6 Tips for Caring for Your New Blooming HouseplantDecember 23, 2010 1 Comment
Plants make a beautiful, simple gift for neighbors, friends and family – poinsettias, African violets, cyclamen, azaleas, holiday cacti, and kalanchoe.
These popular choices bloom around this time of year and make your home look festive but once you get them home, then what?
Kathie Bond-Borie has spent 20 years as a garden writer/editor, including her current role as Horticultural Editor for the National Gardening Association. Here she gives these 6 tips to help keep your new blooming plant looking lovely.
- Keep the soil moist – not too wet. Bond-Borie recommends watering the plant in the morning so the foliage can dry out throughout the day. For certain plants such as cyclamen and African violets, she recommends watering from a tray to be soaked up by the plant as needed. If you water a plant and the water drains out immediately, the plant needs to be repotted as it is root-bound.
- Give them light – Most flowering houseplants need light to keep reblooming so place them in a southern window so they get plenty of light during the day. If you don’t have that, you may want to consider an indoor grow light.
- Set the right temperature - Most indoor blooming houseplants like between 55 and 70 degrees. Some varieties such as gardenias and holiday cacti like it between 60 and 65 to set the buds.
- Keep them fertilized – During active growing and blooming periods, use a soluble fertilizer. When the plant goes to a resting period, discontinue the fertilizer. Once a month, flush the plant of built up fertilizer by watering until the water runs through the holes.
- Keep it humid – Most plants prefer a high level of humidity so consider either running a humidifier or set plants on pebbles in a tray of water. Bond-Borie warns the water should not touch the plants.
- Keep pests at bay – to control spider mites, dunk the entire plant upside down in a sink full of soapy water. Other sprays of insecticidal soap or horticultural oil should work too.
For more tips and garden information visit www.garden.org.
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