“I have no plants in my house. They won’t live for me. Some of them don’t even wait to die, they commit suicide” ~Jerry Seinfeld
Come on, admit it….is your thumb not as green as you want it to be? Are you having trouble keeping your house plants alive and healthy? Can you relate to Jerry on this one? Relax….you’re not alone! Many of us (myself included at times) have felt that fake plants were our only option because we seemed to have the “touch of death” when caring for plants. Read on to find out how 10 simple changes will make you feel like a “natural born gardener”!
Top 10 Indoor Gardening Tips for Jerry Seinfeld…and the rest of us!
1. Plants will “reach” toward a light source, so rotate your plant occasionally to promote straight growth.
2. Pay attention to the lighting requirements for your indoor plants. If your plant isn’t getting enough light it will appear “thin and leggy” looking. You can alleviate this problem by only buying plants appropriate for the light already in your home, or by providing an additional light source(artificial lighting). Buying plants that need medium to low light are a “safe bet” for most homes. Think before you buy!
Helpful Hint: Indoor plants can be placed outside during the warm summer months.
3. Use room temperature water when watering your indoor plants. Soak thoroughly but make sure plants aren’t allowed to sit in water as this can cause the roots to rot, proper drainage will alleviate this. Different plants have different watering needs but you can use this jingle to help you remember the basics…..
~Too dry, plant will die
Water fills pot, roots will rot!
4. Give your plants a bath! Just like children, plants need to be hosed down to rid them of dirt, dust, and grime. It is highly recommended to bath your kids daily but your plants only need it occasionally! Place your plant in your kitchen sink or bathtub and use the spray attachment to gently rinse it off. Use lukewarm water and allow your plant to air dry before returning it to its regular location.
5. Plants improve the quality of household air but remember plants can suffer if kept in air that is always smoky, stagnate or overly dry. Do yourself and your plants a favor by opening the windows and allowing fresh air to come into the house at least several times a week.
6. As with humans, most house plants do well in a daytime temperature range of 65-75 and ten degrees lower at night. Pay attention to your plant, if it isn’t looking well a change in temperature might be all it needs to get back on the right track.
Helpful Hint: Don’t overheat your house~your plants will thank you!
7. Keep the care tag for each plant you buy. This way you will remember the name of the plant and what type of individual care it needs to stay healthy. I have made this mistake many, many times thinking I would remember how to take care of the plant and after a few months I couldn’t even remember the name of the plant!
Helpful Hint: Buy yourself a small spiral notebook and tape your care tags inside. Also include: purchase date, fertilizer dates, and the dates that you have repotted. Your plants will thrive because of it!
8. Your indoor plants need to be “fed” often because vital nutrients are flushed out of the soil each time you water. You can opt to use a slow release fertilizer that is added to the soil or you can use a liquid fertilizer that is added in small amounts when you water your plant. Don’t fertilize in winter, instead, fertilize regularly during growing and flowering stages. (March-October)
Helpful Hint: If you find it hard to remember when you last fertilized, write yourself a quick reminder on your calendar for when to do it next. This isn’t an exact science but your plants will tell you if you are fertilizing too much by having burned or dried leaves….fertilize less frequently if you notice this.
9. When growing plants indoors in containers, do not use soil from the garden as it does not yield good results. Outdoor soil can contain insects, weeds, and disease-causing organisms that can actually harm other healthy plants already living indoors. Additionally, outdoor soils become compacted when put into small containers. This will lead to problems with the plant’s roots and might also impede drainage.
10. We all need room to grow and plants do too! When you notice that roots are coming out of the drainage hole or seem thick and/ or matted, it is time to repot your plant.
Helpful Hint: When picking a container/pot for your house plants, make sure it will drain properly. I know what you are probably thinking…many pots are sold without drainage holes! If you find one that you are absolutely in love with drill a hole in the bottom of the container, otherwise your plant will almost certainly die. Without a drainage hole, water collects in the pot and causes damage to the roots. If this isn’t an option you can double pot your plant.