Indoor Plants in Winter

Photo credit: The Record Herald

Rosemary in window-Turn 1/4 every few days to keep growth even (B.Petrucci)

Winter Care Tips for Indoors Plants

by Carol Kagan, Master Gardener


From Master Gardeners I have learned a few key things, so here is my quick tip list followed by a number of great resource sites. It is important to check the needs of each plant since they can vary greatly.

Aloe roots crop -
Aloe roots crop –

1. Be sure the plant is potted in the right size container (with a drainage hole) and right potting soil.

If you are digging it up and dragging it in from the outdoors then potting it up, don’t use garden soil. It’s too heavy.

2- Water only as needed when the soil is dry.

Water from the top until water comes out the drainage hole (You do have a drainage hole, right?) into the saucer. About two hours later, drain any excess water from the saucer. Don’t allow the roots to stand in water. If you don’t see drainage but have watered well, check for a clog in the hole and clear it. Inconsistent watering is one of the primary reasons for plant loss.

3- Use room temperature water.

Leave tap water out overnight, uncapped or uncovered, to allow the chlorine and fluorine added to city water to dissipate. Although these probably don’t harm plants, you want the water to be at room temperature anyway. Rainwater, snow melt and well water are ok. Don’t use water run through water softeners.

4- Light should be appropriate for the plant. – See more at:

Medicinal herb garden in your windowsill (Google / Boston Green Living Examiner)

Read at : Google Alert – gardening

Grow a medicinal herb garden in your windowsill

Growing a medicinal herbal tea garden on your windowsill is easier than you think. Sipping herb tea is especially rewarding using plants you have grown and harvested yourself. Using them to treat common everyday ailments is even more rewarding. Somehow growing your own medicine is like medicine in itself. Kind of like a dose of prevention, wisdom and love all wrapped up in a soothing brew. Growing an herbal tea garden is easier than you think. All you need is a sunny window, seeds, dirt and some pots and you are well on your way to enjoying the bountiful world of herbs.

The beauty of growing your own herbs is that you can harvest it as you use it or dry your own herbs for later. Considering most tea bags are the “dregs” you will feel indulgent! Continue reading Medicinal herb garden in your windowsill (Google / Boston Green Living Examiner)

Window Gardens: A Hobby for the Hurried (G. ANTOSH)

Read at : Gary Antosh <>

Window Gardens:  A Hobby for the Hurried

Gardening can be a relaxing hobby. In fact, studies have shown that gardening reduces stress and even increases longevity. Unfortunately, traditional gardening consumes so much time that the people who need relaxation most rarely have time to garden.

Luckily, there is an alternative for busy people, a window garden. Gardening in a window can be as simple as buying several potted plants and putting them on a windowsill. For people with just a bit more time on their hands, a window box offers more room for creativity.

Start a Window Box…

To start a window box garden, you will need a nice deep window box that runs the width of your windowsill. You can find a box that blends with any decor, ranging from fancy wrought iron boxes with glass inserts to simple solid cedar boxes. Of course, the inexpensive shallower plastic window boxes will also work, but these boxes require more maintenance, since they will dry out much more quickly. Continue reading Window Gardens: A Hobby for the Hurried (G. ANTOSH)

Window Box Herb Gardening (Google / Chef Paz)

Read at : Google Alert – gardning

Window Box Herb Gardening

While Paz has been recovering from surgery, she’s been dreaming about a garden in her window.  In the city, it’s a challenge to maintain any type of garden. The wind, heat, car exhaust, and even the noise test the resilience of the most hardy plants – and often test the patience of the gardener, too. But if your apartment has a sunny window sill, you can grow some of the same herbs I plant in my garden, indoors in pots, or outside in a window box.

There are a few secrets to successful window sill gardening. Most important, choose herbs that don’t grow too wide or tall. Don’t overwater if your herbs are growing indoors; on the other hand, herbs growing in a box outside your window need frequent water, to compensate for evaporation from the wind. Most herbs benefit from frequent snipping, but never cut more than one-third of the foliage at a time.

Chives, basil, parsley, rosemary and thyme are good choices. They’re easy to grow, and a small amount added to a recipe will have a big flavor impact. Paz can grow her favorite cilantro, too. Don’t forget about mint; invasive by nature, mint can only invade as far as the confines of your window box or flower pot, and no farther. You can try interesting varieties, like chocolate or pineapple mint. Nasturtiums, which you can start from seed, add color to your window garden, and to your salads.

