This article provides tips for planning an indoor garden. Kinds of potted plants to consider and potted plant placement within the home.

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Create Paradise Indoors With Potted Plants
by Carolyn Pararas-Carayannis

Search terms: indoor planting gardening tips, gardening, indoor planting, potted plants, gardening tips, hobbies, potted plant placement.

With a little forethought and planning, the creation and upkeep of an indoor garden can be an enjoyable, rewarding experience with minimal toil.

A home filled with potted plants is a home that radiates an aggregate of warmth, beauty and appeal. Plants can "spice" up the kitchen, augment the aesthetics of an area, enhance decor and cleanse the air. Odoriferous varieties and those with bold visual qualities are capable of evoking subliminal, sensual experiences and emotional boosts for occupants.

Too often, species-selection and ongoing maintenance are thought to be overwhelming, labor-intensive tasks. Plants, like humans and animals, are delicate living organisms. Species are unique with their own sets of prepackaged genetics. For the caregiver, this translates into distinctive, innate "likes" and "dislikes" of the variety. Most of us know, without being horticulturists, plants thrive when grown, cultivated and cared for in accordance with their "likes" and "dislikes", precise requirements as dictated by the species.

If this sounds like a lot of work, it can be. But with forethought and planning, the creation and upkeep of a species-rich indoor garden can be an enjoyable, rewarding experience with minimal toil.

Points To Ponder - General Considerations

The selection of species to adorn your home is dependant upon many factors, but a realistic self-examination, prior to consulting an expert from a local nursery, is vital. Intent, commitment and proper placement within the home are key.

What purpose will your indoor garden fulfill? What is your intent, your desire? Do you want a hobby? To grow culinary spices? Augment the aesthetics of an area? Enhance decor? Cleanse the air? Control the flow of positive chi via the discipline of Feng Shui?

Know your objective. Have a plan.

If it is a hobby you desire, have you have come to terms with the extra time, energy and expertise required for the task? The art of Bonsai, raising orchids or African violets, and cultivating hybrid floral species not only require a knowledgeable and devoted caregiver, but special placement within the home. Is your intended site adequate? Orchids and African violets, for example, thrive in humidity. Will you manually mist? Machine humidify? Or do you already have a suitable room with adequate light and humidity?

Robust plants spring from seeds of commitment. Caring for and learning about the "likes and "dislikes" of your chosen species is part of the process. Are you committed? Is your commitment realistic?

Perhaps a horticultural hobby is not what you're seeking, but the thought of a windowsill culinary herb garden intrigues you. You love to cook and enjoy using a variety of fresh herbs in recipes. A sunny, draft-free windowsill is all that's required. Most herb species grow well in pots and thrive with minimal care. As functional decorative's suitable for harvest, most are aromatic and pleasing to the eye.

Chives, basil, lavender, parsley, mint and thyme are good selections for windowsills, since they don't grow too wide or too tall. Lofty, fuller species can double as ornamental accents in decorative pots and be placed in alternative, draft-free locations. If adequate natural light is not available, augment with sufficient fluorescent light and they will flourish.

Spicy globe basil, lemon balm, savory, and oregano are excellent choices for decorative, hanging baskets. With good sun exposure, certain vegetable species also thrive indoors.

Be creative. Enthusiasm and excitement about a project redefines "work" into an effortless, enjoyable experience. Are you passionate about your undertaking?

For those of you with less complex intentions, read on.

Whether your desire is to breathe life and color into a room, cleanse the air, augment the aesthetics of an area or enhance a room's decor, the amount of time you plan to commit for care and maintainence, as well as your intended area of placement, will govern species selection.

Have a good idea of the time you are willing to commit for ongoing care.

Higher maintenance species are those that produce continual debris (i.e. spent blooms, dried leaves), are fast growing (in need of frequent repotting and pruning), have a narrow range of humidity tolerance and may require misting, frequent watering, fertilizing, nutrient supplementation and pest remediation. Whereas easy-care species tend to thrive well on their own with minimal attention. For the most part they tend to be slower growing (less transplanting & pruning), pest resistant, nutrient stable, adaptable to a wider range of light conditions & humidity, and require less frequent watering and fertilizer.

Assess your proposed site.

