By Justin Hancock, Costa Farms garden guru Photographs courtesy of Costa Farms
Spring is finally here! Temperatures are getting warmer, the days are getting longer, and things are (or should be soon) becoming greener outside. Chances are, your houseplants are noticing, too. Here are some spring tips to keep your houseplants growing happy and healthy.
Give Them a Bath
For most folks, dusting their furniture is a regular chore. We don’t tend to think about it, but the same amount of dust accumulates on our houseplant leaves as it does our desks, tabletops, and other surfaces. While we don’t tend to notice it as much on plants, we should because it can affect plant growth in a couple of ways: Dust decreases the amount of light they receive (think of it like a filter or screen), and it can clog the pores they use to breathe.
Happily, this is an easy remedy – just put your houseplants in a sink or shower with room-temperature water. This can effectively wash the dust off, as well as help dislodge pests that might be taking up residence on your plants.
Here’s a hint: Cover the potting mix with plastic to reduce the mess.
Because the sun stays in the sky longer and becomes a little more intense, your plants are starting to get noticeably more light in spring. Most houseplants will respond by putting on new growth. Help fuel this growth by fertilizing your houseplants with a general-purpose houseplant fertilizer.
Fertilizing houseplants is a lot easier than you might think because, for the most part, plants aren’t particular about what type of fertilizer they get. Any brand, both synthetic and organic products, labeled for use on indoor plants will do the job just fine. As far as how much fertilizer to use and how often to use it, those questions depend on the product you’re using. Refer to the directions on the product packaging for application rates and frequency.
Provide New Digs
If any of your houseplants have been in the same pot for more than a couple of years, now is also a great time to repot it if you’d like to give their roots more room to roam. As a general rule, the bigger the pot, the bigger your houseplant will be able to grow. There’s also another benefit of repotting: You may need to water a little less. Potting mix acts like a sponge that absorbs and holds moisture; the more rootbound your plants are, the more roots there are to suck the water out.
Perk up leggy houseplants by pinching or trimming them back as they begin to put out their lush new spring growth. Removing the top few inches of growth will make most houseplants branch better, giving a fuller, bushier look. And, as a bonus with many houseplants, you can use the parts you pinch off to make cuttings and get more plants for free!
Interested in learning more? Get more houseplant tips from the experts at Costa Farms.
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By Kate Karam, Monrovia,
Photographs courtesy of Monrovia
We love vines for all the garden problems they help to solve (covering things up, blocking things out, making the kinda ugly, pretty) but climbing vines–whether those that cling by aerial rootlets, or those that need the support of a trellis or other structure–are also a welcome sight for wildlife passing through.
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