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Horticultural Holiday Fun

growing-basil-basilLooking for something fun to do with the family during the holiday break? We have a treat for you!

You don’t need fancy containers—or soil—to enjoy beautiful houseplants or even an indoor herb garden all year long.

  • Step 1—Pick your plant. Herbs are particularly well suited to indoor hydroponics. Some herbs grow so fast in water, you see a new leaf almost every day.Mints and oreganos grow fastest, followed by basil and rosemary. As for houseplants,any type of ivy (English ivy is a favorite), philodendron, wandering Jew, purple passion, and coleus. Even many flowering plants such begonias or impatiens will thrive in water.
  • Step 2—Root it. Once you’ve decided what to grow, clip a segment off the existing plant and place it in a glass jar, as you would if you were planning to root the cutting and plant it in soil. Always make sure you cut just below a leaf. That’s the “leaf node” and it’s where most of the rooting hormone within the plant is already active. If you don’t have any houseplants or an herb garden, you can always ask friends for cuttings from their plants.

Step 3—Water it. The type of water you use is key, city water is filtered, then it’s chlorinated it’s okay to drink, but it’s void of any nutrients. Instead, use bottled spring water or well water, if you happen to have a private well, as water from the ground has the highest levels of minerals in it. As for containers, use any glass jar you have lying around, as long as it’s see-through. 10And that’s pretty much it. You’ll just have to replenish the water about once a month, whenever half the water in your container has evaporated. There’s no need to worry about stagnant or smelly water, as this happens with cut flowers. Cut flowers are just rotting and dying in water, whereas when you’re growing plants in water, they’re in the process of living. If the plant is healthy, the water stays clean. So you don’t develop algae, there’s no yuck, and there’s no odor.

Oh yes, Step 4—Reassess in a year. At around the one-year mark your water may start to look murky and will need to be changed. Also, the roots will have grown a good deal, so they need to be trimmed back so they don’t choke the plant. If you’re growing herbs, you may need to replace your cutting altogether after a year, depending on which herb you chose. The woodier or stronger the stem, the more time it will last in water. For instance, rosemary might live up to six years in water, but basil may only last a year.

P.S. This is fun to do with your holiday veggie trimmings as well. Try it and report back!  www.insideplants.net

Horticultural Holiday Fun