Whatever the season, a well-chosen houseplant will brighten up your home. Houseplants are extremely popular and there is a good reason for this. Not only do they brighten your home, they can potentially benefit your health – and that of your family. Now, we all want our houseplants to look the best and to thrive in our homes so here are a few pointers to help you look after them. This information will enable you to find the best spot for your plant, how to care for it and identify issues that you may notice.
Our favourite houseplants are Calathea – they come in an array of leaf shapes and have amazing colour variations on their leaves.
Where to grow…
The majority of houseplants will flourish in a light, draught-free spot with an even temperature and humidity. Some plants do have more specific needs. For example, plants with variegated foliage and flowers will need more light than plants with plain green foliage, while ferns like a darker position. Light levels for houseplants decrease rapidly the further they are placed away from a window. Cacti, succulents and carnivorous plants like a bright windowsill, however it is important to avoid direct sun through glass as this will scorch the leaves. Orchids will thrive in bright, indirect light and if possible, lots of fresh air and high humidity. As a general rule, if your houseplant’s growth is poor, flowering plants aren’t flowering or variegated plants revert to plain green, you will need to improve the light conditions.
How to care for your houseplants…
Avoid overwatering as this can lead to root death and collapse of the plant.
Aim to keep the compost moist but wait until it has almost dried out before rewatering. You can check by pushing your finger into the compost.
Let the surface of the compost dry a little before applying more water at room temperature. Allow the plant to take up water as it is needed or allow excess to drain away. Do not let the plant sit in water.
Use rain water for acid loving plants such as Azalea – Azaleas also like to be kept damp all the time.
In winter, gradually reduce watering until the compost is almost dry between watering and stop feeding, except where plants are growing vigorously or flowering.
Ferns, orchids, bromeliads, calathea and other tropical plants enjoy a daily mist of water with a hand-held spray. You can group plants on a tray of damp gravel to help improve the humidity. We have a range of hand-held sprays, including both decorative and functional.
Liquid feeds are generally the best, choose a general indoor plant feed such as Miracle Gro indoor plant food, which will give your plants a range of nutrients to promote both flower and foliage growth.
Specialist feeds are available for certain groups of plants such as orchids and succulents. We stock a range from Growth Technology.
Most plants should only be fed when actively growing in March to September.
Reduce feeding in winter and do not feed plants that are resting.
Most plants are easy to look after. Pinch off dying flowers with your thumb and forefinger or use some snips and remove any damaged or yellowing leaves.
Remove wayward branches with secateurs or snips if necessary.
What might be wrong…
Dust can quickly build up on leaves. It is important to remove this as it can prevent plants from growing properly. You can do this with a clean, damp cloth.
If the plant is lacking in strength, check for tufts of white fluff. This could be mealy bug or woolly aphid, pests that suck the sap of houseplants. Remove with a soft cloth and mild soap solution or a pesticide such as Bug Clear Ultra.
Tiny limpet-like bugs on stems or leaves of plants are a sign of sap-sucking scale insect. Rub off by hand with soft cloth.