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Gardening Indoors

Believe it or not, keeping the green of Spring in your life year-round, is easier than you think. While it is great fun to get outside when the weather breaks, and start planting that landscaping project, many people keep the outdoor freshness in their life, all year long, by starting indoor container gardens.

A houseplant, usually native to tropical climates, is grown indoors for decorative purposes. Houseplants also provide a natural, and cost-effective way, to clean indoor air. According to the Dr. Wolverton NASA study, it is suggested that at least one potted plant, per 100 square feet, of home, or office space, is needed to be an effective air cleaner.

TOP 10 plants most effective in removing: Formaldehyde (found in almost all indoor environments), Benzene (more industrial), and Carbon Monoxide from the air

 * Bamboo Palm - Chamaedorea Seifritzii

 * Chinese Evergreen - Aglaonema Modestum

 * English Ivy - Hedera Helix

 * Gerbera Daisy - Gerbera Jamesonii

 * Janet Craig - Dracaena Janet Craig

 * Marginata - Dracaena Marginata

 * Mass cane/Corn Plant - Dracaena Massangeana

 * Mother-in-Law’s Tongue -  Sansevieria Laurentii

 * Pot Mum - Chrysantheium morifolium

 * Peace Lily - Spathiphyllum

 * Warneckii - Dracaena Warneckii

Of all the plants that are easiest to grow indoors, herbs are at the top of the list. Not only are they green, and decorative, they are also delicious and very aromatic. And when grown in the kitchen, they are just a step away, from the pot of spaghetti sauce, or the stew, that is cooking for dinner.

Get your houseplants from a good garden center, or a nursery that will have plenty of garden advice, to help you with your indoor garden. You will need some garden equipment, like a small digging garden tool, garden gloves, organic fertilizer, and some small gardening containers. You probably already have most of these garden supplies in your storage area.

The major factors to consider when growing, and caring for houseplants, are light, temperature, water, containers, and fertilizers. Most plants come with a description tag, that will guide you on how to care for that specific plant.

Although the kitchen is a desirable spot, your plants will do best, in a window that has at least, six hours of sunlight per day, to keep the growth cycle moving along. This could be an east or south window. West windows tend to have the hottest sun, which may not be good for tender young plants, especially in Spring or Summer. If the window area tends to be extremely cold during winter nights, you may want to put the plants down in a cupboard, or table until the sun comes back up.

Most indoor plants need good lighting. You can provide this, through natural lighting in the room of your choice, or there must be electric lighting. Darker colored plants usually do not need as much light as some others.

Here are a few varieties of plants, that require medium to low light, and are known to be suitable for indoor gardening:

Philodendrons

Boston ferns

African violets

Cyclamens

Creeping Figs

Most houseplants grow in a tropical climate, which ranges from 60 to 80 degrees. The majority of homes are kept around this temperature; therefore, houseplants can thrive inside the home very nicely. It is best, if night temperatures, are 10 degrees lower, to duplicate nature.

Be careful of your watering habits, since plants in pots, do not lose their water into the earth around them like they would in a garden. Water only when the soil is beginning to dry. But remember also, that your house, does not have the same humidity, as an outdoor garden, and in winter, particularly, indoor heating systems dry out the air. Mist your plants in winter, to keep the leaves from drying out, and to prevent the infestation of certain pests.

Keep the plant evenly moist, but there should not be standing water in the plant's saucer. This might require watering two to three times a week. Water the plant thoroughly, and after 15 minutes empty any water that is standing in the saucer. A common mistake most people make in indoor gardening, is they tend to overwater their plants, which may lead to rotting roots. Make sure to research the type of plant you have, because each kind of plant varies on their watering needs.

When picking a container, or pot for your houseplant, make sure it will drain properly. I know what you are thinking, many pots are sold without drainage holes! If you find one, that you are absolutely in love with, then drill a hole in the bottom of the container, otherwise, your plant will almost certainly die. Without a drainage hole, water collects in the pot and causes damage to the roots. If you are unable to drill the hole, you can double pot your plant.

Choose good quality and attractive containers for your indoor plants. Make sure that the pot is clean, before placing your new plant into it, to prevent infection, and to encourage healthy growth. Your container can be pretty much anything and is only limited by your imagination. For a formal garden choose a more traditional container. Regardless of your choice of container, make sure it is not too big, or too small, for the plants you have chosen.

Just like watering, fertilizing depends on the type of plant. If you have managed to supply your indoor garden with the right amount of light, water, and humidity, fertilization may not need much attention. A good indoor fertilizer can be bought from most hardware stores. Orchids need the special fertilizer specially formulated for them.

Go to your local garden nursery center and look through the selections there. Choose plants that will harmonize with one another, and colors that will work together. Container Gardening is fun and easy, and a great way to show off your handiwork.