Keeping Your Indoor Plants Alive (Part 1)

We love our indoor plants and we know you do too!  They make an amazing difference to your living spaces. Almost every day instore I chat with people who love their plants but struggle to keep them looking really healthy and even alive. It can be depressing if you invest in plants and they don't survive on you. We want to help you change that and get your plants surviving and thriving.

The most common problems that people have with indoor plants fall into 2 categories - too much love, or not enough love, and this is really down to how you water your indoor plants.

Not enough love is sort of obvious. If you don’t take care, totally neglect or forget to water your plants, then they will die. They are a living, breathing (in a way they do breathe via respiration) organism that needs water and food, a little like humans.

Water is the essence of keeping your plants alive, so here's your top 3 things to do when watering:

1) Aim to water them every 7-10 days on average. Try not to leave it longer than this - 14 days to 3 weeks is definitely too long. To get a good feel of when to water, don’t be afraid to pop your finger up to your knuckle into the soil and just see how moist or dry it is. 

2) When you water you plants, pop them into the sink or shower and water completely, making sure all of the soil is wet. Let the soil drain for 10 minutes and then put the plant back into its pot.

3) During winter, when we have heating on constantly and the air is much drier, make sure you're checking your plants a bit more often. Plants can dry out faster than you realise in a heated house, and will likely need watering a bit more frequently than usual. 

On the other hand, too much love is probably the most common of all indoor plant problems and that often equates to simply too much water.

To avoid overwatering:

1) It's important to make sure the soil has dried out well before watering but don't let it get so dry the plant is wilting or it's totally 'bone dry'. If it gets too dry, the soil changes colour and becomes light - make sure you're watering before it reaches this point. 

2) Ensure they aren't sitting in water constantly in a saucer or similar.  This can happen if you water in situ (in position) all the time, so its good to check this often. Water in position occasionally (can't be helped sometimes when time is short) but every 3rd watering bring your plants out into the sink or shower to water.

3) Ensure they are watered through the whole soil profile rather than into one spot on the top of the soil as this doesn’t nourish the plant properly or encourage good root growth. This is called a thorough water & means every cm of soil is moist and ready to give goodness to the plant.

    (Often plants get fertilized too often also - but that's a whole other story... coming soon)

    You can water plants in-situ (in the place they live) if need be. Many people do this and I do it sometimes too when I’m in a hurry and know my plants need a quick water. 

    To water in situ, water the whole of the soil with maybe about a cup or two of water depending on the pot size – this for a normal 100-120mm pot.  Make sure you have something to catch the water so it doesn’t go everywhere – like a saucer or tray. This is a stop gap measure and and works to make sure your plants are ok, but try not to do it too regularly. You want to be popping all of your plants into the sink or shower and water them thoroughly at least once every 3 waters or so (once every 3 weeks approximately) - doing this every time you water is of course ideal, but you can get away with it doing it semi-regularly instead. A thorough water in the sink helps to keep the leaves clean as well as wetting up the whole soil profile and encouraging healthy growth. 

    Of course, there are always one or two exceptions and a couple of plants that love watering nearly every day, or love sitting in a saucer of water and being quite wet all the time! My palm loves being watered nearly every second day and having constantly moist soil, and some ferns like to sit in a little water to thrive.

    Then there are a few plants that really love to be quite dry all the time and hate have little wet feet or moisture around their roots constantly.  Things like aloes or begonias.

    We have quite a few other hints and tips that will help keep your plants in great conditions & make them grow and thrive. We know that plants make people happy, so we want yours at their best doing their utmost to bring you happiness everyday!   Chat to us instore or check these out in the blogs to come soon.



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