Compilation of frequently asked indoor gardening questions and answers.
Q.1. What is indoor gardening?
Ans. Indoor gardening is the art of growing and arranging plants indoor or in the house for its best use for function and/or beauty.
Q.2. When indoor gardening started by the mankind?
Ans. i. Around 3500 B.C. evidences have shown that ornamental plants were grown in containers,
ii. Evidences of stone vessels were found from Babylonian period,
iii. Evidences of stone vessels, hanging baskets have been found from China, Greek and Italy in 15th century,
iv. People in Europe started keeping conservatories in homes since 16th century,
v. In 18th century about 5000 exotic plant species were introduced to Europe from tropical areas,
vi. Jews introduced number of ornamentals in 19th century,
vii. All animals including human beings have the tendency to live in association with plants, and
viii. So, indoor cultivations of ornamental plants became so popular.
Q.3. How indoor gardening became so popular in these days?
Ans. i. The pleasure and thrill of growing house plants/indoor plants are immense.
ii. Indoor gardening brings an intimate and natural association of the man and the plants.
iii. Indoor gardening is never out of season.
iv. It is a matter of over-joy to many especially those living in cities where they don’t have open space for gardens and gardening and for them a well maintained single ornamental plant itself makes a garden.
v. Indoor plants add charm to the architectural beauty of the house and complement the interior setting.
vi. Modern architectural designing of the homes having larger windows and well lighted rooms, has made indoor gardening a popular, useful and absorbing hobby.
vii. It is now common to find living plants inside the homes, offices, shops, banks, hotels, restaurants, clubs, hospitals, universities, colleges and schools.
Q.4. What are the purposes of house/ indoor plants?
Ans. i. Exceptional value in interior decoration.
ii. Primitive ways to cultivate ornamentals.
iii. Cultivation for desired satisfaction.
iv. Sense of interest for recreation.
v. Source of exercising gardening adventures.
vi. To reduce expenditure on wide open areas outside the houses, since population density is increasing at alarming rate in urban areas.
vii. Plants used to divide indoor living areas.
viii. Brings permanence in the house.
Q.5. What are important qualities of indoor plants?
Ans. i. Robust (ability to tolerate hot, cold or dryer conditions indoor).
Q.6. What are important characteristics of potting media?
Ans. i. Good drainage.
ii. Proper salinity level.
iii. Adequate nutrients.
iv. Good water holding capacity.
Q.7. What are important physical qualities of soil and potting media?
Ans. i. Bulk density: 0.5-0.75 g/cc.
ii. Pore space- Total (5-30%) and Non-capillary (5-10%).
iii. Water Holding Capacity: 50-60%.
iv. Texture- Moderate (Determined by particle size i.e. clay, sand and silt).
v. Soil type- Loam or Sandy loam.
Q.8. What are important chemical qualities of soil and potting media?
Ans. i. High C/N ratio- 1 : 50 to 1 : 200.
ii. Cat-ion Exchange Capacity- 10-100 mille equivalent per 100 cc.
iii. Optimum pH- 5.5-6.5 except ferns and orchids which require pH around 4.0.
iv. Soluble salts- Less than 500 ppm.
Q.9. What are important constituents of potting media?
Ans. Bagasse, Bark, Cinders, Clay, Garbage, Moss, Peat moss, Perlite, Rice hulls, Sand, Saw dust, Vermiculite and Wood shavings.
Q.10. What are ideal potting media to grow indoor plants?
Ans. i. Soil (Loam/sandy loam)- Sand: Leaf mould (one part each)
ii. Soil (Clay/Silt)- Sand : Leaf mould :: 1 : 2 : 1
iii. Soil (Clay/Silt)- Sand : Leaf mould : FYM :: 1 : 1 : 1 : 1
iv. Peat moss- Perlite : Vermiculite (one part each)
v. Peat moss : Sand :: 3 : 1
vi. Peat moss : Bark : Wood shavings (one part each)
vii. Peat moss : Perlite :: 3 : 1
Q.11. How poor aeration is caused in pot plants?
