If you talk to your houseplants like I do and family or friends overhear, they might be a little concerned. Not just about the fact that you’re talking to plants, but what you’re saying.

 

A typical conversation with my houseplants goes something like this:

 

“Hey there, little green guy. You ready to get all potted up? I know you’ll feel a lot better.”

 

[Me listening for a response].

 

“Great! Glad you’re so eager! That’ll make the process go much easier. Good thing we pre-hydrated you prior.”

 

[Me listening for a response].

 

“What’s that? You also want to do a little deadheading? Superb idea, little green guy!”

 

Like any hobby, indoor gardening has its own terminology. So the next time someone overhears you and looks alarmed, just give them this houseplant garden jargon “cheat sheet.”

 

Garden Jargon

 (FreeImages.com/Yamamoto Ortiz)

 

Amendment: Yes, it is a constitutional proceeding, but this term also refers to organic materials that you add to your potting soil to make it a super healthy place for your houseplants to set down roots. Such additions include worm compost, peat moss and pumice.

 

Bolt: You might feel like doing this when you’re chatty neighbor visits, but it also refers to what happens when you grow vegetables indoors and they stop producing. Instead of new foliage, the plants will create flower stalks. This is especially a problem with lettuce and herbs. The remaining foliage also turns bitter. 

 

Cross: In relationships, this is how you feel when your significant other leaves the toilet seat up in the middle of the night. When it comes to indoor gardening, this is what occurs when two parent houseplants with dissimilar parents cross and make a whole new super cool plant.

 

Cultivate: This term may sound a little “stuck up,” but with houseplants it simply means to dig in the potting soil in your containers to prepare the soil for planting.

 

Dead-head: No, we’re not talking wild concertsalthough that sounds really fun for you and your houseplants. Deadheading in your indoor garden means to remove flowers that have finished so that the plant initiates new blooms.

 

Garden Jargon-2

(FreeImages.comYamamoto Ortiz)

 

Drainage: This might come from your sinuses, but it also refers to the really important fact that houseplants generally need excellent drainage. Water should easily run through a pot and out the bottom when you hydrate your plants.

 

Established: This is what occurs when a houseplant you’ve repotted gets acclimated to its new pot. You’ll know the houseplant is established when it puts on new growth. At that point, you can begin fertilizing. Avoid feeding plants prior to them becoming established. 

 

Foliar feeding: No, this isn’t what you do when your kids need to eat more veggies. This refers to spraying a liquid fertilizer onto plant leaves. The foliage absorbs the nutrients more quickly this way than through the roots. It’s a great option for nutrient-starved houseplants.

 

Hydrated: This is when you can hear your houseplant sigh with relief as you water following a dry spell. On a well-hydrated plant, leaves are buoyant and full of moisture.

 

Leach: This isn’t the cousin who’s always borrowing money. Houseplant leaching refers to running water through the plant pot to rid the soil of unhealthy elements like salt and fertilizer build up. This is a really good idea when you bring a new plant home. Follow leaching with a good fertilizing.

 

Pinch back: Don’t get any nasty ideas. This term simply means to nip off shoots on plants to stimulate side branching and growth. Pinching creates a fuller, bushier plant. It’s a good idea to pinch back indoor grown herbs so they don’t bolt (see above for that definition!)

 

Garden Jargon-3

 (FreeImages.com/Miamiamia)

 

Potting up: This might sound like an activity that’s against the law in some states, but it actually refers to repotting your houseplantsAKA, changing their “digs.”

 

Set down roots: Yes, this is what happens when you settle down in a particular geographic area. A similar sort of thing happens when houseplant roots settle into healthy soil when you repot them.

 

Sucker: P.T. Barnum was so rightsuckers are born every minute, and sometimes it’s in your houseplant. Suckers are sprouts that come from the rootstock of plantsso below the grafted part of the plant. Remove suckers at their base as soon as you see them, because they suck energy from the plant. They’re common when you grow fruit trees indoors.

 

Transpiration: You know when you sweat? Well, houseplants transpire.

 

And there you have it. Your lingo explained for the rest of the world. As to how you’ll explain the talking to your houseplants….let me know how that works out!

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If you love the magic of fairy gardening and want to replicate that magic indoors, it’s surprisingly easy. 

