Healthy house plants help reduce air pollution and look fabulous. Discover how to spot problems and the do’s and don’ts of keeping your indoor plants alive and thriving.
Caring for house plants has never been easier with new and harder-to-kill species coming onto the market all the time. However plants are living organisms and just like human beings have their favourite foods and tend to get cranky when cold and lethargic when hot.
While a plant may not keel over instantly if it doesn’t get everything it wants, it may throw the occasional tantrum by dropping leaves, wilting or refusing to flourish in the hope of getting some attention.
However it’ll look a lot better and repay with ample dividends with shiny leaves, new foliage and colourful flowers if given a modicum of love and attention. Plus a healthy plant will reward you by reducing the air pollutants in your home.
How to Keep Your House Plants Healthy
The three most important elements you can give your house plants are:
- Nutrients (food)
If that sounds simple, it ‘s because it is simple! And it’s easy to tell if one or more of the above essentials are missing.
- If a room is too dark plants will become long and leggy and bend noticeably towards any light source.
- If there is too much light when, for example, a plant is placed too near to a huge bank of windows, there’s a danger of the leaves being burnt, so they should be moved back out of direct sunlight.
- Watering is something people have a tendency to over supply, rather than under supply. Don’t drown the poor things! Simply use the finger test. If the potting mix is dry add water. If the potting mix is wet don’t.
- Winter heating and summer air conditioning can be hard on house plants as they both suck moisture out of the air and plants prefer a little humidity. To prevent indoor plants from drying out when the heating or air conditioning is on simply stand the pot holder on a saucer or tray of gravel or small pebbles and pour water into the tray. Don’t use so much water it goes up the side of the pot holder as this will ensure root rot. The water should be just below the surface of the pebbles so it increases the humidity around the plant without the plant sitting directly in water.
- When it comes to food the easiest method is to buy a slow release fertilser that gradually releases a balanced diet to the plant. Don’t overstuff them! Only add as much as the packet recommends even if it looks like a tiny amount.
Stick to these Dos and Don’ts for a House Plant that’s Happy and Healthy
- Do place plant in bright indirect light
- Do turn it occasionally
- Do extend the flowering period by putting plants in a cold room at night
- Do remove wilting leaves and flowers
- Do allow plants to dry out slightly before watering
- Do occasionally rehouse in another pot with new potting mixture
- Don’t leave plants standing in water for more than a short time
- Don’t leave in direct light
- Don’t place on top of a hot TV
- Don’t put it in a draft or in direct line with an air conditioner, fan or heater
- Don’t allow sprays such as air fresheners, fly or insect repellents onto the leaves as this can damage them.