Houseplants are potted plants that are used to embellish a home’s interior. Their care requires a number of materials and the implementation of some operations which must be carried out at given time periods (winter or summer) or when specific signs appear on the plants. For example, yellowing of the leaves, slow growth, the appearance of roots on the surface or through the hole under the pot are all signs to watch for in order to provide corrective action when necessary.

The most commonly used houseplants are usually native to countries that have mild climate. In winter, they cannot tolerate temperatures below 41 ° F (5 ° C) and the lack of air weakens them. The leaves begin to dry and the flowers gradually fall. Excessive heat or heating may also cause these plants to dry up. In this case, the solution is to maintain a high humidity level in the houseplants’ vicinity. In summer, watering should be adapted to each type of plant. Excess or lack of watering for a given plant may not apply to another species. Indeed, some plants absorb much more water than others. These are some issues that one may come across when growing houseplants. Care involves routine plant maintenance, which includes watering, and periodic maintenance, which mainly includes repotting and fertilizer supplies. To let plants take advantage of sunlight, place them near windows or in the most well-lit places of the room.

Routine maintenance of houseplants

Part of an apartment or office’s setting, houseplants should be subject to daily care. Make sure that the foliage of green plants is cleaned regularly so that light is converted into energy for nourishing plants. You must check that creeping plants with large growth stay upright on their stakes. Using clippers, you should also cut dead branches, damaged leaves and wilted flowers. They disfigure the plants and unnecessarily absorb the container’s moisture to the detriment of healthy stems. For this purpose, check the moisture level by scraping the soil’s surface in the containers and not waiting until they are completely dry to conduct watering.

There are no special rules to consider when it comes to the watering frequency. Everything depends on the plants to water and season. Plants with dense foliage, as well as those with small leaves, consume a certain amount of water. In order for plants not to rot, it is recommended not to drown the plant’s roots by excess irrigation. Do not forget to drain the excess water present in the saucer under the container. The advisable choice is to water daily, in small regular amounts. In summer, watering is more intense than in winter where it is practically inexistent. When the foliage lacks moisture, you can use a water mist spray. Choose preferably rainwater or mineral water over tap water which is often calcareous.

Repotting and fertilizer supplies 

Repotting is an important procedure for houseplants. It is best to proceed to repotting when the plant’s roots become overwhelming. It usually is the case when one can see the roots emerge on the surface or through the container’s holes. It is also a recommended procedure when the plant’s growth slows down or when it does not flower enough. Repotting consists of transferring a plant in another container. Choose a pot slightly larger than the previous one, as the plant’s roots will keep on growing. Replace the pot’s content with fresh soil, in which compost or chemical fertilizers will be inserted. For drainage, line the container’s bottom with clay pebbles or terracotta shards. This system prevents water from accumulating at the bottom, thus avoiding any risk of drowning the roots. It is advisable to perform repotting procedures in late winter, before the season of growth resumption.

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Published in Green plants by Alexander on 28 Jul 2011