The In’s & Out’s of Getting Started
You want to start a garden, or add some flowers to your yard or house. You’ve come to the right place. Some tell me I think too much, I just want to know everything I’m getting myself into before I commit. I hate surprises. As you start to plan out what you want to do, or what you’re interested in take the following into consideration.
Plan Out Your Space
First things first to plant care is to understand the available habitat. Consider the sun pattens available around the yard, or inside your home. This will impact the type of plants you can grow. There is a range of the amount of light for plants. Some plants like bright areas without direct sunlight, while others like morning light – up to 6 hours worth, and others like all the sun they can get.
Depending on the strength of the sun where you live take these definitions with a grain of salt. The Arizona sun will kill just about anything, so even though it says the plant likes full sun, you still have to be careful. Plants can also grow into being heartier over time. I’ve had to do this with a lot of the succulents that I grow. The plant will almost completely die and then it will grow with a new round of stems and leaves and thrive.
Bright rooms indoors usually consist of rooms that face the sun and aren’t in shadow. The room itself doesn’t need to have sunbeams pouring through, sometimes that helps, and sometimes it hurts. Again, in Arizona the sun can kill a plant in the windowsill if it gets direct sunbeams. I want an herb box around my kitchen sink, but I can’t do it, the sun burns all the moisture out of the soil too quickly. But I have a lily that died in 1 room and came back to life in the other, which was just on the other side of a half wall.
First and foremost, USDA has a heat map outlining weather patterns and temperatures. The nation is divided into hardiness zones and plants do come with a number on which zones they thrive within. Check out more details here.
Humidity, also takes a toll on plant care. This impacts watering and soil moisture. Other things to consider with soil is pH levels, compactness of soil, and how water drains.
A lot of plants need a pot, or system that allows for water that doesn’t attach to the soil to drain out. When the water isn’t allowed to drain it, the water sits there until it is used. Sometimes you are not able to see how much water is built up in your pot and you can end up drowning your plant, or getting root rot. Both suck.
Just like puppies, plants grow. Consider what you have space for and how you’ll be able to care for your plants long-term.
This includes are you going to use a pot, or put it in the ground? Are you building a collage of plants for a hanging planter, or desk? If you build a collage, or buy one know how large these plants will get. I’ve had collages outgrow their containers, but also overtake each other. Everything looks really cute when it is small.
The rule of thumb in plant care is whatever the distance of the roots, you need to have a deeper hole by half. Depending on what your soil is like there’s a soil layering system you can do as well when putting plants in the ground.
There are some plants that are specific to indoor conditions and others that can handle outdoor conditions. Again, this has a lot to do with weather and temperature. Indoor conditions can obviously be controlled a lot more than outdoor conditions and don’t have a huge swing in temperature.
But, even outdoor plants have their limits. Be careful if temperatures get to freezing in your area, the soil or the roots or the plant itself can freeze. This will bring us to annual vs perennial.
Annual plants come and go with the season. Perennial plants have a better shot of making it year round. There may be specific times of the year that you will see it bloom, sometimes they will do this all on their own without any help from you. Just know if you fall in love with a flower, it may not be a long-term thing.
Many plants (indoor & outdoor) are poisonous to cats & dogs. If you have pets and want to keep them, or avoid spending outrageous vet bills, check that the plants you bring into your space are not poisonous to your pets.
You can get around this sometimes if the pant is higher off the ground and won’t sluff off leaves that can then be consumed by 4 footed friends.
Gardening and plant care costs some coin. You will need to contain your plants, either through pots, or building garden boxes, or landscaping. Then you will need to cover the cost of your gorgeous plant. You can get some on the cheap side of things, but know the larger you go the more expensive it will get, both on the plant and the containment system.
Seeds or propagating (starting with a cutting off a living plant) can be the cheapest way to get things started. Either way you will need to be diligent in watering and sun light as roots take hold and your plant begins to thrive.
If you have a busy schedule you could lose plant care time. I love this time. I am one of those people who talks to each one, I land on the side of telling them how well they’ve been growing and inspect their leaves for any signs they’re trying to give me. Leaves will tell you a lot about how your plant is faring.
A drip system is a fool proof way of keeping your plants hydrated, but not always an option for potted plants. Get a plant care system that is easy so the task won’t seem too much on days that overcome their boundaries.
On top of watering, you will need to give your plants food. I’m a big fan of Miracle Grow in my watering can. The best thing it does is grow need stems and leaves, you won’t see as much benefit in stems and leaves that are already living. Fertilizer is another option for food/nutrients, as well as composting systems.
