Many people don’t realize that, like the plants outdoors, houseplants also respond to winter conditions. Less sunlight signals the plant to eat less, grow less, bloom less, and reserve its energy. It’s best to not fertilize houseplants in winter for this reason, because it can confuse the plant – who drinks a large coffee before bedtime, right? Now that the sunnier and warmer days of spring have arrived, you’ll see your houseplants perk up again. Here’s how to take care of your houseplants in the spring, and prepare them for the growing season ahead:
- Start fertilizing again. They’ll use water and nutrients at a faster pace, and appreciate an appropriate liquid fertilizer.
- Inspect and prune them. Any dead leaves? Dropped flowers? Prune away the dead material. If you see small cobwebs, bugs, leaf spots, or other odd symptoms, rub the affected areas down with some rubbing alcohol and a cotton ball.
- Clean their leaves of dust. Put them in your sink or bathtub and run the shower hose over them to clean their leaves off. This lets them soak up sunlight more effectively.
- Do they need to be repotted? If water runs right through the container and out thedrainage hole, and they are dry a day or two after you’ve watered them, this indicates that they have become rootbound. This means the container is holding little soil, and the plant’s root have packed against the walls of the containers. This will restrict growth and encourage rot. It’s time to repot the plant. Remove your houseplant from its container, and gently roll the plants roots in your hands to loosen them. Pick a new container only one or two sizes bigger. (If you put the plant in a much larger container, the plant may actually soak up too much water too quickly, and get sick, so don’t overdo it.) Then fill the new container with fresh potting soil, like Coast of Maine’s Bar Harbor’s high-quality blend, and transfer your houseplant to that container. Make sure to cover the root ball and leave an inch of space at the top for watering. Then water and fertilize the plant. The plant may go through a bit of transplant shock and drop some leaves or droop, but leave it alone, and it will adjust within a week or two.
- Continue to water weekly and deeply through spring, summer, and fall, unless the plant’s care specifies otherwise.
- Fertilize monthly through spring, summer, and fall, unless the plant’s care specifies otherwise.
Doing this every spring will keep your houseplants healthy and beautiful, performing their best, and enhancing your indoor spaces. Enjoy!