27 Apr

Top Tips for Keeping Your Indoor Plants Healthy

Keeping your indoor plants healthy and fresh all through the year is not difficult at all. Whether you are growing an exotic orchid, a tropical foliage plant, a miniature succulent or large specimen plant, general rules for keeping your indoor plants healthy and fresh are simple and universal.

Keeping Your Indoor Plants Healthy

Select the Right Spot

Provide your indoor plants with the right spot. Not at all plants have same requirements. Some like prolonged exposure to the sun, some like indirect light. Some indoor plants can thrive in low lights whereas some benefit seasonal outdoor exposure. Make sure that you understand light, moisture and temperature needs of your plants and then provide them with the right indoor spot. Do not change location of indoor plants frequently. Plants that are moved frequently spend most of their energy adjusting to their new spot.

Protect Indoor Plants from Direct Exposures

Most indoor plants do not like direct exposure to harsh sunlight in the summer season. Do not put them on windowsill or near a window with direct sunlight during most part of the day. Avoid placing your indoor plants near radiators, heaters or air conditioners. Extreme and frequent change in environment is not good for indoor plants.

Monitor Temperature and Moisture Level

Use a temperature and moisture gauge to keep a check on indoor temperature and moisture level especially when you are using humidifiers, heaters or dehumidifiers.

STARRICH Portable Mini LCD Digital Thermometer Hygrometer Air Temperature and Humidity Meter Moisture Mete for Household

You can buy a quality device like STARRICH Thermometer, Air Temperature and Humidity meter to keep a check on indoor climate. Most indoor plants do not prefer extremely dry or moist conditions. If you are growing plants that prefer moisture, you can group them together to raise moisture level around them. It is a good practice to group plants with similar moisture and temperature requirements.

Provide Your Indoor Plants with the Right Pot

Repot your indoor plants into larger pots every two year or so. This will ensure that plants get enough room to grow their roots.

Water Your Indoor Plants Carefully

Indoor plants usually require less watering. A good practice is to allow the soil to dry completely before each watering. Water generously before next watering. Make sure that your pots have sufficient drainage at the bottom. This will prevent the soil from bogging and keep the roots properly aerated.

Act in Time

Keep a close eye on your plants and do not procrastinate if you notice something unusual such as pests, falling buds, or withering leaves. Be proactive and solve the problem as early as possible. If a plant infested with pests, immediately separate the affected plants. Natural and organic pesticides are better than chemicals and are safe for children and pets. Some organic insect killers such as EcoSmart Botanical Insect Killer can be purchased online.

 EcoSmart Botanical Insect Killer

Allow Your Indoor Plants to Rest

Allow your indoor plants to rest during the dormant months of winter. During this time, reduce watering and move your indoor plants to a little cooler place. Do not fertilize or repot them during dormant months.

12 Apr

9 Examples of a Beautiful Sunroom Garden

A sunroom also known as a solarium is an extension of a house that provides protection from weather yet allows good exposure to the sun and the landscape outside. Mostly popular in colder climates, a sunroom serves multiple purposes:

  • As a warm place on sunny days, you can use your sunroom as a patio for enjoying breakfasts
  • During freezing months in winter, you can bring plants from your garden inside the sunroom and protect them from frost and freezing
  • You can also use a sunroom to grow plants that cannot be grown outside in the garden during the winter season
Sunroom or Solarium Garden

 

With introduction of many durable, cheaper and better materials, it is not expensive to build a solarium or sunroom. Modern materials are cheaper as compared to traditional sunrooms made of glass and aluminum. Sunrooms made with modern materials and techniques also address issues of leakage and climate control. You can easily provide ventilation, control moisture level, and temperature and maintain an ideal climate for growing almost all types of indoor and outdoor plants traditionally grown outside in the garden.

Useful Link: How to Build a Successful Sunroom by Steve Maxwell

Examples of Beautiful and Practical Sunroom Gardens

This design by Dominick Tringali Architects that shows how practical a beautiful a sunroom garden can be. 
A solarium can be a tropical garden too. Photo by CKA PARIS 
Sunroom can be used to grow almost any type of plant in colder climates – Photo by Reliance Design Build
You can even make a zen garden in your solarium – Photo by Flavin Architects
A solarium can be as useful as a living room – Photo by Conservatory Craftsmen
Call it a patio, a living room or an indoor garden – Photo by B. Jane Gardens 
Grow your favorite plants all year round in a solarium garden – Photo by Jonathan Miller Architecture & Design
A lovely solarium garden. Photo by Elsie Interiors 
A solarium can be built to practically utilize unused outdoor space – Photo by Tych & Walker Architects
22 May

Medinilla magnifica, the Philippines Orchid

Medinilla magnifica (Buy seeds online) is a tropical evergreen shrub known for its attractive and unusual flowers. The pendulous flowers grow in clusters surrounded by beautiful pink bracts making it a nice outdoor as well as indoor plant. Broad, shiny green leaves retain ornamental value of the plant when it is not blooming.

