A quick guide to getting your plants ready for the growing season
Spring is right around the corner and let me tell you we’re ready! Spring means longer days, warmer weather and happy plants. It also means some preparation to get your plants ready to put out some new foliage. So here are our 5 top tips on prepping for the warmer months. Happy growing everyone!
More Sun=More Growth
OK this seems like a no brainer, but more sun and more growth mean a few things, like more water! I’m sure many of you noticed that during the winter your plants needed less water. Colder temperatures, less light, less growth, less water. So be prepared to up your watering schedule as the days get longer and the temps rise. Now don’t get crazy with the watering can just yet! Start slow, keep a close eye on your plants and water when needed. Using a moisture meter can be helpful to see what is going on in the soil deeper in the pot. Here is a link to the Moisture Meter we use.
Which can also mean more or less direct light coming into your windows. Yes, I said less! Over the next couple of months, the sun will shift in the sky and change the lighting in your home. In my house the Winter months are amazing for light, especially in my South facing windows, but it decreases drastically come spring and summer. So as the seasons change so do the location of my plants in my house. It’s fun to switch it up sometimes, isn’t it?
You’ll also want to keep an eye on the direct sun coming into your home. Most plants can tolerate and even enjoy some morning or afternoon direct sun, some being the operative word and especially in the winter months when the sun is not as hot. As the sun becomes more intense and stays around longer you risk scorching the foliage and trust us it’s not pretty.
Time to fertilize
Now is the time that your plants are going to need all those extra nutrients as they prepare for the growing season. If you have as many plants as we do you know keeping up on fertilizing can be a challenge. That’s one of the reasons why we like using our blend of worm castings, compost and rock dust. It’s all organic so it won’t burn the roots if overused and is a powder that can be mixed into the topsoil so every time you water your plants are getting some added nutrients to their root system. This only has to be done every couple of months, so it saves us having to fertilize every few weeks. Here is a link to our fertilizer mix if you are interested in checking it out.
If you choose to use a liquid fertilizer, which is a great option as well, we always recommend using it at half or a quarter strength every other watering while your plants are actively growing.
Keep in mind, fertilization is a great way to keep your plants healthy when they are actively growing. For many plants, this is during spring and summer but, we often see active growth with some of our plants all year long! So that means we are fertilizing all year.
Time to re-pot
For us, re-potting during the cold months is a big no no, unless absolutely necessary we like to wait until spring or summer. If a plant has outgrown its pot it is going to dry out very quickly and not be able to absorb the nutrients it needs to thrive. Now that the weather is warmer, and the days are longer your plant will adjust to its new home much more easily and quickly. Here are a few guidelines we like to stick to when re-potting plants:
- Do your research or ask us! Some plants really like to be in a smaller pot. Take the Ficus lyrata for example which is perfectly happy being root bound, or Hoya that are more likely to bloom if in a snug pot. Know when your plant needs to be up potted is important.
- No need to disrupt the root system too much. Try to remove some of that old soil, but no need to pull all the roots apart and be too meticulous about getting all the soil off. The less disruption to the root system the less trauma your plant will experience. Speaking of trauma, it is possible your plant will look a little sad after being repotted. It may take a few weeks until it is back to normal.
- A bigger pot does not make your plant grow faster, or larger. We always recommend only increasing your pot size by one. So, if you have a 4” pot upsize to a 6” and so on. If you put your 4” plant into an 8” or 10” pot there often will be too much soil for the root system causing the soil to take longer to dry out and suffocating your roots in the process. There are always exceptions to rules, but this is a general guideline.
- Save your nursery pots! Reusing your pots is a great way to reduce your waste, and not having to buy new plastic is always a good idea.
Clean up, clean up!
Houseplants often get more yellowing and dying leaves during the colder season so now is the time to remove all that dead stuff and get ready for some new growth. Fun fact: a yellowing leaf doesn’t necessarily mean your plant is sick or dying. And when that leaf begins to yellow the plant is absorbing all the existing nutrients back into the plant. So, if you can manage to leave the leaf alone until it is completely gone do it! I know its so hard not to just cut it off! I digress. Clean your plants! Take off the dead stuff, dust the leaves, inspect closely for anything funky that could be going on i.e. pests (cringe).
This is such an exciting time for us and our fellow houseplant enthusiasts. Seeing new growth popping out of a plant you’ve been caring for is such a rewarding feeling.
Happy Spring everyone. Stay Well & Be Happy.
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