Gardening Texoma: Indoor plants in winter

The secret to success with indoor plants during the winter is to know the plants’ needs.

1. How much sun does it need?
2. How much watering does it need?
3. When is the time to transplant to a bigger container?
4. How will the environment of indoor heating affect the plant?
5. What’s the best way to avoid pests, i.e., white flies and knats?

SOLUTIONS:

1. Choose the right plant, i.e. Jade, Aloe Vera, Sedums, small Agave, and traditional Poinsetta. These are all good choices. They require minimal amount of water, they have good color, and they are fairly easy to care for with the minimal amount of light.
Indirect sunlight or morning sunlight is best. A kitchen window or hot box is preferable.

2. If you choose to use Miracle Grow as a fertilizer in your water, be aware that even though it has the nutrients that the plant needs, this product and similar ones to it are high in salt and can build a residue in the plant’s soil that can be the plant’s demise. A way to avoid this is to add an ounce of apple cider vinegar to your watering can every 4 to 5 waterings to wash away excess salt.
Wicking or the sucking of water from a lower container to an upper container is strongly suggested. It gives you better control and knowledge of how much water has been applied with any time period. This method can be done in the kitchen sink or by having a larger container to set the smaller container in.

3. The fingertip method to feel for moisture is one suggestion. Using a wooden popsicle stick that actually shows the moisture on the wood as you pull it out of the soil is another way. The tissue of your plant will tell you how much evapotranspiration (the loss of plant fluids) has occurred.

Note: I call it when the plant is screaming or talking to you through how it looks.


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