Indoor Gardening: Unleashing the Green Thumb in Me

by Rick Bautista | June 10, 2021

The Silver Lining

One indispensable factor to a company running mostly on a work from home setup is a reliable IT foundation. From network access, hardware concerns, and even usability of various applications needed for tasks, it is safe to say that the IT Infrastructure  Department of RareJob PH definitely stepped up to the challenge.

Two years shy of being in the company for a decade, IT Infrastructure Department Assistant Manager Rick Bautista is in charge of ensuring the quality, reliability and security of all the system infrastructure for application development and IT operations. With how hectic everything has become, he knew he had to find a way to relax after work. What better way to do so than being surrounded by plants he raised by himself?

Rick tending to his indoor garden

It All Started with a Sweet Potato

During the pandemic, I knew I had to find a way to take a little breather from my work. That’s when an online post of a sweet potato plant growing in a small transparent plastic cup filled with just water caught my attention. Who knew plants could grow like that? My curiosity grew and I tried planting one myself.

I began by copying the exact setup of what I saw online. I was encouraged to try this type of planting because it’s easy to maintain and will have the benefit of harvesting the fresh leaves for food later on. After a few days, I got so excited when the roots and leaves were coming out of the potato for the first time. My motivation was intensified so I searched the internet again and joined different home gardening groups on social media to get tips on how to grow plants in an urbanized area. That’s where I found some of my suppliers for plants and gardening tools as well.

The sweet potato that started it all

Nurturing the Green Thumb

My interest in plants has been revived. I’m really into it now, and while I have a lot, I specifically maintain different types of orchids in my collection. Each type of plant usually requires different ways of care. Three important factors I have considered in caring for my plants are as follows: the amount of water, sunlight, and fertilizer. I also pay attention to the media being used depending on the type of plant I have.

Choosing the right type of media also depends on how often you want to water your plants (usually referring to orchid plants). For example, the phalaenopsis orchid is one of my favorites, but it requires delicate care. If you want to water your plants once a week only, you have to use a sphagnum moss-based medium that can hold moisture for more than seven days depending on the current climate in your area. Just watch out for fungus when using these kinds of media since they are prone to parasites if the amount of water is not controlled. Otherwise, you can use bark or wood chips and hydroton clay pebbles as potting media instead.


When caring for plants, you have to be extra wary of threats. As previously mentioned, fungus is one of the most challenging diseases that almost killed a lot of my favorite plants. To recover infected plants, I tried different techniques like repotting, applying fungicides, and pruning affected areas. On another note, you have to look out for birds and rats as well. I have experienced waking up in the morning and getting really disappointed seeing what happened to my plant’s leaves and flowers. To get rid of this problem, I have set some traps for mice and installed reflectors (unused compact disc) to drive away birds from our balcony garden.


Despite the challenges, I’m really happy with all the things I’m learning about caring for plants. It taught me how to be a more patient, consistent, and mindful person. Another thing I have learned is that planting is something that you can’t just take for granted. It’s comparable to doing a project that requires your attention to succeed. It involves careful planning, proper execution, and maintenance to keep the plants healthy and growing.


From One Plantito to Other Aspiring Indoor Gardeners

To those who are interested in plants, here is a piece of advice based on my experience. For first time gardeners, I recommend you to start with plants that are easy to maintain, multiply rapidly, and are hard to kill. Some of them are snake plants, aloe vera, and oregano. These plants are good even if you are living in a city or in a condo. They are very useful too since snake plants serve as an air purifier, while the others are ornamental plants which are very calming and relaxing.

If you have a front yard or space where there is enough sunlight, you can try planting vegetables like eggplant, tomato, and pepper. These vegetables can be grown in pots and can bear fruits all year round. I have experienced picking free peppers from our homegrown plants during the time when red chili peppers reportedly soared to as much as P1,000 per kilo in markets. Hooray!


Next thing is to prepare your gardening tools. You should have at least a sprinkler, gardening shovel, gardening gloves, and pruning shears. You have to give some of your time too. You can consume around fifteen to thirty minutes of your time daily for this hobby. In my case, I water my plants once a day – every morning or afternoon – and then give a thorough inspection, including applying fertilizers during weekends.

As you progress in propagating or adding plants to your collection, always think about the available space in your home and the time required to water each plant. You may find it difficult and troublesome to maintain them if you’re not careful with the quantity of plants you’re willing and capable to take care of.

It seems like a lot of work, but the best reward from gardening at home is when your plants return the favor by bearing flowers and fruits. This is the moment we really enjoy: looking at the plants as a family. It’s what I am most thankful for about gardening. It lets us keep seeing the brighter side of this sick world. While it is true that we really miss going out and visiting different places because of the ongoing pandemic, having plants helped us in being content staying at home.


Never hesitate to try. Come and let’s all become plantitos and plantitas in our own homes. Let’s all share the benefits and happiness that comes from being a gardener.

Once the pandemic eases, I’m planning to take some of our plants to our loved ones living in the province and tell the stories behind them. As I go on with this journey, I will continuously share my experiences with my family and friends to encourage them to do the same. Sharing is caring so let’s all spread the good news!

Happy planting!