Passion for Indoor Plants
Most of us can admit to a newly acquired hobby of indoor plant collecting over the last few years. It’s kept us sane and busy, watering, potting up and dressing up our new plant friends.
October is the best time of year to have good look at your indoor plant’s health to see what it might need to help it flourish in the growing season ahead.
You may have noticed that now the days are warming up, your indoor plants are drying out more quickly than they did over the cooler months. This means that now is a great time to ‘flush out’ your plants. We suggest either putting them under the shower or taking them outside with a watering can, placing them in a tub and watering them very thoroughly. Leave them to soak in the tub for a couple of hours to entirely re-wet the potting mixture and remove any potential air-pockets that may have formed. Alongside increasing water intake, adding some kelp tonic to your watering can is a fantastic way to help give your plants the extra support they need to get growing this season!
Pest and Diseases
Aphids small, pale green, and ubiquitous, aphids love the warm moist weather in spring. Keep an eye on new growth and if you spot them either give it a good steady spray with the hose and/or mix up some eco-oil and spray to the point of run off. Reapply in 3-5 days to make sure you get all of the bebehs too!
if you notice the leaves of your plant start to take on a silvery appearance, check the undersides for spider-mites. They are very small and usually white or brown and pierce the leaves of plants to suck all the green-juice out, leaving colourless spots that appear silver. Spider mites may love a juice cleanse but they HATE a moist environment so take your plant outside and give it a good hose, making sure to drench the undersides of the leaves. You may need to repeat this for a few days to clear them out. If you have a particularly bad infestation we recommend enlisting the aid of a miticide.
scale are another small sucking insect but with a smooth, round, tough and often white or brown exterior shell, from which they take their name. Where theres scale there’s usually ants so keep an eye out for our six legged friends and if you spot them have a good inspection of the stems and leaves of your plant. Scale can be wiped off with a clean damp cloth but we also recommend spraying the plant with eco-oil afterwards to make sure no eggs survive.
Tiny flies flying around your plan is a sign of over watering. Best way to get rid of these is to let the soil completely dry out. You can spray the soil with neem oil to suffocate the animal. Alternatively you can invest in a rad little carnivorous plant like a Nepenthes or Sarracenia that will attract the Gnats and devour them for you
one of the most common and most annoying pests of them all. Mealy bugs will look like white fluff that usually hide along the stems or under the leaf of you plants. Up close you might see the body that looks like a white fluffy crab with a tail. Treating these can be an ongoing procedure of a combination of spraying thoroughly with neem oil and wiping them away.
Light and Position
Increased daylight hours mean that your plants will start receiving more sunlight. Depending on the orientation of your home, you may notice that some plants closest to the window start to receive direct sunlight on their leaves. For some species, such as Ficus, this is generally not a problem. For others, such as Epipremnum, this may scorch their leaves. The best solution is to remove the damaged leaves and move the plant into a position where it receives bright, indirect sunlight – taking care not to change the amount of light too drastically.
We recommend moving the plant so that it is just out of the direct sunlight, but still close to the window with a good view of the sky. If you’re not sure, get up nice and close to your buddy and have a look out the window, if you can see some open sky then you’re good to go (Melbourne weather being the way it is we must make a note that seeing clouds is ok too!).
Fiddle leaf figs, Rubber plant and Weeping figs are the common varieties of indoor Ficus species adored for their larger sized houseplants. Ficus though, can be very finicky and can be shuck a tantum due to environmental changes such as light, temperature and watering changes. The secret to good ficus care is to keep it consistent. Water your Ficus only when the soil has completely dried out and keep it in a very bright lit area.
Spathiphyllum, more commonly known as Peace Lilies will start needing a lot more water this time of year. The great thing about Peace Lillies is that they will tell you when they are lacking hydration as their leaves will droop. Place the plant in a shower or under a tap and water thoroughly and walk the leaves pop straight back up again. One of the easiest and most forgiving indoor plants you can care for.
Another easy plant to care for these beauties come in a huge range and can tolerate low light settings. These plants are from the airoid family meaning they tend to get most of their moisture from the air around them rather than the soil. Depending on the environment you place them in, Philodendrons might only need watering every 2 weeks. Philodendrons come from dense forests that usually inhabit a nook in a tree and will climb and wrap around trees growing straight up towards the forest canopy. Your plant will try to emulate this in your home so giving it branches or support to climb will enhance its beauty and turn your home into a jungle.
Early spring is the best time to repot as the days are mild and your plants are less likely to go into heat/cold/transplant shock. Most indoor plants can remain in their pots for up to 3 years with regular feeding and fertiliser. When this period is up, or the potting mix is no longer remaining moist for longer than a day or two, we recommend a refresh by increasing the pot size by 10-20cm (diameter) at a time.
Always, ALWAYS, water your plant deeply before and after transplanting. The addition of a good fish- or seaweed-based tonic such as Natrasol will give the plant an extra boost and will help it adjust to its new digs. If the plant is rootbound, you can give the roots a gentle tickle, or a light trim (a clean, sharp, and sterile bread knife works really well here!) but be careful not to be too rough.
Lastly, you only get out what you put in! Good quality potting mix is the nutrigrain of the plant world. Don’t skimp out on a poor-quality mix and your plant will reward you with lush and healthy growth for years to come.