A couple of potted plants makes any space come alive. They do more than just pretty up a place, though.
Potted plants can clean up the air around you, and with some nurturing, can even yield sizeable harvests of food.
The tricky bit, however, is to make your plant feel comfortable in the container that it’s planted in, instead of in the ground.
Here’s a set of handy tips that you can use, to create the perfect home for your plant.
1. Find a place for your plant:
It’s always a good idea to scope out your space before rushing out and getting plants to put in. Select as brightly lit a spot as possible and see what can fit there. All plants, even indoor ones, need light for photosynthesis – or they’ll starve.
2. Select your plant:
Choose your plant according to the light conditions you have available. Many sun-loving plants like roses and jasmines will not survive if planted indoors. On the other hand, shade-loving plants will burn up if placed in an over-sunny spot. If you’re planting indoors, select plants like box palms, sansevierea, pothos and syngonium, that do well in low-light conditions.
3. Choose your container:
Clay pots, grow bags, old buckets and even bottles can make great containers for your plant. It’s also a good idea to select a container that’s at least 25 per cent as tall as your plant is likely to be. This will make sure that the plant’s roots will have enough space to grow.
4. Fix the drainage:
Make sure your container has a hole at the bottom to allow excess water to drain out. This will prevent water from stagnating around your plant’s roots and causing them to rot. The drainage hole should be as obstruction-free as possible, to allow excess water to drain out when the pot is overwatered. You can use a handful of pebbles, or place broken pot or tile pieces around the drain hole to make sure soil doesn’t clog.
5. Prepare your potting medium:
Here’s the slightly tricky part. Your soil or potting medium has to have a judicious balance of organic matter, minerals, air and water. Compost generated from your home waste can easily provide the organic matter that your soil needs, while sand and cocopeat – sourced responsibly, are great soil aerators. A combination that works reasonably well for most plant types is red earth, cocopeat (or sand) and compost in the ratio 2:1:1. You can up the sand quotient for cacti and other succulents. If you’d rather not go to the trouble to source these media individually, you can select from Karnival’s collection of fertilizers and ready-mixed potting media.
6. Fill your pot:
Aerate your planting medium by raking it, or even tossing it in the air until it becomes light and crumbly. Fill your container up to the brim, leaving about 3cm from the top for watering
7. Plant away:
Plant your sapling firmly in the centre of the pot. Press the potting medium firmly around the base of the plant and water the pot lightly until you see the water draining out at the bottom.
Water your plant only when the top surface of the pot looks dry. Give the drain hole a poke with a pencil or stick to check for stagnating water. Don’t overwater your plant, though, especially if it’s a succulent or a cactus. You only need to water succulents a couple of times a month at the most.
Give your pot a pinch or two of home compost or vermicompost every three months or so. These super lightweight composters are perfect for home gardening and composting. Get some today!
(Edited by Vinayak Hegde)