Basil is on top of many plants lists; the list of the easiest herbs to grow, the insect repellent plants list, the bees attracting plants list and, of course, it has so many uses in our kitchen! So what is there not to love about it?
Still, many people might get disappointed when their basil dies, as in the Gulf there are so many varieties and not all of them survive the summer.
In the video below, you will read all about the available varieties of basil in the Gulf, where to place it, what soil to use, care tips and how to face the most common pests.
If you would like to know more about growing your own food in the Gulf, follow @hadiqaa.middle.east on Facebook or Instagram, to get notified about our upcoming workshops.
Hibiscus grow very fast and can become as high as 2.5 m in ideal garden locations.
They can give flowers all year round, but ideally from October till May in the Gulf.
When you plant them in a garden in the Gulf, choose a location that does not receive full sun in the summer. Only 2-3 hours in the morning or in the afternoon will be more than enough. More direct sun than that in the summer will burn the leaves.
Don’t push your hibiscus to grow flowers all year round…give it some rest during summer.
Mix compost or manure in your soil before planting (in a garden or in a pot).
Hibiscus can tolerate a light potting mix, for example:
50-60% potting soil – 30-40% cocopeat – 10-20% sand and some perlite.
If you have clay in your garden soil, you can add some (10-20%) and water less frequently. Light: they like very bright areas, but can’t tolerate direct sunlight in the summer. There are 2 options for that:
3. Plant them in pots and place the pots in a location with 4-5 hours of sunlight during winter, then move the pots in the summer to little sun.
If you bring your Hibiscus indoors during summer, don’t place them under the A/C current.
4. Plant them under full sun (in pots or garden) and use shading nets from May until October.Watering: let the top 4-7 cm of the soil dry before you water again (4-5 cm in the summer, 6-7 cm in the winter). This might be every 3-4 days in the winter, every day in the summer.
5. Fertilize regularly (every 4-6 weeks in a container, every 6-8 weeks in the garden) from September until June. Use a fertilizer higher in P and K. You can use vermicompost 2-3 times per year and if you make your own compost, add banana peels in it.
Aloe vera plants are native to the tropical climates of Africa and are widely acknowledged for their skincare benefits – in particular for their ability to care for sunburns due to the soothing properties of the thick aloe vera gel found in their fleshly plump leaves. The plant itself usually varies in size, but the average height stands at around 50-60 cm, making it suitable to care for as an indoor house plant.
Aloe vera plants are perfect for individuals on the lookout for a low maintenance indoor succulent. They’re able to thrive in snug dry conditions and artificial sunlight, making the natural indoor environment of most homes perfect for the upkeep of one. In this post today, we’ll go over 5 simple ways on how to care for your aloe vera plant to ensure it sees you through many years to come!
1) Opt for indirect sunlight Like most succulents, overexposure to direct sunlight can dry the leaves out, turning it a pale straw-like colour. An aloe vera plant can survive equally well indoors, or at a shaded outdoor space in the Gulf. Not receiving enough light can cause its leaves to start to bend or droop, so if the plant is kept indoors, leave it by the windowsill and rotate periodically to ensure even growth in all directions. If you keep it in an outdoor area without a shadow, it will survive the direct summer sun, but it will suffer and you will see its leaves turning orange.
2) A little (water) goes a long way We heard a little cheer for this one – but you’ve heard correctly, aloe vera doesn’t require frequent watering at all. It’s best to water the plant thoroughly around once every 3 weeks during warmer seasons, and less so frequently during colder seasons. To check if your aloe vera is due for a water, press down gently on the soil to get an indication of the level of moisture. The soil should be completely dry before re-watering, so always double-check before attempting to re-hydrate the plant. Overwatering can lead to its roots rotting, or its leaves rotting (the latter in the form of little black spots). On the other hand, an under-watered plant will also lead to brown leaves – so make sure to always keep an eye on it!
3) Use a terracotta pot with drainage holes Aloe vera is best potted in a terracotta pot with drainage holes. The terracotta absorbs excess moisture, and the holes drain the soil of any water to keep it dry, preventing the roots from rotting which can inevitably lead to plant death.
4) Fertilising isn’t necessary Aloe vera doesn’t require any fertilising, so you can skip this step altogether. However, if you do decide to fertilise your plant, adding a little fertiliser once a year (in the springtime) should be enough!
Only remove any aloe vera pups once they’ve developed into at a size where its roots are fully developed (enough to sustain its own growth so that it can grow independently). Repot the aloe vera plant pups using some potting and sand mix, and you’ll have two or more plants before you know it!
