Over a series of videos, guest presenter and furniture designer Craig Miller-Randle will cover everything you need to know about successfully growing plants indoors.
In this first episode he starts with the basics – pots and potting mix.
Craig lives in an apartment in the Melbourne inner-city suburb of Richmond, so having a ‘garden’ indoors is a good option. Craig doesn’t know how many plants he has in his home but there is barely any surface, wall or airspace that isn’t filled with leafy goodness.
Indoor plants are totally reliant on you for their nutrients, water and health. Craig always starts with a premium potting mix that meets Australian standards.
Plants roots need air as well as water, so the mix has to drain well or the plant will drown. Craig uses perlite – a product made from expanded volcanic glass – in his mix to aid drainage. If using perlite in an unventilated space, it’s always a good idea to damp it down to reduce the amount of dust, or to wear a mask.
He makes up his own mix depending on the type of plant:
1. Standard potting mix combined with 20% perlite. “I use this for the biggest range of plants.”
2. Pre-mixed succulent mix (for desert plants like Pachypodium geayi). “I use this for things that like good drainage. It has extra sand to make it quick drying.”
3. Epiphyte mix; base mix plus 20% perlite and 10% charcoal (which keeps the soil sweet and absorbs impurities). “I use this for things like monstera, epipremnum, philodendron – these are forest floor plants. They need larger particles in their mix.”
If a plant feels tight in a pot its roots have probably filled the pot completely and it needs to be potted up to the next size of pot, plus some fresh soil.
Craig prefers traditional plastic nursery pots that are lightweight and can be washed and reused.
He also cuts down larger pots to make a shallow, wide pot that suits plants such as Maranta (prayer plant).
Madagascar Palm (Pachypodium geayi)
Swiss Cheese Vine (Monstera adansonii)
Green Velvet Alocasia (Alocasia micholitziana)
Maranta (Maranta leuconeura cv.)
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