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 Sunday, June 24th, 2018

January 24, 2009

January Gardening: Houseplants

Winter houseplant care is more about attentive restraint than high maintenance.

• As a general rule, do not feed your houseplants as often during the winter months for this is their resting period. Do it just enough so that water saturates the soil and comes through the drainage holes; at this time of year, plants left in standing water can suffer root damage. Begin feeding them more regularly in late February.

• Keep houseplants out of drafts and in the brightest spot possible.

• Turn plants every two weeks for balanced foliage as they seek sunlight.

• House plants benefit if their leaves are washed at intervals to remove dust and grime, helping keep the leaf pores open. Keep plants clean by gently wiping or rinsing.

• Check the leaves of your houseplants for insect problems like scale, mites and mealy bugs.

• Check houseplants that have leaves that are turning yellow and brown. Lower leaves that curl up and fall off may be too warm, too dry, or the plant may not be getting enough water.

• Check the pots of your houseplants and look for roots that are protruding from the drainage holes or up over the top. If this is happening, the plant needs to be repotted to a larger pot.

• Increase humidity around tropical plants. Humidity may be increased by placing plants on trays lined with pebbles and filled with water to within one half inch of the base of the pot. If you heat with wood, keep a pot of water on the stove. The added moisture will be healthier for you as well as your plants.

• Reduce fertilization, but continue watering (may water less often, but the same amount). Make sure your water is room temperature.

• Give extra protection on chilly nights by closing drapes and making sure plants don’t touch cold glass.

• Cover or wrap new houseplants when transporting to keep them from freezing on the trip home.

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