Workshop on Monsoon Flowers
Growing plants in your home garden is a challenge in all seasons. However, in monsoons flowers bloom merrily and other plants also grow well. For beginners, the monsoon is the best season to start gardening. If you are a flowering plant lover then, this guide will help you to set up your monsoon garden.
Watch our workshop held on 30th July on “Monsoon Flowers” with our speaker Tiasa Seal. She is pursuing her Masters in Chemistry and is a plant enthusiast. She has lots of flowering plants in her garden and in this workshop, she will be discussing all seasonal flowers, their care, and preparations for the next season to have a beautiful garden. You can connect with her on her Instagram page “garden_girl_tiasa”
Topics to be covered:
1. Seasonal flowers
2. Their needs, care & propagation
3. Monsoon Gardening Chores
4. Preparing flower beds
Tiasa and her Monsoon Flowers:
“Good afternoon, everyone. Welcome to another workshop of TAOS. Today we have with us Tiasa Seal. Hello Tiasa, how are you?” Asked Zehra.
“I am all good. Thank you so much for having me Zehra. I am glad to be a part of this workshop by Taos.” Said Tiasa.
So, I will let our viewers know, Tiasa is currently pursuing her Master’s in Chemistry and she is a great plant lover too. You can follow her on her Instagram handle. So let’s get started.” Said Zehra.
“Thank you so much, Zehra. So, my name is Tiasa Seal and I get completed my Master’s in Chemistry. I am a plant enthusiast, I love plants. You can also call me Lockdown Gardener. I am also a dancer, believe in sustainability, and try to create all different types of DIYs.
So, today we will discuss the different type’s flowers that bloom in monsoon. So there is no specific flower for monsoon but generally, all perennials bloom very nicely during the monsoon. If I have to name a few for beginners to gardening, would be:
- Zinnias: They are not perennials but they are annual. They bloom very nicely throughout the year. You will notice various kinds and colors of flowers. They even bloom during the scorching summers in India. So, the zinnias plants germinate and their flowers will dry, and the dried flowers will again fall on the ground soil a new plant will start growing. So basically, within a year there can be two cycles for this plant. That’s the most fascinating thing about this plant.
- Alamanda: It is a very hardy plant, they bloom very nicely with fast growth. They have a wine structure. They also bloom throughout the year.
- Vinca: The desi vinca is a hardy plant. They don’t get affected by anything. They can grow very well in monsoons as well as in summer. But in the case of hybrid vinca, they are sensitive and have to be more taken care of.
- Kamini/Madhukamini: This plant’s flowers bloom beautifully. The flowers have a very nice smell. It is good for planting at the house entrance.
- Mexican Petunia: They bloom throughout monsoon and summer, and therefore are different from normal Petunia. Because the normal Petunia blooms during the winter season. Mexican Petunia also have different colors like white, purple, and pink.
Another beautiful flower to have during monsoon is Rain Lilies. So, I didn’t have the Rain Lily plant, but my friend gifted me the small bulbs which you can plant in the soil and they would multiply very easily in larger spaces. During rain they bloom beautifully fast, they do come in different colors like pink, yellow, and white. According to me, there is a different kind of joy in waiting for a specific seasonal flower to bloom especially in the monsoons. There are many perennials like roses that can be grown from cuttings, adenium, Hibiscus, Jasmine, and Ixora. There are different kinds of hibiscus plants that generally bloom from September to and bloom throughout the winter. This plant is called Cranberry hibiscus which has a dark maroonish-red color.
You need to keep some important things in mind while preparing winter flower beds. Flowers like Chrysanthemums and marigolds that I have in my garden. So, I felt the dried seeds fall on the soil and they had great growth. So to maintain the plant, you also need to focus on trimming and cutting the top of the plant. And you can propagate those cuttings which will multiply the plant and would make it look bushy and beautiful.
To have a proper cutting for propagation, you can use scissors, and a sharp blade, and for better efficiency, you can use sanitizer to sanitize the blade or scissors as it has ethanol which will reduce fungal infections. By using a blade you need to make a 45° angle slant cut because it provides better surface area for the roots to come out. You can cut the lower leaves near the nodes as they will create stress in the plant. Even for marigolds, as the roots grow fast you can witness it in 2 weeks. Even in marigolds, you have to cut the bottom leaves and make a 45° slant cut as it will help increase surface area. Then you can propagate the plant in a jar of water. Regarding the water in the jar, you have to change the water at least every 2-3 days. It will prevent the plant from any kind of infection, mosquito larva formation, etc. You need to make sure to keep this jar cutting under bright light but not direct sunlight. For the proper growth of the plant, it requires sunlight but indirect sunlight.” Said Tiasa.
1. “can we break the leaves with our bare hands?” Asked Zehra.
“No, because if you break the leaves with bare hands there will be no uniformity and with the leaves, there are chances of removal of the outer skin on the stem. So it is better to use scissors for removing the leaves. After cutting you can put it in any jar of water and make sure that no leaf is dipping in the water because it can rot the cutting.” Said Tiasa.
