House Plants Hints and Tips

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Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

Jun

Jul

Aug

Sep

Oct

Nov

Dec

May

Keep plants watered, but not soggy. On hot days remove all but succulents and cacti from south-facing windows. Nip over-long shoots or tie-in to new canes. If your plants look like they need a boost, they may require re-potting. Re-pot prickly cacti by tying newspaper around the plant and using a dibber to push soil down into the pot. If you get a warm, but wet day, stand the pots outside - they'll love it!

Buy plants at Crocus.

June

Keep plants humid by misting with clean, tepid water. When opening windows, take care not to leave plants in a draught. If spending the weekend away, don't forget to water your plants. If it is particularly hot, standing them on wet capillary matting will help. Ask a friend to water for you during longer absences. Watch for greenfly and remove by hand.

July

Continue watering regularly and feeding every week or two – constantly monitor each plant as its water requirements will depend on a number of factors including its position, aspect and how vigorously it is growing at the time. Increased humidity will greatly benefit house plants at this time of year – a thin covering of pebbles or grit in the bottom of the saucer if kept wet will suffice. Dust may be a slight problem and should be wiped from leaves with a clean damp cloth – or better still put them all outdoors when it is raining to get them both clean and watered at the same time.

August

House plants, like the greenhouse can suffer from neglect over the holiday period and the ideal solution is to bribe a neighbour or friend to pop in and tend them while you are away. If that is not possible then the best bet is to remove the plants from direct sunlight water thoroughly and put them in the bath on a capillary mat which has been well soaked. Plastic pots will dry out much more slowly than clay pots. Another alternative is to use some type of automatic watering system – the ones which use some sort of wick arrangement and capillary action are the cheapest and very effective.

Buy plants at Crocus.

September

Reduce the watering and feeding of houseplants and cacti. Re-pot if necessary and move plants that require more sun than others to the sunniest windowsills. Do not over-water plants as this can lead to attack by red spider mites which you will need to control with chemicals. Humidity helps to keep red spider mites away and this can be achieved by standing your plants on a tray with a layer of gravel which can be kept moist.

October

Plants will have time to acclimatise themselves to their new house before the really short days set in. When buying new plants it is always a good idea to give them a thorough watering by immersing the pot completely in water for a minute or two to ensure they are completely wetted. Light is the main requirement as the days become shorter so windowsills are the best position but beware of central heating radiators which will give the plants too much heat and cause them to become leggy. Very tender plants should be taken off the windowsill at night if you are closing the curtains to avoid getting harmed by frosts.

November

Most houseplants are happy in normal living-rooms but avoid fluctuations of temperature if at all possible. Cut down on watering and only fertilise where plants are flowering or producing strong growth. They need as much light as possible but you may need to remove them from the windowsill at night or put the curtains behind them, to avoid frost damage. You should reduce watering so that the soil is fairly dry on the surface.

Buy plants at Crocus.

December

Keep plants dry and in as much light as you can. If you are lucky enough to get azaleas or solanum for Christmas you will need to spray them to provide humidity. Cyclamen should be watered into the tray and also need humidity. Any flowering bulbs you receive need to be kept moist and humid; bulbs can be planted into the garden once flowering is complete.

January

Give house plants as much light as possible, out of draughts and away from direct heat. Only feed if in flower and water lightly.

February

Houseplants emerging from the winter gloom may not be in the best of condition and you may be able to renovate them by pruning, repotting and feeding but in some cases this may not be worth it and starting again may be the only option.

Buy plants at Crocus.

March

As the days get longer, start to water houseplants more often. Treat plants in flower with liquid fertiliser. Prune climbing plants and pot on plants that have become overgrown. If repotting cacti, make a thick newspaper collar with which to handle the cacti, using a dibber to firm soil around the roots. Apply a top dressing of small stones to cacti.

April

Tidy up plants, gently washing dust off leaves and removing dead ones. Increase watering and give cacti their first watering of the season. Treat house plants to a liquid fertiliser. House plants can be propagated by cuttings, layering, division or offsets.

Indoor gardening information, hints and tips on how to get the best from your houseplants throughout the year including pest control, watering and general care advice.