THE INDOOR WATER GARDEN

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Summer witnesses the wilting of plants which start to turn yellow and droopy, no matter how many times you water them, or how many times you change the position of their pot and nudge them towards the shade.

Another issue is that most people go on holiday abroad in summer, and stay away from their homes for days or even perhaps weeks at a stretch. And it’s here that the problem arises about what to do with your plants, which will surely degenerate if not taken care of properly, especially during the hotter months. Most people either give their house key to a parent or a friend and ask them to look in on the plants regularly. Alternatively, they end up ferrying their pots and containers of soil to and fro, distributing them amongst helpful acquaintances who’ve promised to take care of them if they can. Either way, it’s kind of a touch-and-go situation, and you’d be imposing on other people into the bargain, which I’m personally not all that much into.

Growing houseplants in water instead of soil – also known as hydroponic farming – is a simple and cleverly creative alternative form of gardening, which incidentally resolves the issue of plants remaining without water whenever you’re away from home or whenever you forget to water them. It’s also a great idea for the novice gardener, since it’s actually quite easy both to prepare and to maintain. It’s also an optimal way of gardening for those people who don’t have a garden or who have limited space at home, as well as those who don’t appreciate mucking around with soil and dirt.

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Creating an indoor water garden is pretty inexpensive, since it may be started from clippings of already existing houseplants. It can also be accomplished in any receptacle or container, as long as this is made out of clear glass (no brass, lead or copper), since the roots and foliage growing below water-level soon becomes the most beautiful and decorative part of the plant. The glass also allows the rays of the sun to get to the roots without impediment. A plant growing in this manner usually grows at a slower pace than it would grow in the soil. However, water-based plants are more lush and colourful. Almost any houseplant can be managed in this manner, but remember that like any normal shoot or sprout, your vase will require sunlight as well as water, so choosing the correct placement is very important.
Here are some important steps to follow if you want to start your own indoor water garden:

1. Wash away any soil residue from the roots of the plant you wish to transfer.

2. Cut away any dead or decaying leaves and stems.

3. Choose a funky bowl or vase of glass. Fill it with large pebbles, gravel, marbles, or anything that sparks your imagination. Put in also a very small piece of charcoal to keep the water clear.

4. Fill it three quarters-full of bottled water – NOT tap water – and add in some water soluble fertiliser.

5. Place the plant in the solution and watch it grow!

6. Change the water every 3 or 4 weeks.

Of course, there are different ways of creating a water garden. Some gardeners combine different plants within the same large containers, creating an interesting contrast. Others even hang their glass containers on the wall, making the most of the trailing green hanging vines and using them as decoration instead of more traditional paintings or wall-hangings. In the end, the only limit is your imagination!

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