“Talking about soil for the plants, even if you are a beginner at gardening you need to keep in mind that you need to add normal garden soil in equal parts to any kind of compost like cow dung, vermicompost, kitchen waste compost, or anything that you can get, and you can take an equal amount of sand. This is the best composition of soil needed for a plant to grow. Since the composition of the soul contains vermicompost which is giving all the nutrients to the plant, adding soil will improve the soil pattern and will reduce water clogging. Hence the soil mixture is the most obvious thing that the soil needs. So once you start growing plants you will know the requirements of the soil to grow a specific plant. So, after the development of the roots, you can plant the cutting in the soil. You need to keep that sown plant in the shade for at least 2 weeks because that will help the plant get accustomed to the new surroundings, atmosphere, and climate for proper and good growth.
You can also sow different kinds of seeds for the winter season like Zinnias, Cosmos, and Dianthus for beautifying your winter garden. You can buy more saplings in October or November as you will have bloom in January or February time.
Important points to keep in mind during monsoons:
- You can use a fungicide, to avoid any kind of fungal attack. You can use it once a month. Basically, before heavy rains in the evening time, when the sun is down. So that the plant gets enough time to absorb the fungicide.
- Use an insecticide once a month to avoid any type of infection to the plant. Since we believe in sustainability, we can make different kinds of homemade insecticides.
- After a month of heavy rain, you should understand that the soil is deprived of all the nutrients that it had. Because due to rain all the nutrients are drained out. So, fertilizing plants by adding compost once a month is enough for an 8- inch pot. With this, the plant will be able to regenerate its nutrients and can have proper and good growth.
- In many households in India, many people keep a plate under the pot. So, during the rainy season or while watering the plant, the water gets collected in the plate. The collection of water in the plate is not good for the plant as it may lead to the rotting of the roots of the plant. So, always make sure to remove the water from the plate.
- You can fertilize the plant with various types of organic fertilizers. The most common fertilizer that I use is Mustard Cake fertilizer, as they are rich in nitrogen which will help in the new leaf’s development/growth in the plant. So, for the better and nice blooming of your plant, you can fertilize the plant with fertilizers rich in potassium and phosphorus (bone dust). You can use a teaspoon of bone dust in an 8-10 inch pot, spread the bone dust around the corners of the pot, and fill the soil nicely. Make sure not to fertilize your plant if it is completely dried because it can shock the plant as very heavy fertilizers go into the dried soil. Another best compost is cow dung compost.
I use vermicompost, mustard cake, and bone dust as organic fertilizers. Other than organic you can use DAP granules, which are diammonium phosphate. Since it contains phosphorous which helps in the good blooming of the plant. The method to use DAP granules, in an 8-inch pot use 8 granules around the pot then water it and cover it with soil, and then again water it. In the same way, you can use NPK fertilizer, ratio 10 26 26 which is 10 parts of nitrogen, 26 parts of phosphorus, and 26 parts of potassium.” Said Tiasa.
“Talking about Zinnias, I love zinnias as a flowering plant. You should have zinnias in your garden. Here, I have some dried zinnia flowers. So, to identify that the flower is ready to give seeds, we have to see the stock of the plant. When the stock of the zinnia plant turns brownish, it is an indication that the plant has seeds for the development of the new plant. After crushing the dried flower you would find seeds in them, put the seeds on the soil and mix it with the soil, there is no need to add more soil on the top. After mixing with the soil water the soil maintains moisture in the soil. After all this process it will germinate within 2 weeks. Another interesting fact about zinnias is that I brought the seeds of zinnias in 2021 February. I avoid buying well-grown plants from the local market rather prefer growing and experiencing growing the plant by myself. I have never brought any zinnia plants because the seeds from their dried flower can develop a new plant. In my garden, there are 3 seasons of flowering plants growing within a year.
I believe in exchanging and sharing because that is the best way to nurture nature.” Said Tiasa.
2. “What was your first plant and how did you get it home?” Asked Zehra.
“My first plant was a very small Caladium bub from my neighbor. But eventually, it died. So, in 2020 I was very excited and have the instant to plant a plant. I got a Tulsi plant and placed it in the mandir of my house. So I started with the very basics because to be a gardener you do not need any costly plants to showcase. You can start gardening with anything it can be tulsi or caladium. I also started gardening with a nine o’clock flower which my neighbour gave to me because it is very easy to propagate those. You only have to break the stem and plant it, and it does not require any special care, it can even grow in rainy, summer, or winter seasons.
Gardening is not about investment but it is about the love and experience that you inculcate through the growing process.” Said Tiasa.
3. “Did you have any dying plants or plants that didn’t grow well?” Asked Zehra.
“Yes, I have seen plants dying. I had this Stromanthe trioster they are indoor plants, they have red leaves, and are very humidity-loving plants. I lost them in the summer of 2022. Kalithias is also a humidity-loving plant and I lost that too.” Said Tiasa.
4. “what medium of planting do you use other than soil?” Asked Zehra.
“There are many other ways, but the soil is the main component, you can mix different things in it. Nowadays people use soil mixed with cocopeat, but I never brought the cocopeat I have a coconut plant behind my house and it is easy for me to make it at home. What I generally do, when planting a plant in a pot first put a newspaper so that no tiny soil could escape from the holes at the bottom of the pot, then put some stones or pebbles and add coco fiber which you can get from the coconut itself and share it with hands. Then put soil on it.” Said Tiasa.
“Thank you, Tiasa. It was a wonderful session and I enjoyed listening about your plant journey.” Said Zehra.
“Thank you for having me here for this session. I was very excited about this as it is my first time live explaining.” Said Tiasa.
“Thank you for giving your valuable time and sharing tips and tricks that would be very useful for our viewers. Thank you everyone for joining us in this wonderful session.”