houseplant spring prep 101
As we dig out leaves from gutters and happily mulch our yards at the first signs of spring, there is a world of change also occurring in our interior jungles...the indoor houseplant world. Changes in light exposure means longer days of sunshine and our indoor plants no longer remain dormant. They, too, are awakening to the promises of warmth, light, and new life that summer brings. So, what do I need to do for these lovely little gems that got me through the winter? How can I give them the royal treatment they so desperately deserve? Decadent organic fancy soil? New designer container? Baby, you want it, you got it! Actually, not that crazy or dramatic, but if want to pamper your babies with a new cachepot, go for it.
For the bare necessities read below:
Who even are you? This may sound obvious, but a lot of us do not know what type of plants we are living with. Don't feel stupid! It is because a lot of us, myself included, have bought plants from the grocery store, Home Depot, and Lowe's that labeled your plant "tropical foliage," and you have no clue what kind of plant it is. So do some research, identify your plant, and know thy plant. Identifying your plant is the first rule of thumb in plant care because not all indoor plants need the same care.
Watering: If you were playing your cards right this winter, you moderately watered your plant. This may or may not have been a great idea based on the dryness in the air in your home from indoor heating systems. Regardless, now is the time to water. The thirst is real! For your tropical beauties, make sure they are in a plant liner with a drainage hole. Water them well in a tub or sink weekly. They are going to be exposed to a lot more sunlight because spring and summer have longer days which means more food production and increased energy expenditure through "photosynthesis." Just be sure to test your soil moisture before re-watering, make sure it is slightly dry before re-watering. Stick your finger in the soil about an inch to see if it is dry. Nailed it.
Root Systems: If you were wondering when to repot your green little beauty, now might be the time to do it, especially if it has been in that pot for two years. After a couple of years the root system becomes very dense and the soil's nutrients are depleted. You will also find that the soil has become compact between the roots. Compacted soil means it may be holding too much water and not allowing for proper drainage which can lead to root rot. Examine the roots, like a hairdresser. Snip the roots that appear to be split or dead ends. Dig in and tease through the roots with pencil or sharp thin object. Get the full situation by knowing what is going on in that root system. Repot your plant in a container only 2 inches larger and no bigger. Don't forget the drain hole. Use a decorative cachepot (pot without drain hole) to put your plant container in when you are done. Pop out the plant container when your ready to water again. This makes plant care easier and tidier. The Lehigh Valley has great decorative container selections, try HomeGoods or local nurseries. Voila!
Fertilizer: Check what type and how much fertilizer your plant type requires. Typically, you may have been advised to hold off fertilizing in the winter which is correct. Now you may be asked to fertilize in the Spring on a monthly basis. Just remember to be moderate with fertilizer...you aren't "growing" indoor plants like you would be growing vegetables in a garden outside. You are simply maintaining indoor plants.
Now that your interior plants are happy, go outside and enjoy the beautiful sunshine we've craved for so long!