Our indoor plants provide tremendous benefits in the home, making it a warmer, more welcoming space that relieves stress, boosts creativity, productivity, and focus, and even promotes a happier outlook. Ultimately, it’s worth the effort to take care of your indoor plants and keep them looking good!
The end of Winter is the best time to give your indoor plants a little bit of extra TLC, so why not give your plants a clean, check them for signs of trouble and treat them with these tips.
Cleaning and Health Check
An ideal time to check for pests and the health of your plant is while giving them a tidy up. To clean your indoor plants, remove dust from the leaves of your houseplants with a damp, soft cloth.
Other things to do while leaf cleaning:
closely inspect the backs of the leaves for pests that choose to live or lay their eggs here
notice any leaf discoloration as pests, like spider mites, feed off of leaf pigment. Plants with an active pest infestation will need to be quarantined from other houseplants. They will need to be wiped down again in 1-2 weeks. If the infestation is severe, you will have to consider treating your plant with chemical insecticides or destroying it.
wiping with a soft, damp cloth is the best solution for many types of infestations, especially if you have a chemically sensitive plant
use clean scissors or secateurs to remove any dead leaves or debris and to give your plant better shape if it’s looking too unruly.
Tip: Keep an eye on the size of your plant’s leaves can indicate whether it’s getting enough light. If you notice that leaves appear deformed or smaller than usual, your plant likely has a light deficiency.
Looking for a hardy and beautiful indoor plant for your home or office?
Check out the Zebra Plant (Calathea zebrina). This glossy and striking plant from southeastern Brazil is popular for indoors or patio areas and makes a wonderful understory plant outdoors too.
Quarantine pest-infested plants by moving them away from others, ideally taking them outside for treatment in a shaded, frost-free position. Mealy bugs are among the worst house plant offenders, so look for the telltale white, fluff-covered bumps, especially under leaves and at the base of plants. Scale insects are usually raised lumps on the leaves, often accompanied by a sticky exudation that can coat the floor or furniture. If it looks like the pests are winning the battle and the plant is looking quite poorly, the best solution is to throw it out responsibly and treat yourself to a beautiful replacement.
Tip:Treat a minor mealy bug infestation by dabbing with a cotton bud dipped in methylated spirits. Remove scale insects by hand or by gently scrubbing with a brush dipped in soap.
Repotting your Indoor Plants
Repotting your indoor plants from time to time is possibly one of the most important activities for ensuring the long life, attractiveness and good health of your plant. Inspecting the roots of your plant is a beneficial exercise and allows you to move your houseplants to a larger or smaller pot.
How to repot your indoor plants
Wait to until your plant needs water and drench it thoroughly with water the night before. This ensures you can inspect and separate roots without needlessly damaging them. Tip: For plants that need little water with dried, compacted soil soak the pot in a bucket of water for 20 minutes.
Next, start by removing your plant from its current pot. If you have difficulty removing the plant, follow the pot’s edges with your hand, pulling the roots away from the container’s edge.
Inspect the root-ball. Roots should look white and healthy.
Remove any brown, soft roots with clean scissors. Your root-ball should be proportionate with the amount of foliage on your plant.
Either place your plant back in its existing pot or if you upgrade to a larger container, it should be 1-2 inches wider and deeper. Tip: It’s best to avoid using a pot that’s too large, as it can cause root rot.
Refresh your indoor plants with new potting mix or good quality soil. Carefully massage existing dirt out of the root system and place fresh dirt in the bottom of your pot. Tip: Once you fully fill the pot with fresh soil, tap the container on the ground to settle the planting, instead of pressing it with your hands.
Thoroughly water in your newly potted plant.
Afterward, place the plant in a location with indirect light and good ventilation for the day, so that the moisture can evaporate from its leaves and stems. Good ventilation is vital.
Need an easy-care indoor plant? An ideal plant for the home office or living areas is the easy-care Cascade Palm. With its lush foliage and small size, this shade loving palm is great for patios too. It’s also good for shaded areas outdoors or in the garden.
Your plant must properly establish roots in its new soil before it’s ready for fertiliser. Wait for 1-2 months before fertilising newly re-potted plants so that they are not harmed and grow optimally. Most premade potting mixes already contain nutrients, making the demands to fertlise less.
If you chose to skip repotting, your plant needs fertilizer to nourish it for its growing season. Using a liquid-based fertilizer every 2-3 months will encourage your houseplants to grow full and lush. Make sure to research your plant’s growing season and what strength of fertilizer your plant’s needs. Using too much or too strong of fertilizer will burn your plant’s root system and cause brown spots on your plant’s leaves.
Ready to add some new plants in your home or office?
An absolute show stopper is the strikingly coloured, Stromanthe Tricolour. With its beautiful combination of deep maroon, green and cream it’s guaranteed to brighten up any indoor space.
Changing Your Care Habits with the Seasons
Houseplants need increased levels of light during the growing period, which is the Spring-Summer for many plants. Move your plant to an area where it can get more light. For your hardier plants, moving them outdoors for the mild part of the season is worthwhile.
Growing houseplants also requires frequent watering, but if anything it’s better not to overwater. Root rot is all to easy with pot plants. It’s always better to underwater a plant than overwater it. If you feel uncertain, wait a day or two. Check the moisture in your plant’s soil regularly and water them around once a week or once a fortnight during hotter seasons. It’s necessary to adapt your care habits with the change in temperature and humidity.
Need an indoor plant that’s hard to kill?
You can’t go past the ever-popular Fiddle Leaf Fig plant. The Fiddle Leaf Fig is a must have indoor plant for the design conscious. With its large, violin shaped deep green foliage it creates a striking impact in any indoor setting. This plant is tough and will survive a bit of neglect.. Not that we recommend that!
Though the threat of insects and diseases is real, indoor plants can survive and thrive in almost any home. As with any living thing, they need a decent amount of care and attention. Check your houseplants regularly to make sure that they have the correct growing conditions, and that they are getting the right amount of water, fertiliser and that they are free of pests. Looking after them well now will decrease the likelihood of you having to buy replacements in the future!
Are you Looking for a Nursery Near You?
You can order online at Sunshine Coast Plants and get your chosen plants delivered straight from the nursery to your door. To buy plants online for the Sunshine Coast, Southeast Queensland and NSW areas, shop with us today!
Need More Gardening Tips?
Visit our Plant Tips area for our top gardening advice. We’re adding to it all the time.
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