When caring for houseplants, it is essential to know the routines that are essential to plant growth and plant health. Make sure that your plants are getting enough water and regular grooming to keep them in tiptop shape. Here are some easy-to-follow steps in houseplant care.
From the top:
– Pour water along the inside rim of the pot, not close to the center of the plant. (That can result in rotting.)
– Never get water on the leaves, which on other plants (African violets, teddy bear vine) would spot when you do. Water until it oozes out the drainage hole(s) into the saucer and empty the saucer.
From the bottom:
– Watering plants from the bottom takes a little more time, but it’s best for plants susceptible to crown rot or leaf spot. Fill up the kitchen sink, bathtub or dishpan with one to three inches of water (depending on pot sizes), set the pots (with no saucers) in and leave them till moisture beads up on the soil surface. Completely drain them. Never bottom water succulents or cacti.
With a wick:
– A quick method, particularly for plants that prefer equally moist soil— and for folks away from home on business or vacation.
– Prior to potting a plant, stick in a wick (a piece of nylon clothesline, strips cut from nylon stockings, acrylic yarn) into the drainage hole. Hold it vertical while filling the pot partway with soil. Place more soil on top, then the plant. Put the end of the wick from the drainage hole in a container of water. Keep the container full.
– Wick watering works fine when you pot the plant with vermiculite only (wash old soil from the plant’s roots) or a soilless medium.
How to groom houseplants
– Groom houseplants on a regular basis by wiping large-leaved plants using a cloth dampened in water or a mild soap/water solution. Spray small-leaved plants with the kitchen sink sprayer or a mister. Spray the bottom of leaves as well as the top.
– Take out flowers from plants as they fade so that the plants’ energy does not go into producing seeds. Clean hairy-leaved plants (African violets) and cacti using a soft brush. Pinch off (with your fingers) the growing tips of stems of young plants to encourage bushy, not lanky, growth; taking away the tip causes dormant buds below to start growing.