Medinilla magnifica

How to Grow Medinilla magnifica

Medinilla magnifica (Buy seeds online) comes from tropical regions of the Philippine where it prefers warm and humid climate. The same conditions should be provided to this lovely bloomer when growing in your garden. As a general rules, grow it in a well-drained and rich soil. You can use any orchid mix to grow your plant. Water it regularly during spring and summer and reduce it to minimum during winter. If you are growing it in colder climates, move your plant indoors where it receives bright sunlight. Mist leaves occasionally.
Philippines Orchid

Flowers appear in spring and last throughout the summer season. Flowers of Medinilla magnifica are small are grow in drooping clusters covered with large pink bracts.

Medinilla magnifica can grow up to 3 or 4 meters however you can contain its growth by keeping it in smaller pots, if required. You can also prune it back after each flowering season. Propagation is usually done from cuttings.

The plant is also known as Pink Lantern, Chandelier Tree or the Philippine Orchid.

25 May

Best Indoor Plants for Air Purification

Indoor plants have multiple roles to play. They purify the air, add color to a dull office, and get you in the mood for work. Back in the 1980’s, decorating offices with houseplants became a trend across North America and Europe. Its goal? To improve the air quality in a room full of people with cost-saving benefits in mind.

Indoor plants are natural air purifiers that can help alleviate the symptoms of migraine, asthma, brain fog, and hay fever caused by an allergic reaction to certain pollutants. To help you get started, read some of the best indoor plants for air purification below:

4 Best Natural Air Cleaners

1. English Ivy

Don’t let its invasiveness fool you, because when installed indoors, English Ivy plants can actually remove traces of formaldehyde in the air. It requires little maintenance and it grows fast vertically, which makes it a good ornament to spacious offices. However, it’s a part-shade and part-sun plant so make sure to this English Ivy still gets a bit of sun exposure.

2. Jade Plant

The best indoor plant for your office desk, Jade plant has an amazing longevity that may as well surpass you in this lifetime. It is a flowering plant with symbolic meanings such as friendship, money, long-life, and good luck, based on feng-shui principles. What’s more, Jade plants can thrive under medium-light conditions and they need not be watered constantly.

Indoor Plant - Jade Plant

3. Peace Lily

Another flowering plant distinctly known for its seashell-like spathes. It is a low-light plant that can remove benzene, formaldehyde, and other volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that may originally come from cleaning products. However, do note that its poisonous leaves can harm your kids and your pets. It is advisable to place it only in an area that is off-limits to these potential victims.

4. Boston Fern

Popular among household owners, Boston fern has been proven effective in eliminating xylene, formaldehyde, and benzene pollutants circulating indoors. However, growing this type of plant species requires a bit of work like feeding them monthly during the rainy season and weekly during the dry season. Nevertheless, when done correctly, Boston ferns could help you purify the air you breathe significantly.

Being a natural air purifier, potted plants are definitely cheaper than air-conditioning units with air cleaning capability. And this is not a new concept in this day and age. Many people have just not given much attention to it until NASA and some scientific studies confirmed recently that plants can indeed filter out some toxins and pollutants in the air.

05 Mar

How to use Bonsai Plants in Home Interior

Bonsai make excellent ornamental plants – not only because of their unusual size and formation but also because they require less room to fit in to any home interior or outdoor design scheme. Most bonsai are low on maintenance needs. When provided with appropriate spot where it can receive sufficient light, an established bonsai will only require routine hydration and prunning.

Browse these excellent examples of the use of bonsai in home interior.

26 Jan

Top Tips for Arranging Indoor Plants

Indoor plants can dramatically improve aura and ambiance of your home. They add a touch of liveliness and freshness to indoor living. However, selecting and arranging plants in indoor settings can be a bit challenging. Not all indoor plants have similar requirements nor do they grow in the same pattern. Some indoor plants can survive long spells of drought and neglect while some require continuous care. Some indoor plants will look nice in an open living room and some will look good in smaller spaces. Some indoor plants will live happily in dark corners and some will be continuously looking for bright light. Today, I am not talking about selecting the right indoor plants for your home. My focus today is how to arrange indoor plants in your home.

Good arrangement of indoor plants not only uplifts your interior but also affects positively on the health of your indoor plants.

I will start this post with some quick tips on arranging indoor plants.

Arrange large plants in open areas

Large plants like Ficus lyrata and Philodendrons look good when placed in open living areas. When placed in small rooms, they take up too much space and attention of the onlookers. Use small potted plants in smaller spaces like bedrooms or study rooms.

Choose supplementing colors

Arrange colorful plants wisely. Make sure that their colors supplement color scheme of your interior design. Use contrasting colors when you want to make your home look bright and bold.

Create groups of supplementing plants

Some indoor plants have nice foliage, some have attractive forms, some have variegating colors and some of them have interesting textures. Group them together to create a dramatic effect. Plants that look similar often lose their looks when placed in a group.

