I have a very philosophical view when it comes to houseplants, or more precisely the fact that I kill most of them; if they survive three months or longer I am on to a winner.
If you have higher expectations for your plants then Alex and Thomas from The Potting Shed and The Flower Crate have put together some tips to help your indoor plants not just survive but flourish.
House plants take a break from growing during the cooler autumn and winter months, make sure you are only fertilising during the active growing season to prevent fertiliser burn and root rot from over watering.
Utilising a combination of watering methods will help you get the best growth possible from your houseplants. Watering plants from the bottom (filling a sink or bath and letting the plants soak for an hour) allows the plants to take up as much water as they need and encourages roots to grow and reach down for their water source.
Watering from the top and allowing the water to drain out helps to keep flush excess mineral salts out of the soil to promote healthy growth and create air pockets that encourage root growth. This is also a good way to remove any dust build up and enables the plant to photosynthesis to the best of its ability promoting maximum growth while also minimising possible dust allergens.
Unlike us, plants love humidity. Certain areas in the house like bathrooms and kitchens are great for this. You can also encourage artificial humidity by misting plants at least once a day or by filling a tray with stones and water and sitting the plant on top (keeping in mind plants should never be left sitting in water for extended periods of time) the water slowly evaporating from the tray helps create localised humidity for your plants.
Ensuring plants receive the light they require is key to their survival. Houseplants typically enjoy bright filtered light – this means they enjoy being able to see the sun shining in through windows but don’t enjoy having direct sun on their leaves.
Most house plants can typically handle a bit of direct morning sun however it is best to keep this as limited as possible. Keep in mind that plants labelled as ‘low light’ often won’t thrive if they don’t receive adequate light so it may be best to have a weekly rotation to ensure your plants all have equal opportunity to thrive.
Some plants like tradescantia zebrina and bubbles, enjoy pruning to encourage fresh, new growth. Pruning plants also encourages root development and will force the stem to branch, allowing for a fuller, bushier plant.
While houseplants typically enjoy being root bound for a while, they will eventually require some fresh soil. It is often best to repot your plants once a year during the warmer months, however some plants with delicate root systems (like Hoya, Chain of Hearts and String of Pearls) are better to repot biannually.
Sometimes you may notice your soil becoming compacted and hydrophobic (resistant to water uptake). To fix this it helps to aerate the soil by using a skewer or chopstick to poke holes in the soil to break it up, followed by a deep bottom water soak to refresh the soil.
The Potting Shed team offer a hands on service to re pot your plants using Seacliff Organic Premium organic potting mix and living soil, giving your plants the absolute best growing medium. Premium input = premium results.
A role of all plants is to produce the oxygen that we breath. Some of the common house plants that we adore are also great at filtering harmful chemicals out of the air such as carbon monoxide and formaldehyde. Snake Plants, Aloe Vera, Dracaena, Spider Plants, Rubber Plants, and Pothos varieties are all extremely easy to look after and also some of the best houseplants you can have in terms of air purification.
For more advice, a great selection of plants and accessories pop in and see the team at the Potting Shed or alternatively skip the living ones and pick up some beautiful flowers from The Flower Crate!
Images Ashlee Decaires
Words Vicki Ravlich-Horan