By Justin Hancock, Costa Farms Horticulturist
Photographs courtesy of Costa Farms
Keep your houseplants thriving this summer (even if you’re spending more time outside). Use these five simple tips to keep your indoor plants happy and looking their best.
Keep them Away from the A/C
The best way to keep any plant happy is to simulate its natural environment the best you can. Most areas don’t have blasts of air that’s noticeably warmer or colder than the surrounding temperature, so avoid drafty spots. Spots near an air-conditioning vent, for example, can stress your plants.
If plants are subjected to drafts, their leaves may develop discolored tips/edges or fall prematurely.
Wipe them Down
Indoors, most plants appreciate as much light as they can get. Dust is a sneaky factor that decreases the amount of available light to your plants. As it accumulates, it forms a filter on the leaf surface. This prevents as much light from getting to the chlorophyll.
Wipe down leaves with a moistened soft cloth. Use a 10 percent vinegar solution on leaves that are particularly dirty. This safely cleans the foliage and gets it shiny again.
Watch the Watering
Longer days and more/brighter light coming in the windows give plants more fuel for growth. The more/faster they grow, the more water our plants use. Keep an eye on your plants as temperatures rise and daylength increases to ensure your plants aren’t too thirsty.
Note: Depending on the orientation of your windows, if there are deciduous trees nearby, etc., it is possible your space could have less light in summer than winter. It’s best to check soil moisture before watering to prevent over- or under-watering.
Scout for Pests
We typically spend more time outdoors in summer, so there’s a greater chance of plant pests hitchhiking into our homes. Open windows to bring in the summer breezes can also bring in pests. Tackling pest problems is easier when populations are small. Periodically examine plants to catch issues before they become a serious problem.
Repot and Fertilize for Faster Growth
If your plants get more light in summer and grow faster, they'll enjoy repotting and/or fertilization. While you can repot any time of the year, summer is a great time because you can take your plants outside so there’s less of a mess in the house.
When repotting, it’s usually best to go one pot size up at a time. If you go into a pot that’s too large, the potting mix could hold moisture longer than the roots absorb it. This increases the potential for root rot.
Spring and summer are the best months to fertilize your houseplants. Fertilizing with a general-purpose product helps keep your plants growing lush and healthy, with richer-looking leaves.
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