Houseplant Care Series: Repotting

Houseplant Care Series: Repotting

Is your plant drying out every few days? Has it stopped growing completely? It may be time for a new container! Check the roots of the plant by GENTLY removing its existing pot.

You can tell if the plant needs repotting if the roots are:

1) crowded,

2) growing together, OR

3) circling the pot.

The new container should be 2-4 inches larger in diameter than the original.

Here’s how you repot:

– Loosen the plant roots carefully but thoroughly.

– Set the plant into the new pot so that the base of the plant (where plant meets soil) is at least one inch below the rim, and then add soil all around it.

– Make sure not to add soil above the base of the plant.

– Water thoroughly.

Houseplant Care Series: Cleaning

Houseplant Care Series: Cleaning

Keeping your plant looking healthy year-round takes just a bit of “housekeeping”.

It doesn’t take long for our houseplants to become dusty.  This layer of dust will block sunlight and reduce the plant’s ability to photosynthesize and that is how the plant feeds itself. A well-fed plant will be a healthier plant which is less prone to diseases.

How often to clean depends on how much dust you have.  Rub your fingers over the leaves – if you feel or see dust, it’s time to clean.

Leaf cleaning options:

– Spray – It’s the easiest but is not the best for all plants.  Move the plant to the sink or shower and spray them with lukewarm water.  Don’t use hot or cold water, it can injure the plant’s leaves.

– Wipe Leaves – This is the safest method except for sticky or fuzzy leafed plants.  Use a damp cloth and wipe the leaves to remove the dust. 

– Dust Leaves – If you clean often enough you can remove dust with a duster in between damp cloth cleanings.  Dusting will cut down on how many times per year it is necessary to clean with a damp cloth.

– Brush Softly – For sticky or fuzzy leaves gently brush the dust from the leaves.

Trimming plants

– Get rid of dead, brown or yellowing leaves. 

– Some leaves will fall off when touched, others will require cutting with scissors.

– You may want to cut any brown tips, follow the natural contour of the leaves when cutting.

Don’t ignore the Pot –

– Wipe the dust off the pot

– If you have a saucer, rinse it in the sink to remove stains

– Do you have salt or mineral buildup on the pot?  If so, it may require removing the plant to thoroughly clean the pot.

Your houseplants will reward your cleaning efforts by looking and growing better.

Houseplant Care Series: Fertilizing

Houseplant Care Series: Fertilizing

Since the roots of houseplants are trapped and unable to go elsewhere, unlike in-ground plants that can look ‘elsewhere’ for food, they’re counting on you for feeding!

Houseplants need fertilizing with an all-purpose plant food, such as Schultz® Liquid Plant Food, Schultz® All Purpose Slow Release Granular Plant Food, or Bonide® 10-10-10 Liquid Plant Food. How much your plant will need will depend on how large the plant is, the size of its root ball, and what kind of houseplant it is.

You’ll want to fertilize during the growing season (Spring, Summer, and Early Fall). That way, the plant can use it’s energy to absorb the fertilizer properly and grow.

Research your specific plant and make sure to follow the instructions on the fertilizer package!

Houseplant Care Series: All About Light & Sun

Houseplant Care Series: All About Light & Sun

While all plants need light, the amount of the light they each need varies. This depends on where the plant originally came from, for example, most houseplants are natives of the jungle floor that have evolved to thrive on filtered light (like the light that makes its way through jungle canopies).  Light-sensitive houseplants may develop scorched leaves in bright light.

East- and west-facing windows generally receive partial sun and work well for plants that don’t need as much light. Darker locations that face north are best for low-light plants or closet plants.

Here are some key ways to tell if your plant is getting too much, or too little sunlight:

Too LITTLE Sunlight

  • The plant dramatically starts to lean towards the light.
  • Lower and/or interior leaves on the plants simply fall off.
  • Leaves curl upwards.
  • New growth is much smaller than original leaves and may have less color.
  • Plants grow spindly with elongated stems.
  • Flowering plants stop producing blooms.

Too MUCH Sunlight

  • The plant develops brown or sunburned spots on its leaves.
  • Leaves begin to yellow and fall.
  • Plants with colorful foliage will begin to fade.
  • The entire plant looks scorched.