A plants survival just like us is determined by many factors that directly affect its growth and development. Attracting wild birds to your garden is easier when you have healthy plants that are able to produce nectar for the birds. It can have a very tough time surviving indoors just like we would have to survive outdoors for a long period of time. Getting plants indoors needs one to adjust his natural habitat to them for them to survive. Just like human beings, a plant needs light, air, moisture, food and cleaning occasionally. Here are a few very important tips to ensuring that your indoor plants get healthy and strong through adjusting to the environment created for them.
- Where to situate them– Find the best place for your indoor plant and then leave it there to grow. Never move plants from one extreme temperature to another for these greatly affect them. Garden birds will be attracted and will get used to these designated points and they’ll be coming over and over. The best places to have the plants are your verandas, windows among others.
- Humidity– Most plants need humidity and so do indoor plants that are in centrally heated rooms that lacks moisture in the atmosphere. Stand the pots in pebbles, which are standing in a little water in a saucer or bowl for the garden birds to quench their thirst and to bath. Alternatively, you can grow several plants together in a trough surrounded by damp peat.
- Light– Avoid strong direct sunlight for everything except cacti, succulents and geraniums. There should be bright light for flowering plants and shade for foliage. Strong light will deter the wild birds from staying longer and also darkness with keep these garden birds away from the indoor garden.
Some plants, notably the ivies stand comparative gloom and if you must have a display in a really dark place, dose them with light from time to time by training a reading lamp on them.
- Air– Most houseplants dislike dry air, and that is why they thrive well in kitchens, bathrooms and homes without ant central heating. The popular plants that can survive in dry air or centrally heated rooms are cacti and geraniums.
- Suitable Soil-A good potting mixture is necessary for your indoor plant to grow well. You can get one from a garden centre where you bought your plant. The best is a blend of peat, plant food and bits of rock to aerate the mixture so that the roots do not get waterlogged even if you overwater.
- Plant food– The plants that started in a commercial potting mixture need to start feeding after two months of active growth. For these you do not need stinking manure in your living room but rather find out the best feed for your plants depending on personal preference, trial and error. Feed your plants only when they are actively growing. Always remember to follow the instructions on the label. Feeding on demand is the rule, but be careful not to overfeed because they can damage roots and even kill the plants. Avoid poisonous feeds that can kill the attracted wild garden birds.
- Clean– It is advisable to clean plant leaves when they get dirty. You can use feather dusters on a stick, soft paint brush or get a sort of plant Kleenex (ask at a garden centre).
You can also occasionally spray indoor plants with a fine mist of soft water. Get the plastic bottle with a squirter lever from a local garden center.
- Watering– Water is life to garden wild birds, human beings and plants. And sometimes too much of it is also harmful especially when it is overdone to plants. More plants are killed by over watering than any other reason. A plant that has dried out can often be revived by watering but one that is drowned cannot. Never over water your plants; the surface of the soil should be constantly of a wrung-out funnel. Don’t completely dry out your plants before watering again or you will damage the root system completely. The secret is catching the plant just before it looks as if it needs watering. If you cannot manage to detect when a plant needs watering, it is advisable to buy a water-meter, which shows you the state of the soil. Thoroughly water your plan5s so that the reaches all parts of the pot which must have drainage hole in the bottom. Never leave a pot standing in water or the roots will rot.
- What to do when on holiday– Your plants will need water even when you are away on holiday and it’s up to you to ensure that they stay well watered during that time. Mock up an automatic watering system by buying a length of ICI’s capillary matting from a garden centre. Put it in the bottom of a sink or bath with the drain clear and a lightly dripping tap, and then stand the plant on that.
- Repotting a plant– When a plant has overgrown its pot and its roots start to show at the base, repot into a slightly larger pot. Before repotting, soak new clay pots in water for several hours or the absorbent clay will draw water out of the soil and scrub out old pots. Water the plant the day before so that it is moist but not soggy. Then turn it upside down onto your left hand, gently knock the rim of the pot against a table edge and pull it off with your right hand. Be careful with the root, they act as the blood vessel, so even a few strands matter. Put an inch of potting plant compost in the bottom and stand the plant centrally in it. Fill in with more potting compost to half an inch below rim of the pot. Firm down with fingertips, water slowly and leave in the shade for a week. Never move plant directly from a small pot to a bigger pot. Move from one to another slowly as it grows, i.e. from 4inch pot to 7-inch pot to 12-inch etc.