Indoor Plants Grown In Containers

By Prof. Ross G. Cooper

Mini Cactus and Tomato plant

Indoor plant hobbies are extremely varying, satisfying and rewarding. I collect seeds from fruits, vegetables and wild trees and sow them in indoor pots. The seeds should be carefully extracted and dried on a windowsill usually for a day. Planting them requires a well-drained soil and I suggest using your old food containers and their lids instead of buying expensive pots.

Be Creative – You can paint the old containers to whatever colour you like. Make sure that you poke holes in the bottom of the container.

Soil health and watering – The soil should be compost-based but you can add crushed up egg shells to help with the separation of the soil particles and to add calcium in trace amounts. I also add crushed up dried leaves from any source. I also add all my used tea leaves to the pots which adds to the compost. Earthworms help to turn the soil and create good nutrition through their castings.  Watering takes place usually once a day, unless you are dealing with citrus trees or xerophytes (desert plants) which require a well-drained soil so that it is preferably once a week. Although I have a garden watering can, I prefer to use a small plastic bottle to water my pots with.

Avocado tree in a container. The soil is topped with crushed egg shells.

Planting – You should plant your smaller seeds about 2.5 cm below the surface of the soil. In the case of avocado seeds, you do not need to stick them end down in water suspended by three matchsticks. In fact, I have had better germination success merely planting them halfway in the soil surface. Mango seeds and the hard-stone seeds or nuts need their outer shell cracked or removed if you want rapid germination. Although I have successfully grown plums, peaches and apricots without breaking the outer shell. You do not necessarily need a refrigerator to cool such seeds and encourage them to germinate. I always collect my date palm seeds after eating the sweet date flesh. They germinate after about 4 weeks and are lifted out of the soil by an impressive main root before producing a long slender, stiff leaf. Tomato seeds are easily collected from a cut tomato and should be planted directly into a small hole without drying them. They germinate very rapidly within 2 days and require lots of sunlight and regular watering. If you are going to moisten the seeds, it is best to do so in damp toilet paper wrapped with newspaper, rather than clean-film (plastic sandwich wrap). One should never overwater seeds. For those of you who wish to plant xerophytes, it is possible to do so from seed, but they have to be germinated under a glass plate and may take many months. The success rate of germination isn’t that great either. I have found it easier to grow aloes and cacti from cuttings or segments in sandy soil (beach, lake, or river sand is the best) and watered once a week.

Access to sunlight – All your containers should be placed near or on the windowsill for maximum sunlight captivation, achievement of photosynthesis and growth.

Benefits of indoor plants – You are sure to soon start getting a massive and very pleasant variety of indoor flora which boost the mood through natural odours and scents. Plants help considerably with depression and sadness by making you feel happy and fulfilled. The aroma of citrus leaves in the morning is an incredible, natural, organic, rich and oily smell. Guava plants produce a very fruity smell from their stems and leaves. Wild tree seeds may take a longer time to germinate and you may need to collect a lot more to compensate for those seeds that have been damaged by borers and other bugs. I have had tremendous success with my flame tree (Brachychiton acerifolius) whose marvelous seed pods produce a seed that when ground is a substitute for coffee! The tree’s claw-like leaves are a magnificent light green and extremely beautiful.

Mini Cactus plant at full blossom

 Rest assured, planting trees and plants in indoor containers is a wonderful pastime and hobby. I wish you the very best of luck with your new floral endeavors.

Prof. Ross G. Cooper youtube page.

Images provided by Prof. Ross G. Cooper


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