Container gardening is a great passion and hobby for young and old, a great way to change the mood and interior of your home, and a simple and cost-effective way to tap into a collection of organic container foods.
Indulge your green fingers with these container gardening essentials! Learn to grow amazing fruits, vegetables, herbs, plants and flowers.
7 Essential Steps to Great Container Gardening
1. Perfect the Lighting
2. Pick the Right Soil
3. Keep an Eye on Humidity
4. Water as required
5. Monitor Temperature
6. Learn to Pick the Right Container
7. Food & Nutrients
If you have a dark corner at home or your home does not receive much natural light, use a 150 watt incandescent bulb about 4 – 5 feet away during the day. An even easier way to get some light is to buy a plant stand equipped with a built in lighting system. This is a great way to keep container gardens anywhere around the home. And remember light is only important during the day! Plants absorb sunlight and carbon dioxide to create food via photosynthesis. As such light is a very important factor. Try and keep your container plants and flowers near a natural source of light during the day.
Jungle plants need about 90% humidity, sub-tropical about 50%, temperate zone plants (such as North America and Europe) require 30 – 40% and desert / cacti about 5 %. The humidity required depends on the nature of the plant.
Except for desert plants such as cacti, excess humidity is not often a problem. Cheap humidity indicators are great at monitoring moisture in the air, however obvious signs of low humidity levels are dry topsoil and wilting leaves. Low humidity levels can be quickly rectified by a spray on the leaves once or twice a day, and by placing a pot on a shallow try of water and small pebbles.
Tropical plants can handle a minimum of 65 F at night, sub-tropical plants about 55-60 F and temperate zone plants about 45 F.The exception to this are the desert plants such as cacti, which have adapted to the plunging evening temperatures of the desert. Jungle plants thrive at higher temperatures, temperate zone plants thrive at between 90 – 100 F. Container plants, flowers and edibles are able to handle relative lower temperatures at night, as long as they are not too low i.e. near freezing.
A ph of 5.5 is ideal for jungle plants, as the vibrant organic environment makes them more conducive to leaf mold and moss, and therefore a more acidic environment. A good potting ratio for jungle plants is :
25% organically enriched garden loam 50% leaf mold 25% coarse sand or compost
A therefore more comfortable ph of near neutral i.e. 7.0 is better for temperate zone plants, as they have less organic material to cope with.
A slightly more alkaline soil is more appropriate for desert plants.
The Right Containers
The material from which the container is made – will affect the rate at which water is sucked out of the soil. Some container gardening enthusiasts can’t stop raving about clay pots, as they remove water at a generally faster rate, preventing water clogging of the roots, and keeping the pot cool. What ever the material , just make sure that their are water holes at the bottom, or material at the base which raises the pot and allows excess water to drain.
add a bit of sophistication and pizazz to your home by choosing a variety of container colours, materials and styles. Explore container gardening ideas and get creative!
The amount of water required by a container plant, flower or edible will depend on it’s make up and size, and environmental factors such as temperature, humidity, and type of soil, as well as the nature of the container it’s self.
Always check the surface of the soil, and about 1 – 2 inches deep to determine moisture levels and top up as required. Too much water will drown your roots, and too little will dehydrate your plant.
To prevent excess moisture loss, keep a layer of rich top soil or moss on the surface of the soil.
Avoid using cold water when watering your containers. The cold water maybe to much for their delicate systems, so opt for room temperature instead.
Food & Nutrients
If the soil is nutrient rich, additional food may not be required, however a little extra may be just what the doctor ordered. Pelleted granules can be added about 1 -2 inches under the soil surface. Slow release plant-food granules can be added to the compost or potting mix in the recommended quantity before filling the container, or at the sprinkled on the surface of the soil.
Now it’s your turn to grow great container gardening food, flowers and edibles with the 7 Step Process.