Maintenance of Houseplants

Posted by @threegardeners on
Properly watering, fertilizing, and making sure your houseplants have enough light is just part of the equation to healthy plants. You also have to maintain them.

Plant maintenance is a vital part of having happy, healthy house plants. We need to be tuned in to what is going on with them. Touching our plants on a regular basis helps us to accomplish this. It gives us an opportunity to spot any pests or diseases before they get out of control.

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Ewwwww... Shriveled leaf with some rot...too much humidity? Too much light?

I call it "playing with plants". Every week I spend a morning touching every plant I own. I carry with me a bowl or small pail for dead leaves, scissors and a fork to rustle up the soil or to use as a little rake.

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Leaf litter in a big pot of Begonias Dead leaves hidden deep inside a big Ivy.

I look closely at every plant, moving leaves aside and removing any dead or yellowing leaves. Then I clear debris from the top of the soil in the pots. This time spent with my plants keeps me tuned in to them. A yellow leaf could be just a yellow leaf but it could also mean too much water, too little water or too much light.

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Yellow leaves on a Hoya  Snip off dried leaf edges on Spider plant

It isn't always bad things I find in my weekly plant playing sessions; I have also been pleasantly surprised. I've discovered buds setting numerous times; I might have missed them if not for the scrutiny. I've even occasionally discovered flowers.

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 I would have missed all of the green flowers on this Black Pagoda!  I never would have found these Hoya buds hidden in the leaves of the Ivy plant it was growing into!

My weekly touching session isn't the end of the maintenance program. Once a month every house plant, and I have over 150 of them, gets a shower. It gets removed from its spot, hauled into the bathroom and is held under the shower for a few minutes. This accomplishes a few things. It gives the plant a nice deep soaking. The leaves get cleaned of dust and...um...cat hair. While the plant is in the shower I get a chance to clean its drainage dish and wipe the tables, windowsills or shelves that it's sitting on. The plants are happy and I'm happy.

The next rainy day when you're stuck in the house, take some time and touch all of your house plants. Get to know them. They'll appreciate you for the attention and you'll discover just how relaxing the task can be.

 
Comments and discussion:
Thread Title Last Reply Replies
Great article by valleylynn Aug 4, 2011 2:12 AM 5

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