October 19, 2021
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Gardening principles

By: Irene Hilsendager
October 15, 2021

You can use many plants to create a bit of a garden magic inside your home. Use bright windows to provide the perfect settings for a great variety of foliage plants, grown for the beautiful leaves, as well as houseplants that produce colorful flowers.

Before you buy a new houseplant, lift the leaves gently to check for scale, mealybugs, whiteflies, or other pests. Look under the pot to see if overgrown roots are showing through. If the plant passes inspection, isolate it in a room away from your other houseplants for two weeks to allow time for a hidden pests to appear.

Don’t move plants around for short periods of time. Sudden changes can cause droopy leaves, increase susceptibility to pests and diseases and cause flowering plants to drop healthy-looking buds. As soon as a blooming plant shows signs of flowering, put it in a spot where it can stay.

Keep in mind that plants can tolerate more sun in the house than out; an indoor sun lover may scorch if placed outside in bright summer light.

A half turn of the pot every day or two will keep the growth of your houseplant even, since its foliage automatically bends toward the light.

Don’t overheat your house as your plants won’t like it. The ideal temperature to set the thermostat is between 55 degrees and 70 with cooler temperatures always being better than hotter.

Give your plants a good soaking. In spring or summer when the weather is warm and dry, give plants a good watering at least once a season; it is the easiest way to leach out excess salts and thoroughly moisten the inside of the root mass. Place the plant in the sink or a pail of water and leave it for 15 minutes or until no more bubbles com to the surface. This is also a great way to rehydrate plants that have dried out badly while you have been away.

By giving your plants a shower with lukewarm water you can also dislodge dirt, especially on fuzzy or prickly leaves, with a hair dryer set on cool or low. 

Contrary to lore, squirting foliage with water is not an efficient way to increase humidity for houseplants. A humidifier works better for both plants and for people. Misting does however help keep leaves clean and fresh and it is a good way to provide moisture to cuttings that are slowly developing new roots. Use soft water when misting and make sure it is no cooler than room temperature. Mist in the morning whenever possible and never mist plants that are exposed to full sun.