If your indoor garden is filling up or you are just getting started with houseplants, there are a few tips and tricks to keep them happy and healthy. So, here are ten houseplant hacks that everyone should know.
Firstly, before you buy it’s really important to do a check before you commit. If you are buying the plant in person, check for pests by looking at both sides of the leaves and around the stems.
This is also the time to check the conditions that the plant has been displayed in. For example, if it looks like it’s been sat in stagnant water, this could mean the plant will experience root rot.
It’s ideal to water with rainwater or distilled water when possible. This is because the minerals such as fluoride and chlorine in tap water can build up in the soil and foliage which can impact their health and growth.
When watering, use tepid water rather than freezing cold.
Houseplants notice the change in seasons too. When it’s winter and the central heating comes on, it will dry out the air. They also won’t appreciate being positioned next to hot spots such as radiators or draughty areas.
Meaning those plants of yours that prefer a humid environment won’t be too happy. So, ensure you are increasing the levels of humidity to suit them.
You can do this by misting, adding a humidifier, or placing the plants on trays of gravel and water to add moisture to the air.
Alternatively, put a wet cloth, flannel, or towel on a radiator which will increase the humidity levels too.
This spring when it is time to repot your houseplants, use paper coffee filters at the bottom of the pot.
Not only will it keep dirt and soil from escaping through the drainage holes but it will allow the water to escape.
In our homes, dust can build up on surfaces and we clean it, so you’ll need to do the same with your houseplants.
Cleaning the leaves will make the plants look great, whilst also ensuring the surfaces are clear so they can photosynthesise, produce oxygen, and remove toxins from the air.
If you’ve got plenty of plants to clean, give them a gentle shower with lukewarm water.
Alternatively, for plants that are a little too big for the shower, use a damp cloth to gently clean the surfaces of the leaves. Use your other hand to support the bottom of the leaf to stop the leaves from getting damaged.
Finding the perfect spot for your houseplants is important. But it’s also crucial that each part of the plant gets access to the same sunlight.
Therefore, turn the containers regularly so each part of the plant gets access to the much-needed sun.
Little and often is key. It’s easy to kill a houseplant with kindness by overwatering but watering the plants and leaving them to drain regularly will decrease the likelihood of them succumbing to root rot.
Keep an eye on the bottom of the pot for signs of roots. If there’s roots circling the bottom of the pot and they are reaching out of the drainage holes, it may be time to repot.
Use my tips here on how to repot your houseplant.
Give your houseplants the dregs of your coffee. There’s plenty of nitrogen in this, so dilute your black coffee with a little bit more water and apply it to the soil to give it a nitrogen boost.
Bear in mind that they won’t enjoy this every day, and it should only be added if there’s no milk or sugar. So, don’t go giving your houseplants a sweet latte!
Although this can be don every once in a while, I still recommend using a proper houseplant feed such as Miracle Gro’s Pump & Feed.
Lastly, take your plants on a summer holiday. Although they are houseplants, they can benefit from the air circulation, rainwater and light that the outdoors will temporarily give them.
When doing this, gradually acclimatise them to the outdoors by putting them in a shaded spot outside for a day, and bringing them back in the evening and repeating, by gradually keeping them outside for longer.
Be sure to check if this holiday helpful for the plant, and keep tender, tropical plants indoors such as orchids and African violets too.
These houseplant hacks and tips will be sure to keep your houseplants happy and healthy. To find out more about houseplants and the benefits that they bring, check out my book My Houseplant Changed My Life.
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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