Workshop on Beginner’s Guide on Growing Indoor Plants

Indoor plants are very common today in this urban life. Be it offices or homes indoor plants are a great way of getting close to nature. These plants purify the air and taking care of plants has many psychological effects too. Though indoor plants seem very easy to grow some important aspects need to be kept in mind to keep them healthy and alive. Selecting the right plant for your space is a very important factor. If you are new to gardening and are struggling to find the right plants for your home or don’t know where and how to start, we got your back.

Watch our workshop on “Beginner’s Guide on Growing Indoor Plants” with our speaker G. Jeanel Margaret.

 She is a principal by profession, a motivational speaker, and also a plant lover. She has talked about steps to enter into the world of indoor plants. You can also connect with her on her Instagram page “jean_plant_love

Jeanel and her tips to grow Indoor Plants:

“Hello, everyone. Welcome to another workshop by The Affordable Organic Store. Today we have with us, Miss Jinal Margaret. Welcome, Jinal. How are you?” asked Zehra.

“I’m doing good, thank you. I’m very happy to be here today to speak about plants,” said Jeanel.

“Let me introduce you briefly to our viewers. Miss Jeanel is a principal by profession and also an academic counselor, motivational speaker, and dialogue writer for dramas. She’s a plant lover too, which serves as the cherry on top. Today she’ll discuss some basic ways to grow and care for indoor plants. So, let’s get started without any further delay,” said Zehra. 

“Firstly, I would like to express my gratitude towards TAOS for giving me this opportunity. I would also thank Zehra for the same. Today’s topic is A Beginner’s Guide for indoor plants. So, people grow indoor plants for various reasons. For some, it’s a luxury, whereas others use them to decorate their house. For me, it’s for peace of mind. Let me start with how I started my journey with plants. I started during lockdown since there was not much to do. I live in an apartment, which necessitates the need to grow indoor plants, as there isn’t much space around. After many doubts and experiments, I am currently successful at growing and developing indoor plants. Over time, I got to know what environment they need, how much we should water them, etc. So, the first thing you should think about and know is how you can give a good environment to your indoor plant. Environment, in this context, refers to the pot where the plant is going to sit. Many of us are fond of colorful pots. However, from my experience, I would suggest you all go for terracotta pots because they generally have only one hole, which is enough for drainage, whereas the colorful ones have many drainage holes, which is unnecessary. With these pots having many holes, as you go on watering, the soil seeps out, and so does the fertilizer, etc. So, before planting anything, cover the holes with some granules to prevent that. Now there certainly is a difference in price between the two, terracotta ones being twice costlier than plastic ones. I have a calathea plant here, which is known as a drama queen. This is because, one day, it would look very fresh and good, while the other day, it would seem like the plant is dying. So, you need to be careful while picking this one up. It also needs a good amount of humidity, which is the water in the environment. This is, in fact, the case with many indoor plants. Potting mix and potting soil are other things that one needs to be very careful about. Potting soil is simply the soil that you get from the earth, which may be from the backyard, or roadside, which includes dirt and dust too. Potting mix, on the other hand, will never have soil. It will contain various nutrients, and minerals-both inorganic and organic, vermicompost, vermiculite, perlite, etc., everything mixed and kept in the packet. You should have both soil and potting mix while growing plants. See, here I have some soil, and also some amount of cocopeat and soil mixture. Then, there is some vermicompost, and you can also you plain compost or warm compost, even perlite, to ensure proper drainage so that the soil won’t get packed. When you include a mix, the soil becomes light and more aerated. Indoor plants are very soft and feeble, so there should be pores in the soil, and they should not be very dense. Anything can grow on the earth, but when growing on pot, it needs much more care and maintenance. So, garden soil, cocopeat, and vermicompost will be enough soil. You can also use some pumice stones. You might have the question that with terracotta pots having only one drain hole, how will the plants breathe? It is an interesting thing you all need to know that it is earthenware, which is made up of sand. Hence, the molecules are not tightly packed, as there are very minute pores everywhere, so the water can come out and vaporize easily as well. You can also use ceramic pots as a showpiece, but make sure there’s a drain hole present in it. If not, put another smaller pot inside it, and then use it the same way. Then again, every plant needs proper sunlight, water, and minerals in proper proportion, and thus even indoor plants do need maintenance, as against the common belief. The best place to keep your indoor plant is by a window or on the balcony, which, however, should not have too much direct sunlight. Indoor plants like light, not direct sunlight. This is because it can damage the plant’s texture, color, etc. For example, I have a philodendron, which, when I had kept it on the balcony, its foliage went from dark green to a pale, like golden pothos type of color. It was not healthy either. So, is highly recommendable to keep it in indirect sunlight,” said Jeanel.

“There’s one question, what to do when calathea leaves are turning yellow from tips?”

