Table of Contents
Most Indoor Plants Maintenance
Most plants maintenance, with Principles of ecological maintenance Tips for keeping indoor houseplants healthy:
- Respect their light needs.
- Maintain appropriate temperatures for their growth; avoid placing plants too close to heat sources or in cold drafts.
- Ensure adequate air humidity (most plants grow best when the relative humidity is between 40 and 60%).
- Water deeply and as needed.
- Use warm water (ideally, it should sit for 24 hours so that the chlorine evaporates).
- Fertilize in times of active growth only, usually from March to October.
- Report the plants or replace the potting soil on the surface every year (valid for most plants), ideally at the beginning of the growth period.
What If An Indoor Plant Looks Bad?
- Ensure that the plant benefits from good growing conditions and adequate care. Many factors such as lack of light, irregular watering or low humidity can affect the appearance and growth of plants.
- Isolate the plant for a while if the damage appears to be caused by a pest or disease.
- Limit, if possible, the proliferation of pests or the spread of the disease by pruning the affected parts; Disinfect the cutting tools regularly with rubbing alcohol.
- Consider cutting or dividing the plant when there are still healthy parts.
- Use, as a last resort, a low impact pesticide (read the product label) or a homemade recipe.
Ecological Solutions to the Most Common Problems Pests Mites (spider mites) Mites, which look like tiny spiders, often weave thin, whitish webs. By feeding on the sap, they cause yellowing of the foliage.
- Spray the leaves of attacked plants often with lukewarm water, as mites prefer dry conditions.
- Apply, as a last resort, a homemade insecticidal soap recipe. Mealybugs, often immobile, can look like tiny rounded scales, miniature flat discs or small balls of cotton wool. They cause yellowing and leaf drop by sucking sap. Foliage and stems are often covered with a sticky substance (honeydew).
- Apply rubbing alcohol directly to mealybugs using a cotton swab; inspect the plant regularly and repeat the treatment as needed. Whiteflies By sucking plant sap, whiteflies cause small yellowish spots or pale spots on the top of the leaves. A sticky substance (honeydew) is often found on the plant.
Gardening Made Easy
Planting and maintaining your garden does not need to be a complex ordeal. With the right techniques—and the right attitude—you can be enjoying flowers, fruits, and vegetables in no time.
What could be more welcoming at the end of a long day than a beautiful array of spring and summer blooms? Whether outside or in, flowers add color and life to any home. If you have tried to grow flowers before and have been disappointed by their appearance or duration, you may just need some simple, basic tips for better results.
Flowers such as the tulip, snowdrop, dahlia, and crocus are planted as a bulb and grow from there. When buying bulbs, they should be plump and firm, and free of any signs of decay. As you might assume, the largest bulbs in a batch will provide the most blooms, while the smaller ones may have a smaller output.
Most bedding plants are easy to raise from seed, though it would be best to research each type or consult a professional before committing to each seed—some, such as begonias are notoriously difficult.
You can also purchase seedlings with two or three leaves already sprouted. Usually purchased by mail order, these come in trays of between 100 and 400 plants. Soon after they arrive these will need to be transferred into seed trays or pots.
Plugs are young plants that are more advanced in their growth than seedlings and are ready to plant out immediately. Plugs should have good root growth and the leaves and shoots are not damaged or turning yellow. If you are looking for an easy-care garden, this may be the way to go.
Some basic rules of thumb to keep in mind almost no matter what kind of flowers you have are:
- Keep soil moist by watering regularly in the hot summer months.
- Plants in containers and hanging baskets will need particular attention in dry, hot weather. This could be as much as twice a day.
- Remove dead blooms regularly to encourage more flowers.
Good Indoor Gardening Practices
Most houseplants are native to tropical and subtropical regions around the world. Tropicals generally like warmth. Since home and workspace thermostats are usually kept between 60 and 80 degrees throughout the year, indoor temperatures are fairly comfortable for tropical plants. However, they won’t live long if temperatures dip below forty-five to fifty degrees (depending on the species). Drafty indoor locations near windows and exterior doorways may be problematic to plants most sensitive to cold air.
Those who move their houseplants outside during warmer months should wait until spring nighttime temperatures are consistently 50 degrees or more. Since tropicals can’t survive colder months outdoors, gardeners sometimes bring those sold as tender patio or deck feature plants indoors to over-winter rather than leaving them out in the garden to die. Whether tender garden plants or houseplants, bring tropicals indoors in early autumn before the first night below 50 degrees. Treat for insects then cut plants back to a size that will be manageable in the house.
Indoor gardeners can learn the proper amount of heat, water, humidity, light, fertility and air movement to meet individual plant needs from reference books or through research online. Be sure to look for both optimum conditions during a plant’s active growth stage and also the best treatment during that plant’s dormant phase.
Allow most houseplants about 8 weeks of downtime. During their annual “rest period” withhold fertilizer, control artificial lighting to have more hours of darkness than light (around 14 continuous hours without light in each 24), give minimal moisture and keep plants cooler. High-nitrogen fertilizers, bright light, and high air temperatures encourage stem and leaf production. Forcing growth during a plant’s time of dormancy is a bad idea and can weaken plants. Wait until days lengthen after the first day of spring before adding fertilizer to water used to irrigate houseplants. However, don’t make the mistake of treating a sick plant with fertilizer at any time of year. That practice often kills rather than cures.
Compare recommended warm-season versus over-wintering treatment for Mandevilla vines. Watering– Keep soil evenly moist during summer. Water three times per week. During winter allow the soil to dry out between waterings. Water once every week or two. Soggy soil can cause root rot.
Fertilizing– In summer fertilize as often as every other week using a complete fertilizer higher in phosphorus (10-20-10 for example). Do not fertilize at all while dormant. Light– Site in an outdoor location with shade during the heat of the day for the summer. Place in an eastern, western or southern window where midday light is filtered by a curtain or blinds during wintertime. Fluorescent lighting is a good alternative to natural light.
Irrigation is critical to indoor plant health
When watering potted plants get the soil wet beyond the surface. About 10 percent of the water should flow out the drain hole in the pot’s bottom. Lift the pot and empty runoff water collected in the saucer underneath. When extremely dry, soil pulls away from a pot’s edge. There can be runoff even though the potting medium absorbs very little moisture. Stick your index finger into the soil by the plant. If it is not damp past the first knuckle, alternate watering and letting the plant sit and absorb moisture until the finger test shows dampness an inch or more below the surface.