Gardeners come all ways. There are some that live and breathe being in the garden all day, working among plants and nature, even in marginal weather. A day without that experience to them counts as a day wasted. There are others who are likely to get their hands in the dirt occasionally in the spring and summer when the weather gets warm and sunny. Some are members of garden clubs and horticultural societies and love being with their “tribe.”
Regardless of how you enjoy this popular hobby, I would bet that indoor gardening appeals to you. Maybe you bring in your tender perennials this time of the year or you are a regular “houseplant person.” That would make you part of the hot indoor gardening trend that developed about two years ago and shows no signs of slowing down. How do we know it’s trendy? Pinterest searches for indoor plants are up over 80 percent, and the National Gardening Association reported 30 percent of all U.S. households bought at least one houseplant last year.
Research has told us that plants improve the air we breathe, and plants are showing up in kitchens, living rooms, family rooms and bedrooms. Millennials are leading the way, attributed to being responsible for 31 percent of houseplant sales. So if you have someone on your gift list who has indoor plants, here are some suggestions to consider.
Most indoor gardeners will make room for another plant and the options here are wide and varied. You can easily pick up an orchid. Their price is reasonable, they come in a vast array of colors and sizes, and they are everywhere since tissue culture became the standard way to propagate them.
They need very little light and since they are an air plant, caring for them is extremely easy.
For gardeners who already have orchids, gift them with a new orchid pot. Look for pots with big holes so the roots of this air plant can breathe and are visible.
Brown and mushy means the plant has been over-watered and is on its way to the compost. Healthy roots are bright green when wet and silver colored when dry. Healthy root tips are green or red.
If you want to avoid the angst of watering, think about other air plants and their associated needs.
Tillandsia just needs some place to hang out: no dirt needed. It absorbs moisture through its leaves, but
there is a hidden pothole here. The air in a heated winter home is dry so a misting now and then is
Recognizing that most houseplants die from either too much or too little water, why not consider a self-watering container? These magical devices when used properly allow the plant to drink when it needs it, not when the gardener remembers to water it. They are perfect for neglectful indoor gardeners like me. You can find them on-line and at your local garden center in an array of sizes, shapes and costs.
As long as we’re talking about water, consider a copper watering can designed for indoor plants.
What makes this indoor watering pail different is the long spout. That spout allows you to be more precise in getting water to the soil, and not the leaves (or the floor). Plus the copper cans are attractive enough to leave out.
Plants stands are yet another requirement for indoor plants. They can be elevated, or sit on the floor for larger plants. They can hold one or more plants at a time to create living décor and even room dividers.
If your gardener doesn’t have enough indoor light, table top plant stands will solve that problem. They
come complete with grow lights and a surface for the plants. Many people use these devices to grow herbs indoors during the winter. Don’t worry that they take up too much space: like gardeners, they come in all shapes and sizes.
Even the easiest indoor plants need a little fertilizer from time to time. Coast of Maine Liquid Squid
Fertilizer for Indoor Plants is a highly concentrated liquid formula perfect for feeding indoor house and
tropical plants. You can also use it as a spray for air plants when they need a boost.
No matter what you decide to get your gardener, be sure you use seeded wrapping paper for your
presentation. That’s right: there are seeds embedded in the wrapping paper so the giftee can plant the
paper to grow a garden later on. What a cool idea!
Written by Lorraine Ballato, author of Success With Hydrangeas, A Gardener’s Guide