Caught the indoor plant craze? Us too! But unless you’re born with a green thumb, keeping indoor plants alive can be harder than expected!
Here’s how to keep your plant babies alive – and how to save them if they’re looking sad!
The indoor plant craze is here to stay. And what’s not to love! Indoor plants look gorgeous, bring a feeling of nature inside, and help keep the air clean. Here are some of the best plants to grow in your home.
But to quote Kermit the frog, sometimes it’s not easy being green – or in this case keeping something green! And dead or dying plants are definitely not going to add to the look and feel of your home. So how do you tell if your plant is in trouble, and how do you save it? Read on!
On the lean?
Is your plant is leaning to one side? Your plant is telling you it needs more sunlight. Plants grow towards the light. To save your plant, move it to a spot with more sunlight (check whether it needs ‘direct’ or ‘filtered’), or turn the pot regularly to keep it growing on the straight and narrow.
In the dull-drums?
Is your plant looking a bit dull, with leaves that have lost their shine? It’s telling you it is getting too much sunlight. Try moving it to a less sunny spot to get it out of the dull-drums.
Are your plant’s leaves looking a little limp or starting to shrivel? Your plant is saying ‘Help! I’m thirsty!’. To save your plant, water it, giving it a big drink immediately. And make sure to water it more regularly in future to get it back to its glossy green self.
If your plant’s leaves are starting to turn yellow, its likely to be your plant’s way of waving at the lifeguard, as in ‘Help! I’m drowning!’ You may be killing your plant with kindness by overwatering it. Try watering your plant less often with less water.
Brown or black spots on leaves can be another sign your plants is telling you its being overwatered. Again, try watering less often. But if the black spots persist, they may be a sign of a fungal infection that needs to be treated.
Got the rots?
If your plant has started to yellow and still seems to be on the slippery slope to death even though you’ve cut back on watering it, it may have root rot. Root rot has two causes: overwatering or fungus in the soil.
You need to treat root rot quickly to save your plant. First, remove the plant from its pot and feel the roots. If they are black and mushy, your plant has root rot. You need to wash all of the soil from the roots and use scissors to cut off the affected roots. Get rid of the soil in the pot, and wash the pot with bleach to make sure the fungus is killed. Replant your plant in fresh soil.
Time to upsize?
Like a hermit crab, a healthy plant will at some stage outgrow its pot. How do you tell when its time for your plant to be re-potted? Usual signs are when it stops growing or seems top heavy and tips over. You can also look at the roots. If the roots are growing out of the drainage holes or are tightly coiled when you remove the plant from its pot, its probably time for a bigger pot.
To re-pot your plant, lightly water it to help it slide out of the pot. If the roots are tightly coiled, loosen them gently. Cut away any dead or rotten roots. Plant into the new larger pot, adding extra soil. And give the plant a good water to help it settle in.
Make it a fun activity for you and the kids
Help grow some little green fingers by inviting your kids to get involved in a spot of planting, re-potting or watering. Aside from the fact it will draw them away from the TV or iPad (that’s gotta be a good thing, right?), it’s a handy way to assist your child’s development.
Planting and re-potting helps to support their fine motor skills. Using the whole hand to grasp a trowel or the pincer grip to pick up tiny seeds—these are the same skills they use for writing. Plus a love of gardening is great for their future mental health.