You might have caught me on This Morning where I spoke about the popularity of houseplants which just keeps growing, with Brits spending around £530 million on them every year. If you’re on the indoor plant bandwagon, here are some extra houseplant care tips to keep them happy and healthy.
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Don’t go overboard with watering your houseplants. By keeping consistent and watering them little and often, you are reducing the risk of leaves wilting from being underwatered or overwatering which can lead to the roots rotting.
With a huge array of decorative pots to choose from, it’s important you don’t let your plants sit in water-filled pots with no drainage holes. If you place your houseplants in a bath or sink with shallow water and let them draw up the moisture for 10 minutes before putting them back into their pots, your prized plants aren’t sitting in stagnant water for long periods of time.
Another thing I do is place gravel in a plant tray with water and place the potted plant over it. Then when the radiators come on in the evening, the water evaporates from the tray making a little micro-environment for them.
A top tip to remember is that if a plant has dark leaves, they are suitable for shadier spots in your home, and if they have variegated or lighter leaves they are best positioned on a windowsill in a brighter area. If your plant has flowers, they generally prefer a brighter location that isn’t in direct sunlight. For example, orchids are flowering houseplants that appreciate filtered bright light or partial shade.
On the other hand, Aspidistra elatior (cast iron plant) with its glossy, dark, leathery leaves prefer full shade or partial shade in a sheltered place and are quite low maintenance.
When buying houseplants in the cooler months, bagging them up before you go outdoors is a good idea to protect them from catching a chill as you transport them home. Many houseplants aren’t good with fluctuating temperatures, so it might be beneficial to steer clear of places next to hot radiators or draughty doorways.
If you live with any four-legged friends, then make sure to check the toxicity of your houseplants before committing to it, as some are known to be harmful if ingested by pets.
Houseplants have been found to improve the air quality of our homes, Boston ferns and Chlorophytum (spider plants) remove airborne toxins such as xylene and formaldehyde. Our homes can be filled with chemicals from cleaning, decorating and grooming products, but certain houseplants can remove up to 80% of these toxins.
With the fresh fragrances that are provided by houseplants, there is no need to be spraying air freshener around your home. Gardenias are well known for their highly scented showy white flowers. As long as they are in a bright, but not directly sunlit spot, you can move them around freely indoors to wherever you want the exquisite aroma to fill.
With the Chelsea Flower Show introducing a houseplant category for the first time this year, you can put on your own indoor houseplant show that will have your home feeling brighter, fresher and smelling divine.
David Domoney is a Chartered Horticulturalist, Broadcaster, and Author. David has worked with a number of the UK’s leading garden retailers as a plant buyer and strategic consultant. With more than 30 years experience, in horticulture, David is as passionate about plants now as he was when he bought his first plant at a village fete.
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