Indoor Plant Care 101

Caring for plants on the interior of a building can be a great experience or a nightmare depending on your watering habits. There are a lot of factors that go into the overall health of a tropical plant over time, but watering will most likely be a deciding factor in the future of your plant(s). The watering needs of your new found buddies will most likely vary unless you bought species from the same family. Please ask your local plant professional from Foliage Design Systems or someone who works at your local green house for specifics on your plant choices. There are many species out there and they can range dramatically from being watered once per month to every week. Also you will need to take lighting into consideration, the more light the more the plant will tend to drink. It’s always good to check your soil before you water as you will need to adjust your watering appropriately. Plants generally like to dry out before they are watered again, but don’t let them get too dry or you will see them fail or push yellow leaves.

Now that you have a grasp on the biggest factor in plant care we can move on to some of the other tasks you will need to carry out to keep your plants looking healthy and lush. Depending on where your plant is inside it will probably only be getting natural light on one side, well to solve that problem rotate your plant every week or two by a quarter turn and this will keep your plants looking even and full. If you choose not to rotate your plant it probably won’t die, but it will eventually be lopsided and start to look more like half of a plant. Plants are phototropic which means they will grow toward the light. Week after week your plants will bend or angle themselves to maximize the amount of light they are getting, thus a simple rotation will be needed to keep them looking straight.

Depending on the plant you have chosen for your space they might need to be pruned every once and a while. Ask your plant professional or green house employee how to prune your plant selection. Some need to be cut back when too long, some need preventative pruning, and others will need to be trimmed once a year. Have an idea of how tall you want your plant to grow and prune accordingly. Also some plants will push out more stalks after pruning, thus pruning will make the plant grow to be more lush and full than when you got it. Remember to have fun with this aspect of plant care, it can be rewarding to train and prune your plant so it grows into a nice specimen

So your plants have been doing well for some time, but now they are looking subpar, what’s going on? I think it would be safe to say either their water cycle got messed up or they have some type of pest. Symptoms of pests can include visible evidence such as white fluffy looking stuff, webbing, leaf spotting, yellow leaves, waxy secretion, and or little hard spots. Most of the time your plants can be sprayed with a number of pesticides available at stores or available to people whom are certified in pest control, which would be your local plant care professional at Foliage Design Systems of Atlanta. Many pests can be handled with a simple solution of soap and water, although this works best if you can spray your plants often and catch the pest before it has taken over the plant. Generally when one of your plants gets a pest the others will follow. You probably don’t want a zoo of organisms in your space so make sure you are looking at your plant every time you water. The older a plant gets the more likely it will come in contact with something that wants to eat it. This is probably the hardest part of plant maintenance as it takes time to assess what is going on with you pest populations. Also it is worth mentioning that pests know when a plant is stressed and generally begin to populate plants when they have been getting too much or too little water.

Taking care of plants can be a tedious process especially when in an indoor environment when there are many limiting factors. Just know that you will inevitably kill some of the plants that you take care of, but take the time and try and learn from your plant care fails. Have patience and please consult a plant care technician/greenhouse employee when looking for advice!

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