Whether you’re trying to cultivate some stress-relieving greenery in your home or just want to add color and freshness, gardening can be a fun and rewarding hobby.
Keeping your plants healthy and vibrant requires some knowledge about plant care. Here are a few tips to help you keep your indoor plants growing and flourishing.
Water Only When Necessary
Watering your plants properly is a key step to keeping them healthy and vibrant. Whether you have a hardy succulent or delicate calathea, knowing what your plant needs and watering on a schedule will keep them happy.
For most plants, it is best to water them on a weekly basis. This is not the case for all plants though, so it is important to know what your plant needs and get in the habit of checking their soil often.
The most obvious indicator that your plants need water is if their leaves are wilting and yellowing. This is not a definitive sign, but it should be enough to make you realize that your plants need watering.
Most indoor plants go dormant in the winter, requiring far less water than they do in the summer. Understanding this can help you adjust your watering habits and ensure your plants thrive during the colder seasons.
Check the Soil for Pests
When gardening indoor plants, pests can be a real problem. They tend to appear more often in the winter because plants are growing more slowly, have less light, and are a bit weaker than they were in the summer.
In addition, because there are no natural predators to protect them, hungry pests can overrun a plant collection with a lot of vigor and cause significant damage in a short period of time. So, it is essential to get an integrated pest management program started as soon as you spot a problem.
The first thing you should do is check the soil for bugs. Ideally, the first two inches of soil should be bone dry. But if it’s damp, that can be an ideal breeding ground for pests like fungus gnats.
Mist Your Plants Regularly
Misting your plants regularly is a good way to hydrate them and keep their leaves looking healthy. It also helps to prevent certain pest infestations and cleans their leaves of dust that may have settled.
But, it’s important to note that misting isn’t a replacement for watering your plants. This is because watering involves watering the soil, while misting sprays the plant’s leaves.
If you use a spray bottle, be sure to hold it away from your plant so that the water doesn’t drip onto its leaves. Keeping the bottle at a distance will help to avoid this, as well as preventing the spray from splashing nearby furniture or walls.
It’s worth noting that some plants are particularly prone to over-misting and this can result in a fungal disease like Botrytis occurring on the leaves. If your plant is particularly sensitive to over-misting, you can try watering with a little less than normal to see how it responds.
Look for Signs of Infestation
If you have a plant that looks less than healthy, it is important to look for signs of infestation. Most of the time it is just a matter of watering, light, or fertilizer that has caused a problem but some times the culprit is insects and pests.
For example, a plant that has spider mites may have speckling on its leaves and an overall faded appearance. If the infestation is heavy and the plant is losing foliage, spraying it with neem oil or insecticidal soap can help.
Scales can be difficult to spot but are usually visible in clusters along the stem and leaf joints and on the veins of plants. They have waxy coatings that make them a sapsucker and will also produce dew or honeydew (a sugary liquid).
Inspect your plants for any signs of infestation on a daily basis to keep the situation under control. Once the pests have been spotted and removed, check weekly for any reinfestation.