Over the past few weeks, we’ve explained why you should fill your house with indoor hanging plants. We’ve covered more territory than the colonial Brits or a particularly insidious strain of flu.
Our posts have traversed everything from the health benefits of indoor plants, the most attractive plants for your home and what to look for in terms of planters. And we think we’ve done a pretty darn good job. Hence, we figure it’s high time we discussed how to maintain and care for all the plants we’ve persuaded you to buy.
Here are a few helpful tips to keep your indoor plants alive and kicking:
Different plants require different amounts of water. This means that you should have a rough understanding of how much each one needs. Some plants help you out by wilting when they require water while others make life a bit harder.
Luckily there are tricks to knowing if your plants require water. Poking your finger in the soil is a sure fire method. Much like sticking a knife into a cake to see if it’s done, if the soil on the tip of your finger is dry then chances are you should water your plant.
Getting the water temperature right is another important step. Water that is too hot can cause root damage and can actually shock your plant to death; that’s not a pleasant way to go. On the other hand, cold water can stifle the plant. About 20 degrees Celsius – room temperature – is ideal.
Not to gild the lily but also remember that over-watering is one of the most common causes of death in indoor plants so ensure you don’t go overboard.
Picture: The Creative Nook
Houseplants are prone to insect infestation and disease so make sure you take the time to inspect the leaves on your indoor plants.
This is even more crucial if you’re bringing plants indoors from a period outside, due to the fact you don’t want to traipse a whole load of mites or rot indoors. They’ll likely ruin the safe haven that your other indoor plants were enjoying, bursting their bubble of sanctuary like a clatch of zombies in The Walking Dead.
One way to minimise this is to wash your indoor plant leaves on occasion. Not only will this remove harmful dust and grime, which can clog a plant’s pores and restrict the sunlight, but it’ll also reduce the likelihood of attracting pests to the plant, as these critters are drawn to the dust in the first place. That’s a win-win.
Sunlight and positioning
Like humans, plants come in all shapes and sizes. But no matter their characteristics, they all undertake photosynthesis (or CO2 + 2H2A + photons → [ CH2O ] + 2A + H2O as we like to affectionately call it).
It pays to read the information about your specific plants to gauge how much light is required. Some plants enjoy direct sunlight all day while others should be kept in shady spots.
Note that tinkering with your plant’s positioning too much can also be detrimental. Plants take time to acclimatise to their surroundings so moving from one area to another can have serious implications on your plants.
Feeding and Pruning
General upkeep of your plant is more than just watering. It’s about going the extra gardening mile. It’s about warranting the term ‘green thumb’ through regular feeding and pruning.
The soil you buy will start out full of nutrients. However, over time, the plants will absorb these and water will expunge the soil too. Either way, indoor plants need nutrients to survive, which means you’ll want to fertilise. An all-purpose fertiliser should do the job but you can get tailored soil composites depending on what plant you have too, if you’re super keen.
A good ol’ prune of your plant will help keep it healthy. Doing so will allow the plant roots to stay in check and make your plants look nicer. Prune when the plant is dormant to get even more abundant branches and flowers next growing season.
At the end of the day, plants are mostly resilient. Many indoor plants will endure a battering, whether from the elements, human neglect or some drunk guy pissing on it. Just provide your indoor plants with the keys to survival: water, light and warmth. But with these caring tips, we hope your plants won’t just survive but thrive!
And getting the right equipment is sure to motivate you to work harder so think about investing in a beautiful watering can, a lovely pair of sequiturs or a decadent pair of gloves.