Attention turns to indoor gardening

November 23, 2011 09:37 pm

While our outdoor gardening season has come to an end for all areas of Northeast Oregon, this is the time of year we routinely turn our attention to living and growing indoor plants or greenery displays.

I am frequently asked questions by indoor gardeners or those who enjoy bringing evergreen boughs or trees inside what is the best way to keep them healthy for the longest period of time.

Newcomers to our area are often surprised at the lower humidity we enjoy, yet this can add stress to our normally healthy indoor plants and non-growing plant mediums, such as cut trees or wreaths.

Here are a few tips to ensure a plant-healthy winter.

The wide majority of indoor plants we commonly cultivate, including those of the succulent variety, will maintain a healthier longevity if additional humidity is applied.

This doesn’t have to be complicated.

Most of us have noticed that as the chill of fall arrived, so did our chapped or drying hands. Our natural thought is, “Oh, it’s drier in the house, I need more hand lotion.”

Those changes are also noticed by our plants.  I have several sensitive ferns who continued to have new dried tips before I realized it was simply a lack of humidity, which also reminded me that we run a humidifier during the dry winter months.

It’s only been about two weeks that I’ve had the humidifier running, but already I’ve noticed there are no more new dry tips.

A simple solution that only requires filling the reservoir with water about every two days.  We don’t run it at night.

Misting is another obvious solution but there are places that this isn’t an alternative, such as plants tucked on book shelves or wood tables.  Unless you are willing to move the plant every time you mist it, this can be quite bothersome.

Sometimes the addition of a tray filled with pebbles and water to the top of the pebbles is all that is needed.  Filling this tray with water can be surprisingly regular, again testifying to the dry air we experience.

For indoor garlands or wreaths, prior to hanging, remove all ribbons, bows or ornaments and soak the greenery in a tub of water for 24 hours.  This not only improves their longevity but decreases any fire hazard associated with having evergreens in the home.  Although this is recommended to be done every two weeks, it’s not practical to believe most people will do this.  However this is one instance that misting should be done on a routine basis if at all possible.  It will also keep the garland or wreath looking “fresh” throughout the season.

Cut trees brought indoors for weeks at a time simply must be kept wet.  Check the reservoir daily and add water as needed.  The few minutes you spend doing this will not only create a healthier display, but will also discourage needle-drop and make cleanup easier.

We are still eating tomatoes from our garden, ripened on the window sill and slightly wrinkled, but nonetheless, our own tomatoes.  There are very few left.  With the freezing temperatures we’ve experienced, I located many nice-sized tomatoes that were missed when picking.  Hopefully this will remind me next season to be more thorough.

I am already planning changes for next year’s garden, and hope all of you are doing the same.  Until next time, enjoy your indoor garden.

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