Image: Giverny-impression.com (Claude Monet’s Garden)
To all flower enthusiasts, tree huggers and ILQ readers with a green thumb; here is your guide to maintaining happy, healthy plants even in the hot summers of Qatar! Which is your favorite flower? Orchids, lavender, roses or peonies? Do you love ferns, palm trees or bonsai trees? Maybe you’d like to even get your hands on real gardening and plant tomatoes, strawberries, herbs and salad? I never know where to begin when it comes to keeping a plant and often have to admit defeat when another plant has given up on life. It’s either too little water, too much water or the palm tree can’t fight off an evil parasite. Cacti often have an equally high suicide rate, which is why I went out to get expert tips on how to have beautiful, healthy and happy plants for a long time. Here is what I found helpful!
How to give your plants the love they need
Know your plants
If you want a certain plant in or outside your home, you should know what type of care your little friend needs. Orchids for example are very tricky but probably also one of the most beautiful plants for inside the house. They need sufficient irrigation but the soil should be allowed to dry a little between times of irrigation. Orchids also love 50-70 % humidity but not very hot temperatures. Beside warm and sunny windows is an optimal place for them but they sometimes require bulbs.
Plan where and when to plant them
Some flowers and delicate plants desire shade, while others adore the sun. Make a plan for the flowers inside the house and especially those around the house. Planting trees in the garden, on the balcony or patio requires some preparation and consideration. If you are looking for real fruit and vegetable garden make sure these plants get a sunny spot. Palm trees can stand anywhere but can also be used for shade for other flowers. For home-grown vegetables make sure they get a minimum of 7 hours and a maximum of 10 hours of sunlight.
If you are sowing seeds, do it when the temperature is below 30 degrees, it will otherwise be too hot for seedlings. Also no repotting during the hot summer days!
The task of irrigation is often underestimated. Think of your plants as living beings like you and me (because they are!). Imagine how much water we should drink as humans, having our bodies made up of 60% water. Now plants have 80-90 per cent of their bodies consist of H2O. This means giving them the amount they need. In Qatar you need to water your plants a lot more than in colder European countries for example. But also watch out, because you CAN give too much. If your plants are soaked in water 24/7, the roots can start rotting, and you end up being a serial killer. A good measure is sticking your finger about one inch into the soil. When it’s dry give more water, if not then leave it be. Also watch out for the end of the summer and dropping temperatures. Your plant will need less water!
Feed your plants
Water just isn’t enough. Especially if you’re engaging in gardening, watch out for healthy fertilizers. Once again, know your plants! Water-soluble fertilizers are very popular in Qatar and easy to use every two weeks, or according to the desired meal plan of your crops. After that it is all about watching the development and growth of your plants. Unfortunately you also need to look out for parasites. One way of avoiding using pesticides is with home-made garlic and dishwashing mixtures. Find recipes on the web and help your plant fight aphids, plant lice or slugs.
Where to get your plants I
There are several places you can find plants in Qatar. Ikea and Plaza Hollandi are probably the most commercial and expensive, but you can find much more affordable places with greater varieties. Check out the Garden Center, Omani Souq Qatar, the whole sale market in Al Aziziya, and some fruit and vegetable markets in Umm Salal Mohammed. Get your beautiful plants now and watch them blossom, flourish and grow fruit!
Where to get your plant II
Image: Mediaserver.dwpub.com (‘Only Roses’ store)
For all the hopeless cases and busy peeps who still can’t be trusted with plants, here are some options to make your home just as beautiful and “green”. Only Roses in the Gate Mall has some roses that will last you a couple of months, and others that will stay fresh for 1-2 years. They have been imported and conserved, and you don’t need to even water them! This lazy but beautiful and colorful option will come in steep prices though, with one rose (Life span of a few months) priced at 30 QR.
A new concept arrived from France at the Pearl. After an exhibition in France, the shop opened in Qatar selling air plants, driftwood arrangements, green walls made of moss and preserved roses. Air plants feed on air and only need to be sprayed with water around once a week. Roses and mosses don’t require any care and green walls will last you a lifetime!
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