How To Grow Plants

For those who want to be gardeners, but just can't seem to acquire a "green thumb," this article should set you on your way. It isn't cheating to go out and buy a plant already growing in a pot, the trick now is to keep it from dying!

For those who want to be gardeners, but just can't seem to acquire a "green thumb," this article should set you on your way. It isn't cheating to go out and buy a plant already growing in a pot, the trick now is to keep it from dying! This article focuses on what green houses use to keep plants alive long enough to sell in the stores and what the consumer must do once they get them home in order to keep them alive.

It is no mystery many large nurseries chemically treat plants in order to keep them alive long enough to withstand a retail shelf-life. There are many ways to control pests naturally like the use of cultural methods, physical controls, natural sprays and dusts, biological controls, companion planting, and quarantine. This is neither convenient nor cost effective for large growers seeking to produce blemish-free plants for the consumer, so they opt for the chemical methods.

Consumers need to be savvy to these methods in order to keep their plants alive once they get them home. The chances of survival for a plant left unattended once gotten home when it chemically treated beforehand is significantly less. Immediately repot the plant shaking off as much of the compost material as possible from the root ball. This will protect the plant from rejecting the new soil you are about to place it in.

Unless you have a green thumb and are the envy of all your peer's eye, you can most likely relate to the following scenario:

You're at the grocery store and spot a lush English Ivy. This plant is screaming, "Buy me! I'm perfect for your kitchen!" Unable to resist the temptation, you whisk it away to your home. After a week of sitting forgotten on top of your refrigerator, you look up wondering where that leaf came from. "Oh no," you think, "its all brown and wilted!"

Is this plant destined for the trash receptacle?

Has this happened to you? Of course it has, you don't have to be ashamed. You don't have to throw it away, either. You can save that plant by assessing the problem and finding solutions. Here are some simple solutions to some very common problems:

Look for symptoms by asking yourself the following questions: Is there a space between the pot and the compost? Are there signs of pests or disease? Is there green slime on top of the compost or covering parts of the pot? Are the leaves floppy or changing color? Are the roots growing from the bottom of the pot? What is the type and condition of the pot? By answering these questions, you are on your way to solving the problem.

1. Assess the situation:

a. Disease and pests: Pests attack outdoor plants more often than indoor, but is still possible warranting immediate attention at first sign. Because the appearance of disease is usually a sign of poor growing conditions, speedy action is essential. There are up to twelve different diseases and as many ways to treat them, so determining your symptoms is the first step in this process. Then finding a "plant doctor" or help guide is the next best thing to do in order to solve the problem best. Cutting off affected areas and correcting the growing conditions will help prevent this from happening again. (TIP: clean your gardening tools very well after making cuts to ensure the disease does not spread to other healthy plants.)

b. Potting your plant: Choose your pot or container carefully. If you pot your plant in something too porous, the moisture is likely to drain too quickly. Only certain types of plants like catus, for example, can survive in this case. Rule of thumb when it comes to potting and repotting: choose a pot that is only slightly larger than the previous one, then work your way up. It may appear too small, but it isn't.

c. Green slime: Over-watering or blocked drainage is the cause. The solution is to check for proper drainage and learn how much watering your type of plant requires.

d. Discolored or flopping leaves: This can be the result of a wide variety of problems:

i. Calcium in compost or the use of hard water will result in firm, yellow leaves.

ii. Too much light will result in dull or lifeless leaves.

iii. Over-watering, watering with cold water, water splashes on leaves, too much sun, pests and disease are the causes of spots and patches on leaves.

iv. Too little heat, over-watering, or cold droughts will cause leaves to curl and fall.

v. Dryness will cause leaves to suddenly fall.

vi. Over-watering or cold droughts will cause leaves to turn yellow and fall.

vii. Watering mistakes, poor climate control or over feeding causes brown tips or edges on leaves.

viii. Watering mistakes, to much heat, too much light, pot bound roots, pest damage and dry air causes wilting.

ix. Too little light, too much heat and over watering will result in lower leaves drying up and falling.

2. Roots growing out from the bottom of the pot means the plant is pot bound. Solve this problem by repotting in a pot slightly larger or the next size up.

3. The type of pot is dependant on the type of plant you are growing. It should be balanced and a complementing or neutral color. Damaged pots must be replaced or repaired for proper plant growth.

By following this advice and advice acquired from other useful guides, any plant problem can be solved. You don't have to be a house plant expert or an organic gardener to achieve these goals, just have the ability to follow direction. Other useful guides include:

* Indoor Plants: The Essential Guide to Choosing and Caring for Houseplants, by Graham Clarke, Anne Moyer Halpin, Jane Courtier

* The Ortho Problem Solver, by Meredith Books

* The Complete Book of Houseplants : A Practical Guide to Selecting and Caring for Houseplants, by John Evans

* The House Plant Encyclopedia, by Ingrid Jantra,With Ursula Kruger,Joan Campbell

* Houseplants for Dummies, by Larry Hodgson

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