Many parents of houseplants know that some species of houseplants can be finicky, and different kinds of plants require different types of care. Our interviewees this year have addressed a wide range of plant-related concerns, from humidity to yellowing leaves. These five golden takeaways will keep your plants healthy throughout the rest of 2021 and beyond:
1. Understand how often your plants need to be watered.
While some plants are considered “hardy,” like the pothos or snake plant (you’ll be amazed at how long they can survive without water), others require a regular watering schedule, sometimes on a daily basis. Succulents are another example of plants susceptible to overwatering.
Some plants that prefer humid environments also enjoy a good misting along with watering. Basically, read up on your species’ water requirements. If your plant’s leaves are yellowing or curling, for example, that’s a sign it’s not getting enough water—whether it’s too much or not enough.
2. Put drainage holes in your pots.
Plants will “drown” if they don’t have drainage holes in their pot. When you water your plants, the water should completely drench the soil to make sure the roots get a good soak. All that water needs a way out; otherwise, it will pool on the bottom of your pot, causing overwatering, root rot, and a generally unhappy plant.
3. Get rid of pests—and fast.
You can spot pests on your plants by spotting speckled or spotted leaves, and pale or yellowed leaves. Leaves that have a webbed appearance or a sticky residue can be indicators as well.
Isolate the infected plants from the rest of the plant and wipe them down with a damp cloth. To the water you wipe, you can add a tiny drop of dish soap if necessary. Also great for natural insecticides, neem oil can be diluted in a gallon of water, then sprayed over your plants to get rid of pests.
4. Know when it’s time to repot.
Your plant is also growing root systems beneath the surface, just as it grows taller and taller. You need to repotted it eventually, particularly when there is moisture in the soil. One of the first signs is drooping leaves. It is also possible that your plant has lots of yellow leaves, but it is still growing normally. It is a sure sign that roots are out of control if they grow through the drainage holes or if they form a thick web at the bottom of the pot. If that’s the case, maybe you should upgrade your size!
5. Adjust your plant care with the seasons.
Finally, when the seasons change, the conditions around our houses change as well. Plants already go through seasonally driven growth spurts during the summer, as our homes get drier.
During winter, make sure your plants are still getting sufficient light, as much as possible. Avoid places with fluctuating temperatures, such as a blasting heater or a cold window. Since your plants are less likely to grow as much during the winter, you also won’t likely need to water them as much. Touch the soil and water as needed by checking the moisture level.
With some patience and practice, you’ll be able to figure out what each of your plants needs so that you can provide them with the best care possible, and they’ll thrive.
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