For garden enthusiasts especially in metropolitan cities , finding ample space to grow a variety of plants can be quite an exercise. A bit of green around us is always nice but when we look at the multistoreyed residential and commercial buildings, a sprawling garden is usually a distant dream. Planting in containers (popularly defined as container gardening) is an easy and versatile way to fulfill our gardening desires. Beautiful displays can be achieved in small spaces available outside. With a little imagination, we can transform the insides of our offices and every room of our home as well. This art is an expansion of the horticultural horizon because container gardening defies space and time..
There are various types of containers such as planters, window boxes, hanging baskets and terrariums to creative containers like tin cans, bottles and a pair of old boots. In the next few blogs, I want to share some container gardening ideas, which have come through trial and error , are easy to maintain and very economic. (click on the images to see full photo).
Glassware of different shapes and sizes make very interesting containers. They are more suitable to serve as indoor displays preferably in safe areas around the home and office. Most of the glass containers I have used in the photographs do not have drainage holes, hence,a combination of holding media for the roots is tried. Pebbles and decorative gravel is one of my favorite ingredients for glass containers as they look good and when placed appropriately, prevent unnecessary evaporation from the soil.
To plant in a glass container , ensure that it is clean and thoroughly dry before planting. Place a bit of gravel at the base. You can alternate layers of larger pebbles and finer gravel to give a layered effect. Then add a layer of activated charcoal which is usually found in pet stores. Charcoal adsorbs toxic gases released from the potting mix and helps keep the roots healthy. Top this layer with a bit of good quality potting mix and place the desired plant. Surround the base of the plant with more gravel or decorative stones to prevent water loss by evaporation.
The same technique is used to make terrariums which can house more than one plant at a time. All these containers require little water which can be sprayed on rather than poured in the potting mix. Too much water can lead to decay and rot and care must be taken not to flood the containers.
The most popular indoor plants for glass containers are variegated ivy, Chlorophytum, cacti and succulents, baby’s tears (Soleirolia spp), ferns like maiden hair and button ferns, Pilea, some grasses… the list goes on. Ferns can be planted or ‘kept’ in water like cut flowers in a vase. One of the ferns on my kitchen window sill is only placed in water without any soil or gravel.
To sum up today’s story, container gardening is a large avenue to explore. I would love a feedback as well as some more novel ideas from you……A VERY HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL !!!!