Ans. i. Compactness.
ii. Over watering.
iii. Excessive rainfall.
iv. Inadequate pore space.
Q.12. How pot plants are affected by inadequate pore space in potting media?
Ans. Roots can’t absorb water and/ or nutrients in the absence of air/oxygen.
Q.13. What are different types of containers to grow indoor plants?
Ans. i. These may be pots, bowls, dishes baskets or troughs.
ii. These may be of Earthen, Glazed clay, China clay, Brass, Copper, Glass, Plastic, Cement, Concrete, Cane, Wooden planters and barrels.
iii. These may be round, oval, elliptical, cone, rectangular, square, oblong, heart, hexagonal, octagonal or any other shape desired by consumers.
iv. These may be plain or ornamental design, depending upon the interior setting, as it must harmonizes with respect to its colour and texture.
v. There should be one drainage hole at the bottom.
vi. It is necessary to place the containers on platters or saucers in the rooms.
vii. Earthen containers provide better aeration.
viii. Plastic containers are good for cacti and succulents or for drier conditions.
Q.14. What are important environmental factors affecting growth and flowering of indoor plants?
Ans. i. Light (Quality, Intensity and Duration),
iii. Relative humidity, and
Q.15. How light affects growth and flowering of indoor plants?
Ans. i. Light is most crucial factor affecting growth and quality of indoor plants.
ii. Most of the indoor plants don’t require direct sunlight, but must be kept at a place where sufficient light is available, as light is the source of energy for plant growth.
iii. During winter and autumn growth is very slow, therefore, keep indoor plants near to windows in light.
iv. Light intensity may be as high as 10 000 foot candles in summer and less than 5000 foot candles in winter.
v. Light intensity is also less in rainy season as reduced by moisture.
vi. Foliage growth at optimum light intensity is better.
vii. In Ficus benjamina leaves are thick, small and light green in high light intensity and reverse in lower.
viii. Fading of crotons in lower light intensity i.e. less than 3000 foot candles.
ix. Fluorine injury increases in lower light.
x. Leaves of Aglaonema and Dieffenbachia become vertical in high light intensity.
xi. High light intensity is required for flowering in Aphelandera and Saintpaulia.
Q.16. How indoor plants are categorized on the basis of light requirement?
Ans. i. Sunny Plants:
Direct sun in winter is required for over 5 hours and no direct sun in summer i.e. Acalypha, Aloe, Beaucarnea, Tuberous begonia, Croton, Coleus, Euphorbia, Hedera, Hoya, Kalanchoe, Sansevieria and Schefflera.
ii. Semi Sunny Plants:
Direct sun in winter for 2 to 5 hours and no direct sun in summer i.e. Alocacia, Aphelandera, Araucaria, Asparagus, Rex begonia, Calanthe, Cordyline, Dieffenbachia, Eranthemum, Euonymus, Fatsia, Ficus, Hedera, Maranta, Pedilanthes, Philodendron, Pilea, Pleomele, Tradescantia and Zebrina.
iii. Semi Shady Plants:
Bright light but no direct sun i.e. Adiantum, Aglaonema, Chlorophytunr« Dracaena, Ficus, Hedera, Nephrolepis, Pandanus, Pilea, Scindapsus and Syngonium.
iv. Shady Plants:
Dim light i.e. Aglaonema, Asparagus, Aspidistra, Chlorophytum, Dieffenbachia, Hedera, Monstera, Philodendron, Scindapsus and Syngonium.
Q.17. How temperature affects growth and flowering of indoor plants?
Ans. i. Generally minimum temperature is taken in to consideration.
ii. Fluctuating temperature is very harmful to indoor plants.
iii. Temperature near to windows or sun facing sides fluctuate more, thus indoor plants should not be kept there permanently.
iv. Temperature in centre of room is higher and remains constant.
v. Temperature affect growth rate, photosynthesis, respiration and transpiration.
vi. A difference of 2-5°C between day and night temperatures is ideal for indoor plants.
vii. Optimum temperature range in air for indoor plants is 21-32°C.
viii. Optimum soil/ growing medium temperature is 18-21°C.
ix. Restrict watering at lower temperature, when it is less than 7°C.
