Vail gardening: We often give indoor plants a beating |

Vail gardening: We often give indoor plants a beating

Stacey Jones
Vail, CO Colorado

VAIL, Colorado – Plants represent both the strong and the sensitive parts of life.

They are strong enough to take a beating, but they are sensitive enough to soften up our everyday scenery with textures and colors, and many also produce wonderful flavors and scents. With the winter season approaching, my home improvement priority is to add plants to the indoor environment.

Plants are use to enduring daily and weekly stresses (a.k.a. beatings) in both indoor and outdoor environments. Those stresses can be minimized by the homeowner. All it takes a little awareness and effort in observing the cycle of life in and around your plants. I refer to this as “plant watching.”

For many plants, it seems a common problem is that many of us either overwater, underwater, or try to place the plants in a location that is best for our design preferences, rather than what is best for the plant. This is the kind of “beating” or “stress” that I am referring to. Do we realize the consequences of our actions? Sometimes these consequences don’t show up in the plant for weeks or even months, and then we wonder what went wrong.

My focus today is on indoor plants (though these same principles also apply to outdoor plants). To help your indoor plants survive and win the game of life, they need a routine watering schedule that works for each individual plant, not you. I repeat, not you.

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This watering schedule may take a little extra effort to initially figure out, such as a daily check to ensure the plant is well hydrated, free of stress and winning at life. Each plant will survive and win at life even easier if placed in the most ideal lighting conditions.

There are many tools that help you relate to how wet the soil is down near the roots. There are also many tools and references available to easily identify and match up a plant to proper light conditions. There are devices that measure sunlight over a 12-hour period, and references that tell you how much sunlight specific plants need.

How much easier could it get? With this kind of help at our fingertips, why do we so often take our plants for granted? And why do we so often give our plants a ‘beating’?

Plants are survivors, they try to survive lack-of water, sunlight, and even nutrients. They also often survive overwatering, too much sun and too much nutrients. Talk about a whirlwind, it’s no wonder they talk to us via wilting, bug attacks, and crisping or yellowing along the way.

My challenge to all of us is to watch the cycle of life, and enjoy plant watching as much as you enjoy people watching. Help your plant to win at the game of life, and stop beating up your plants.

Stacey Jones is part of the team at the Wildflower Farm and Colorado Alpines, located in Edwards on Highway 6. Send comments about this column or your gardening questions to

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