Going green with indoor gardening containers

margaretWhen the weather gets warmer, one thinks of spring and gardening.  Those who don’t have available space to plant a garden can still go green by starting an indoor garden in recycled containers.

Need a little inspiration to get your garden started in containers but don’t have a lot of extra cash? Go green by using containers from recycled household items, like tea kettles, colanders, vases, antiques, and large tin cans. You can haunt yard sales and second hand stores or ask restaurant owners to save empty metal or plastic containers for you. Here are some creative ideas for growing an indoor garden.

Choose your plants wisely

If buying plants, choose the plants for your container garden that will work with your lifestyle.  You don’t like to water? Grow succulents and other drought resistant plants.  Want to grow herbs for cooking?  Place herb seeds or transplant bedding plants into pot soiling in small containers. Then place these containers on window sills on the south or west side of your home or apartment.

Want a more formal look for an entryway? Choose large containers in classic shapes and plant them with luxurious ferns and eye catching plants. Whatever your style, there are indoor plants that can work for your lifestyle. You just have to do a little research and experimentation to find what works.

Before going to a garden shop, decide what plants you want and then find out if they need sun or shade or anything in between.  Plant tags are critical. They will tell you how big your plant will get, how much light, water and food it needs, and how much care it will need. The tag will also tell you about your plant’s “habit,” which means its shape and how it will grow. This is important when considering your container design.

Use good quality potting soil and ample drainage

The more potting soil you use, the more water retention you will have which will give you a much great margin for error when watering and feeding your plants.  Don’t take chances; fill your containers with a good quality potting soil.

Having ample drainage can be a matter of life and death for your plants.  When there aren’t enough holes for water to drain out of your pot, your soil may become too wet and cause the roots of the plant to die. You can often increase drainage by drilling, punching or carving large holes. It is easiest to punch holes in plastic containers.  Then place the filled, punched containers inside decorative planters.

Fertilizer your plants

Most potting soil has no accessible nutrients for your plants. The majority of plants will need fertilizer added to the soil in order to thrive. Mix a slow release fertilizer into a potting mix. To do this, either mix up a big batch of potting soil with fertilizer in a bucket, or fill a pot with potting soil and then mix in the fertilizer.

Evaluate Your Light 

Many people wildly overestimate how much sun their containers get. While you can find a great plant for almost any amount of light, you have to know how much light your container will get before you choose your indoor plants.  To figure out how much direct light your container will get, place it where you want it and then time how long the sun hits it.

Container gardening does take time and attention.  If you use recycled containers and start your plants from seeds, it doesn’t have to be expensive. You will discover that some plants with thrive and some will not.  When plants thrive, however, indoor gardening becomes exciting, rewarding and endlessly interesting.

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