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Autumn Plantings: One-Pot Wonders

24/09/2010 17:31 | Updated 22 May 2015

Our no-fuss guide to planting the perfect indoor container garden.

With summer over, many of us are winding down work in the garden. But just because the temps are dropping doesn't mean you have to give up on your green thumb. A one-pot garden offers an easy fix: As long as you have access to a single container and a good amount of of natural light, you can still enjoy homegrown herbs and plants in the comfort of your own home.

Here's everything you need to know to get growing.

potted plant

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1. Select a Container

Plastic containers and ceramic pots are good choices (plastic retains moisture best), but you'll need to drill several holes in the bottom of whichever one you choose for adequate drainage. Wooden boxes look great and won't overheat your soil, but keep in mind that some species of wood are more susceptible to rot than others.

Also, remember to avoid wood treated with creosote or other toxic compounds since the vapors can damage your plants. And if you're going to use a pot that you've used before, make sure you clean it out to kill any possible diseases that could carry from plant to plant.

2. Water, But Not Too Much

Every plant is different when it comes to how much water it needs, but there are a few basic pointers for watering indoor plants. First, wet the soil thoroughly, allowing the water to drain out of the bottom of the pot.

Don't over water. If your soil is consistently too wet, it will lead to problems with the roots, and the leaves will yellow because of low oxygen. Over time you will develop a sense of how much and how frequently you need to water your indoor garden. If you are just starting out and feel uncertain, try using a moisture meter, which you stick into the soil to gauge if the plant needs more water.

You'll also need to think about humidity. If you live in a colder climate and regularly have the heat on, the air in your home can dry out plants quickly. To remedy this, you may need to increase watering or even consider using a humidifer in the room where your plants reside.

3. Sunny Rooms Are Best

Sunlight is an essential thing to consider when choosing plant types for your indoor garden, since many plants will need more light than your home's windows can provide. Select plants that require medium to low light, unless you plan on supplying the plant with artificial lighting. If you're concerned that your plant isn't getting enough light, look for small leaves, thin stems and a yellow colours, which are indicators of sickness. Rotating the plant is also important for regulating the sunlight it recieves because leaves will literally grow toward the light.

4. Keep the Temperature Just Right

Even though you're indoors, don't forget to take temperature into consideration when it comes to your plants. As a general rule, houseplants like temperatures between 18 to 24 degrees during the day.

5. Feed Them Food

In a container garden, you want to make sure your planting mixture drains quickly, but retains enough moisture to keep the roots wet. For the perfect one-pot planting mix, purchase a good quality potting mix or make your own from equal parts of sand, loam garden soil and peat moss.

Most container gardeners have found that a 'soilless' potting mix works best. In addition to draining quickly, 'soilless' mixes are lightweight and free from soil-borne diseases and weed seeds. When you add your mix to your container, leave a two inch space before the top of the container to keep the pot from overflowing.

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