Plants Care & Uses Knowledge-base

Here we have several articles about plants – from our newsletters……enjoy!

Tropical Plant Care 101.

As Vedic Gardens marketing reach has been broadening, we have been increasingly asked “Please just give me the plant care basics so I can start somewhere.” So here goes!……
It has to be recognized that as the needs of different species vary, it could be bordering on dangerous to write this article and it’s best to read up on the ideal conditions specific for your type of plant. This article is a general guide for beginners.

1) “Minimise The Culture Shock” (making the transition):

Like many of us, plants need time to adapt to their environment. So it’s good to avoid sudden changes. Eg. for a plant shipped “bare-root”, the newly arrived plant needs a couple of weeks to get established first in a pot in a shady area… before moving into the sun. The contrast between “bare-root” with no light and the ground with full sun is significant to sometimes cause a shock (but not always). It’s also better to make stepped changes from shade to sun. So move the plant into a partially shaded area before finally moving it into the sun, and the reverse when bringing the plant indoors from the sun.

Smaller plants (e.g. potted plants rather than large trees in the ground) are less able to tolerate extremes in temperature.

2) “Pots & Pans” (potting, soil and fertilizer):

Prior to the plant arriving is a good time to read up on the plant care instructions and get the pot, potting soil and compost ready.

Most plants prefer a well-drained soil (exceptions exist of course – e.g. grape-vines love a heavy clay soil). Always use a pot with drainage holes at the base. It is preferable (but not essential) to put an inch of gravel at the bottom of the pot before adding the potting soil, local soil and compost mix.

It is possible to over-fertilize plants ……a little every 2 or 3 weeks is usually optimum. e.g. about a table-spoon full only per pot.

3) “Shower With Love” (watering):

More people tend to over-water than under-water. The two easiest ways to determine whether a plant needs watering are:

a) Put your finger in the soil of the pot to a depth of around an inch or two, and if it seems dry, it’s probably time to water.

b) Lift the pot. From experience you will know the difference in weight of the pot just after a thorough watering compared to when it is dry. Water is heavy!

Most plants like a heavy, infrequent watering than a little every day (there are of course, exceptions).

4) “Health Check” (avoiding and treat bugs):

Bugs are everywhere and a fact of life…. Humans too are subject to bugs.
If your plant has a few bugs, this is a normal part of nature and a sign that harsh chemical pesticides have not been used. However, it’s good to stop the bugs from getting the upper hand on your plant.

Monthly checking a few sample leaves’ underside for bugs is worthwhile – e.g. for whitefly. An organic spray is often required, and good to repeat this after two weeks to be effective. Ie. once-off is often not effective.

Geraniums (in spring) and chrysanthemums (in fall) are often good company for many plants – because they deter bugs quite effectively. Several other plants are also good for this purpose, but these are typically the most easily available in USA.

Happy tropical-plant gardening!




3 thoughts on “ Plants Care & Uses Knowledge-base

  • Bird
    October 12, 2016 8:53 am

    My Curry leaf plant is flowering and it is only 8 inches tall. Love it!!!!

  • Nafees
    May 30, 2017 3:59 pm

    My curry leaf plant has lost its smell. It does not smell like it used to. What is the cause and what should I do?

    • david o'mahony
      david o'mahony
      May 31, 2017 12:37 pm

      hi Nafees. There are many "insider tips" for Curry plant care. One or more factors may be affecting your plant. I have listed some advice here. Good luck! : Curry leaf trees are damaged by frost. Fortunately they can be grown indoors if you live in a frost-prone region. Plant the tree in a well drained pot with good potting mix and position in a sunny area. Feed weekly with a diluted solution of seaweed fertilizer and trim the leaves as required. This plant is susceptible to mites and scale _ so check every month or so. Use an insecticidal soap to control pests (Neem spray is great). In the first year or two, two gallon sized pot is likely to suffice, after that, a 5 gallon pot may be required, possibly 10 gallons depending on your required final size. We suggest mixing into your native soil about 50% Palm & Cactus mix and either 50% native soil (If planting into the ground) or 50% Azalea/Camellia mix (Acid Mix) if transplanting into a larger container. Here is a useful insider's tip: Use a tbsp of Epsom salt in about a gallon of water and feed it to the plant when the soil is reasonably dry - about once or twice a month (more than that burns the roots). This will make the plant grow to its full strength because Epsom salt contains magnesium sulfate which is an essential nutrient for optimum plant growth. Many people use a mixture of crushed egg shells and rinsed coffee/tea grinds as a form of fertilizer to give a quick boost. Some growers add a teaspoon of iron sulfate monthly to keep the foliage extra-healthy. You can expect the plant to grow dark green leaves throughout the spring, summer and fall and to discolor during winter up to the point when it is placed outside (if overwintering). Allow the plant to dry out completely between watering.

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