How to Grow Tropical Plants Indoors
Ask This Old House landscape contractor Roger Cook teaches a homeowner to get a tropical feel from indoor house plants
- At the garden center, look for low-light tropical plants which naturally grow well without an abundance of sunlight.
- Just like a normal garden, layer plants with tall and short, different leaf sizes and shapes and mix in a nice variety of color.
- When planting and placing plants, think about which plants should anchor the space. Go tall in back, shorter in front.
- A self-watering pot is recommended for larger plants.
- Place the base inside the self-watering pot. This will keep a reservoir of water at the bottom.
- Connect the water gauge and filler tube.
- Place a small bag of stone on top of the base and spread it out evenly.
- Remove plants from plastic nursery pot and tease out the roots.
- Place a few handfuls of potting soil to cover the base and the rock.
- Place the plant inside the pot. The base of the plant should be even with the top of the pot. Fill in soil evenly around the plant. Compact the soil.
- For the first few months, be sure to water the plant with a watering can at the soil. This will help develop the root system. After a few months, the reservoir can be used.
- To give height to smaller plants, use a table and place three or four plants on it.
- If potting an orchid, do not pot when it’s in bloom. Remove it from the plastic pot and remove as much of the old sphagnum moss as you can.
- Use an orchid pot for the orchid. It has holes it and it provides a lot of air circulation for the roots.
- Pack in new sphagnum moss into the pot, all the way around the orchid.
- Be sure to not overwater an orchid. Let the moss get crunchy and dry before giving it another good soaking at the faucet. When it gets dry again, repeat.
- Tropical plants like high humidity. To recreate the effect, use a humidifier nearby to keep the air moist.
- Keep the plants moist as well. Use a spray bottle to give the plants some droplets of water once or twice a day. Just be sure not to spray water onto the orchid flower.
Special assistance with this project was provided by Carrie Kelly and Mahoney's Garden Centers.