Planting Ideas: What to Plant Indoors to Keep You Busy
Now that November is here, planting outdoors for the most part has come to an end (with the exception of spring bulbs. Read up on that blog here: Planting Spring Bulbs). But worry not! If you still want to care for plants while you’re cooped up inside, we’ve compiled a list of plants that do exceedingly well indoors. Some of them also have the potential to be moved outside when the weather warms back up!
Herbs are an excellent choice in plants. Not only do they fare well inside, but you can keep them growing as you cut them to use them in your cooking. Herbs require at least six hours of sun a day, so planting them in a container by a sunny window is ideal. Use a saucer or tray under your containers to keep water from ruining your countertop or tabletop. In the same way, letting water sit in the bottom of your herb containers is an easy way to rot the roots. When planting your herbs, find a container with a drainage hole in the bottom. When watering, make sure all of the water drains out of the pot to prevent any from sitting around to rot the roots. Running the herbs under the sink is an efficient way to water them.
When harvesting herbs, be sure to cut no more than a third of the stem’s length. Snipping just a few of the top leaves at a time will encourage the plant to branch out more, creating a bushier plant. However, there are a couple exceptions to this rule. For example, chives tend to grow back faster when their leaves are cut an inch to a half inch above the ground. At the same time, many varieties of mint benefit greatly if all of their stems are harvested at once.
For reference, here’s a quick guide on when it’s safe to harvest your herbs:
- Basil– Once the plant reaches 6 – 8” in height.
- Chives – As soon as the leaves are thick enough to use.
- Cilantro – Once stems are 6 – 12” long.
- Lavender– Harvest at any time once stems have flowered.
- Lemon Balm – Leaves may be harvested at any time during the growing season.
- Oregano – Sprigs may be harvested once the plant reaches 3 – 4” tall. Best in mid-summer.
- Parsley – Any time after mature leaves appear.
- Peppermint – Harvest at any time during the growing season. Best just before blooms appear.
- Rosemary– May be harvested at any time.
- Sage – Harvest only lightly during the first year of growth. Second growing season and thereafter, harvest any time year-round.
- Tarragon – Any time after new growth begins in spring.
- Thyme– Harvest at any time. Best just before blooms appear.
During Christmas, a popular holiday bulb is the amaryllis. Effective as both a potted plant and as a cut flower, amaryllis draw attention with their large, vibrant blossoms. Out of all the flowering plants, amaryllis are the easiest to bring to flower. In the winter, the amaryllis has a longer flowering period than in the spring.
When planting amaryllis, plant the bulb up to its neck in well-draining soil (most amaryllis are available in planting kits, complete with a pot). Be mindful of the roots that they don’t become damaged. Place the bulb in a warm place inside your home with direct light. Water sparingly until the bulb sprouts its stems, and then gradually increase watering.
The amaryllis will flower quickly once the stems are full-grown and will continue to flower for around 7-10 weeks as a general rule.
Amaryllis can be made to flower again the following year. It’s more of a process, but it’s worth it to see those massive flowers again. After the flowers have faded, cut the stalk within about an inch of the top of the bulb. Continue to water and feed the bulb regularly. You’ll begin to see leaves growing from the bulb, which will help the plant produce energy for next year’s blooms. Around the middle of August, begin withholding water and let the plant die back naturally as it dries out.
Once the bulb is free of leaves, store the dormant bulb in a cool, dark, and dry place for a minimum of eight weeks.
6-10 weeks after planting
Related: Get the Most out of Spring Bulbs