Selection and Care of Indoor and Outdoor Plants

Selection and Care of Indoor and Outdoor Plants
by Thomas Fryd

Selecting a plant to fit the environment you plan to put it in is the most important of steps towards having beautiful, healthy plants, flowers and vegetables. Make sure the plant you choose fits the environment it will live in. Temperature ranges, pollutants in the air, and ease of care issues are all things that must be considered.

A house plant is subjected to “dirtier” air relative to the fresh air outside. However, this is compensated by the steady temperature and better care it receives versus what it would likely get out of doors. This means that plants that are not normally native to the area can be grown indoors-tropicals, seasonals, etc.

Air flow is important to the health and survival of most indoor plants. In the summer, this is an easy task-just open the windows for a while and let the air circulate. In winter, this is more of a challenge. The easiest way to accomplish this in winter time is to open a window well away from the plants (to avoid a draft) and let the daytime air circulate a little. Keeping plants out of cold drafts is a must, as even the shortest-duration, cold breeze can mean death to a tropical plant.

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Watering plants is another concern that requires some attention. Knowing how much water your plant needs and how well its container drains are paramount to success here. Humidity, heat, pot size, plant type, soil type, and more all contribute to how often you should water a plant. Some will require water daily, some weekly, some hardly at all.

Obviously, in a hot and dry room, plants will need much more water than they will in a humid, cooler room. So plants in the living room might need water more often than plants in the bathroom. Plants such as cacti or needled leaved plants will need much less water than plants with broad leaves or ferns.

Over watering is just as dangerous as under watering and if you have a choice between the two, under watering is best. Learning to give the proper amount of water is the solution you should aim for, obviously, so learn how your plant thirsts, how its pot drains, etc. and get the timing right.

You’ll learn when to water your house plants over time, as you observe and learn their needs. When raising indoor plants as well as outdoor plants, it’s not difficult once you get in the habit of watching and monitoring the watering and its effects. Soaking the plant and then leaving it without water for a time is better than constant watering-for both you and the plant.

Having plants is a little work, but pays off well in the beauty and healthy living it provides to you and your home. Enjoy your plants and make your life more beautiful!

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