Gardening TipsWhat you Need to Know When You Don't Have a Green Thumb
Houseplant Maintenance for March
The days are getting longer as the sun becomes stronger making indoor tropical houseplants realize that spring will soon be here. During the winter months a houseplants growth slows down and they require less water and fertilizer. Over the winter, houseplants are fertilized once every 8-10 weeks because they do not need the same amount of nutrients as they do in the spring/summer when they are actively growing. As a houseplants growth picks up so should the water and fertilizer. Different plants have different watering requirements but generally when the soil surface feels dry to the touch, give the plant a thorough water, throwing out any access water so that it is not sitting in water for any length of time. A good fertilizer routine is to fertilize plants monthly with an all-purpose fertilizer such as a water soluble 20-20-20.
March is also a good time to transplant houseplants if they have outgrown their container. Some signs that a plant may have outgrown its container is that the soil is drying out quickly, poor plant growth, roots are coming through the drainage holes of the container, and when the plant is taken out of the container the roots are wound around in a ball. If a plant is in bloom, wait till it has finished blooming before re-planting it.
When transplanting a houseplant you want to choose a container that has drainage and is one size larger than the container the plant is currently in. Too large a container will mean that the plants energy will go to the plants roots as it has lots of room to grow and fill in, resulting in no new plant growth, and it can also cause root rot as the soil remains too moist for too long.
If you are re-using a container, clean it with a mild bleach solution before planting into it. Before taking the plant out of the old container have the new container ready. Put a handful of good quality indoor potting soil in the bottom of the container. To take the plant out of the container it is growing in, gently hold the container on its side and carefully slide out the plant. To make it easier, water the plant 1-2 days before you are ready to transplant so that the soil is slightly moist. If the roots are growing through the drainage holes they may need to be snipped off. Place the plant into the new container making sure that it is centred and at the same depth it was in the old container. Fill in with soil and tamp it down, then water with room temperature water, discarding excess water. Add soil if there are low spots after it has settled. Clean up plant by removing any damaged leaves or stems.
After the plant has been re-potted place it in a bright location but out of direct sun. Water carefully, making sure not to over or underwater. Do not fertilize for the first few weeks until it becomes established in its new container.