A houseplant includes all such plants which are grown for aesthetic and recreational beauty from a home gardening point of view.
These plants stabilize the micro climate through air purification as well as help in beautifying the surroundings through face lifting of a particular area.
House plants reduce indoor air pollution viz. volatile organic compounds including benzene, toluene, and xylene which are primarily removed by soil microorganisms.
Plants also remove CO2 from indoor areas. Houseplants have to be taken care of with optimum irrigation, light, pot mixture, temperature, humidity and proper nutrient management. Besides this, pot size for a particular plant has to be ensured as per the height so that there will be no stress to plant.
Important factors for house plant cultivation
Optimum water for a particular plant plays an important role as under-watering and over-watering is detrimental to pot plants.
Care has to be taken which plant requires what level of moisture as some plants love moisture and some love dry conditions.
In other words we can understand that irrigation to pot plants has been done as and when required. Thumb rule is to see the upper layer of soil drying and irrigation to be followed.
One most important consideration for irrigation management in exotic pot plants like Auracaria, Cyacus palms and other palms, raucaria, Diffanbachia is that avoid any irrigation during winter as this causes damage to plants and survival chances are least.
Some commonly grown pot plants where winter irrigation has to be restricted include: Aglaonema ,Alocasia,Amaryllis,Aphelandra squarrosa , Aspidistra elatior , Begonia Chamaedorea elegans , Chlorophytum comosum ,Meyer Lemon, Dracaena, Dieffenbachia, Epipremnum aureum , Ficus benjamina,Ficus elastica, Hippeastrum,Mimosa pudica ,Nephrolepis exaltata
Photoperiodism is an important consideration as plants are influenced by either decreasing or increasing daylight hours. Plants are categorized on the basis of light loving viz shade loving, semi shade loving, and bright light loving.
Shade garden is one of the important concepts in home gardening. Gardens planted and grown in areas with little or no direct sunlight. Shade gardens may occur naturally or by design under trees, as well as on the side of buildings or fences. This style of garden presents certain challenges, in part because only certain plants are able to grow in shady conditions and otherwise there is direct competition for sunlight.
Very few edible plants grow well in shady conditions, so shade gardens are usually ornamental gardens, though growing flowers may also be difficult in shade. Light shade, also known as "dappled sunlight", may support growing herbs, but in addition to lack of light, trees and other large plants which create shade gardens may negatively impact soil fertility. Acuba, Philodendron, Pothos, Parlor Palm ,Boston Fern ,Dieffenbachia ,Gloxinia ,Monstera .Corn Plant ,Aglaonema,Peace Lily ,Prayer Plant ,English Ivy ,Dracaena Tricolor.
Arrowhead Vine .Peperomia ,Orchid, ,Anthurium,Ponytail Palm ,Spider Plant ,Yucca Cane ,Begonia ,Columnea , Certain conifers etc are examples for shade gardening.
Next comes the growing house plants which love medium to moderate light and most of the plants come under this category.
Floral Wealth for Home Gardening
Azalea, Hedera, Pot Chrysanthemum, Begonia Tuberous, Bulbous Potted plants (Tulip, Narcissus, Hyacinth) ,Calceolaria, Camellia, Cyclamen, Cymbidium, Pot Carnation, Pelargonium.
Pot mixture is an important factor to be considered as without this our plan of growing house plants is a failure. Use of organic manures, soil and sand in optimum ratio as pot mixture is very important so that plant growth and development can be ensured.
It is a thumb rule to make a mixture of soil ,sand and well rotted organic manure in equal ratio. Then some amount of bone meal or bio fertilizers like Azotobacter, PSB and KSB to be added so that soil remains enriched.
Minimum use of slow releasing chemical fertilizers is recommended. Plants require soil minerals, mainly nitrate, phosphate, and potassium. Nitrogen is essential for green, leafy growth. Phosphorus is essential for flowering or fruiting plants.
Potassium is essential for strong roots and increased nutrient uptake. Minor and trace elements, such as calcium, magnesium and iron, may also be necessary. Pot mixture has to be changed every year on the onset of spring so that plants can get fresh media for next year.
Temperature plays an important role in the growth and development of plants. Optimum temperature is an important factor. Plant of a particular category has to be ensured with a target temperature and location in or around hose to be selected accordingly.
Humidity is another factor in growing house plants. Some plants love humidity and others may not. . Most plants thrive in 80% relative humidity while most homes are usually kept around 20% to 60% relative humidity.
Pot types and sizes
Size of pot plays an important role in plant growth and development. Larger or small size pots according to plants means long term fault as too large will cause root disease because of the excess moisture retained in the soil while a pot that is too small will restrict a plant's growth. As far as texture of pots is concerned, porous and non-porous are the two categories. Porous pots are made up of clay or ceramic material and are more recommended due to its ability of natural aeration. Non porous pots are plastic or fiber made and there is no natural air circulation.
Winter care of House Plants
1) Proper time to indoor before frost
With the onset of late autumn we have to prepare for indooring of pot plants. There are two types of pot plants we opt for, including indigenous or exotic. Indigenous are the ones which are of a particular temperature zone like in Kashmir we have temperate floral wealth. If we are opting exotic floral wealth in our zone we have to insure proper winter care viz. Indooring it at proper time, keep it under shelter, opt a suitable place where there is light, temperature and humidity.
2) Inspection and pruning of plants and Washing of plants before indoor conditions
Before indooring any plant in a greenhouse or in any shelter we have to ensure that there is no diseased plant or part of the plant. Inspection to remove dead ,diseased and insect affected plants is very important. Removal of all such parts and then proper washing with clean water or treatment with pesticides is prerequisite so that plants will be saved during winter care indoors as if there are any pest inoculums it can devastate all plants in micro climate.
3) Temperate plants have to be kept under optimum temperature range indoors and care has to be taken that there is minimum fluctuation in temperature.
4) Arranging plants indoor on the basis of light requirement
Plants have to be arranged on the basis of light requirement. Care has to be taken to arrange plants on the basis of shade loving, semi shade loving and light loving conditions as per the nature of the plant.
5) Rotation of plants
Rotation of plants to light 10-15 days interval is important as it ensures uniform growth and development of plants.
6) No fertilizer application during indoor conditions
7) Inspection of plants regularly
8) Right method of potting, repotting
9) No irrigation application to exotic flora.