Houseplants may need to be repotted. This happens when they outgrow their current pot, you are propagating the plants, or just to replenish nutrients. Plants should be repotted during the spring time when they are going to begin active growth. Never repot plants when they are flowering as this is hard on them. If your plant is drying out every few days or stops growing, it may need repotting. Check the roots by gently removing the pot. Roots that are crowded, growing together, or circling the pot need repotting. Choose a pot 2-4 inches larger in diameter than the current one. Loosen the plant roots thoroughly, but carefully. Set the plant into the new pot so that the base of the plant is at least one inch below the rim, and then add soil all around it. Water thoroughly after repotting. If your plants need propagated, do this while you have the plants out of the pot and the roots separated and visible.

For houseplants, never use garden soil or soil that was brought in from outside. A container potting mix should be used for all houseplants. These can be purchased commercially or made using ingredients such as coco coir, peat moss, perlite, coarse sand, or small wood chips. Since these ingredients do not contain many nutrients, it is important to periodically fertilize your plants. Fertilizer is not a cure all for plant symptoms. In fact, over fertilizing can be detrimental to plant health. Plants can have visible symptoms due to their light source, humidity, watering, and pests. Fertilizer will not help any of these issues. You should always follow the instructions on the fertilizer. Houseplants can be fertilized using water soluble or granular fertilizers. Spring and summer are the best time to fertilize plants. In winter, feed sparingly or not at all; houseplants will be especially sensitive to overfeeding at this time of year, when most go into dormancy.

Many of the common houseplants come from tropical regions, where the humidity levels are high. They will thrive best when the relative humidity is kept at 50 percent or higher. Brown, crispy leaf tips are often a sign that your plant needs more humidity. Keeping the humidity high is especially important in winter when heaters are on and the air indoors is usually drier.  If possible, adding a small humidifier near your plants helps keep them happy. You can also place plants together, away from heat sources, or put your plants on a tray with water and pebbles in such a way that the bottom of the pot doesn’t touch the water. The water will evaporate and raise the humidity around your plants. 

Houseplants occasionally need pruned, deadheaded, or cleaned due to dust. Plants breathe through their leaves, so keep them dust-free. Clean dust off of leaves by using room-temperature water on a cloth or using a spray bottle. Taking off dead and dying leaves and cutting brown tips off of leaves is good for your houseplant. Pruning is needed because it encourages your plants to send their energy to new foliage growth. This creates fuller, healthier looking plants. Pruning is especially important for vining houseplants such as ivy and pothos. You have to cut them back to manage them. If removing foliage, use shears or a sharp tool to take the leaves off, never pull them off as this can damage the healthy tissue. Deadheading means removing faded flowers from the plant as necessary. This encourages new flowers for a longer bloom period.


Comments are closed