Whether you have green fingers or not, keeping house plants is not too difficult. All it takes is remembering to water them and choosing a good spot. A little bit of regular maintenance will keep them in tip top condition and you have a great way of brightening up the room and providing you with a ready made air filter.
Plants breathe in our carbon dioxide and breath out oxygen, so having plants in your home will improve your air quality and have been known to make a huge difference to people who suffer from headaches and sinus problems.
All plants need the same 4 elements to keep them healthy:
- Warmth: Most plants will prefer a temperature which stays approximately the same year round. Around 20 degrees is optimal – but you may find special plants which love the heat of the conservatory.
- Humidity: Central heating which dries the air can mean problems for plants. Regular sprays of water can create droplets of water on the leaves which will prevent them from drying out. Also moss around the base will help retain moisture.
- Water: The right amount of water is essential .Checking by putting your finger into the soil is easy to do. Only water if it is quite dry. Remember that different weather conditions will mean different amounts of water.
- Light: Plants which flower need plenty of direct light, but most plants will appreciate shaded areas with dappled light, if possible.
- Cleaning: Plants need to be kept free of dust. Any dirt on the leaves will prevent light being absorbed. Garden centres sell special sprays which can be used to add shine to the leaves and these will also make them dust resistant.
- Re-potting: As the plant gets larger it will begin to fill the pot with roots. When this happens it will need to be re-potted. Simply use a pot larger than the current one and half fill it with compost. Remove the plant and root ball from its current pot carefully and place in the new pot filling the pot in with more compost. Water well and leave in the shade.
- Watering: Most plants can be watered directly into the compost. Once the water has absorbed through the pot tip away the excess in the saucer. Some plants prefer to be watered in the opposite way. Place water into the saucer and allow the plant to soak it up from the bottom. Check your plant details for the best way to water yours.
- Feeding: Houseplants do not have access to the nutrients in our outdoor soil and so need a little extra help. A liquid feed placed in the water will be sufficient for most plants. This should be done every 1-2 weeks during the summer months. Already diluted preparations are also available which can be poured directly onto the compost.
Easy – it might look complicated written down here, but really it is a case of common sense. If your plant looks like it needs water it probably does and recreating the outside conditions inside will give your plants a helping hand.
We have all heard of plants which live for many years – often outliving their owners – becoming heirlooms of their own. Having plants can be rewarding and satisfying. So try just one to start with and soon you could be hooked too!