Summer often motivates people to try their hands with a new hobby such as home gardening. Many self-styled gardeners look to shrug off the winter doldrums as the promise of longer warmer days lay in wait. A trip to the nearby supermarket or nursery is usually in order.
Unfortunately, many a wannabe green thumb is rudely awakened to the reality that they have dropped serious coin on plants, soil, pots and gardening tools – with little or no prior knowledge of just how involved plant care can be. Knowing how to properly water those new shrubs in front of your house may not be as simple as you think!
I for one can attest to this predicament. A few weeks ago, the excitement of purchasing beautiful dendrobium orchids, day lily bulbs and plantain lilies (Hosta plants) proved just too irresistible a prospect to let pass. A couple of hours and hundreds of dollars later the reality lingered in, “What was I thinking?” Ignorance is never bliss when expensive plants and flowers decay and rot within weeks.
Without prior knowledge or expertise, many store-bought plants won’t last too long, perhaps a few weeks. In my case, the orchids I purchased were soaked in moss, resulting in inevitable root rot and certain death.
“Two things that orchids must have are ample air-flow around the exposed roots and the opportunity for the roots to completely dry out,” said Matt Kostelnick, Senior Horticulturist with Ambius. “Orchid roots are designed for quick water absorption and easy breathe-ability. Orchids do not need regular watering. Ignorance, commonly seen through overwatering, is a major cause of house plant deaths.”
Tropical plants, popular indoors, need to have a ‘tropical environment’, or one that is recreated with the tropical plant in mind. People often give little thought to the actual water temperature they use to water their indoor plants as tropical plants are not accustom to cold water in their natural environments.
“A good practice to get into is filling the watering can the night before so that the water will be at room temperature the next day,” said Kostelnick.
Before rushing off to the local nursery or supermarket it would be wise to do the necessary research on what plants appeal most to you and what care is involved. After all, a new hobby should last more than a few weeks and not end in heartache.
Have a plant question that needs an answer? Visit our Plant Doctor page and try to stump our in-house horticulturist.
Do you plan on doing some summer gardening? Tell us about it in the comments.