Plant Care Articles
Easter Lily Cactus Echinopsis oxygona Learn how to care for Easter lily cactus along with its history and classification details. Hardiness Zone: 9-11Soil Type: Gravel-rich, water-permeable soil with a pH value of 6-7Sun Exposure: Full sunAnnual or Perennial: … Read more
Dogwood Tree Cornus florida Learn how to care for dogwood trees along with its history and classification details. Hardiness Zone: 5-9Soil Type: Dogwoods prefer moist, well-drained, acidicSun Exposure: Full sun or partial shadeAnnual or Perennial: PerennialType: Tree History: … Read more
Build a Garden of Herbs and Flowers to Reduce Indoor Mosquitoes & Other Insects Special Features of Flowers & Herbs Plants that can repel mosquitoes and other bugs are a great natural alternative to chemical insecticides. Not only … Read more
Why Victory Gardens are Planted in People’s Backyards What Was a Victory Garden From WW2? As you begin your victory garden plans, it is important to know what is a victory garden? The original victory garden movement was … Read more
How to Handle Unwanted Garden Pests Do it Yourself Pest Control You’ve planted your garden, now turn your attention to garden pest control. With as much work, time, and love we put into our garden, it can be … Read more
Protecting Plants from Freezing & Damage What to do with Freeze Damaged Plants What to do with plants during frost? It is hard to predict the weather, and even meteorologists are surprised sometimes. Just when you think you’re … Read more
Blood Orange Tree Citrus × sinensis Learn how to care for blood orange tree along with its history and classification details. Hardiness Zone: 9-10Soil Type: Sandy, well draining, neutral to slightly acidic pHSun Exposure: Full sunAnnual or Perennial: … Read more
Bamboo Bambusa Learn how to care for bamboo along with its history and classification details. Hardiness Zone: 8-10Soil Type: Moist, fertile, and free-drainingSun Exposure: Full sunAnnual or Perennial: Evergreen PerennialType: Grass History: The first uses of bamboo was … Read more
Avocado Persea americana Learn how to care for avocados along with its history and classification details. Hardiness Zone: 9-11Soil Type: Loose, loamy, sandy, slightly acidic to neutral pH (5-7). Avoid poor draining or high salinity locations.Sun Exposure: Full sunAnnual … Read more
Crabapples Malus Learn how to care for crabapples along with its history and classification details. Crabapples also fall under the overall Apple category. Hardiness Zone: 4-8Soil Type: Slightly acidic, rich soil with good drainageSun Exposure: Full sunAnnual or … Read more
Corn Zea mays Learn how to care for corn along with its history and classification details. Hardiness Zone: 3-11Soil Type: Slightly acidic to neutralSun Exposure: Full sunAnnual or Perennial: AnnualType: Vegetable History: Maize, also known as corn, is … Read more
Colorado Blue Spruce Picea pungens Learn how to care for Colorado Blue Spruce along with its history and classification details. Hardiness Zone: 2-7Soil Type: Acidic, loamy, moist, rich, sandy, well-drained and clay soilsSun Exposure: Full sunAnnual or Perennial: … Read more
Clematis Clematis Learn how to care for clematis along with its history and classification details. Hardiness Zone: 4-9Soil Type: Slightly acidic to neutralSun Exposure: ShadeAnnual or Perennial: PerennialType: Flower History: The genus Clematis was first published by Carl … Read more
Cilantro Coriandrum sativum Learn how to care for cilantro along with its history and classification details. Hardiness Zone: 3-8Soil Type: Slightly acidicSun Exposure: Full to partial sunAnnual or Perennial: AnnualType: Herb History: Featured in the cuisines of the … Read more
Chrysanthemum Chrysanthemum Learn how to care for chrysanthemum along with its history and classification details. Hardiness Zone: 5-9Soil Type: NeutralSun Exposure: Full to partial sunAnnual or Perennial: PerennialType: Flower History: The chrysanthemum was first cultivated in China as … Read more
Grow Plants From Existing Plants Propagate Through Cuttings, Roots, or Seeds Using Water or Soil We all hear the running jokes about how expensive it is to garden and maintain houseplants, but there are ways to save money … Read more
Christmas Cactus Schlumbergera x buckleyi Learn how to care for Christmas cactus along with its history and classification details. Hardiness Zone: 9-11Soil Type: Moist, well draining, neutral/acidicSun Exposure: Indirect sunAnnual or Perennial: PerennialType: Cactus History: Originating from coastal mountains of … Read more
Maximize the Harvest From Your Garden Tips & Tricks for a Plentiful Growing Season You have your garden, but how to know when to harvest? You’ve put so much work into your garden-preparing the groundwork, from positioning your … Read more
Chives Allium schoenoprasum Learn how to care for chives along with its history and classification details. Hardiness Zone: 3-9Soil Type: Slightly acidic to neutralSun Exposure: Full sunAnnual or Perennial: PerennialType: Herb History: Chives have been cultivated in Europe … Read more
Chinese Money Plant Pilea peperomioides Learn how to care for Chinese money plant along with its history and classification details. Hardiness Zone: 10Soil Type: Well draining, rich, 6.0 – 7.0 pHSun Exposure: Indirect light, brightAnnual or Perennial: PerennialType: … Read more