Q.18. How relative humidity affects growth and flowering of indoor plants?
Ans. i. Relative humidity is the percentage of moisture air can hold.
ii. It affects transpiration rate.
iii. Leaf temperature is slightly higher than the general room temperature, since it continuously looses water.
iv. Relative humidity of around 50-60 per cent is most ideal for indoor plants.
v. For ferns and orchids relative humidity of 80-100 per cent is required.
vi. If relative humidity is low then frequent irrigation is required.
Q.19. How low relative humidity affects growth and flowering of indoor plants?
Ans. i. Roots become very hard.
ii. Aerial roots become thick and hard.
iii. Leaves grow in opposite direction and become hard.
Q.20. How relative humidity can be increased/maintained?
Ans. i. Use of pebble trays.
ii. Spraying water with fine mist.
iv. Cover pots with polythene bags.
v. Use of double pots.
vi. Use of humidifiers.
vii. Grouping of plants together for cumulative transpiration, so as to create microclimate with high relative humidity.
Q.21. How nutrition affects growth and flowering of indoor plants?
Ans. i. Fertilizers directly influence the appearance, growth and flowering of indoor plants.
ii. Optimum level of major nutrients is N: 150-200 ppm, P: 50-70 ppm and K: 100-150 ppm.
iii. Slow release fertilizers like Osmocote and Agroben are very useful for indoor plants.
iv. Fertigation is also very useful for indoor plants.
Q.22. How indoor plants are watered?
Ans. i. Indoor plants should be watered cautiously only when required.
ii. Both over watering and under watering are harmful to indoor plants.
iii. Over watering causes defoliation and rotting.
iv. Indoor plants should not be watered with colder water than room temperature.
v. Water is not required until the soil is dry, when held between thumb and fore finger.
vi. Watering in winter once in a week and in summer alternate day or every day is done depending upon type of plant, weather or situation.
vii. Water should not be poured on foliage.
viii. Leaves should be wiped out with a wet cloth or sponge or by spraying water for removing dust.
Q.23. How pruning affects growth and flowering of indoor plants?
Ans. i. Maintain shape and height.
ii. Remove all faded flowers and dried leaves from time to time.
iii. Mostly indoor plants are pruned during December-January in plains and March-April or August-October in hills.
Q.24. How indoor plants are propagated?
Ans. i. Sexual method i.e. Seeds.
ii. Asexual methods.
Q.25. Which indoor plants are propagated by seeds?
Ans. i. Araucaria
viii. Schefflera, and
ix. Philodendron selloum.
Q.26. What are main advantages of propagating indoor plants through seeds?
Ans. i. Seedling plants are more vigorous.
ii. Require less time, labour and cost.
Q.27. What are main disadvantages of propagating indoor plants through seeds?
Ans. i. Slower growth of seedling plants.
ii. Seed may not be viable.
iii. Poor germination.
iv. Lot of heterogeneity.
v. Require more care during germination w.r.t. temperature, relative humidity and moisture, which vary from species to species.
Q.28. How much is the viability of seeds of palms?
Ans. Up to two months and seed germination reduces from over 60% to less than 7%.
Q.29. Which indoor plants are propagated through spores?
Q.30. What are important asexual methods for propagating indoor plants?
Ans. i. Cuttings- Tip cutting/terminal shoot cutting, single/double eye cutting, stem/cane cutting, leaf cutting, leaf petiole cutting, leaf lamina sections and root cutting.
ii. Layering- Simple, compound, stool, mound, and air layering.
iii. Budding- T/Shield budding, l-budding, patch, chip, flute, ring budding, etc.
iv. Grafting- Tongue, whip, wedge, cleft, saddle, side, side vineer, inarching, and plug and flat in cacti.
ix. Bulbs- True bulbs, rhizomes, corms, tubers, tuberous roots, pseudo-bulbs.
x. Tissue-culture and micro-propagation.
