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CARING FOR POTTED PLANTS

Potted plants are great for adding a splash of color to your window ledge, patio, or deck. They can be especially welcomed by renters who attempt to give their living space their own stamp of personality, and who may be somewhat limited in terms of both space and decorative options. Those renting a townhouse, duplex, or apartment may have little to no outdoor space to call their own. Those with gardening prowess don't need to worry about their green thumbs atrophying simply because they have no yard space in which to plant; for these renters, indoor plants can save the day.

While all aspects of a houseplant's routine upkeep are important, the supplies you choose for your plant will have a particularly important bearing on its success. By familiarizing yourself with the basics of indoor gardening, including what plants are best suited for it, and taking care to select high-quality starting materials and using recycled items as planters, you will set the foundation for a vibrantly healthy plant with a long life span. While there are some slight variations, most helpful hints for indoor potted plants apply equally to outdoor potted plants.

The Right Planting Supplies

As the pot itself can be either conducive or detrimental to your plant's well being, choosing the right one matters. Before you start looking around for the ideal plant container, you should already know the type of plant you will either begin in or transfer into the pot, its moisture needs, and its typical growth schedule. The goal when transferring a plant is to choose a container spacious enough for the roots to extend outward, yet not so big that it overwhelms the plant. You'll also want to take your plant's moisture needs into consideration with your container choice.

By nature, potted plants do not have the same opportunities to latch onto ground moisture that ground plants do; this why frequent watering is necessary. However, houseplants are also susceptible to trouble on the opposite end of the spectrum: without a proper drainage system, they can drown. In order to make sure that your plant holds onto the optimal amount of moisture, you'll choose a container with a hole in the bottom or other means of adequate drainage. Most pots designed specifically for plants will already have this.

Because drainage holes that are large enough to allow proper water run-off are frequently also large enough that damp soil can sneak through, you will want a type of sieving material in the bottom. Gardeners have used crushed rock, Styrofoam packing units, and much more to make sure their soil stays in when the water leaves. There are also moisture standards for the soil you're careful to retain. In addition to opting for a high-quality soil, you can augment your soil with polymer granules that will drink up large amounts of water and then leak water out on an as-needed basis into the soil.

Care of Houseplants

In the beginning, you will most likely want to employ a fertilizer to help your plant get established and begin spreading its roots. This also helps the newly placed soil to level out. After your plant has had a change to acclimate and start growing, your main job in caring for potted plants will be making sure that the plant receives proper sunlight and water. As your average plant requires plenty of both for proper expansion and longevity, you'll want to situate your plant such that it is exposed to sunlight for a long period out of the day. If logistics don't allow this in your location, you'll need to acquire "grow lights" for your plants.

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