Calathea is indeed a drama queen because it is not always accommodative to its environment. In the Indian environment, they are pretty poor growers. This is a tropical plant, and when the humidity is very less, the leaves will turn yellow or will go rolling up like a dried one. To grow a calathea, I have shifted it to different places to find a proper environment, and I have realized something there. Changing the place continually will disturb the plant and not help it adapt to its surroundings. This will hamper the growth of the plant. The watering method for indoor plants is you have to put your finger into the soil, and if it’s still wet, you need to get it. So, only water them when they are completely dry. Also, water it around the corner instead of throwing it at the roots. Misting the water should also be prevented because then there is a good chance of the leaves turning yellow. During summer, you either need to water your plants early morning by 6 o’clock or after sunset at most by 8 o’clock. This is mainly because the water becomes very hot, which can result in the death of the plant. Indoor plants do not need watering every day since they are not directly exposed to the sun. Plants like Pothos and Philodendrons can survive easily without getting water for 3-4 days. So, for people who generally stay busy, please choose your plants carefully instead of going for random picks. You must have confidence in growing the plant and also attention. Some plants can even grow under little light. Such includes Snake plant, Pothos, sansevieria, etc., which will grow under tube light even. Many people often mistake houseplants for indoor plants. Houseplant is kept completely inside the house, which is not the case with indoor plants. So, watering systems, lighting systems, and soiling are very important. Indoor plants are very expensive, so choose carefully before you pick one,” said Jeanel.

“Someone has asked that their dieffenbachia plant tips are turning yellow. What can be the reason?”

“This is most probably due to under-watering. Sometimes, the water may not reach the lower layers of the soil and roots, and the roots and tips may turn yellow. It might also be because of extreme sunlight, which is damaging the plant. You may need to place it somewhere cooler. 

“Another question, How to take care of Anthuriums?”

” In the very first place, never give them direct sunlight. Their soil is also quite different. They would need a lot of perlites, pumice stones, and some wooden barks. They take very less soil and are in a lot of chill climates. Keeping it in direct sunlight will change its color and make it pale. It should better be placed on the veranda, living rooms, etc.”

How to take care of a money plant if the leaf is getting black?”

“This is generally because of excess exposure to direct sunlight. Pothos also do not need direct sunlight, and they are rather ever-friendly plants that even a beginner can grow. However, if there is excess salt in the water you’re giving, that might be a problem for the plant. They do not need much water either, so you need to take care that you don’t overwater. Also, if you are growing it from a cutting, put it in water first so that it can grow roots very fast. Then, you can transfer it to the soil. Planting them in the soil directly while growing from cutting will lead to it taking much time to grow roots. Their leaves may sometimes have. However, if the plant is inside and is not exposed to sunlight, it may e due to the root getting rotten, which will later lead to the rotting of the leaves,” said Jeanel.

“Okay, thank you so much. You can carry on,” said Zehra.

“So, next thing is many people have the question if they can grow plants in the bedroom. Growing plants in the bedroom are okay. I would recommend the Snake plant for this purpose. People even grow Pothos in the bedrooms. The peace lily is one plant that can be grown in restrooms also because they like humid conditions,” said Shilpa.

“That brings us to the question of how can we take care of them?”

“You can water it every day, but you should ensure proper drainage. Overwatering should be prevented, though. If it’s under shade, reduce watering to alternate days. That should do.”

“So, what plants have you grown at your place?”

“I have quite a variety of plants, like cacti in succulents, rubber plants, foliage plants like money plants, Spider plants, etc. I also have Anthuriums. So, all the plants that I have can be termed low-maintenance plants. Pothos, particularly, is one of the most resilient and low-maintenance plants, which can grow in various situations. I have both green pothos and golden pothos as well. Monstera is another such plant. If you water it properly, that will do, and just prevent direct sunlight, that’s all. Then, there’s Aglonema which comes under this category; there’s English Ivy too. However, during summer, you have to take some extra care of the indoor plants, so make sure the air isn’t very hot or the water isn’t very warm. Olivera is another such plant. You need to water it very well because otherwise, it might be a problem for them. Finally, I the disadvantages of Indoor plants I would touch on. We are receiving carbon dioxide besides oxygen in your house. They also need a good deal of care and maintenance for them to grow properly. They should always be grown in moist conditions. If you are away for too long, that might be a problem since you need to assign someone to take care of the plants. As for fertilizers, you should not use chemical fertilizers on your plants. You can pour rice water, onion water, etc., after fermentation which will serve well for the plants. You can also use eggshells and curry leaves. Just dry them, and then grind them, and mix them with water while watering. These will provide calcium to the plants. You can use banana peels also, after grinding them properly. So, disadvantages can be coped with if we decide to take proper care of our plants. It is a very good hobby to grow plants, so you can take it up anytime you feel like,” said Jeanel.

“It was a very lovely workshop. We’ve learned a lot today. Thank you so much for joining us!”