In my herb garden, flat-leaf parsley is definitely the star of the show this year. I started with nine plants, purchased from our local organic gardening center, and set in the ground in late May. After a slow first month, the parsley really took off. Now I’m harvesting every day, trying to keep up with the late-season growth spurt.


Container gardening on Chicago windowsill (H. HOUGH / Willem)

A nice message from Heidi HOUGH (Chicago) :

I’m delighted to know that our little synopsis was helpful. We continue to enjoy your site and send grateful thanks for including our project, which is just getting underway in year two. In the meantime, I’ve got some cool-weather greens growing in plastic boxes (with drainage holes) up on our second-story window sills. Arugula, spinach, chard, French breakfast radish, and lettuces. I like to eat them right out of the box (like a grazing animal–I am shameless).Chicago windowsillChicago second story windowsill container with fresh vegetables.


 Vegetables in plastic trays high above the street

Young lettuce grown in the city


French breakfast radishes close to the kitchen

red lettuce

Lettuce on a windowsill can be decorative like flowering plants



On May 5th I posted the following message :

Some weeks ago I discovered that people in Chicago were growing plants in buckets. Bruce FIELDS, Heidi HOUGH and their friends developed a very interesting system. I asked them to receive more information on it and to be enabled to publish some of their marvelous pictures. Heide came up with a splendid solution : THEIR FLICKR PAGE. Here is her message :

“I have finally set to order my flickr page. I hope this helps you and others see how we set up our growing buckets. You may freely use any of my pictures at your site.

Here’s the link:

We are excited that it could be useful to people whose water supply is not as bountiful as our own, 20 blocks from Lake Michigan.

Heidi Hough & Associates Inc
1904 W Division
Chicago IL 60622

Text going with the Flickr Page :

Our homemade earthboxes–really earthbuckets–were created from food-grade buckets we had left over from the leaky roof years. We’ve shown a very rudimentary step-by-step series on how to build these buckets. This link is far more comprehensive:

Here’s a good video that shows the process: eurl=http://www.h…

Art built the trellis, which worked beautifully for tying up the climbing cukes and tomatoes. With neighbor Bruce down the street in Wicker Park, Chicago, we had a lot of fun during this first year growing veggies on our rooftops. Go see his pix and descriptive text for more on this Year One of the rooftop garden experiment.

And our supportive friends helped us cook and eat the bounty.


I strongly recommend all the visitors of my blog to have a look at that wonderful series of pictures, explaining how the Chicago team build their bucket system.

My sincere congratulations to Heidi, Bruce and their Chicago team.”


Today, I received Heidi’s magnificent pictures of her “windowsill garden” (above). I believe that just a look at them will convince a lot of people to follow this splendid example, showing how simple and easy it is to produce fresh food in and around the house, even on a windowsill in a city like Chicago.

Did I recently hear food crisis ? Did someone mention high food prices ? Anyone of us, wherever we live, can partly solve that problem. Just grow your own vegetables and herbs (and some fruits) in containers in any location : balconies, terraces, windowsills, patios, platforms, open spaces around the house, flat roofs, etc. Even the cheapest containers, like plastic or PET bottles, yoghurt pots, buckets, sandwich boxes etc. can be transformed in mini-gardens or mini-greenhouses (see former postings on this blog). Give it a try and become a skilled gardener like Heidi HOUGH or Bruce FIELDS (see my former postings on their successes).

Small space window gardens (Plant Care Tips)

Small space window gardens

Would you like to get back in touch with nature, but feel a little overwhelmed at the thought of filling your yard with massive, sweeping colorful garden beds or just feel as though there is no way you could possibly handle gardening on a large scale. Well there is a simple solution – create a miniature garden in a container, instead.

Learn more about small space window gardens

You may access Window Gardens on a Small Scale anytime at…

If you have any questions at all, please let me know.

Happy Growing,
Gary Antosh

Gary Antosh is a commercial nurseryman and acclaimed author with
over 25 years of plant growing experience.

Learn to Grow Like the Pros

– Indoor House Plant Secrets

– How to Care for Your Ficus

– How to Care for Your Dracaena

GHA-Publishing, 138 Palm Coast Parkway, NE, Suite #153, Palm Coast, FL 32137, USA

New homeowner without a garden (Google / Concrete Gardening)

Read at : Google Alert – gardening

Tales of a new homeowner without a garden

I realize I’ve been quite slack on the blog front, but I also just bought a house (without a garden) and my days have been spent unpacking, walking around saying “I can’t believe this is ours,” and finding interesting quirks about our new abode. (Such as – after five minutes in the shower the water turns lukewarm. Great for water conservation I guess. Bah Bum.) The first night we took a crash course in garbage disposal design when we learned that our dishwasher wasn’t draining. (It’s amazing what you can do with the help of online forums, a hammer, and a screw driver.)