Create depth with indoor plants

Instead of lining indoor plants, arrange them in a close group with taller plants in the background and smaller ones in the front. Use tables, stands, windowsills or other furniture to create varying heights.

Use accent plants

If you have one large plant, make it centre of attention. Large ficus, yucca, palm can be used as stand-alone accent plants. Provide them with a nice pot and place them in a prominent place.

Add unusual forms in your indoor arrangements

Many succulent and bonsai plants come in unusual shapes and forms. Get benefit of their eccentric and unusual formation and place them strategically in your indoor settings.

With these few tips, I would like to present some nice examples of indoor plant arrangement.

11 Dec

Unique and Unusual Indoor Gardens

Gardens are usually associated with outdoors and most hobbyist believe that indoor gardening is limited to putting a couple of accent plants in living rooms or table tops. However, with creativity and a little planning, it is possible to grow a complete garden indoors.

Today’s post showcases some unique and unusual ideas for beautiful indoor gardens. You will notice that growing indoor gardens does not has to be an expensive project. You do not really need to build a greenhouse or control your indoor climate. In fact, you can plan and design nice indoor gardens within your existing premises.

Browse these unusual and unique indoor gardens and see how you can make a little oasis in your house.

Ideas for Beautiful Indoor Gardens

Indoor Garden
Beautiful Indoor Garden
Patio Garden
Indoor Garden Bed
Indoor Garden
Indoor Zen Garden
Indoor Garden in Barhroom
Indoor Gardens
Patio Gardens
Traditional Indoor Garden
26 Sep

Ornamental Foliage Plant: Codiaeum, the Garden Croton

Codiaeum is a genus of lovely ornamental plants known for their attractive and colorful foliage. The genus originally belongs to Malaysia and the Pacific islands but grown widely in most tropical and subtropical climates across the globe. Only one species Codiaeum variegatum is cultivated and sold as outdoor ornamental plant.

Codiaeum

Codiaeum/ Image by Ryan Somma

Codiaeum variegatum is characterized by its colorful and variegated foliage. A large number of cultivars with different variegation patterns are easily available at garden nurseries and are usually described as ‘Garden Croton’ because of close resemblance to Croton.

Garden Crotons have leathery, colourful leaves. These plants prefer rich, moist soil and a warmer climate. Most Garden Crotons benefit from bright sunlight and develop stronger foliage colors and variegation under sunny conditions. They can be grown as evergreen shrubs as well as outdoor specimen plants. In colder climates, they can be grown in a greenhouse. For best results, provide them with a humid environment.

Codiaeum variegatum

Codiaeum variegatum/ Image by PL Tandon

Garden Crotons are easily propagated from stem cuttings.

16 Jul

Small and Lovely: Fittonia, the Mosaic Plant

Fittonia is a small genus of low-growing perennials that are usually grown for their lovely and colorful foliage. These small plants come from tropical rainforest of the South America where they grow under shade and receive higher level of moisture. Therefore, it is important to imitate the same growing conditions when growing as houseplants. Buy Fittonia online

Fittonia, the Mosaic plant

Fittonia, the Mosaic plant/ Image by Brandon Shea

In colder climates, Fittonias can be grown in small greenhouses whereas in hotter climates, they will do well indoors.

Commonly known as Mosaic Plants, most species of Fittonia are characterized by showy and colorful foliage of oval shape. The lush green leaves are made prominent by white, silver or pink veins. These colorful plants can be grown as creeping ground covers or small trailing plants that require shaded spot, regular watering, and average temperature of 70 F.

Propagation is easy from leaf-tip cutting. The most popular and commonly available species is Fittonia argyroneura which offers a number of lovely verities including: Mini White, Red Anne, Superba, Titanic and White Anne.

17 Apr

Ornamental and Unusual Succulent Shrub: Alluaudia procera

If you are looking for a striking, unusual and low-maintenance ornamental plant, consider Alluaudia procera – a really striking succulent shrub that can be used as outdoor as well as indoor ornamental plant.

Alluaudia procera

Alluaudia procera/ Image by Natalie Tapson

Alluaudia procera or African Ocotillo, as it is commonly known among gardeners, belongs to a small genus of succulent shrubs that resemble Fouquieria and Crown of Thorns in their structure and growing habit. A typical Alluaudia produces a tall central stem covered with spines and small deciduous leaves. From the central stem appear stout vertical branches. Small white or yellow flowers grow along these branches in large clusters. Leaves usually fall in winter and come back during warm and humid summer. Alluaudia procera can grow up to 3 meters tall indoors and as tall as 18 meters in its native habitat.

Because of its unusual shape, Alluaudia procera makes a nice specimen plant especially when grown in small groups. The plant grows well when provided with bright sunlight, and well-drained porous soil. The plant does not need much watering and is able to survive long spells of drought.

Alluaudia procera is easily propagated from cuttings.