Equipment and Materials For Growing House Plants

Equipment and Materials For Growing House Plants

It can easily be argued that all you need to look after plants is a milk bottle for watering and a clean piece of cotton rag for cleaning. These are the bare essentials, but, if you a real enthusiast, you will want to know about all the available ways of keeping your plants in good condition. It is not necessary to go out and buy a lot of expensive equipment before purchasing your first plant. The best way is gradually to assemble the various articles, as you need them for your expanding plant collection. You buy only what you really need.

Basic needs

The first piece of equipment to acquire is a good watering can, preferably two, a small and a large one. These should both be the same shape; squat with a long spout that will take a rose attachment. It doesn’t matter what materials the cans are made of, plastic and metal are equally good. Next you will need a plastic bucket, which is useful as a portable rubbish bin for dead leaves and faded flowers, for mixing composts or wetting peat. You can fill it also with water to plunge plants like hydrangeas or azaleas.

A good mister is also very valuable to the indoor gardener. If you can, buy two: the first for plain water and/or foliar feeds, and the second for pesticides. Always remember to wash the mister out thoroughly after using any chemicals, paying special attention to the nozzle. This can easily get blocked by dried chemical salts. If you do have two misters, remember to label clearly which one you are keeping for pesticides.

Adding to the collection

As your housepiant collection grows, so will your enthusiasm, and with it your need for more basic equip-ment. Other things to add to your store at this stage are a sharp knife, a pair of garden scissors, secateurs, a set of small hand tools (particularly for window box gardeners) and gardening gloves. For tying up’indoor plants you will need twine, string, raffia and plant rings. It is also a good idea to keep a reel of wire, bamboo canes and moss poles in stock. If the moss on your poles becomes tired or broken, go to your local florist, buy a bagful and re-moss the pole by tying it on with twine. Lastly, a selection of plastic saucers in all sizes and a variety of pot holders are always useful.

The refinements

If you have a greenhouse or conservatory then a ther-mometer is essential. The maximum/minimum type is particularly useful in winter, when a sudden drop in temperature could be lethal to plants. A water meter, to indicate the amount of water in the compost, and a hygrometer, to give you the degree of humidity in the atmosphere, will be your next requirements. To clean your plants you may want leaf-shine. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions. There are plants which react badly to leaf shine. Do not use it more than once every two months.

Another important range of equipment is self-watering pots and containers. The basic design comprises a water reservoir with a porous membrane across the top on which the soil and plants sit. The moisture isdrawnupby osmosis, often aided by cotton wicks. It is essential to follow the maker’s instructions exactly when using these devices.

The last piece of equipment for a keen collector is a propagator.

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