Here's how to keep your plants happy no matter what kind of plants you have.
If you are the parent of a new plant, all the attention taken to keep your houseplant happy may seem a bit overwhelming at first. However, most of your plants do not require constant attention to stay healthy. There are many easy-care foliage plants that not only remember water, but also require maintenance only a few times a year. If you need to step up and prune or remove the leaves that are starting to turn yellow, these tips will give you the knowledge you need to take care of your plants with confidence.
1. Your Houseplants Need Water
All indoor plants have slightly different watering requirements, depending on how they grow and how the plants grow throughout the season. It is better to water according to need rather than according to a set schedule. In general, when the top 1/2 to 1 inch of the soil feels dry, plants that grow in well-draining soil in an appropriately sized container should be watered. Cacti and succulents need less water; flowering plants usually need a little more. Excessive watering is one of the most common causes of death of indoor plants. If you are not sure how much water to water, it is better to make a mistake on the dry side rather than giving the plants too much water.
2. Fertilizing Houseplants
Just like watering, there is no simple rule of thumb for how much fertilization is applied-it depends on the growth rate and age of the plant, and the time of year. Most indoor plants grow rapidly in spring and summer, so this is the best time to fertilize them. In the short days of fall and winter, most indoor plants do not require a lot of fertilizer, if any. Follow the instructions on the label to learn how much plant food to use.
As with over-watering, it is important to avoid over-fertilizing indoor plants. Too much fertilizer will burn your roots and make it difficult for them to grow. For flowering varieties, use fertilizers with the three numbers on the label (nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium) relatively equal. If the nitrogen content is too high, the plant can develop many leaves, but it rarely blooms.
3. Propagate Plants
Various types of indoor plants benefit from propagation or other methods from time to time. Helps rejuvenate overgrown plants and promote new growth. In addition, it is an inexpensive way to obtain more plants than existing plants.
Some indoor plants, such as bromeliads, will shoot new shoots at the base or offset of the plant. You can separate them and put them in new pots. Indoor climbing plants, such as Scirpus sylvestris and Scirpus sylvestris, form new roots where the stems are in contact with the soil, so they are good candidates for starting new plants from cuttings. You can root new single-leaf African violets; just soak the stem ends in water for a few weeks.
Other indoor plants, such as Chlorophytum and Strawberry Begonia, reproduce by sending runners with new seedlings at the end. Rooting them to start new plants is very simple; you usually only need to soak the base of the seedlings in water for a few days to help them take root, and then you can plant them in the ground.
4. Overgrown Plants Should Be Replanted
Not sure if your indoor plants need to be transplanted? Check the root system. If the roots surround the inside of the container, it may be time to transplant the plant. If the plant grows longer than the pot, you can transplant it into a slightly larger container. If you want to put it in the same pot, cut off some roots with a sharp knife, and then replant it in a container with fresh potting soil.
When replanting your houseplants, this is also a good time to separate multi-stemmed plants for new plants. Spring and summer are the best seasons for transplanting indoor plants.
5. Dust Off Plants
Almost all indoor plants will look better if they are cleaned regularly. Dust accumulates on the leaves, so if the plants have hairy leaves (which can retain moisture and promote disease), give them a shower with mild room temperature water or clean them with a soft brush. For plants with smooth leaves, you can also use a cloth to gently wipe away the dust accumulated on the leaves. This not only improves the appearance of the plant, but also helps it absorb more light.
6. Trim and Prune Back Houseplants
You can prune at any time of the year, but after growing in summer, fall is the natural time to break the pruning shears. The main reason for pruning indoor plants is to make them look better and prevent them from growing too large. Similar to reproduction, cutting oversized houseplants 4-6 inches tall can help rejuvenate them. This technique can effectively promote the new growth of creeping plants, such as Swedish ivy and Scirpus sylvestris, whose roots may have been exposed. Try to cut over a group of buds or lateral buds on the stem to be cut. This is where new growth will begin. In addition, remove dead or diseased leaves and stems to help prevent the problem from spreading.
Pinching refers to removing the tip of the stem with nails or pruning shears. Pinch off the stem tip and upper leaves to stimulate the growth of lateral buds. Fast-growing plants are usually best pinched frequently to keep them compact and full.
7. Remove Wilting leaves and Dead Flowers
Prune discolored flowers on plants to stimulate more blooms and help prevent disease problems. When you're doing this, be sure to remove any yellow, brown, or wilted leaves. Use narrow-bladed manual pruning shears or sharp scissors to make clean cuts without breaking plant stems.
8. Getting Rid of Insects
Various insects often attack indoor plants. Insecticidal soap is an effective and easy-to-use treatment method that can effectively treat most soft pests, such as aphids and spider mites. Strong water spray on the hose also helps reduce the number of these pests. Rubbing alcohol is effective against insects with waxy layers such as scales and mealybugs; rub it with a cotton ball.
No matter what treatment you use, be consistent. For fast-producing pests such as aphids and red spiders, you may need to treat the plants once a week for about a month to get rid of the pests.
Fungal gnats are small black flies that buzz on the ground and are common pests of indoor plants, although they are often mistaken for fruit flies. When plants are over-watered, a lot of fungal gnats are usually seen. Let the soil surface dry out between watering, and be sure to remove any dead leaves on the soil surface. In extreme cases, you may want to try transplanting plants into fresh soil and clean containers.
9. Keep An Eye Out for Diseases
Remove and destroy diseased houseplants or affected leaves or stems to prevent the spread of disease. Some diseases are transmitted by insects, so controlling the number of insects can help prevent these problems. Some common houseplant diseases that need attention include powdery mildew (leaves look like powdery white spots), fungal leaf spots (leaves may have yellow, brown, or black spots), and root rot ( usually pasty, dark). due to excessive watering).