Right now in the Midwest, our calendars say spring, but the weather app is saying WINTER. Your house plants are probably feeling as anxious as you are to get this warm weather started! Once you can turn off your heater (or at least once the weather stops racking up your heating bill), follow these tips to make your house plants happier than ever and flourish during this growing season!
Before you get started with anything else, now is a good time to sort through your plants that have lasted the winter. Is that crunchy brown fern really still alive? Could you revitalize that shriveled succulent with a bit of water and warm air? Can you just trim those brown tips and give your air plant a second chance? If you answered yes to any of these, chances are you won winter and can SAVE THAT PLANT! Take the time to decide if you can do it yourself, or if it needs to go live with that green-thumbed friend for a bit. If you can't save it, return it to the Earth through compost! (If you're in Indianapolis, Green With Indy and Green Cycle Indy will accept your old plants for compost. Check your local composters if you're not in the area!)
Now that you've sorted out the dead gals, let's move on to revitalization! Most plants (like myself) hate winter, and don't function in cold, low sun settings. Since they are sulky all winter long, they tend to drop leaves, brown and/or wilt. Since your plant is about to be happy again and enter into the growing season, now is a good time to cut off any dead leaves to make room for the new happy ones. Unlike Jack, they won't fit on that door and YOU CAN'T SAVE THEM, so don't feel bad for cutting off the dying leaves. If your viner grew an awkward long leafless arm, trim that to make room for a leafy one.
After winter, most plants are ready for a new soil base or larger pot. Remove your plant from its existing pot and do a root analysis. If the roots are showing and/or starting to wrap around the existing soil along the pot (see: rootbound), it's usually time to repot into a larger pot. There are the few weirdos that enjoy being rootbound, so take care to leave them and their tangly mess alone.
As you are spring-cleaning your home, add your plants to the list of to-dos. Wipe or rinse any dust that has gathered on the leaves (don't rinse fuzzy leaves!) . Clean off any water spots that might be preventing sunlight from getting through. The outside of my pots usually get pretty dirty from my sloppy watering, so now is a good time to clean those as well.
As your plant is about to enter growing season, it needs food to keep it energized and happy to grow. Start small, slowly adding fertilizer to your water, then make sure it is full strength by summer so they can really have all the energy they need to become big healthy plants to survive another winter! I recommend fertilizing every 2 weeks. If you don't have access to compost or locally made fertilizer, Espoma makes organic blends that work wonders!
Go the extra mile for your plant by taking them outside or opening windows on a warm day. Make sure the temperature doesn't drop below 50F while they're out there!
Last but not least, get to know your plants, name them, talk to them. They'll thank you for giving them a little extra TLC.
Next time you shop with us in April, let us know the name of your plant and we'll give you 15% any new plant in store!