17 November 2007

Indoor Gardening, Part 2

OK. Today we will cover indoor temperatures, air circulation and humidity. It is important to keep in mind that indoor temperatures vary from season to season and that the temperature just inside a window may be quite different from that of the rest of the room. For example, during the winter, when the outside air is freezing, the temperature of the inside air near the window may also drop considerably, causing the plants that are kept there to suffer cold damage. Therefore, leave only hardy plants near the windows and move the others. Conversely, high window temperatures may also be a problem. South facing windows in summer and late afternoon sun in a westerly facing window, even in the winter, may cause excessively high temperatures. As for air circulation, drafts that occur due to the mixing of cold and warm air temperatures increase what is called transpiration, or the evaporation of water from the surface of the plant. Combined with chilling, this can be very detrimental to many plants. In addition, placing plants near hot, dry air circulating from a heating duct, will also place considerable stress on your plants. Air circulation also affects humidity levels. Relative humidity, is the ratio of water vapor present to the maximum amount potentially present at a given temperature. Indoor humidity is similar to outdoor humidity, unless you are running the heat in the winter or air conditioner in summer. In those cases, the humidity levels drop and the air becomes dry, so that it may be necessary to run a humidifier, not only for the plants, but for your own comfort as well. Other ideas to raise the humidity levels in your home: mass plants together, mist plant surfaces daily with water, set out pots of water among the plants or set the potted plants on a tray filled with pebbles and water (looks pretty too, ladies!) It may be necessary to move highy sensitive plants to another location, such as the bathroom. That's all for today....don't worry, it's not as difficult to keep plants indoors as it may sound. Just a little common sense. If you are not comfortable indoors, then your plants probably are not either. We'll cover more tomorrow, including Chuck's favorite: don't kill your plants with kindness.....see you then! Remember to write and tell us how you like everything so far!

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