Are you one of the budding gardeners? Is it difficult for you to decide which plants to start with? Do you face problems in managing your plants and wondering how to take care of each of them? In this blog post, I have tried to answer some of the very basic questions that we all face when we think of having our own garden. I have also suggested some varieties of plants that are easy to grow in an area with less or no sunlight.
It instills a feeling of freshness and life when we look around the greenery and blooming flowers. Since we cannot always be on holidays to get that emotion, we think of having our own pots full of life. As a matter of fact, a majority of us who live in cities do not really have a piece of land to grow plants and trees. Hence, we decide to keep some flora mixed with exotic varieties in our balconies. But we do not have that amount of time to take care of our plants regularly. Also, if we are budding gardeners, we don’t really know how to take care of them. As a result, our plants die gradually. In this post, I have come up with 7 crucial tips for budding gardeners that can help you increase the longevity of your plants.
Tips for Budding Gardeners
Know the Nature and Amount of available Sunlight
It is very important to know how much sunlight is captured by the place you wish to keep your plants in. I would suggest you to not really count early morning hours (roughly 7-10Am) when the light is low. The plants that need sunlight, need strong sunlight. Therefore, the morning hours won’t actually contribute to their food requirements. Anything between 10 Am- 4 Pm (this would slightly differ in summers) should contribute to your calculation of sunlight while selecting your plants.
How to Select your Perfect Plant
After you know the hours of sunlight you have in your balcony, you are in a good position to select your plants. Plants are generally categorised into four sections- Indoor plants, shade loving plants, plants that need partial sun and plants that need full sun. Your nursery guy should be able to suggest which ones you can keep in your selected place. However, my suggestion for all the budding gardeners is that you do some research and reading about the plants that you are interested in.
Also, look around your areas to see what people have grown under what conditions. Start with very few plants because initially, it may seem to be a tedious task to remember individual needs of all the plants. You will gradually remember everything.
Know your Plant’s Life Cycle
Before selecting your plant, you may want to know if it is a seasonal one or can be grown round the year. A seasonal plant will eventually die at the end of the season. Remember there’s a difference between seasonal blooming and seasonal life of a plant. A majority of the plants blooms in a particular season, out of which some stay alive and bloom in the next season and so on. There are also some varieties that bloom over the year such as Rose and varieties of Jasmine. Apart from this, some plants can only tolerate up to a specific degree of temperature, therefore, they need special care in extreme (hot and cold) weather conditions.
Ensure Best Soil Composition
Soil should not be a big concern if you buy your plants along with pots. However, if you wish to plant those in your own pots, you should have some knowledge about the basic soil compositions; which one is best for your plant. For some varieties of plants, it does not really matter but for some, it is a life and death issue e.g. Areca palm needs clay and Rose prefers a good portion of sand.
Know the Water Requirement of your Plants
Water is the second most important factor after sunlight to be taken into consideration in a plant’s life. The amount and frequency of watering also depend on each of the above-mentioned factors including sunlight, weather, and soil type. You need to also know the nature and water requirement of your plant. Some plants need continuously moist soil while some can tolerate drought-like situations; some need to be watered at a fixed time while some are fine with sporadic watering.
The type of your flowerpot also contributes in deciding upon the amount of water. Do not over water because it leads to fungus and damage of roots leading to the death of your plant.
Select the Right Flower Pot
We can find a variety of flower pots ranging from mud, cement, ceramic, stone, plastic and glass. While we all have this tendency to go for aesthetics. I would suggest you to select a flower pot depending on the moisture a plant needs in its soil. Rule of thumb is that water will evaporate fast in mud pot than any other material. Be wise and whatever material you chose should have proper water drainage at the bottom.
Compost – Added Vitamin for your Plants
Compost is like the added vitamin for your plants. It is important for growth, good health and flowering of your plant. A variety of composts are available in the nurseries. My suggestion is to go for organic compost that is also available in different forms and brands. Keep a check on the amount of compost you put in summer because it produces heat. Like many other factors, the nature of your plant will help you to determine the amount and frequency of compost you should use.
There are few other things that budding gardeners need to take into consideration while selecting and taking care of your plants.
- If you have small children and pets at home, it is recommended that you read about each plant you decide to take home. Some plants are poisonous, for example, Croton and Silver Queen.
- There are plants that are very sensitive; if you change their position, you can see them drooping and even dropping leaves. Hamelia is one such plant.
Considering that we do not really get enough sunlight in our balconies, I am suggesting some plants that are strong and likely to grow easily.
Suggested plants for budding gardeners
- Pedilanthus tithymaloides (also known as Devil’s backbone plant),
- Spanish thyme (Mexican mint),
- Syngonium Podophyllum (arrowhead vine),
- Crassula Ovata (Jade plant),
- Asparagus densiflorus,
- Aglaonema silver queen,
- Wandering Jew,
These are some plants that I have grown without any trouble in my balcony in Delhi, India. My experience and experimentation with a variety of plants in last two years have resulted in my current level of understanding around plants and gardening. I hope this post helps all the budding gardeners to start well. I would like to know your experiences and learning you have had in your journey with plants in different parts of the country and world. Please feel free to comment, question and share your thoughts.