Position To select the right plant you need to look at the position you will put it in. Indoor plants need some light – direct or indirect and to be warm or out of drafts. Light is the most important as plants cannot survive where the is little or no light – you must be able to cast a shadow or even low light plants will not survive. For windows that let in a lot of light or direct light you must have a plant that will not burn and requires high light. There is a free app you can get called Lux LightMeter. There a plenty of lists on the internet detailing high and low light plants Eg. Happy plants, Janet Craig or Zamia for low light. Ferns require medium light and succulents, ficus high light.
Happy Plant Janet Craig (great for a dark spot) Aglonema (pink or green leaves) Zanzibar Gem Pothos (Epipremnum varieties) Spathiphyllum (we like Blue moon) Sanseveria (mother in law’s tongue) Ficus varieties (Ficus Lyrata, Ficus Elastica) Kentia palm or Rhapis palm Succulents(high Light) Hanging, trailing for shelves use Pothos plants (devils Ivy) Narrow spaces, cane based Happy plant of Janet Craig More room Palm/Kentia, ficus lyrata Bowl plants – anything that you buy or propagate that is in a small pot, Aglonema, Zanzibar Gem (they will grow)
Purchase or Propagate Buy plants small and let them grow as it is cheaper, especially as you are learning to keep them alive. Propagating your own plants from cuttings, vegetative propagation, is fun and really cheap and doesn’t take any special skills. Take leaf or stem cuttings and put them into a pot or even a jar of water. Simple plants to propagate are Pothos by stem cutting, succulents by leaf cutting or division of ‘pups’.
Pots A decorative pot lets you match décor and your own sense of style. Practical issues. Not too big for the plant. Go up to 1 size larger no more. If plant in 350mm pot go to 300mm pot. Sealed pot so no leaks, or use a sealed liner, or if it does have holes a saucer
Potting & Potting mix You can make your own from basic ingredients – sand, peat moss, perlite, coir, but don’t use garden soil for indoor plants as it doesn’t drain and dry out easily. Most Australian potting mixes you can buy are decomposed pine bark, with additives such as fertilizer and water crystals. This is okay to begin with, any brand especially if it says for indoor use. When you repot plants you will freshen up the mix. Pot up plants when they are filling the existing pot or if they develop a solid root mass in the pot. Don’t disturb the roots too much as they will tear and rot and are very fragile in most indoor plants, unlike trees and shrubs.
Watering & Feeding How much water does my plant need? Simple rule is when they need to be dry before watering again. Most indoor plants are killed by over watering not under watering – often over watering floods the roots which die and the plant wilts so you give it more water. Quantity of water? Fill the top of the pot with water and let it drain into the potting mix. Big pot more water eg. 2 litres for 250 – 300mm kentia, small pot less water eg 500ml for 200 mm pot. Actually the volume you water isn’t the issue, it is the time between watering. If you give say 1 litre to a big palm it may dry out in a few days, so you water it again. We would aim to set up a watering cycle of no more than weekly. See equipment; water meter. Plants have to be fed if they are going to grow. Generally, we feed in the warmer months of Spring, Summer and Autumn, 3 times. Best feed is a soluble type that is watered into the plant. We use Manutec African Violet food as it doesn’t give off an odour. Organic, seaweed, fish emulsion types of feeds are more a tonic for the soil and may smell a little, but still okay. Rule is not to use too much feed, especially if the pot is sealed as salts will build up over time, causing leaf spots and stunted growth.
Moisture meter, takes the guess work out of when to water and let the plant dry out between watering.
Scissors or secateurs to trim plants, roots etc
Spray bottle for misting, cleaning and watering of succulents
Watering can, small so it’s easy to get the water into the pot, can just use a small drink bottle etc..