Keeping houseplants healthy can be a tricky business. Bear these tips in mind when greening your home:
Even indoor plants need light! Make sure your plant has enough natural sunlight (i.e. position it next to a window) or use an indoor ‘grow light’ to give it what it needs.
- Water your plant until the water runs out the bottom of the pot (make sure your pot has at least one hole in the bottom).
- Larger pot plants need less frequent watering than smaller pot plants, which dry out every couple of days.
- Be careful not to over-water your plant. When a potted plant gets too much water, its soil becomes saturated, and it will eventually drown due to lack of oxygen. If your plant’s leaves are yellow and/or drooping, get rid of any excess water at the bottom of the pot and wait until the soil has dried before watering again.
Put your pot on a saucer or drainage tray with about an inch of aquarium gravel in it. The gravel holds water and will increase humidity around the plant (especially helpful in winter). Make absolutely sure the water level doesn’t reach the bottom of the pot. If the plant’s roots sit in water, they will rot, causing the plant to die.
When a plant’s water or sunlight levels are too low or too high, it experiences stress, which makes it susceptible to pests. Learn how to identify common houseplant pests, and a few tips for treating them:
- Scale insects or mealy bugs: Found close to the veins on the underside of the leaves, these tiny bugs hide underneath what looks like white scales or little wads of white fluff. Because they are so well-hidden, they are very difficult to get rid of, and it’s worth asking one of our trained Stodels staff members to advise on your specific problem.
- Red spider mites: You’ll know these tiny spiders are there if you see little droplets of water trapped in near-invisible webs on the underside of the leaf after watering. If the leaves turn greyish or yellow, the invasion has worsened. The good news is that spider mites hate cold water! Spray your plant twice a day with cold water, making sure the water hits the undersides of the leaves and any other hiding places.
- Aphids: These tiny, green or black insects have long mouthparts for sap-sucking. To get rid of them, try spraying the plant with a mixture of lukewarm water, a low dose of methylated spirits, and dishwashing soap (do this in the evening so that the sun does not burn your plant). Another handy trick is to stick some garlic in the soil. If neither of these work, pop into your nearest Stodels to get a biological aphid greenfly spray.
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