Hello fellow readers,
This time of year my indoor plants start to show signs of distress. Which, frankly, may have to do with over doting; that’s my gardening term for overwatering and maybe overfeeding. Because of the dry heat indoors, watering your indoor plants can be tricky. It’s important not to overwater as you’ll encourage root rot. I probe the soil with a moisture meter. When the soil is dry more than two inches below the surface it’s time to water. There are exceptions to the rule though so best to check the care and feeding protocol for your specific plant. Using a humidifier can help. Or you can increase the moisture in the air near your plants by using a tray containing pebbles and water and grouping your plants more closely together. Daily misting of the leaves can help too.
Unlike plants living outside, houseplants don’t have a regular source to replenish the nutrients in their soil unless you fertilize them regularly. They say once a month when plants are flowering or growing. And during the winter, when plants are dormant or not growing much, some say fertilizing is best suspended.
I don’t know. I feel bad about starving my struggling indoor plants. Winter calls for comfort food after all. Starting in early February, when the daylight grows longer, I resume feeding them every other week with liquid fertilizer at half the strength used during the growing season.
Be sure to clean up any plant debris and prune yellowing or dead leaves to prevent disease. And check for creepy crawlies. Ruth of Hope asked what to do about the tiny white cloud of flies swarming around some of her indoor plants; white flies that is. First you can vacuum them up being careful not to damage the plants. Then hang some sticky tape, the kind for house flies works fine. Also spray your plants with insecticidal soap. Or use Neem Oil – my rediscovered old favorite you can read about in the column archives on this website. https://askmarystone.com/finding-neem-oil/
Some call white flies plant dandruff. I call them snow flurries. And to think it’s not only snowing outside. Man oh man spring can’t come soon enough.
Garden dilemmas? firstname.lastname@example.org