Practical Tips for Indoor Plants Care

Practical Tips for Indoor Plant Care

Indoor plants have an aesthetic role in your home and a therapeutic role for your mood. It’s scientifically proven that plants make you feel better, help lower stress levels and clean the air in your home.

To reap all the benefits that houseplants offer, they need to be looked after properly and need your attention. Fortunately, it’s not hard to look after the green corner of your home. Here’s what you need to do to keep your indoor plants looking their best:

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    Seasonal indoor plants care

    Indoor plants are not cared for in the same way all year round. Their needs are different, and if you want them to be healthy and green, it’s imperative to follow their needs according to the weather conditions.

    Otherwise, plants risk losing their leaves or not flowering at all but may even dry out completely. Even if they’re not in an outdoor garden, that doesn’t mean that indoor plants aren’t affected by the changing seasons. Light, humidity in the air and soil, ambient temperature – vital elements for plant health, differ from season to season, even indoors.

    So here’s what you need to do depending on the season to look after the plants in your home correctly:

    Spring indoor plants care tips

    In spring, temperatures start to rise, the hours when plants get natural light are also on the rise, and inside the house, the air is no longer as dry as in winter when heating systems lead to low humidity.

    How often should we water plants in spring?

    Spring is the start of the active growing season, so water requirements increase. The rule of thumb for watering plants in spring is to keep the soil moist at all times. At this time of year, plants need as many nutrients as possible to develop harmoniously, which is why they should be watered every other day.

    Of course, the watering frequency depends very much on the plant species. You will find care recommendations for the most popular houseplants below in the article.

    Spring is the right season to change the soil/pot.

    If the pot it’s currently in has become overcrowded, spring is an excellent time to change it. Don’t forget, however, that full transplanting is only done every 2-3 years (depending on the size of the pot and the plant’s growth rate), while partial transplanting (replacing the topsoil of the pot is done every spring).

    Indoor plants nutrition in spring

    If you want your indoor plants to grow harmoniously and flower beautifully, you should consider fertilizer. In early spring, the fertilizers given should be richer in nitrogen, so when you’re looking for fertilizer, look for nitrogen quantity.

    Later, as summer approaches, the fertilizers you feed should have more phosphorus and potassium, so your plants make lots of flowers.

    Treating indoor plants against pests

    Even if they’re kept indoors permanently, that doesn’t mean houseplants don’t have pest problems. Treatment against pests involves taking particular substances that you can find at your local plant shop. In the case of pests such as mites, simply spraying the plant with water is enough to remove the unwanted pests.

    Treating plants against diseases

    Apart from pest infestation, some plants can also suffer from environmental conditions – too small a pot, too little light, too much or too little water. If the plant has overgrown, consider transplanting, find out what the plant needs in terms of light and give it the conditions it needs. Test the plant’s soil with your finger – if it’s dry and cracked, water it more frequently (but not too much once), and if it’s too wet, increase the period between waterings.

    Tips for caring for indoor plants in summer

    Summer changes the conditions of care. Plants need different requirements for healthy growth, and you need to change your care habits.

    How often should we water plants in summer?

    In summer, plants need plenty of water. High temperatures lead to rapid drying of the soil, so you need to take this into account and water them more often than in other seasons. Of course, each flower has its own needs, but as a guide, it’s good to know that most flowers should be watered once a day in summer, preferably in the evening or morning when it’s cooler.

    Indoor plants nutrition in summer

    In summer, you can use products from plant protection and home and garden shops for feeding houseplants. You can also turn to natural solutions – at the beginning of summer, a spoonful of lime in the plant’s soil can work wonders. Sugar water is also beneficial, as are crushed eggshells, ashes, or yeast.

    Autumn indoor plants care tips

    In autumn, plants go dormant and don’t need as much attention. However, you must consider their variety and provide them with the necessary conditions for healthy growth.

    How often should we water plants in autumn?

    With the onset of September, plants should be watered less often. Do a simple test to determine whether the plant needs water or not – lift the pot. If the pot is too light, water the plant. If it’s heavy, wait another day or two until the next watering.

    During autumn, most plants need more moisture. You can place pots of water next to them; that way, you also have water on hand when you water them.

    Do we interrupt plant nutrition in autumn?

    Once autumn arrives, houseplants no longer need fertilizer. Only certain species, such as African violets, hibiscus, or impatiens (house spores), need fertilizer at this time too. Find out about the needs of each plant variety in this respect.

    Winter indoor plants care tips

    In winter, you really need to take care of the temperature. If you’ve kept your plants on the balcony the rest of the year, now’s the time to bring them indoors. But don’t forget that too high a temperature doesn’t suit them either. It’s best to keep your plants in the coolest room in the house in winter.

    How often should we water plants in winter?

    In winter, watering should be more infrequent, depending on the plant’s needs. Check the soil before watering. As a guideline, once every one or two weeks is sufficient, but it also depends on the plant. The water temperature should be the same as the room temperature.

    The water you use to water the plants can also be tap water, but after 2-3 days in an uncovered pot, the chlorine evaporates, and salts are left on the bottom of the pot. Another option is to boil the water and cool it.

    Is it necessary to feed plants extra in winter?

    As a general rule, do not apply fertilizer to houseplants in winter. The only plants you can give fertilizer to during this period are those that flower naturally in winter. If the plants you have need fertilizer and winter, it is preferable to use liquid fertilizer, which you mix into the water you water them with.

    How do you change a flower pot?

