Engaging with plants can be one of the most rewarding experiences when you see your garden bloom with a variety of flowers.
And although the idea of a winter garden may seem distant and farfetched, it is the research and planning in the early stage that makes it worth the wait.
After zeroing in on the plants that you want to grow, the first step is to get the containers ready. Even a spare plastic or glass bottle can serve as a container. If the containers are ready by October, the plants should start flowering from November through January.
Remember, all flowers will not bloom together. Some take a few weeks while others may take a month. You can plant the flowers in neat rows or opt for a wild pattern or even display them in your balcony in containers or in hanging pots or baskets for an aesthetic appeal.
“Generally, seasonals such as aster, calendula and chrysanthemum do well. Similarly, shallow-rooted plants such as gazanias also fare well,” says M.S.L. Srinivas, a horticultural specialist.
Alternately, one can also think of growing cascading plants like asparagus, he adds. Plants such as hibiscus can be grown through graft cuttings.
The next step is to prepare the soil. Soil should be light and supported by a mix of sand and clay. Coco peat and vermi compost can also be added to the soil. Some natural soil can be added to provide a good anchor. For shallow-rooted plants, good drainage is essential.
Some insecticide along with neem cake or bone meal may also be added.
If the plants are kept inside the house, it is advisable to keep them on an eastern or northern window so that it receives early morning sunlight till around 11.30 a.m.
The plant can also be placed in a position where it receives not only sufficient natural light, but where there is free movement of air.
“If the plant is kept in an air-conditioned room, it starts getting suffocated. The leaves begin to wither and they appear botchy,” Mr. Srinivas says.