This week we got in touch with Master Gardener Dot Brand to ask for her advice on how to create a window arrangement that will brighten your room and attract compliments from the neighbours. Here’s the science:
1) Choose plants that will thrive in the light they receive from the windowsill
Not all sills were made equal - consider the movement of the sun relative to your window sill. Between the late morning and early afternoon the sun is closest to your windows - as a result the brightest light exposure will come from south-facing windows. Plants that demand full sun will thrive here. Place your succulents and cacti along these spots to ensure they get the light that they need.
On the other hand, east-facing windowsills will see the first rays of sunlight in the morning. This offers good light levels without ever being too extreme. Most plants can adapt to east-facing windows - we recommend Moth Orchids, which will thrive while adding colour and character to your display.
2) Select plants with interesting foliage that will look great even when the plant is not blooming
Impulse buyers beware: blooming flowers may look great in the garden nursery, but they won't necessarily look so peckish year round! Don't underestimate the ability for good foliage to brighten your room. Diversify your window garden with plants such as a Variegated Hoya to decorate your interior windows year-round.
3) Remember to deadhead flowers on plants like Begonias and African Violets
Maintain your window garden by regularly checking your plants for dead and unhealthy blooms. Not only are decaying flowers unsightly, they draw nutrients from the stem and reduce the plants ability to produce new flowers. By deadheading - or cutting off decaying flowers - you can encourage the plant to rebloom and maximize the flowering cycle.
Make sure you know your plant! Some will need to be deadheaded differently. A general rule of thumb for plants such as Begonias and African Violets is to cut a few millimetres above the nearest node from the flower. When deadheading, always use scissors to get a clean cut!
4) Mix it up! Grow herbs such as basil, chives, bay and coriander to freshen up the sills and spice up your dinner plate.
Not only will setting up a herb garden at a nearby windowsill offer you ingredients right at your fingertips, they often require minimal care! Start off at a local garden centre or Canadian Tire to purchase seeds, and pot in drainable containers to ensure soil conditions are best for growth. Be sure to plot at a south-facing window so they get a lot of sunlight. Chives and mint are best for the beginning herb gardener as they grow fast and require little care, but don’t be afraid to challenge yourself with oregano or basil.
5) Protect your sill by placing your plant into a decorative pot or jardiniere
Don’t let your windowsill become compost! Plants thrive in moisture, and if placed unprotected on your windowsill can damage the wood or paint. Have some peace of mind and add some style to your windowsill arrangement by adorning plants with a decorative pot or jardiniere. We recommend you accent leafy plants with stylized pots to complement the foliage, and select clay pottery or more muted colours for blooming, colourful flowers.
6) Keep windowsill plants growing healthy by feeding them during the growing season
Bringing your windowsill garden to life will take more than just a regular watering schedule - applying a balanced fertilizer such as 20-20-20 every two weeks will help ensure that your windowsill plants get the nutrients they need to stay healthy all season - just add it to your watering jug and apply lightly to windowsill pots.
Thanks Dot Brand for sharing her experience in horticulture for this blog post. With an honours bachelor of biological sciences from University of Guelph and over than 12 years experience as a Master Gardener, Dot currently is a Manager and Horticulture specialist at Lakeland Plant World in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia.
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