Lee Valley Tools Gardening Newsletter
Vol. 2, Issue 1
February 2007
Fragrant House Plants

The scents of an outdoor garden can be evoked indoors by cultivating fragrant house plants. Although the list of such foliage is short, it contains many varieties that will freshen up your home's bouquet.

Amaryllis   General Guidelines for House Plants
Assess your indoor atmosphere to determine what types of house plants will flourish. You may need to create artificial environments using grow lights and indoor greenhouses to help your plants achieve their maximum potential. Consider the following basic house plant needs when selecting fragrant indoor plants:

Water: Determine each plant's watering requirements and do not exceed them. Over-watering can kill your plant. Water that runs through the container and is left to sit in a catch pan will only contribute to root rot. A moisture meter takes the guesswork out of watering.

Light: Homes have only so many south-facing windows, so the use of grow lamps may be necessary to supplement natural light. Extensive grow-light systems can cost hundreds of dollars, but you can build your own modest system by using a gooseneck floor lamp, a sixty-watt grow light bulb, and a timer.

Fig. 1 – A white amaryllis will provide showy blooms and a light fragrance.

Warmth: Since the heat in your home fluctuates, it's important to know your plants' temperature requirements. Some indoor plants need more warmth in the early seedling stages and can be boosted by a heat mat.

Humidity: Some plants require increased humidity levels to survive. Achieve this by allowing your pots to sit on decorative pebbles in beds that are one-third filled with water.

Soil: The best indoor soil to use is a light potting mix. Plants cultivated outdoors and brought inside for the winter can be top-dressed with one inch of the indoor mix. To prevent soil runoff, line the bottoms of the pots with used fabric softener sheets or coffee filters.
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