerals like magnesium, calcium, copper and iron. Due to its antioxidant properties, rosemary is a wonderful addition to any diet and should be consumed on a regular basis. That’s why it’s a great idea to start growing this little plant in your home.

If you’re already sold on the idea of rosemary, the good news is that the plan is extremely hardy and so can be grown and maintained in pots quite easily.

Inside your apartment it will need a lot of light, but not too much heat. It also has a preference for humid. All this can be simulated inside a flat.

Growing a rosemary plant from seeds takes months, so the easiest way to get access to fresh rosemary is to take cuttings from a mother plant.

Simply cut 2 to 3 inches off a rosemary stem and remove most of the leaves (but make sure you leave some). Then put the cuttings inside a container and cover it with a plastic wrap to ensure the moisture. Keep an eye out on the container. Once a new plant appears, move the container in full sun. Yes, for you to successfully grow a rosemary plant you’ll need lot and lots of sun.

The container you choose to house your plant doesn’t have to be big, but it does have to be spacious enough. Drainage holes are also a must, preferably 6 to 8 inches deep. Your container should contain a high-quality potting soil that will allow for smooth draining. Rosemary isn’t particularly demanding when it comes to the type of soil you plant it in. Although, it does have a preference of soil that’s more alkaline rather than acidic.

Rosemary needs to be watered on a regularly basis, but although the plant likes its soil most, you should pay attention not to over-water it. So only the surface of the soil should dry between waterings.

It’s up to you if you want to use fertilizer, but keep in mind that rosemary doesn’t need much help when it comes to growing. In case you decide to use a fertilizer, pick an all-purpose, water-soluble one and apply every two weeks. But only if your potting soil doesn’t already contain one.

As it’s the case with most plants growing in containers, the soil will slowly start to degenerate though watering and root growth. So make sure you repot your plants once a year. The best time to do so is during spring.

Tips to start growing basil in containers at home

Basil is among the few herbs you are guaranteed to find in any kitchen. Warm-weather loving, this plant tastes great, especially in Italian dishes.

Basil is a pretty common aromatic herb that belongs to the mint family, the same that includes other popular spices such as oregano and rosemary.

The plant is of course mainly known for its quality of adding flavor to various fishes, but did you know that basil is also known for its immunity-enhancing properties? Basil oil, for example, is proven to help prevent a number of conditions, which is why it’s consider a pretty important medical herb, as well.

Which is why it would prove very useful to have a few basil plants at home, right? Even if you don’t have a garden or a backyard, you can still easily grow basil plants in containers in your home.

There are over 35 different types of basil, the most well-known being holy basil. But in what follows we’re going to talk about the regular basil plant. The one you can get growing in your pots in your urban kitchen or balcony in no time.

What do you need to start your basil culture? Well the basics would include the following:

  • A basil plant or seeds
  • A soil mix
  • An adequate container

Basil is easy to sow from seed and will germinate relatively quickly. The plat needs some sun in order to start the process of germination, so make sure you don’t burry the seeds to deep. 1/4 deep is considered acceptable. Plants will germinate for 5 to 10 days.

Alternatively, place a stem of basil in water and it will start sprouting roots in no time (within a week). Next, transplant the basil directly in your container. Make sure the spot you choose for your plant gets plenty of natural sunlight. A minimum of six hours per day would be recommended.

Speaking of containers, basil is not picky at all. It will grow almost in anything including an old laundry basket. Yet, keep in mind that for the plant to thrive it need a pot where air can circulate around the plants. It also doesn’t like to have its soil dry out completely, so select a larger container, to make sure these conditions are met.

Drainage is also important, as basil doesn’t like to be too wet, so don’t over-water it. To know when it’s time to water your put, simply insert your finger into the soil (up to the second knuckle). If it feels dry, add some water immediately.

If the weather tends to get really hot in summer in your area, you might have to water your plants as often as once a day. Spraying their leaves with water is also a good idea, to prevent them from slouching.

When it comes to choosing soil, pick a good potting soil, not heavy garden soil. You might also want to use an organic or slow-release fertilizer for your plants once a month. Just be careful not to fertilize it below 60-degrees F.