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Article

Preview: Houseplant Myths

If your outdoor gardening skills don’t seem to translate indoors, you might be laboring under one of these misconceptions

Fine Gardening - Issue 184

Admit it: you are dying to adopt something green and growing into your home. But you hesitate. Although you might be a whiz in the garden, somehow translating those skills onto the windowsill gives you a crippling case of cold feet. True, with lower light levels and furnaces blasting, indoor gardening certainly poses different challenges. Plus, rather than sharing the duties with Mother Nature, you are responsible for every facet of care. But adding nature into your home can spell the difference between debilitating cabin fever and happily hunkering down at home with your best botanical buddy (or buddies) by your side. And really, houseplants are not as scary as they seem. Here comes a series of common misconceptions about houseplants coupled with simple solutions. You can do it!

Myth:

I have a full-time job; therefore, I don’t have time to run relays with watering cans to quench the drinking habits of thirsty plants.

Reality: Although some people have a drinking problem, most houseplants do not. As long as you are home every three days or so for an hour, you can probably fit houseplant chores into your busy schedule. It’s true that houseplants depend solely on you to keep them quenched, but indoor plants are usually not as thirsty as plants grown in containers outdoors because of the lower amounts of light they receive. In fact, most indoor gardeners are guilty of overwatering houseplants in their zeal to play the good host. Don’t drench your houseplants—they don’t want or need constantly soggy soil. Check the soil before watering. Dig a finger just below the surface, and water your plants when the soil is dry to the touch. When you water, fill the pot to the rim with water and let it soak in. If a plant is constantly dry, check the root system and graduate to a larger container if necessary. (Skipping to a much larger pot is not the solution, though; overly generous repotting leads to perma-soggy soil).

 

To read the full article and see more houseplant myths busted, subscribe to receive your digital copy of the newest issue of Fine Gardening magazine. 

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