 

Fairy with Apple Tree-resized

 (Happy Photos)

 

Indoor fairy gardens are a snap to create and equally easy to grow indoors, providing you use the right plants, give the gardens proper lighting and maintain them.

  

In the first in this series of growing magical miniature indoor fairy gardens, let’s talk about plant options.

 

Indoor Fairy Garden Plants

 

The type of plant you grow indoors for fairy gardens makes a big difference as to how well you’ll do with indoor fairy gardening. Keep in mind, also, that choosing plants that stay miniature is also important. If you grow plants that will soon outgrow the pot, you’re going to need to repot sooner than later.

 

When choosing your indoor fairy garden plants, look for plants that tend to stay small, such as Cuphea ‘La Chiquita’, pink polka dot plant (Hypoestes `Pink Splash’), mini succulents, such as various sedums, and herbs, like the many varieties of thyme, as well as rosemary. You can also go with baby palm trees, which will grow fairly slowly, but at some point will need to be replaced. The neanthe bella (parlor) palm is one good choice.

 

Next time how to plant your indoor fairy garden!

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The following is a guest post by Richard Clayton, who owns a small gardening shop and publishes My Greenery Life, where they discuss everything you need to know about lawncare techniques.

 

Growing salad in your indoor garden ensures that you have fresh, tasty greens at your fingertips. Chances are you’ll be surprised at just how easy it is to grow lettuce and other salad fixings indoors. To do so, follow these easy steps.

 

salad-resized

(FreeImages.com/Pascal Thauvin)

 

 

Step 1. Choose your containers

 

Recycle just about any container for your indoor salad garden, or if you prefer a tidy look, buy containers in uniform shapes and sizes that match your interior. If you don’t have shelving for containers, install some, as this creates more growing space. Ensure that the containers have drainage holes. 

 

Step 2. Select soil for your salad garden

 

Prepare your containers using potting soil specifically suited to growing greens. Such soil should be rich in nutrients, yet also well-draining. Avoid using outdoor soil from the garden on your indoor garden. Such soil tends to be full of weed seeds, bugs, bacteria, and it may not allow for adequate drainage and air circulation.

 

salad greens

(FreeImages.com/secretmyth)

 

Step 3. Sow your salad seeds

 

Plant in fresh soil each time you seed your indoor salad garden. You can buy various salad seeds, such as lettuce, spinach, Swiss chard or Asian greens. Most of these flourish in cool weather, but some can grow well in hot weather. Indoors seeds should be planted about 1/8-inch deep. After sowing, water the soil surface with a spray bottle until it is saturated. 

 

Lettuce seed germinates within 2 to 3 days indoors. The seeds germinate and sprout best when kept in a room of the house that is about 70 degrees Fahrenheit.

 

Step 4. Take care of your indoor salad garden

 

For healthy growth of your salad greens, keep the temperature in the room cool. Water regularly, as salad greens are shallow rooted and have large leaves. In general, water every couple of days. Also provide sufficient light. Grow your indoor salad garden near the window where it can catch natural sunlight. If you have no outdoor light, place the salad greens under full-spectrum lighting for 12 to 14 hours a day. If the salad greens appear to be crowded, thin out the seedlings.

 

salad bowl

(FreeImages.com/lori5000) 

 

Step 5. Harvest your salad

 

When the salad greens grow to 2 inches, you can harvest fresh leaves. Pick the outer leaves for your salad and leave the rest to continue growing for 2 to 3 weeks and then harvest again. If you wish to cut the whole bunch of leaves, use a sharp knife or scissors and cut below the lowest foliage, removing old, unattractive outer leaves. 

 

Salad greens taste bitter if you harvest them late. Pick them when they’re young and full of flavor. Butterhead lettuce is ready for harvest in 42 to 70 days after planting. Leaf lettuce needs 48 to 58 days. Romaine lettuce needs 50 to 70 days, and crisphead lettuce needs 60 to 120 days. Spinach matures in 35 to 50 days, while it is 50 to 60 days for Swiss chard. To have a constant supply of salad greens, keep sowing seeds or planting salad greens every couple of weeks.

 

Indoor salad growing is a wise option to supply you and your family with fresh and tasty greens. The plants are also attractive, which means they will light up and decorate your home.

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