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Extreme Indoor Gardening

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Experience is the best teacher...

Most Common Reasons for the collapse of House Plants

SOIL DRYNESS-All house plants,with the exception of air plants,will cease without water.Most plants can survive with minimal watering during winter but during the growing season underwatering leads to wilting leaves and eventually plant collapse.

OVERWATERING-this is one of the most common reason for plant death.Roots need oxygen too and overwatering will drown them.Overwatering and Underwatering both cause wilting leaves however,you shouldn't confuse them because the weight of the pot (heavy if to wet,light if to dry) will tell you.

STRONG SUNSHINE-some plants will quickly wither away if exposed to the direct rays of the sun.A few flowering plants can thrive in a sunny window but still,along with all other plants,need to be shaded during hot summer months or else the soil will be baked and the roots will die.

HOT DRY AIR-since most homes have forms of artificial heat the air lacks moisture which is an unfavorable condition for most plants,especially delicate ones.It is therefore necessary to increase the humidity.

DRAUGHTS-plants that are placed by opening doors and windows can collapse because of cross currents of air(when temperature outside of room is lower).There are a few cast iron plants that can withstand draughts so when your looking for a plant for the front foyer be sure it can handle this.

NO LIGHT-this is not the usual cause of plant death.But in a room where light conditions are weak the result is pale foliage,weak growth,and no flowers.However,there is a level at which the amount of light is not sufficient enough to support plant life.If there is a dark spot in your home in which you'd like to place a plant make sure you return it at regular intervals to a moderately well lit spot for a few days.

LIGHTING SITUATIONS....

SHADE;means well away from a window with enough light to read.
SEMI-SHADE;means near a sunless window or away from a bright window.
BRIGHT BUT SUNLESS;means on a sunless window or near a bright window.
SOME DIRECT SUNLIGHT;means on or very close to an east or west facing window.Plant may need protection from summer midday sun.
SUNNY WINDOW;means on or very close to a south facing window.Some shading may be needed during noon time sun in summer.

About Some Common Plants

Aglaonema

Aglaonema requires semi shade or bright light-no direct sunshine.Water thouroughly during growing season.Mist leaves regularily.
PROBLEMS:leaves shrivelled and brown tips;air to dry.Leaves curled and brown edges;cool air or cold draughts.

Chlorophytum (spider plant)

Chlorophytum requires a well lit spot away from direct sunshine.Water soil when it starts to get dry.Mist leaves occasionally in summer.Feed regularily during growing season.
PROBLEMS:leaves with brown tips;underfeeding,bruising,or hot air.Leaves pale and limp in winter with some yellowing and leaf fall;too much heat and/or to little light.
Just cut off damaged leaves for both problems and correct the fault.

Boston Fern

Boston fern requires a bright but sunless spot.Keep the compost moist at all times but don't sog the soil.Mist leaves frequently,ferns need good air humidity.
PROBLEMS:Yellowing fronds with brown tips and no new growth;air is too dry.Pale fronds with scorch marks on surface;too much sun.Pale fronds with waek growth;not enough fertilizer.Fronds dying back;either dry air or dry compost.

Ficus Benjamina (fig tree)

Ficus Benjamina requires a bright spot,no direct sun light.Let the soil dry out a bit between waterings,use tepid water.Mist leaves occasionally in summer.
PROBLEMS:Sudden loss of leaves;possibilities include too little light or shock from moving the plant from one enviroment to another.

Hedera Helix

The English Ivy likes a bright spot in winter,remember to keep away from direct sun in summer.Keep the soil moist during summer,don't waterlog.Slow down watering in winter but don't let the soil dry out.Mist leaves frequently in summer and in heated rooms during winter.Wash the leaves every now and then.
PROBLEMS:Leaves all green;there is too little light.Variegated varieties need some light.Another reason could be that the plant needs repotting.Smaller leaves with bare spindly growth;again,there is too little light.Cut back stems.Leaf tips are brown and dry and there is stunted growth;the reson is that the air is too dry.Remove bad growth and mist leaves more often.