Bringing Life Indoors
Just because it’s cold outside doesn’t mean you can’t bring a little of that outdoor fun, indoors. Give the kids a little something to do and look after during these indoor months. It may even help them miss the outdoors a little less this winter.
What you’ll need:
- A pot with a dish
- Potting soil
- River sand
- A large stone
- Indoor plants of your choice
- Watering can
- Water-soluble fertiliser
Select a suitable pot. Lightweight pots such as plastic and resin are easy to move around. For sturdier pots, choose those made from wood or clay. Remember the dish for under the pot, as this is for indoors.
Tip: Make sure there is at least one hole at the bottom of the pot. This will allow water to move and drain through the soil freely. If there is insufficient drainage the water will dam up in the bottom of the container and the roots of the plant will not be able to breathe.
Get some good potting soil from your garden centre. Soil from your garden will not work for potted plants. You need something loose and light.
Tip: Try and ensure the soil includes peat moss and other organic matter. Look for a potting mix that includes fertilisers. Some potting soils even come with slow-release fertilisers, which will cut down on your initial maintenance.
Decide which indoor plant you would like to place in your pot. Consider the space available and choose a plant that will do well with the light requirements you have available.
Tip: It’s useful to check the tags on the plants in the garden centre for tips on how much light and water each type of plant requires. Even if you have a large pot, consider using only one kind of plant to prevent overcrowding.
Make sure you pick up some water-soluble fertiliser and river sand at your garden centre. It’s important to remember that you are not allowed to just go into any park and collect some river sand, even if it is tempting! Send the kids to find a large rough stone from your garden, the watering can and you’re all set to start.
Now that we’ve got everything we need, it’s time to get started. Place the rough stone over the hole at the bottom of your pot, taking care not to completely block the hole. The stone is there just to stop the river sand from pouring out.
Add a layer of river sand, at least 1-2 cm thick. In larger containers you can add a layer closer to 5 cm. This acts as a drainage layer as well as a filter, which stops the soil level from dropping and ensures that only clean water runs out below instead of muddy water.
Fill the pot halfway to the top with potting soil. Press down firmly to compact the soil to ensure the soil level won’t drop at a later stage.
Remove your plant from its bag or pot and place it in the centre of the pot. If it is in a bag, cut the bag away instead of trying to pull it out. The top of the soil around the plant should sit approximately 1-2 cm below the rim of the pot to allow space for watering. If it is sitting too high, remove some of the potting soil beneath it.
Fill the pot up with potting soil, making sure the new soil is level with the original soil around the plant. Again, this should be around 1-2 cm below the rim of the pot to allow space for watering.
Take your creation outside for its first drink and water it generously, ensuring that the water drains out of the bottom of the pot. This will confirm that your drainage is working correctly and the soil will have a good first wetting. Thereafter follow the watering instructions for your indoor plant of choice.
Tip: Remember plants in containers need to be fed regularly to replace the nutrients being washed out of the bottom of your container.