Spring is here, we can finally look forward to warmer weather and some new plant growth.
Indoor plants require a little spring-cleaning attention. Now is the perfect time for a bit of re-organisation, pruning, cleaning and repotting.
Re-organising your plants – Most plants can handle the winter sun, but many will need to be moved away from the direct warmer sunlight to avoid burning their leaves. You can replace these plants with many sun-loving plants…. Aloe Vera, Ponytail Palm, Sago Palm, Croton, Cordyline (minalis) China Doll Plant, Basil, Lavender, Gardenia (Jasminoides), Jasmine (Jasminum spp) Jade Plant, Snake Plant, most Cacti, Lemon, Lime, Tangerine and Kumquat.
Pruning helps the plants to give energy to new healthy growth – To start, you will need clean scissors or shears, depending on how big your plants are. Ensure you have sterilised them to reduce your plant’s exposure to bacteria. If your plant has any dried, limp, yellow or damaged leaves, cut off the affected area. If the whole leaf is affected, cut it off at the base at a 45-degree angle. As for succulents, any damaged or dying leaves can be gently pulled off at the base. Make sure to avoid cutting or pulling from the top. They should come away easily. If not, then again use scissors or a knife and cut from the stem.
Cleaning will allow the plant to breathe and look fresh and clean – Clean leaves for a healthy shine. All you need is water and a clean microfiber cloth, a small paintbrush or a soft toothbrush. If you find insects add a drop of dishwashing liquid to your fabric of choice. The cloth will remove the dust, and the water will give the leaves a nice shine.
For hairy leaves, such as Purple passion or African violets, dusting with a clean, soft paintbrush or toothbrush is recommended. More delicate foliage leaves, such as ferns, do best when cleaned with a gentle water spray.
Give roots room to grow – Repotting is essential to support your plants’ growth. Some plants like to be rootbound, but some plants don’t and will grow slowly, dry out quickly, and even die. When you see the roots on the top of the soil or poking out of the bottom, its time for a new pot.
A big mistake is to repot into a much larger pot with room to grow, but don’t! If you do this, it’ll cause root rot or a host of other issues. Your plant doesn’t have the root system to support a pot that large. Only go up one size. Ensure you water the plant heavily; this will make it easier to remove from the pot. Gently shake the roots and tease the earth away to check the colour and the health of the roots. Check for bugs or dead or mouldy looking roots. You can remove these with sharp scissors.
Soil – Finding the right soil for your plants can be super stressful, so to keep it cheap, simple but effective, I use a standard house plant, general potting mix. This can be found in all nurseries and hardware stores. The 2 secret ingredients are perlite (20%) and orchid mix (20%). Mix these into your soil for the perfect drainage. There are lots of different soil mixtures you can use, but in my experience, they rarely make any difference, cost a fortune, and you have to store them somewhere. So keep it short and simple.
Fertilise – Spring is a time of growth for most houseplants. Take this opportunity to fertilise your plants to provide the nutrients they need! Read your plant labels carefully to ensure that you use the correct fertiliser.
You can easily make your own fertiliser.
Nitrogen – to encourage leaf growth, Fish water is excellent, full of many nutrients and high in nitrogen and potassium. If you don’t have fish water, then use a small amount of coffee grounds. Mix the damp coffee grounds into the soil or spread over the surface and cover with a soil layer.
Potassium – to help flowers and fruit. Bananas are an excellent source of potassium. Add the banana peel to a large jug of water, let it soak for a minimum of an hour and then use to feed your plants. Super quick and easy.
Phosphorus – to help root growth. Coffee grounds. Rich in nitrogen and phosphorus. Add a small amount to the soil, or add a small amount to your watering can. Avoid during the flowering period.
Green Tea – Use for flowering plants, fruit trees and vegetables. Add a bag to your watering can and a little water; leave for a few hours. Fill with water and pour over the feet of the plants.
I really hope this information gives you and your plants all you need for a bit of a spring clean.
If you have any questions or feel a little intimidated and don’t feel confident, I offer a free 15-minute zoom chat; please contact me via my Facebook or Instagram page or call me on 774567752. I’m always happy to help.