With Spring here and Summer just around the corner it’s time to get your houseplants ready for a new growing season. Here’s a quick guide to show you how!
The days are getting longer and warmer, and that means it’s time for houseplants to come out of dormancy and begin putting forth lots of new growth. To help them look their best, here’s a spring maintenance list:
Pick up each plant and look at the underside of its pot. If there are roots poking out of the drainage holes, it’s a sure sign it’s time to repot. If there are no roots visible, tip it out of the pot.
Are there more roots than dirt? Are the roots wound tightly around the plant? These are signs of a root bound plant. While some houseplants prefer to be slightly rootbound, most will benefit from being repotted.
Choose a pot one size bigger than the current one and use a good quality potting soil. Avoid the cheap generic brands as most of them will turn to mud when wet and cement when dry.
Garden soil from the outdoors is not a good choice either as it can bring in insects and disease, although it can be used. It should be sterilized in a 180F oven for at least half an hour, and be advised it will smell quite bad.
Put it in a large roasting or baking pan and cover with foil (leave one corner up to let moisture escape), bake, let cool and stir before using.
To repot, remove the plant from its old pot and shake off as much of the old soil as possible, and if badly root bound, tease the roots apart.
For large plants or those that don’t show signs of being root bound, simply remove the first few inches of soil around the plant and replace with fresh soil.
If they’ve recently repotted using a potting soil such as Miracle-Gro, the plants will be all set for a few months as the soil has plant food in it.
For other plants, look for a fertilizer specially formulated for houseplants. Some plants, such as African Violets have formulations specially made just for them.
Follow directions carefully and avoid the type that comes as sticks placed in the soil-they don’t feed evenly and tend to burn roots.
Plants with fuzzy leaves, such as African Violets, don’t like getting wet, so use a soft paint brush to dust off the leaves.
For plants such as Pothos or Ivy that tend to grow long vines, don’t be afraid to cut them back a few inches or more. This will encourage new growth and the cuttings can be placed in water to root!