Keeping Your Indoor Plants Alive While Temperatures Swing
Swinging temperatures in Spring are a time to be mindful of our indoor plants. With the heat turned on during some days, and other days just enjoying warmth of natural sunlight beaming in, it can be hard not to kill your in-house greenery.
Alas, we have advice to keep your indoor greenery thriving year ‘round...
For starters, one of the most common ways of killing a houseplant is due to overwatering. All houseplants have differing watering needs during different times of year.
Generally, plants grown in well-drained soil really only need to be watered when the very top half-inch to inch of soil feels dry to the touch.. Obviously, plants like succulents and cacti require less water. Believe it or not, however, it’s always better to under-water than to over-water. A great option to monitor the appropriate amount of water flowing to your plants is to use an automatic plant waterer or self-watering stake like the Plant Pal.
A telltale sign of a plant’s health, is the yellowing of the leaves or stalk of a houseplant. The causes are often too much water, the roots being oxygen-starved, pests, or bacterial issues. The easiest way to check the general health of your plants is to remove them from their pot when running into trouble, and investigate the roots. If you have rotted roots, there are several steps to take. If they look healthy and firm, the plant still has a chance at life!
Pruning houseplants is an underutilized skill that simply requires slight trimming every so often. Cutting overgrown houseplants back 4 to 6 inches helps keep them vibrant and encourages new growth—much like trimming loose ends of someone’s hair. Removing dead or diseased leaves and stems will help isolate problem areas as well.
Dust your plants too! As hard as that may be to believe, washing or wiping them gently with warm water will do wonders. It also allows the leaves to soak up more sunlight.
If the plant requires sun, make sure you have the sunny place for it that isn’t drafty. If it loves shade, make sure it’s placed away from a window but not near a heat vent which will dry most plants too fast.
As with anything you bring into your home, make sure that you are making the appropriate selection based on your living environment. Choose plants based on the light within your home, which would work best with your schedule (particularly if you’re new to sometimes-fickle houseplants), watering regularity and where the heck you’re buying your plants from. And if all else fails, there are an abundance of help guides online (you’re not the only one who is challenged at keeping houseplants alive), including this wonderful cheat sheet from NBC News on how to better grow your green thumb.
Since we are near Earth Day April 22, choose plants that also clean the air! Spider plants are perfect because they aren’t toxic to dog or cats, they like bright indirect sunlight - and they only need infrequent watering in well-drained soil. They thrive easily!
Happy Spring and Happy Indoor Gardening