Regular contact with plants has been shown to have a myriad of health benefits that are especially advantageous for older adults. Since tending a garden outdoors doesn’t get easier as you age (especially in south Florida), indoor gardening is a popular hobby for people of all ages.
If you’re interested in starting an indoor garden of houseplants or kitchen herbs, use these tips to grow healthy plants – and a healthier you!
Shelter for sprouts
New sprouts tend to struggle with dry indoor air. You can easily make a mini greenhouse by cutting off the bottom half of a plastic water bottle and placing the other half over the plant, spout up. This will shelter the sprout from the cold A/C and keep the soil from drying out too fast without cutting off sunlight.
A simple fertilizer recipe
The next time you’re finished eating a banana, place the peel in a cup or bowl and fill it with some hot water. Let it soak for at least an hour or longer. The resulting “banana tea” is packed with potassium, phosphorous, calcium, magnesium, and other nutrients that plants need to grow healthier and stronger. Water your plants with this homemade fertilizer 1-2 times per month and they’ll love it!
Watering frequency is perhaps the number one obstacle to successful indoor gardening. Too little water, and the plant will shrivel up. Too much water (or inadequate drainage) can cause root rot, fungus, and other problems. Check the soil daily by pressing a finger on the top—it should feel springy and slightly damp – not muddy.
If you have trouble remembering to water your plants, try some plant watering bulbs, or self-watering pots. Once filled, the reservoirs on these accessories will dispense just enough water to keep the soil consistently damp for at least 7-10 days. If you are prone to overwatering, try using a moisture meter to help you learn when your plant is ready for another drink.
Keep plants clean
Just like other home decor, indoor plants will build up a layer of dust over time. Dust on the leaves (and on your windows) can block some of the light that the plant needs to survive – so it’s important to keep them clean. If you notice any dust build-up on your plant, you can wipe the leaves with a damp cloth or spray the whole plant down with a garden hose or shower nozzle to keep the leaves healthy.