The best way to mark a division in large spaces, or to fill up lonely or seemingly dull corners in your house, or to infuse the tinge of life into an otherwise dull space, is to bring in houseplants. Although the best place to have them at home is outside, probably lining the house’s boundaries, or in a small garden right outside. They get ample sunlight there, and are naturally meant to grow there. What more justification would you need to just let them be!
But just as you maintain your family and kids, plants also ask for a maintenance session every now and then. These sessions may hinder the ‘body cycles’ of your plants, and they may need their own sweet time to readjust. Thus, the best time to begin will be while the seasons are stable and there is no big change of environment lying ahead for them.
Before beginning, ask your local gardener if all the plants you are planning to work with are in a healthy shape, and safe. Sometimes the leaves, fruits and stems of some species are poisonous or allergy-causing to pets and kids. You must be sure of their safety firsthand, and then only begin the process. If a species is to be avoided, perform the task while the kids and pets are away and do not stand a risk of bumping into them.
The “friends” come along
It is clearly not advisable to spray insecticides, so as a healthy alternative, submerge the smaller plants into water and watch the bugs vacate their colonies as they go looking for higher grounds to survive in. Also, remember that the dormant plants need dry soil throughout the winter. Thus, spare them this exercise. If the plant is too big to be dipped, spray moderate amounts of some pesticide of a decent quality. It will not harm your plants too much, especially when there is some nice pampering lying ahead of it.
Here, there, everywhere…
Your job doesn’t end with just the plants. Some insects like spiders love dark and moist places, and they lay eggs under the pots. Clean them up as well.
It is equally important to acknowledge that you may get to face the little friends of these plants as well. Well, there are pests and bugs in the package. Make sure to check on the health factor of your plants, and spare yourself the horror. The best way to curb the problem is to inspect the entire growth for any signs of hitchhikers, especially under the leaves. And if you spot any, understand that you should not just ‘let them be’.
Take it slow
Once you have cleaned the plants of any possible bugs, do not take them where the rest of the growth is kept. Instead, leave them for a night in the garage, where any recurrent threats can be dealt with.
If your plants have been kept in wide sunlight until now, they may suffer low light stress if you put them somewhere inside the house. They may not adjust to the sudden change in their sun exposure and the leaves may turn yellow and fall off. Thus, move them for two or three days in a shady place before actually moving to the house’s interior.
Keep it cool
It is normal to have some heat registers in the house during the winters. But if your plants are kept in the living room or elsewhere, remember that no plant can survive the trauma of being near a heat source. Find suitable spots for both the things and maintain a distance between both.
Fetch some Sun
One sip down!
Watering your houseplants with tap water can harm them in the long run, because it is industry-treated water. There may be water softeners or other elements present in it, which make it worth drinking, but plants are not habitual of ‘altered Nature’. In this case, it is best to use rain water to irrigate them. And did we tell you? The water in which you have boiled your pasta, potatoes or rice works as a ‘health syrup’ for your plants. Starch, after all!
Space it up
As they say, a root-bound plant is an unhappy plant. Keep checking your plants occasionally, if they appear too big for their pots, give them some room to breathe and grow well. For that, you may have to change the pots, about 2-3 inches larger than the ones already in use. That will give the roots more space. Now that you are it, how about changing the soil as well?
Trim at your whim
An occasional trim now and then will prepare them for a healthy, tamed and stimulated growth.
Maintenance of your houseplants is a thing you can do on any Sunday when you have some handy time. It is, of course, your personal choice and convenience when you wish to do the job. But a pleasant dinner-time with the entire family on a Sunday, when the Green Friends have just now joined the family is something we swear by. Thank us later!