The onset of cool weather does not mean that you have to give up gardening. Growing plants indoors during the winter is a way for you to enjoy your hobby year round. Whether you choose to keep a few plants beside a sunny window or grow a full vegetable garden in your basement, you will need to make sure you provide the growing conditions that your plants need.
Things You'll Need
- Potting soil
- Grow light
- Heater (optional)
- Time release fertilizer
Select the plants that you want to grow indoors. When you choose a plant, consider the conditions that it needs to grow well and the amount of space and time you have available to take care of it.
Put your plants in growing medium that does not contain soil from your yard. Soil from the outside can carry diseases and will compact over time as it is watered. Use a potting mix that contains equal parts of potting soil, perlite, vermiculite and peat.
Choose a light source for your plant. Some plants grow very well sitting near a sunny window, but if you want to grow plants that prefer full sun or if you will be keeping your plants in an area without windows, you will need to use a grow light to supply the light they need. Some popular choices for grow light bulbs are fluorescent tubes, LED's, metal halide lamps and high pressure sodium lamps. Make sure that the bulb, or combination of bulbs, you use provides a full spectrum of light for your plants.
Set your light source up so that it is about 12 to 18 inches above the top of your plants for metal halide or high pressure sodium lamps, and 4 to 6 inches above your plants for fluorescent tubes or LED's. Your plants will grow taller so make sure you have a way to raise the light or lower the plants to maintain the correct distance. Plants need darkness as well as light, so use a timer to turn your grow lights on and off, which will mimic day and night.
Position a fan so that it blows gently across the top of your plants to regulate the temperature. The fan circulates the air, removes excess heat caused by the grow lights and inhibits mildew formation. If you are growing your plants in an area that tends to be cold during the winter, such as a garage, you could also need to use a small heater.
Water your indoor plants whenever the top inch of soil feels dry to the touch. In winter, the heated air inside your house is often very dry, so you might need to water often. Be careful not to over water, however, or the roots of your plants will begin to rot.
Add a time-release fertilizer to your plants as they need it. The amount of fertilizer your plants need depends on the type of plant it is and how actively it is growing. Heavy feeders, or plants that are growing rapidly, will need more fertilizer. Monitor your plants carefully to make sure you are not over or under fertilizing.
Tips & Warnings
- To reduce the amount of care your plants need, choose plants that can tolerate shady and dry conditions.
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