What To Do To Take Care for New Plant
Many people get a new plant and immediately get off to the wrong start by making some common mistakes. In general, it is important to do as little as possible to your new plant.
1. Professional Secret: Don’t repot that plant!
In most cases, recently purchased plants will soon slow their rate of growth. It may not be visible to you, but it is happening. As this happens, the roots begin to diminish in size. (See section on Plant Acclimatization below). Because most plants perform better when slightly pot-bound, it is a mistake to put a plant into a pot that is bigger than it needs. In addition, plants moved to a new environment need time to adjust. A pot change puts the plant under some stress. Repotting a new plant will add to the stress unnecessarily. So even if repotting seems warranted, wait at least a couple of months.
2. Professional Secret: Cache-pot or Double Pot
So you hate that ugly plastic pot that your plant came in (called a grow-pot) and you have a beautiful ceramic container that would look so much better. No, you don’t have to wait to put the new container to use. Leave your new plant in its ugly grow-pot and put both plant and pot inside your lovely decorative container. This is called double potting. It avoids disturbing your new plant’s roots unnecessarily, it eliminates the messiness of repotting, and it hides the ugly pot you don’t want to see: A perfect solution.
Double potting requires a little advanced planning. You must have an outer decorative container that is big enough for both the plant and its grow pot. As a nice finishing touch, the plant professionals usually use Spanish moss or green sheet moss to cover over the space between the two pots and the surface of the soil. This is an aesthetic, not a horticultural decision.
3. Professional Secret: Lay Off the Fertilizer – It Won’t Help Now
New plants should not be given plant food. In fact, new plants have an abundance of nutrients in the soil and many have been loaded with timed-release fertilizers at the nursery. Plant professionals usually remove these fertilizers physically or by flushing them out with a hose because excess nutrients will burn plant roots and cause leaf tissue to die. A future article will cover all the ins-and-outs on the proper use of plant foods.
4. Plant Acclimatization: Find A Good Spot For Your New Plant and Keep It There
Match your plant’s light requirements with an appropriate spot in your home or office. Then leave it there. High light plants need some direct sunlight every day; medium light plants require lots of bright indirect light and no more than a few hours of direct sunlight; low light plants should be protected from the direct rays of the sun at all times. Avoid the temptation to give your plant more or less light each time some yellow leaves appear. Be patient. Most plants have a period of adjustment during which they make structural changes in their leaf, stem, and root cells. These changes help the plant survive in its new and less than optimal environment.
In most cases, the growth rate gradually slows and a plant’s water and fertilizer requirements decline, as well. Generally, the greater the change in the environment, the longer and harder the period of acclimatization period will be. In addition, some plant species go through more dramatic and visible changes while acclimating than do others. The ficus tree is the most notorious offender in this regard, dropping leaves all over whenever there is a shift in its location.