Here are some specific tips on care and maintenance of houseplants during the different seasons of the year.
Spring care involves repotting plants that have outgrown their containers (roots might be wound around the soil ball, new growth could be minimal and small) and top dressing large plants.
– Plants are starting to put out new growth, so they may require more frequent watering and feeding.
– Cut back rampant growers to keep them shapely and compact, and use the cuttings to grow your collection.
Summer care for houseplants includes taking several of them outside to a patio or deck, or to hang from the branch of a shade tree.
– Don’t take plants out early. Wait until nights are warm and don’t place them in a spot that gets direct mid day sun
– Plants in containers outdoors can run dry very quickly. Check them every day. In very hot weather you might have to water every day and mist twice daily.
– Indoors, make sure plants don’t bake or sunburn by being very near a window that gets direct sun.
– Move plants far from drafts caused by air-conditioners.
Autumn care starts by bringing indoors the houseplants you placed outside for the summer. Time the relocation so that outdoor temperatures match those indoors— early September or, in the south/southwest, October.
– Don’t bring bugs inside: wash away foliage using spray from the hose. Unpot plants and check out the soil for slugs or insects; repot in fresh soil when any are present. If a plant has grown a lot, repot it into a bigger container.
– Plant growth slows up during autumn, so plants need less light, water and fertilizer. Nature takes care of the light, because the sun isn’t as shiny. Water only to keep plants from wilting and don’t feed them. Exceptions: African violets, gardenias, wax begonias, holiday cactus, kalanchoes, geraniums for winter bloom.
Winter care is minimal for most houseplants. They grow little if at all. A lot go totally dormant (caladium, Amorphophallus, achimenes). But they still need your attention. The hot, dry atmosphere of heated homes results in browned leaf tips and encourages attacks by red spider mites.
– Use a humidifier, particularly if you have hot air heat.
– Mist around plants frequently.
– Group plants together. Transpiration of moisture from their leaves brings up the humidity near them.
– Guard plants from sudden drops in temperature, drafts and the cold air close to a windowpane. Leaves that touch cold glass could freeze, becoming brown and mushy. When that occurs, remove the affected leaves and stems, and move the plants far from the windowpane.