    The steps to follow are:

    • remove the plant from the pot
    • carefully chop up the soil covered by the roots
    • remove the dead roots with scissors and create slight aeration, but do not entirely remove the soil from the roots
    • place the plant in a new pot (clean, if not new, it should be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected, preferably made of burnt clay with perforations at the base) 0.4 – 1.20 inches (2-3 cm) larger than the volume of soil in the roots and at the base of which you have previously placed clay chips, brick chippings, perforated plastic sheeting or coarse gravel
    • top up with moist potting soil and water the flower

    How do you get rid of plant fleas or other pests?

    In general, any plant pests hate water, so you can solve most of these problems by thoroughly rinsing the leaves of larger plants with a shower and submerging smaller plants in water.

    Dipping is done like this: in a bucket, mix a few teaspoons of dishwashing detergent with 3.5 liters of warm water, hold the plant’s root in the pot and dip just the leaves and stem in the water, then roll the plant. Pests will be totally eliminated this way. You can use the same solution for larger plants, but you will need to spray the plant to remove the pests. Repeat once a week until the infestation is completely eliminated. Dipping and spraying also work if you use a mixture of two parts water and one part rubbing alcohol.

    The scent of thyme and lavender keeps aphids away, so you can place pots of these plants next to those vulnerable to pests to protect them. Spraying the leaves 2-3 times with highly concentrated thyme or lavender tea is also helpful.

    Essential rules for fertilizing potted plants

    Depending on the type of fertilizer, there are different rules for administration. So, in the case of liquid fertilizer, it is administered after the plant has been watered, the fertilizer is diluted according to the ratio of 1 capful to 5 liters of water, it is applied once every 3 days during the plant’s fertilization period, if you use reserve trays for watering the plant, also put the fertilizer in the tray, but with twice as much water as usual.

    If you use granular fertilizer, spread it evenly over the soil’s surface or incorporate it into the soil with a chopstick.

    Stick fertilizer is stuck upright into the soil but not close to the plant roots and buried 1.2 inches (3 cm) deep and 4 – 6 inches (10-15) cm apart. Foliar fertilizer is applied to the leaves by spraying outdoors or in the tub to prevent the substances from reaching other surfaces in the house.

    Care tips for the most common indoor plants

    Because the care of plants depends very much on their type, we show you below what care rules to follow for the most popular and beautiful indoor plants.

    The potted rose

    • needs a pot with a diameter of 6 – 8 inches (15 – 20 cm) with drainage holes
    • the soil should be well crumbled, possibly mixed with perlite or vermiculite
    • it needs at least 6 hours of direct sunlight every day, and the pot should be rotated every few weeks so that the plant grows evenly
    • the ideal temperature is at least 59°F (15 degrees Celsius)
    • water regularly and the soil should always be moist, the leaves should never be watered
    • a layer of gravel is placed in the pot tray
    • use fertilizers rich in potassium in a mixture of ¼ water and only when the buds appear.
    • remove wilted flowers and yellowed or dry leaves, dry shoots or shoots showing signs of rotting should be cut back.

    Phalaenopsis orchid

    • is often watered in summer, and ideally, it should be watered abundantly over the sink so that water runs through it and drains out through the potholes. There’s no need to put water in the pot’s tray.
    • do not water this plant on the leaves
    • it needs light but should not be left in direct sunlight
    • the ideal temperature is between 18° and 30° C, without frequent temperature fluctuations
    • fertilize with a solution of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium in equal parts, ideally, in proportions of 20-20-20. When the plant is dormant, it needs a solution with more nitrogen, fertilizes once a week after watering the plant

    Aloe Vera

    • has an accelerated growth rate in the first years and should be transplanted into larger pots every spring for the first 4 years, then every 3-4 years after that
    • needs plenty of sunlight
    • waterless often and only when you feel the soil is dry
    • the pot must have holes and a pot to drain excess water

    Cactus

    • waters once a week and only in the dish under its pot so that it can draw the water it needs itself
    • the minimum temperature a cactus can withstand is 50°F (10 degrees Celsius)
    • air the room where you have a cactus every day and spray it with water in summer
    • in winter, reduce the frequency of watering gradually

    Gerbera

    • should not be placed in direct sunlight, and in summer, it is preferable to keep it in a shady place. It needs light 5-6 hours a day
    • the optimum temperature is 68-72°F (20-22 degrees Celsius), and in winter, at least 55-59°F (13-15 degrees Celsius)
    • water regularly, but do not allow water to puddle in the pot under the pot, as there is a risk of the roots rotting

    Azalea (Rhododendron)

    • needs plenty of water, water once a day with water no more than 2-3 degrees cooler than room temperature
    • the optimum temperature is 73-77°F (23-25 degrees Celsius) during the day and not less than 62°F (17 degrees Celsius) at night
    • remove dried flowers and leaves and cut back long branches once a year
    • should be placed in a shady spot

    Green plants

    • need plenty of light
    • water regularly when you notice that the soil is slightly dry on the surface
    • spray the leaves with water every time you water them and wipe them with a soft cloth. You can also wipe them with beer.

    FAQ

    Some indoor plants are very hardy to all conditions and hold up well even in the busiest homes in the world. Ficus, cactus in general and Christmas cactus in particular, bamboo, crabapple, crassula, African violet, dracaena, mother-in-law's tongue, Epipremnum, bridal veil, aloe vera, croton, dwarf palm, peace lily, maranta.

    The pot of a indoor plant should be changed when the plant has overgrown and when you buy a new plant.

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