Container Plant Secrets



hand watering a plant with watering can

Pam Jacob – Driefontein Garden Centre

`The North wind doth blow and we shall  have snow, what will the Robins do then, poor things’, was an expression that I often heard as a child from my English  Grandpa and he would rub his hands together and declare himself `starved’, prompting a visitor to ask the family please to feed him.  Well, the South wind is certainly blowing and it feels like it should snow and I am so starved that I have a number of jerseys on.  And leggings. And scarves – hence the expression `starved’ meaning very, very cold.  We are so badly in need of the rain that is falling.

As our lives turn more to the warmth of indoor living, we need to take stock of what plants we have in our homes and their requirements.  Are they looking their best?  Are they root bound and in need of re-potting?  Have they been cared for?  Now I will let you into a little secret.

All the indoor plants that you see in every Supermarket and Nursery that come from `plant factories’ in Gauteng e.g.  Anthuriums; Orhids; Peace Lilies; African Violets; Begonias; Ficus and all the leafy plants available, are fed every time they are watered through fertigation systems i.e. irrigation to which fertilizer is added.  You buy them for their beauty, put them in a pot, either over or under water them and never  feed  them;  then say that such and such a plant is useless and just dies on you, when in truth you are not giving them their requirements.zamioculcas-zamiifolia-

“How often should I water” is the song most sung and difficult to answer as conditions vary from home to home and room to room, but I can tell you that over watering has to be the biggest killer of container plants with lack of nutrients following a close second.

Most indoor plants will enjoy being stood in a bowl of water from time to time to which liquid or water soluble fertilizer has been added.  Allow the plant to soak up its needs and then return the plant to its regular spot.  If for some reason, you have a plant that is too huge to move and you don’t want water to go through and stain carpets or tiling, you will need to adjust the watering and feeding by giving small amounts more regularly so that the water does not seep through but is utilised by the roots.  This applies to all container planting whether in the home or on patios.

Good buys for the home are always Anthuriums which can go into the garden at a later stage and are never without flowers; the glorious large leafed plants such as Monstera delicious; Philodendron `Hope’; P.Xanadu or Zamiocalcus zamifolia which put on a beautiful show in large containers or baskets; Moth Orchids will delight you with their flowers for weeks on end and do well when attached to trees after flowering.  Just pop into your local Nursery and see for yourself all the options available to make your home a brighter place this winter season.

Driefontein Garden Centre Tel. 032 525 7748

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