How to create a lush indoor garden

Gardening need not depend on the elements. Plant your very own plants and flowers in the comfort of your own home.

How to create a lush indoor garden

First steps

  • If you display your houseplants all in one area, you will get a lush effect and the plants will benefit from the heightened humidity gained by grouping the pots of moist soil.
  • In a sunny corner of a room, place a large trash bag on the floor and cover it with attractive, weatherproof decking, tiles or an outdoor rug that coordinates with the room's decor.
  • Arrange the potted plants on the covering, with the shorter ones at the front and rows of successively taller ones behind. For extra protection, set water-collecting saucers under each pot.
  • To increase humidity, include a few vases or decorative bowls filled with pebbles and water.
  • To add to the garden effect, you can include a small figure, such as a bird, child or frog statue, if you want.

Repellent for houseplant pests

If you have a houseplant that is bothered by aphids, mealybugs or other insect pests, you can banish them with this simple, no-mess recipe.

What you need

  • 6 mothballs
  • 1 large clear plastic dry-cleaning bag
  • 1 twist tie

What to do

1. Set the infested plant, pot saucer and all, into the dry-cleaning bag. Moisten the soil, drop mothballs into the bag and tie the bag closed with a twist tie.

2. Set the bagged plant in a bright place that is out of direct sunlight for a week. At the end of the week, remove the plant and put it in its usual home; dispose of the bag and mothballs. Repeat the treatment as needed until pests are gone.

Houseplant food

For an easy organic food for houseplants, try this recipe for "manure tea."

What you need

  • 2 bucketfuls fresh horse or cow manure or 1 bucketful poultry manure
  • 1 burlap bag
  • Rope
  • 1 barrel or garbage can
  • Water

What to do

1. Dump manure into the burlap bag. Tie the bag shut with one end of a long rope and place it in an empty barrel or garbage can.

2. Fill the barrel or garbage can with water and leave the bag to steep for a week, using the rope occasionally to jerk it up and down and mix the liquid.

3. Thin the "tea" to the colour of weak tea and apply monthly to the soil around houseplant roots. Keep reserved tea in labelled jars with tight lids out of the way of children and pets.

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