Dig Baton Rouge

Growing up: Gardeners share their tips for owning your first plant

LSU’s campus played host to a variety of events this past weekend, one of them being the 14th annual Spring Garden Show. The floor of the John M. Parker Coliseum was packed with plants of all shapes and sizes, and varieties of garden accessories to go with them. Nurseries from all over Louisiana had booths to sell their plants and to help patrons with their gardening related questions.

Nurseries were not the only organizations in attendance. Groups such as the East Baton Rouge Master Gardeners Association were also on the coliseum floor to help out customers, and advocate for their organizations.  LSU’s own Horticulture Club was also in attendance to answer questions and raise money for the organizations future endeavors.

“We use the funds that we get from this sale to go on to our national and regional conferences,” said Horticulture Club president Kaleb Danos. “We grow all our stuff at the hill farm except for our citrus. We get them from a partnership with star nursery in Plaquemine parish. We sell to the general public and advocate growing your own things and self sustainability.”

There were many LSU students in attendance at the plant sale. The organizations on the floor were available to any questions students may have had about what types of plants could do well in small spaces, such as apartments and dorm rooms.

Donald Bourgeois, a member of the EBR Master Gardeners Association for 8 years, gave some advice on the types of plants students should be looking for. He said that one of the main problems college students have is trying to raise plants that aren’t meant for indoor spaces.

“Make sure that your plants are specifically indoor plants,” said Bourgeois. “ Nurseries are great at advising you on which ones would be right for your space. Or if you have a patio or something of that nature, you can plant small trees in big pots. As long as they get sunshine and you provide the water.”

Danos also weighed in on what types of plants the Horticulture Club sells to their fellow students. He said that students try to grow everything from herbs to tomato plants.

“We try to grow herbs that students can use for when they’re cooking,” said Danos. “Also, students like a plant called the century plant, or its genus name is agave. You can put it in your windowsill, and it’s just something really nice to look at. I know a few students who also try to grow tomato plants from their windowsill, and have fresh tomatoes when they get in from class. It’s kind of funny, but it works for some people.”

Having a plant may not seem as big of a responsibility as they are at first, but maintaining plants can take time and effort. Danos and Bourgeois had advice on taking care of plants, and common mistakes people make and how to avoid them.

“The main thing most people have a tendency to do, especially with inside plants, is that they overwater,” said Bourgeois. “You can reach your hand in the dirt, and if your hand still has dirt on it when you pick it back up, it’s still wet. You don’t want to add water if this happens. Let it dry out a little more, and then water.”

“Just realizing that inside isn’t the natural habitat of any plant,” said Danos. “You have to make sure you give them adequate sunlight and water, and your plant will be happy and you’ll get what you want out of it.”

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