Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Keeping House Plants Alive

I used to be one of those people who killed any plant I ever tried to grow, indoors and outdoors - I even killed mint which is almost unheard of! Over the years I have learned some simple guidelines to follow, mainly by watching nature and reading a few sustainable gardening books too. Now my plants are kickin' it!
Here's some tips that will help you keep your house plants alive!
1. Try and start with organic or ecologically grown plants. The ones purchased at the big box stores are like buying a heroine addict who's gonna get fast worn out and go into shock when the blast of unnatural fertilizers run out. It's near impossible to save these pesticide laden plants once death is near... but if you already have some re-pot them right away with some compost dirt & a non plastic container.

2. Build an Empire. Literally build a little eco world in your pot, with pine cones, leaves, cut grass, decaying sticks, rocks and dead flowers. You should get some little bugs living in there who come with the stuff listed above that will constantly be feeding on the decaying matter & turning into compost to slowly fertilize the plant. Adding worms is good too - but I once had a weird mass suicide of worms where they all jumped out the pots at the same time and dried up over night! Poor worms!

3. Good dirt! Mixing some yummy dirt is essential. Using some dark black mushroom compost, chicken poop and sandy soil to hold water is pretty ideal across the board, especially for most common house plants.

4. Don't water with chlorinated tap water. Potted plants do not have the filtering range of outdoor plants and all chemicals will eventually build up in the pot making it toxic to the plant. Use some sort of filtered water (which we all need to have for our health too!)

5. Use a healthy pot. Sometimes plastic is just not breathable for a plant, and likewise some decorative containers have paints or glazes that are hazardous to the plant. If you are growing indoor herbs to use in cooking, it is essential to not use a crappy possibly toxic pot! Go with Terra Cotta or some other natural element that gets good circulation.

Happy growing this winter season!


Susie said...

I'm a big advocate of using filtered water on the plants, even my outside water feeding the garden hoses is filtered. You have just shamed me into getting a bunch of plants transplanted into terra cotta pots-- it's been on the To Do list forever. I'm on the job!

Colleen said...

Great ideas, lady! I never thought of that about filtered water, and it makes so much sense to put other plant matter to decay into fertilizer. We don't really have indoor plants here (other than basil growing in water) since our yard is so lush, but we'll have them again when back in NYC.

The Oko Box said...

I started doing indoor plants here, cause there is WINTER (which there isnt in Baton Rouge) - but also to cleanse the air inside the house. Spider plants were tested by the EPA and NASA, and were found to even clean smoke out of the air in 24-48 hours. Awesome!