Q.31. What factors affect the success of indoor plants propagated through cuttings?
Ans. i. Growing medium.
ii. Light (high intensity under mist).
iv. Relative humidity (Over 80%).
vi. Carbon dioxide (500 ppm).
vii. Hormones- IAA, IBA, NAA, GA, 2,4-D, ready to use hormonal formulations like Rootex, Seradex, Keradex, etc.
Q.32. What are important characteristics of growing medium for propagation of indoor plants through cuttings?
Ans. i. Good drainage
ii. Proper aeration
iii. Good water holding capacity, minimum 50-60 per cent
iv. Firm to hold cuttings
v. Should not stick to roots
vi. Optimum pH 5.5-6.5
vii. Important constituents are sand, perlite, vermiculite, saw dust and peat moss/coco peat.
Q.33. What is ideal temperature for rooting of cuttings?
Ans. i. Air temperature (Day- 25-35°C and Night- 22°C).
ii. Growing medium temperature should be 4 to 8°C less than air.
iii. Bottom heating is very beneficial.
iv. Higher temperature encourages root initiation.
Q.34. How watering is done in cuttings?
Ans. i. Misting
ii. Sub-soil irrigation
Q.35. Which indoor plants are propagated by tip cuttings?
Ans. Tip cuttings with 1-2 nodes up to 10-15 cm long from terminal growing portion are taken.
viii. Sansevieria, and
Q.36. Which indoor plants are propagated by single/double-eye cuttings?
Ans. Single or double eye cuttings are kept at just ground level and root and shoot initiate from the nodal region.
Q.37. Which indoor plants are propagated by leaf cuttings?
Ans. i. African violet
iii. Paperomia, and
Q.38. Which indoor plants are propagated by leaf petiole cuttings?
Ans. i. African violet
ii. Begonia (tuberous)
iii. Gloxinia, and
Q.39. Which indoor plants are propagated by leaf-lamina sections?
Ans. i. Begonia (Fibrous and Rex).
Q.40. Which indoor plants are propagated by stem/cane cuttings?
Ans. Stem/cane cuttings of 10-15 cm length are taken from leggy, tall branches.
iv. Dracaena, and
v. Song of India (Pleomele reflexa).
Q.41. What are important points in propagating indoor plants through stem/cane cuttings?
Ans. i. Dry the canes overnight.
ii. Place them horizontally in the rooting media and cover with it.
iii. Never dug before sprouting.
iv. Maintain high relative humidity up to 90 per cent.
v. February-March or July-September is ideal time for propagation.
Q.42. Which indoor plants are propagated through air-layering?
Ans. Development of roots when the cuttings/shoots are still attached to parent plant and draw nutrients from the parent plant until detached.
iv. Ficus elastica
v. Hibiscus rosa-sinensis
vi. Monstera, and
Q.43. What factors determine the success of air layering?
Ans. i. Type of cut (5-10 cm long).
ii. Amount of moss.
iii. Proper binding with plastic sheet.
iv. Placement of aluminium foil at the top for slowly releasing moisture.
Q.44. Which indoor plants are propagated through division?
Ans. i. Aglaonema
vii. Maranta, and
Q.45. Which indoor plants are propagated through corts?
Q.46. Which indoor plants is propagated through runners?
Ans. i. Chlorophytum
iv. Pilea, and
Q.47. Which indoor plants are propagated through offshoots?
Ans. i. Agave
Q.48. Which indoor plants are propagated through suckers?
Ans. i. Bromeliads
v. Platycerium fern.
Q.49. What are important structures used for propagating indoor plants?
Ans. i. Greenhouse
ii. Poly house
iii. Lath house
iv. Mist chamber.
Q.50. What are important characteristics of cacti and succulents?
