Container gardening is something we’ve all practised through generations; whether it’s a small tulsi plant in the balcony or bamboo grass on the coffee table. So isn’t it simply natural that we invite more plants into our home? In fact, the convenience of container gardening goes beyond just space; it is also easier in terms of maintenance and care. There are no risks of soil-borne diseases or weed problems. Container gardening is all about finding the right plant for the right spot in your home. Here are ten plants that do very well in pots:
1. Succulents (Difficulty: Easy)
Requiring very little care, succulents can grace dining tables, study desks and kitchen windows to make for a pleasing focal point. Succulents adorn your home or office in pretty little glass jars. These plants can thrive in moderate to high lighting environments and require watering once a week.
Cactus mix is the ideal potting soil, but using coco peat with little manure/soil would also do the trick. The potting soil should be quite loose and you need to cover the surface with grit or coco peat. Sets of succulents planted in small jars in different orientations can paint a pretty picture on morose backgrounds.
2. Spinach (Difficulty: Medium)
If you want to taste your success in the shortest period of time with minimal effort, spinach is the way to go. It grows best in full sun, but partial shade would also do. The plant can be grown from cuttings or seeds. However, seeds are the preferred method and it takes about 60 days for harvest.
As a heavy feeder, spinach requires good soil that is rich in organic nutrients such as compost or organic compost. If you live in a hot and dry climate, you can grow it in partial shade and water more often. Although an annual crop, avoid planting seeds in the winter months. You can cultivate spinach in pots of 10 to 12 inches, maintaining a 3-inch space between plants.
3. Chilli (Difficulty: Easy-Medium)
Silly as it may seem, chilli plants produce good harvest on a weekly basis – and the best part is that you just need one chilli from the market to get you going. They do very well in balconies and terraces that get lots of sunlight. The plant gives fruit all year long.
Simply cut open a chilli in half length-wise and place the pods on a damp paper towel for a week or until it sprouts. You can also directly place the pods in the pot at a depth of ½ inch of soil, but it may take longer to germinate. They require a good amount of watering. Hand pollination is required if you’re growing them in a balcony or indoors.
4. Snake plant (Difficulty: Very easy)
Snake plant, also known as, mother-in-law’s tongue is widely considered as the best indoor plant, especially for apartment dwellers. It is very easy to maintain – does not require much lighting or regular watering. It is often said that one must work very hard to kill a Sansevieria. A decorative plant that is regarded as an air purifier, the snake plant releases night time oxygen making it ideal for bedrooms as well.
It is better to use a succulent mix while planting snake plant. During the winter you need to water the plant only once a month – yes, it is that simple to care for a snake plant.
5. Money plant (Difficulty: Very easy)
Whether you’re looking to create a mini hanging garden in your balcony or to accessorize an empty beer bottle, money plants are the answer.
If you are placing it inside a hanging pot, use coco peat or coco coir to support the plant. If you are growing them inside a vase or a bottle, you will not require any soil and can simply place it in water. However, ensure that the roots are always covered in water.
6. Gerbera (Difficulty: Medium)
A perennial flowering plant in warm climates, gerbera is a beautiful pastel-shaded flowering plant that looks like mini-sunflowers. They come in all kinds of colours – red, pink, white, yellow etc.
The best way to plant gerbera is to place 2 to 3 seeds in one medium-sized pot. It cannot tolerate water-logging and so, the pot must have enough holes to let the excess water out. Gerbera is native to India and grows very easily in open full sunlight or in partial shade. Regular watering and manure-rich soil are required for growing the plant.
7. Tomatoes (Difficulty: Medium–hard)
Although tomatoes are hard to grow, the results are worth the effort. The plants require a minimum of 6 hours of direct sunlight to do best. They do well in containers or even in plant bags.
The ideal pot size to grow a tomato plant is 18 to 24-inch diameters. Lots of watering, drain holes and premium quality potting soil rich in organic nutrients or sufficient n-p-k ratio are a must. You can also try tomato-specific fertilisers or natural fertilisers like bone powder. Using Epsom salt during fruiting ensures good results. Pruning or rooting must be carried out often.
8. Lemongrass (Difficulty: Medium)
If you seem to be having trouble with mosquitoes in your home, find space for a lemongrass plant as they are a natural repellent. Lemongrass also serves as a good starter plant for those who want to make natural herbal tea at home. Dry the leaves in full sunlight and add to a pot of boiling water to make all-natural lemongrass tea. It is best if lemongrass is purchased from your local nursery.
Plenty of water and a good amount of sunlight are a necessity for lemongrass to flourish. Lemongrass easily propagates, so you can pluck the pods and plant them in another pot, to ensure that both the mother plant and the stalks are healthy.
9. Basil (Difficulty: Very easy)
If all you are craving is farm-to-table cooking, basil is the way to go. Simply place a pot in your kitchen window or in a balcony with access to lots of sunlight. Basil does well in terraces too.
Well-drained soil, 6 hours of sun and regular watering are necessary for growing basil well. You can also grow similar plants in the same pot, including oregano and chamomile. Basil also deters mosquitoes. What’s more, you won’t ever run out of fresh basil for your Italian recipes.
10. Spider plants (Difficulty: Easy)
Thriving just about anywhere, spider plants flourish indoors as they require bright but indirect sunlight. They do not require much watering and are best suited to be placed in large pots in the living room.
If you choose small pots, you may be required to either trim or repot them. Spider plants do best in soil that is kept moist. If you are a beginner in the gardening arena, container gardening will get you hooked. Finding plants that are native to your area are is the best way to start your pot planting journey.