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Caring for House Plants

by Malachy - Horticulturist CountryLife Dungarvan | Dec 22, 2015
Caring for House Plants

Last week we started to look at plants as presents and we took a close look at orchids which have proven extremely popular here in CountryLife over the festive season a gifts for family and friends. This week we are going to take a look at house plants in general and how to get the most out of them once you get them home.

House plants in general are always a popular present for someone around this time of year. Particularly when they come in a decorative ceramic pot or festive basket, they are often the perfect present pick up for someone last minute.

Anything that is green and has roots is a great present in my eyes and I often find giving a plant as a present is much better than giving cut flowers as the plant will last much longer. And as I have said before a gift of a plant but particularly house plants are always a great present.

Now there are so many different varieties on sale there is a great selection of different plants to choose from. This means that there is something that will work in any room of the house. Spider plants and peace lilies still prove as popular as ever thanks to their lush green foliage and the fact they need only a little amount of work. The of course around this time of year Christmas cacti prove extremely popular, not to forget succulents which have grown in popularity over the last year.

It terms of caring for house plants one of the biggest mistakes people make is to be too kind to them. Often people will kill them with kindness by over-watering them or over-feeding the plant. If you are ever in doubt in terms of watering house plants it is always better to err on the dry side than over watering it.

You should never water a plant so much that it is left sitting in a pool of water. After about 15/20 minutes, if the plant has not soaked up all the water empty the excess water out of the pot or container. I am a fan of taking the plant to the kitchen sink and allowing water to flow in to the pot for a few minutes and then leaving it to drain on the draining board before putting it back into its pot. 

Once you find the right spot for a plant in your house it is important that you do not keep moving it around. Once you find a spot stick to it and the plant will grow much better. If you keep moving the plant it has to adjust to its new environment and this can cause unwanted stress on the plant.

Just like outdoor plants some of the most important jobs to regularly carry out will be removing faded flowers from flowering plants and feeding your plants. As a rule of thumb I like to use a good quality tomato feed for flowering plants and liquid seaweed feed for leafy plants. I incorporate the feed into my watering regiment and feed every ten days or so.

Roots-should-be-teased-out-on-pot-bound-plantsWith house plants it is important to keep an eye on the pot or container they are growing in and make sure that the plant has not outgrown its current pot. If you check the underside of the pot and see roots coming out the bottom it is time to repot the plant. For most house plants good multipurpose compost will work well, unless the plant calls for specialist compost.

Title: Keep on top of your dusting

No I am not talking about dusting picture frames or coffee tables. I am talking about your plants. You should keep your plants free from dust during the year. Outside rain will wash dust off plants but inside this won’t happen and you want to remove dust to help improve photosynthesis. You can buy special plant wipes (similar to baby wipes) but a wet cloth will do the job perfectly too!  

Written by Malachy

Here to help! - remember if you have any questions feel free to pop into one of our garden centres or you can contact us on our Facebook and Twitter pages and email us at:

Malachy's Bio 
I have been gardening since I was 5 years old when my mother gave me a part of our garden as my own. I have studied horticulture in the National Botanical Gardens in Glasnevin and was a winner in the young horticulturist of the year competition. I have worked in Several plant nurseries and garden centers such as Mount Congreve in Co. Waterford. My special interests are plant propagation and Cacti!

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