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.
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!
While MOST indoor plants need water about once a week, it can vary depending on how old the plant’s root system is, what kind of container/pot it is in, where the plant is placed in your home (and how much sunlight/heat it gets), and also what variety of houseplant it is. Plants placed in a window will get dry faster than those exposed to less direct sunlight.
How do I know my plants need watering?
Check to see if the soil looks dry, then stick your finger into the soil just about an inch (or to the first joint of your finger) to see if the soil feels moist. While plants should become a little dry between watering, don’t let the plant wilt, that’s way too dry!
Don’t want to get dirt under your fingernails?
Use a moisture meter to check the moisture level of your plant. This handy gadget immediately tells you if your soil is dry, moist or wet. Click here to see how easy and simple it is to tell when your plants need watering.
How do I water my plants?
Use a long-spout watering can to reach all sides of your pot with ease (and to avoid spills). Saturate the soil around each plant with water and continue adding until it begins to run out the drainage hole on the bottom of the pot. Let the plant drain, then dump the excess water from the saucer.
Quick Tip: If the potting mix you use dries out too much, it won’t hold water properly, so the moisture immediately runs out the drainage hole and is not absorbed. If this happens, add the water slowly, giving the potting mix a chance to absorb the moisture.
Benefits of misting my plants?
Because so many houseplants originated from jungles and areas with moist air, they do best when the humidity level is between 30-40% humidity – enough to make your hair frizz! For plants that really need a little extra moisture, misting can be a great way to provide that extra water.
Using tepid (not hot, but not cold) water, mist your humidity-loving houseplants in the morning – so the leaves can dry out during the day. You’ll want to mist on the tops and undersides of the leaves, leaving a ‘dewy’ look to them when you’re done. Some plants can be misted daily, while others only need it once or twice a week. Make sure to research your new houseplant addition to find out what schedule applies to you!
Increasing Humidity for your plant.
MOST plants thrive in high humidity environments; however, most homes are usually VERY dry in comparison to the outside air.
Here’s the best way to combat this: Place a tray or saucer under your houseplants and fill it with pebbles. Then, add water until the water line is just below the top of the pebbles (not more than this, you don’t want to keep the plant’s ‘feet’ wet) As the water evaporates, it will increase the humidity level around the plant.
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.