Houseplants spring cleaning

Houseplants spring cleaning

Now that spring has sprung, its time to take a good look at some of your houseplants that have endured the long cold winter. Most houseplants are tropical and require high humidity and warm temperatures, which they most likely will not get in the colder climate regions. The plan is to keep them thriving thru the winter in a restful stage until the warmer weather comes along. With days getting brighter and longer, a new growing season is beginning. It’s time to do some spring cleaning.


Check the pot size
Is your plant potbound? Does it have crammed roots? Are they wrapped around in circle?
If so, repot in a 1 inch larger size pot loosening the roots so that they can stretch out.

Check for insects
The dry, warm temperature indoors is a perfect environment for spider mites.
To check for mites, look for webs in the axils of the leaves. Place the plant or leaf on white sheet of paper, tap the leaf, see if there are any small black spots that are slowly moving. If so, spray the entire plant and underside of leaves with a safe indoor insecticide. Follow manufacturers directions.

Rotate the plant
To ensure even sun exposure, rotate the plant a 1/4 turn periodically to get a nicely even shaped plant.

Water when the plant is dry- not according to a timed schedule. Water more less often. Meaning-give the plant more water once at a time than small amounts several times at shorter intervals. Use lukewarm water and soak the plant thoroughly. Be sure to drain any excess water from the bottom of the pot. Most plants require moist (not soggy) soil whereas others need to dry out before watering again. In warmer temperatures and active growth the plants will need to be watered more often.

Once temperatures warm up and the plant begins to actively grow, start feeding with a diluted balanced fertilizer or fish emulsion. Water dry plants before fertilizing to avoid burning the roots with fertilizer. Fish emulsion is not as strong as a chemical fertilizer and therefore is less likely to burn the roots or lead to soluble salt buildup.

Spring is a great time to take cuttings and make new plants. Cuttings can root in light soil, peat, perlite or water (depending on the plant).

When night temperatures reach 55F, move your plant outdoors for a summer vacation. Slowly acclimate it in the shade and after a week move it to brighter light (depending on the plant).
Now your plant is ready for a new healthy growing season !