Best Plants For Iowa
Many plants can grow in Iowa's climate. Some different regions of the state require slightly different breeds of plants and flowers but you will find may rewarding plant ideas for your home's garden and potted plants. See plants that will grow in your region by selecting your town from the menu below.
Primary USDA Growing Zone: 4
The United States Department of Agriculture divides the United States into 9 different growing zones based on the hardiness of plants that can be grown in each zone. We will explain your growing zone in more depth after you choose your town below.
Choose your town from the dropdown menu above or select one of the links to a nearby area in your state. Many plants grow well in Iowa so you're sure to find the right kind of plants for your house or apartment.
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Indoor/Houseplant Growing Tips
All plants need these seven basic things for growing success
: space to grow, a good temperature, water, light, nutrients, air, and time to grow.
1.) Growing Space
- Regardless of where they are, plants need space for all those roots to grow. In addition to the roots the plant needs ample space for leaves and stalks to grow. Plants growing in limited spaces will become root bound, stunting the growth of your plant. Choose a larger container and you will have to repot less often although the plant may not be as attractive in a pot that is too big for its size. Pots commonly come in the form of plastic or ceramic. Both usually have drainage holes and a drip pan to allow roots to drain and avoid rot in the future.
- Plants have different preferences for temperature but most of your house plants will grow well in temperatures that are comfortable for you. If you buy an especially exotic plant you may want to check out the temperature recommendations online.
3.) Light To Grow
- Growing plants indoors can be tricky because of the dimmer amount of light that makes it in through windows. One solution is to put your plants in windows, with those on the west and south side of your house having the best light. Get plants close to the window to maximize the amount of light it can receive. The further away from the window, the darker it becomes. Plants that are not receiving enough light will turn towards the light source trying to get more light, eventually turning brown and with leaves drying out. You may also want to consider supplemental light in the form of grow lamps if your house or apartment has limited sunlight. Just a basic fluorescent light is often enough to grow great indoor herbs, spices and small flowers.
- Water is the key for the plant feeding itself and building necessary nutrients.. Watering can be tricky at times because it is possible to both underwater and overwater, both of which will harm and possibly kill your precious plant. Wait until soil is dry to the touch and dry under the top soil as well. As a general rule, water dry desert plants once every couple of weeks while more tropical plants will need to be watered as much as three times per week. In addition, misting a plant daily with water gives you some time to interact with your plants and keeps them happy and in top shape!
- Plants are a great idea in smaller spaces because they take in carbon dioxide and release oxygen. This is important because it can purify the air of your home and reduce pollutants that you would otherwise be breathing. NASA recommends one plant per 100 square feet to achieve the maximum benefits of plants' air purifying qualities. Make sure your plants are well ventilated and there is enough air circulation to keep your plant cool and with plenty of fresh air to enjoy.
- Fertilizing plants is a necessary part of growing. Because soil in indoor pots can lost nutrients over time it is necessary to give them some artificial help. You can pick up a great bag of Miracle Gro or other fertilizer at Home Depot that will last you for a year or two. Look for a fertilizer that contains a balance of nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium for general purpose fertilizing. When in doubt ask your garden specialist to help you find what you need.
7.) Time To Grow
- It takes a pretty good time investment to grow plants well. While some plants grow very quickly others can be painstakingly slow to put on new growth. Keep a calendar of when you plant, fertilize, water and repot to maximize your investment. A happy plant will reward you with years of growth and enjoyment!
Outdoor Growing Tips
Many times growing plants outdoors in a garden or flower bed can be the most challenging plants to grow. We will explore some of the best plants suited to your geographic area and USDA recommended growing zone. Here are some of our top tips for growing great plants:
1. Give 'Em Room!
- If you are growing plants from seed, give all of your seedlings plenty of room to spread out based on what types of plants you are trying to grow. If the seedlings are crowded this can slow down the growth and development of the plants. Transplant your seedlings when they get their first leaves and move them into pots within a couple weeks to allow for the most rapid and quality growth.
2. Give 'Em Light!
- Many seedlings will grow much faster in the early stages when using extended periods of light, such as using a grow light. Supplement light from a silver halide bulb or a much cheaper flourescent strip will give your plants the light spectrum they need to achieve maximum growth. Be sure to keep lights close to the seedlings, preferably no more than a couple of inches for fluorescent grow lamps.
3. Give 'Em Air!
- Many plants need to sway in the breeze to grow big and strong. Some movement in the plant will help it become sturdier, while a light breeze will keep carbon dioxide circulating for the plant be able to breath. PLace a small fan over your seedlings for a few hours everyday to ensure that they are getting the fresh air they need.
4. Give 'Em Heat!
- This isn't a totally essential growing tip but it does help for some plantings. Take a piece of plastic, preferably black, and place it over your plot of land a week or two before you intend to plant. The darker the plastic the better because this will trap the maximum amount of heat. After a few days the captured heat will heat up the ground a few degrees, making for a perfect and nurturing environment for the new seedling.
5. Give 'Em Depth!
- Bury the seedlings well underground so that they will be able to root quickly before they get swept away by rain or wind. Plans that are not planted deep enough will likely die after a short period because of a poor structure.
6. Give 'Em a Good Pruning!
- Trim your new plants from the bottom up to allow them to continue to grow in good health. Bottom leaves are more susceptible to fungus because they are closer to the ground, so prune these leaves regularly and especially if you see dark spots or other signs of ill health. Keep an eye out for bugs as well so that your plants won't have to be fighting them off too. With less distractions your plant can focus on adding all that new growth and giving you some beautiful flowers and vegetables this seson!
7.Give 'Em Plenty of Water
- Your plants will need plenty of water depending on your climate and regional water conditions. If you are growing outdoor flowers and other tropical plants it is recommended to water your plants several times a week while desert plants used to more arid climates can go with much less water.
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