Saturday, April 28, 2012

Best For Containers: Begonias

In a world brimming with color and beauty, where every passing day witnesses the introduction of newer varieties, it’s quite rare for a particular plant to retain its appeal for long. Begonia is one such rarity! This remarkable plant, with its flashy flowers and vibrant foliage comes from the family Begoniaceae and is a wonderful choice for containers and pots. Here’s some information on how you can grow begonia plants in containers.

When growing begonias from seed, sprinkle the seeds on the surface of the medium and mist the surface to help the seeds settle down. Use a plastic or glass sheet to cover the seeds and place them at a shaded spot. Begonia seeds can take up to 2 weeks to germinate. Move them to a bright spot and keep the medium moist at all times. If growth is slow, you can use a balanced fertilizer to feed the plants.

Once the seedlings are strong enough, move them to individual containers. Choose a pot or container with drainage holes at its bottom. If you’re using a pre used container, I’d recommend you sterilize it before planting begonias. Make sure to irrigate begonia seedlings deeply, immediately after planting.

Begonia plants can thrive in both sunny and partially shaded locations and can hence be utilized for hanging baskets, table decorum and other ornamental purposes. Irrigate the young plants on a regular basis. Once the plants establish, you only need water them when the soil feels dry to touch. Fertilize begonia plants once a month, with a standard liquid fertilizer. Potted begonias need to be kept clean in order to prevent diseases and insect build up. Cut off begonia flowers when they fade. Also, remove the dead leaves on a regular basis.

Growing begonias is a fairly simple process. These beauteous plants have a delightful presence, fit for every household and garden!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Best for Containers- Basil Plants

Basil Siam Queen
Basil is one herb you can find in almost every kitchen! Integral to a number of recipes savored across the world, this perennial herb is a great option for every home garden. Growing basil in containers is both economical and easy. Also, it’s a fun filled way of ensuring that only safe, best tasting food makes it to your plate.

You can start basil seeds indoors 4-6 weeks from the final frost date for your region. Check the seed packet for details of the right planting depth, spacing and temperature range for basil seeds. Basil seeds take about 7-10 days to germinate. Make sure you irrigate on a regular basis so the seeds can get all the moisture they require. After the seedlings develop 3-4 pairs of true leaves, you can transplant them to individual containers. 

An 8 inch container with sufficient drainage holes is perfect for growing basil plants. Fill in with good quality container soil, up to a couple of inches from the top of the container. Dig a hole that can accommodate the plant’s roots with ease. Set the seedling into the hole and refill. Water thoroughly.

Basil plants will do best at a site where they can get full sun for 5-6 hours a day. Mulch the young plants, using a mix of straw, chopped leaves and other organic materials. This will keep away the roots and help in retention of moisture.

Basil plants thrive on moist conditions but have a known dislike for standing water. I’d suggest you water the plants deeply whenever the soil appears to be drying up. Pinch off the tops of new shoots, along with basil flowers. This will encourage faster growth.

Growing basil in containers involves little care and lesser effort. But it’s very rewarding! Start now.