Are the growing requirements for your chosen variety compatible with placement area? Is enough space available to accommodate the varieties' physical attributes over time? Are there persistant hot or cold drafts? Does the species produce debris or exudate that may cause damage to flooring or furniture?

When matching ornamentals to particular indoor sites, location often becomes synonymous with the type, quality and intensity of light available. Take note of the type, quality and intensity of light that is present throughout the day.

Is the area predominantly dim, shadowy or diffuse, bright all day with direct morning or afternoon sunlight, or indirectly well-illuminated throughout most of the daylight hours? Is the light natural or artificial? Plants photosynthesize during the day and respire at night. Will there be at least eight hours of darkness for respiration to take place?

Species that thrive under dim or low light conditions are very efficient at absorbing photons (light energy) from their environment. Peace lilies, with their dark-green glossy, elongated leaves and attractive white flowers, are very suitable for wide-spread interior use. Not only do they flourish under fluorescent and/or low, natural light conditions, but when placed in strategic draft-free, well-ventilated areas around the home (or office), they excel at cleansing indoor air by reducing the amount of circulating benzene, trichloroethylene and formaldehyde, common indoor air pollutants.

Low light species that have a greater ability to regulate leaf characteristics, such as size and pigment colors, adapt well to a wider range of light intensities. Spider plants, golden Porthos ivy, snake plants, rubber plants, Chinese bamboo and Chinese evergreens are resilient, easy-care varieties that thrive well in low to medium-bright environments. Similar to peace lilies, strategic placement around the home in draft-free, well-ventilated areas helps to rid indoor air of a variety of volatile organic chemical (voc) pollutants.

Specific "how-to" information regarding house plant use to reduce indoor air pollution see: http://www.colormegreenco.com/NASA/nasa.htm .

Spider plants and golden Porthos ivy overflowing in decorative hanging baskets make striking accents in any area. Tall upright species, such as the snake and rubber plants, Chinese "lucky" bamboo and Chinese evergreen, breathe life and color into an area housed in artistic standings pots. Often, Chinese "lucky" bamboo is displayed as an intricately braided masterpiece instead of a bundle of single stalks.

Can you visualize how your intended selections might look?

Chinese "lucky" bamboo employed by practitioners of Feng Shui is said to enhance positive energy (chi) in an area.

Can you imagine or "feel" how your selections might transform the area? Does the mood comply with your intent?

Consider the sensory esthetics of your choices. Odoriferous varieties and those with bold visual qualities, or both, are capable of evoking subliminal, sensual experiences and emotional boosts for occupants.

Bright colored leaf ornamentals and/or blooming species that produce long lasting, odorless flowers such as: orchards, cacti and succulents are great for visual explosions of color. Be daring. Augment visual aesthetics with varieties that provide both visual and olfactory stimulation. Fragrant herbs such as basil and lavender, intoxicating star jasmine, odiferous geraniums and aromatic orchards are good selections for this purpose.

Bright, indirect sunlit areas are perfect for: flowering plant varieties such as: African violets, orchids, ornamental peppers, fire lilies and Begonia; multicolor, pigmented leaf varieties such as: Caladiums, Dieffembachia, Poinsettas and, yes, golden Porthos ivy, Chinese "lucky" bamboo and spider plants; plus a variety of succulents, cacti and indoor palms.

Conclusion

Artistic, interesting indoor gardens incorporate a diversity of species. Be creative and bold, fill your home with a variety of unique and interesting plant life potted in permeable pots set in decorative display receptacles.

Choose hardy, easy-care varieties for minimal upkeep and maintenance. Avoid sites with hot or cold drafts and/or prolonged, intense direct sun exposure. For planting, use recommended potting mix or soil blends with appropriate moisture retentive additives for species. Note water & fertilizer requirements. Keep leaves dust-free and check periodically for pests, microbial disease and nutritional deficiencies.

Most of all, have fun. With forethought and planning, the creation and upkeep of your indoor garden should be an enjoyable, rewarding experience with minimal toil.

info-now.org/GardenTips provides indoor planting gardening tips for planning an indoor garden. Kinds of potted plants to consider and potted plant placement within the home.

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Article Citation

Pararas-Carayannis, Carolyn (2008). Create Paradise Indoors with Potted Plants. Info-Now.Org Website: http://info-now.org/GardenTips/GardenIndoorParadise.php .

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