Spring is in the air! Snow is melting, days are getting longer and leaves are budding. Your houseplants will be delighted with spring’s arrival but they still require tender loving care.
Try these quick suggestions to help your houseplants thrive:
1. Give leaves a spring clean
Dust settles on the leaves of your plants, just like it settles on your furniture. When plants’ leaves are dusty, it makes it harder for photosynthesis to occur. Spring brings more natural daylight so cleaning your plants’ leaves will help them make the most of this light. Gently wipe down both sides of the leaves using a damp cloth.
You could also rinse your houseplants in the shower to remove dust and dirt. If you choose to do this, be sure the pot has proper drainage. Also, keep in mind that some plants prefer not to get their leaves wet (eg. African violets, begonias and cyclamen.)
2. Prune away withered growth
If you notice plant debris such as dry, yellowing leaves, it’s worth pruning them away. This saves the plant from putting energy into trying to fix them. Pruning houseplants can also encourage branching and new growth.
Each plant has a unique growth pattern which will affect the way it is pruned, so it’s important to be aware of this first. Check out this great pruning guide to help you.
3. Water more frequently if necessary
As the temperature increases, water tends to evaporate more quickly from the soil. Keep an eye on how quickly your plants are using up their water and be prepared to water more frequently if necessary.
As a general guide, when the upper 3cm of potting mix is dry, it’s time to water again. Bear in mind, though, that different plants have different needs, particularly succulents and cacti. As a double measure, research each plant’s specific watering needs in advance.
4. Repot if they have outgrown their container
If a houseplant has outgrown its container, moving it to a larger one can give it a fresh start. Some indications that your houseplant has outgrown its container are:
- Roots growing in a circular pattern within the pot
- Roots protruding over the surface of the soil or out of the bottom of the pot
- Water running through the soil without soaking in
Check out this valuable repotting tutorial by the University of Illinois for a visual demonstration.
5. Reposition according to light
During the winter, you may have moved some houseplants to a sunny window. This was great because it meant they could get an extra bit of exposure to light. As spring arrives, however, you can move those houseplants away from the window (particularly if it’s a south facing window) and back to their original place.
During the spring, the sun becomes more intense. A sunny window could create a greenhouse effect and burn houseplants which may be particularly sensitive. If leaves turn brown, white or become transparent, it’s an indication that they’re being exposed to too much sun. Moving them slightly further away from the window, out of direct sunlight, can help.
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