Snake plant (Sansevieria sp. or Mother’s tongue) can tolerate the sandstorms when placed outdoor or the low light of a dark room indoor. This makes it more and more popular in the hot, desert climates.
Snake plant (Sansevieria sp. or Mother’s tongue) is getting more and more popular in the hot climates for a good reason: its ability to adjust equally well indoor and outdoor brings it among the top choices of plant lovers. If you live in a hot climate like in the Gulf, here are a few tips for its care:
OFFER LITTLE WATER: This is an essential part of Sansevieria’s care, as it can tolerate drought, but it won’t last in a constantly humid soil.
Give any type of light, but protect it from the strong summer sun: Snake plant has no preference when it comes to light conditions. Place it in a dark room or next to a window, in a garden or a balcony.
Place it indoor or outdoor: The biggest benefit of Sansevieria is that it doesn’t mind the sandstorms. It will survive equally well in an office or a windy balcony.
If you are a person who doesn’t have much time for plant care, then snake plant is for you. The more you forget about it, the longer it will live.
Fabric Pots or Grow Bags are – as the name suggests – pots made of fabric.
In the Middle East, where overwatering is reason number one for indoor plants dying, fabric pots can offer a great way to avoid having your plants sitting in water.
When the time comes to repot your plants, place them in a fabric pot and then in your decorative containers. When you water, let the excess water come out, and then throw it away.
Even if your plant hasn’t been planted properly in its fabric pot, there is no chance that the bottom of the pot will be full of water for a prolonged period.
Fabric pots allow better drainage and root aeration, to avoid root rot.
In the case of gardens, the existing soil in the Middle East is usually too rocky and not of the best quality, so it is recommended to change soil or plant your greenery in containers or raised beds. Fabric grow bags offer a great alternative to raised beds, as there is no need for all the construction and setting up.
As many people are asking where to find various gardening supplies in Qatar, we have compiled a list of the places that supply plants, pots and tools, and included their contact details and location links. Click on this link to view the full list:
Please comment below if you are a supplier and you would like to make some edit or add more information to your details. Also, anyone is welcome to comment and add a great supplier that has been missed out! 🙂
We all like success stories, so in this blog post I would like to share with you the story of Mayte, a very new gardener.
Mayte contacted me last February, asking for help with her garden.
She had a big area around her house, that she would occasionally water and that was it about her gardening experience. Like many new gardeners, she was concerned about trimming or removing the weed, as she was worried that the plants would suffer.
Mayte had been looking into getting plants for a while and a week before she had contacted me, a plant lover she knew was moving out to place without a garden and she had donated her some of her plants.
Most of the plants were uprooted and placed into bags and they had been left there for around a week, as the gardener of her compound was too busy to plant them.
Here are some pictures of the plants that she had got:
Mayte was really concerned, as she didn’t have experience about gardening, but she could tell that the plants were dying.
I went to her place the next day and started planting and explaining all the gardening basics at the same time; how to mix the soil, the place each plant prefers, how to plant properly, how to care for the plants after everything is finished. The best part of this one-to-one workshop/ gardening revival was that Mayte was very careful and kept in her mind everything we said!
Here are some pictures from her plants before and after our workshop.
And here is a picture from her garden just today!
Looks like a miracle, right?
But the reality is that this “miracle” didn’t happen overnight. Mayte committed to her garden, identified she needed help and then she followed all the advice she got, to start her gardening trip.
In this first post I would like to share with you the gardening basic knowledge that will help the ambitious new gardener or the experienced green keeper, in order to understand better their plants’ needs and grow happier plants!
So, when you hear about gardening, what are the first things that come into your mind?
Plants? and soil? shovels? Water?
All these are absolutely necessary, but the 2 most important things someone will need to start, is space and time.
And what do I mean by that?
Gardening is an activity that will require some of your time…since plants are living things, and since they can’t really move and get what they need, they need constant care for their entire life. Think about it, are you ready for a commitment? 🙂
The more plants you have, the more time they will require you to give them!
The same goes for your space – with one more factor; the conditions in your space. How is the light in the area you would like to place your plants? Is it indoor or outdoor? Is it windy? How is the soil? These are some of the questions you will have to ask yourself before deciding which plant you should go for.
When you have assessed your time and space, you are ready to move on to the exciting task of choosing plants and buying gardening equipment!
In my next post I will give out a list of some places with plants and gardening supplies in Qatar and what you will find in each one of them. Feel free to mention in the comments any place that is missing and what it is selling and we will keep adding them in our list.
What is worth mentioning is that Leaves nursery is providing a 10% discount on all Indoor and Outdoor plants, to all the members of the Gardening Club Facebook Group until May 15! To get the discount, just join the group and tell them about it! Hurry up!