We held a houseplant care class over the weekend and I wanted to share some of the highlights with y’all because it’s such good info. Especially for those of us who are going a little crazy waiting for spring, this is a great is a great way to keep busy and still manage to stay warm and dry indoors.
Just as for us, winter can be a stressful time for houseplants; low-light and dry air from heating can leave them more susceptible to disease and other issues. It’s a good idea around this time of year to give your houseplants a checkup and ensure they’re staying healthy through the winter.
Look for yellowing leaves— Houseplants may need less water than normal over the winter, as a lot of them go semi-dormant. In most instances yellow leaves mean too much water. If you’re noticing yellowing, remove those leaves and hold off on watering until the soil drys out. If the plant stays green at that point you know you just need to cut back on the water, if the yellowing continues despite dryer soil, you may have a lack of iron in your soil. Treat with a few doses of Ironite brand fertilizer to correct the deficiency.
Dust the leaves— Most houseplants not only don’t like dust accumulation on their leaves, but it clogs their pores so to speak, so they are unable to transpire. Just take a soft dust rag or even a clean swiffer duster and dust both the tops and bottoms of smooth leaved houseplants.
Moisturize— Just as you need to moisturize extra in the winter due to the dry air from the heater and the dry cold outside, your plants need to also! If you notice any dry or brittle leaves or stems, provide a little extra moisture. Create moist habitats by filling trays with pebbles and water to set your pots on, using a humidifier, or even easier, just take them into the bathroom while you shower once or twice a week!
Check for pests— When plants are stressed out, it creates the ideal opportunity for bugs to move in. Check your plants for signs of pests and treat accordingly before any real damage is done. White mold-like fuzz indicates mealybugs, webs and red dots indicate spider mites, green or white piles on the underside of leaves indicate aphids, and small brown or amber colored “turtle shells” along the stems indicate scale. All of these can do real damage to your plants if not dealt with appropriately as soon as possible. We recommend Eight, an indoor insecticidal spray, or for major infestations Triple Action plus, which is an insecticide, miticide, and fungicide–this should knock out even the severest of problems!
Up-pot & Refresh the soil— When plants live in containers they only have access to nutrients that are available in that small amount of soil, and when they live in the same soil for years they tend to exhaust the nutrients. As your plants grow and mature, they often need to be up-potted into bigger containers which is a great time to refresh the soil. Even if they don’t need a larger container, it’s still a good idea to change out and refresh the soil every so often. This give the roots a chance to pick up and benefit from all the fresh nutrients rich soil has to offer, resulting in much happier plants!
Hopefully this provides you with some helpful tips, and gives you something to do to alleviate your cabin fever. You can also use this time of year to clean up any yard debris and do any pruning that needs to be done. Plan ahead now for vegetable and flower gardens that will be starting in the coming months. We also have the first crops of pansies, violas, and primroses out and available for that early spring color!