Now we’re settling in, using the dishwasher (heavenly after three years of hand washing dishes), and it’s really starting to feel like home.  (Even though we have no furniture on the third floor. We might leave it like that for a while – it makes for an awesome yoga room.  Minimal design to the max!)

The street is phenomenal. The neighbors are ridiculously nice. Our next door neighbor said “It’s like a mature college dorm, without the shared bathrooms.” And it really is. Everyone knows everyone. Kids play in the street after work. People hangout their second story windows to chat. Neighbors drink wine on their stoops on Friday nights. It’s what city living is supposed to be about. All the neighbors say the same thing, “You’ve bought on the best block in Philly.”

And most importantly – I’m doing OK without my in-the-ground-garden. We get full sun to our kitchen window, so I have a herb garden growing right on the window sill. (And I’ve used it heaps!) Our tiny alley gets full sun, so I’ve converted an old birdhouse I made with my dad when I was a kid into a petunia basket to hang on the fence. (I love petunias. Yes, they’re everywhere, but they’re so damn cheery!) Our front stoop has been adorned with potted plants. (Once we start to build our finances back up, we hope to put in a more permanent, raised flower bed.)

Another fantastic aspect of this house is that my indoor garden will thrive. In our old apartment we had one tiny window that received sun. I crammed as many houseplants in that window as humanly possible. My friends used to say it looked like a mini-jungle. Now I have a few large windows that get baked with sunlight. My houseplant space has quadrupled. (I’m also going to start making use of indoor hanging houseplants. More on that later.)

The roof deck is blasted by the sun all day.


Mint roots in a transparent plastic bottle (Willem)

Yesterday, I posted a short message on mint growing easily in a plastic bottle on a windowsill.

Today, I am taking you back to the “problem” of root development in a transparent bottle. Joseph TOLLEDOT, Charles ASH and others confirmed my observation that light penetrating in the bottle would not harm the root development. Indeed, I have never seen negative effects of that kind.

Here are a couple of photos showing the excellent root development in the mint bottle :

Young mint in bottle Mint roots in a bottle Mint roots and polymers in a bottle

Fine mint plants in a transparent bottle / Vigorous root system / Dark spots are swollen polymers, stocking water in the bottle and thus saving water that is not running through the drainage hole. (Click on the photos to enlarge them).

Growing mint in a bottle (Willem)

One can easily grow mint for the daily tea in a plastic bottle on a windowsill. Here is a picture of my experiment on it:

Young mint in bottle

Mint plants growing splendidly in a plastic (PET) bottle. The top cone of the bottle was cut and put, without the lid (stop) inside the bottle as a cover over the little drainage hole (perforation) in the bottom (see my former postings on this blog). Thus, air can penetrate in the potting mix from below. (Click on the photo to enlarge it).

This is a nice method to grow mint inside the house, e.g. on a windowsill in the kitchen, offering a fine opportunity to cut from time to time a couple of leaves for a nice cup of mint tea.

As a lot of water can be saved by growing these plants in plastic bottles, or even plastic bags, the same method can successfully be used in the drylands.

Where There`s a Will There`s a Bowl of Lettuce on the Window Ledge ! (Vegetable Grower)

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The Vegetable Grower

Where There`s a Will There`s a Bowl of Lettuce!

I came across Mrs Walker in my work as a domestic appliance repairer – yep, veg growing is my hobby and passion and not my job. This indomitable lady is still enjoying life but at a much slower pace. She struggles to make two trips a day to her greenhouse which she does with the aid of a zimmer frame.

But whilst chatting with Mrs Walker I noticed that the plant decorating her busy window ledge was in fact a bowl of lettuce plants (see photo below)- and very healthy looking they were too. Her practice was to just snip off a few leaves whenever she made a sandwich or a salad thus ensuring fresh leaves every time.

Mrs Walker has learnt from long experience that there`s more than one way to skin a cat – or even grow vegetables. Some veg, especially salad types, lend themselves to be grown indoors on a window ledge or the veranda of an apartment etc. – rocket, short rooted carrots, herbs come to mind – just experiment.

Don`t limit yourself, if you are short of space let Mrs walker inspire you to grow something – with a little trial and error you will succeed.

Bowl grown lettuce Mrs Walker