Ans. i. These are group of plants which have developed a special capacity to store water in thick fleshy leaves and/or stem.
ii. They thrive well in sunny situation and are light loving.
iii. They require little care except when actively growing.
iv. Most of these plants are native to dryer part of the world.
Q.51. How cacti are different from succulents?
Ans. i. All cacti are perennial belonging to dicotyledonous group.
ii. All cacti are succulents on account of storing water, but all the succulents are not cacti.
iii. Cacti are characterized by the presence of areoles (thick wooly hair cushions like barber hair brush) carrying spines, hairs or glochids.
iv. All cacti belong to family Cactaceae.
v. Flowers arise from or near the areoles at top of ovary having almost every colour.
vi. Fruits of cacti are one-celled berry.
vii. Spines in cacti are modified leaves, provide shade, save from sun-scorching, protect from birds and conserve moisture by reducing transpiration.
viii. Cacti plants are leafless except Pereskia (Rose cactus).
Q.52. What are important tribes of family Cactaceae?
Ans. i. Pereskieae- Pereskia (rose cactus).
Characterized by flat stem, often with spines as in Opuntia.
Divided into 8 sub tribes and are characterized by ribbed fleshy stems.
Q.53. What are important tips for growing cacti and succulents?
Ans. i. Wide range of climate, but temperature less than 35°C is good, as high temperature leads to sun-scorching, yellowing and finally death of plants and very low temperature inhibit growth.
ii. Keep plants in shade.
iii. Do liberal watering except when at rest.
iv. Plastic pots are good than earthen pots.
Q.54. What is terrarium?
Ans. Terrarium is a sophisticated technique of growing plants indoor inside transparent glass containers in a manner to make it a complete ecosystem. Nathaniel B. Ward grew ferns, mosses and palms in a covered container about 125 years back in London, U.K.
Q.55. What are important fungi affecting indoor plants?
Ans. i. Alternaria
Q.56. What are important bacteria affecting indoor plants?
Ans. i. Erwinia
Q.57. What are important viruses affecting indoor plants?
Ans. i. Dasheen Mosaic Virus
ii. Cucumber Mosaic Virus
iii. Bidens Mottle Virus
iv. Tobacco Mosaic Virus
v. Cactus Viruses.
Q.58. What are important insect-pests affecting indoor plants?
Ans. i. Aphids
ii. Mealy bugs
iii. Red spider mites
v. Slugs and snails
vi. Tarsonemid mites
viii. Nematodes- Root knot, Cactus cyst, Root lesion, Burrowing and Foliage and bud nematodes.
Q.59. What are important ferns for indoor gardening?
Ans. i. Adiantum capillus (Maiden hair fern)
ii. Asplenium nidus (Bird’s nest fern)
iii. Cheilanthes argentea (Silver fern)
iv. Davallia bullata (Squirrel’s foot fern)
v. Nephrolepis aureum (Boston fern)
vi. Polypodium aureum (Hare’s foot fern)
vii. Pteris cretica (Brake/ Ribbon fern).
Q.60. What are important palms for indoor gardening?
Ans. i. Actinophloeus palm
ii. Areca palm
iii. Caryota palm
iv. Chamaedorea palm
v. Kentia palm
vi. Fish tail palm
vii. Livistonia palm
viii. Phoenix palm
ix. Pygmy date palm
x. Rhapis palm
xi. Thrinax palm.
Q.61. What are important flowering plants for indoor gardening?
Ans. i. Anthurium
iv. Begonia (Tree
Q.62. What are important indoor climbers?
Ans. i. Hedera
Q.63. What are important indoor plants growing in hanging baskets?
Ans. i. String of beads
iv. Lady necklace
Q.64. What are important ornamental cacti?
Ans. i. Astrophytum
Q.65. What are important ornamental succulents?
Ans. i. Aloe
Q.66. What are important indoor foliage plants for hills?
Ans. i. Araucaria
iii. Rex begonia
Q.67. What are important indoor flowering plants for hills?
Ans. i. Cyclamen
iii. Tuberous begonia