WHAT HOUSEPLANTS MEAN TO US
Houseplants are fabulous in our eyes.
They are so many types, coming in all shapes and sizes and they've arrived from all over the world. The commonality that we feel binds them all is how they make us feel when in our space. Here at The Plant People, we believe in the biophilia hypothesis. The biophilia hypothesis suggests that humans possess an innate tendency to seek connections with nature and other forms of life.
Plants really do create a calm and peaceful environment that helps reduce stress and anxiety; they move us closer to nature and our natural environment.
So many of the houseplants we offer are air purifiers; so not only wonderful looking room 'decor', but living 'cleaners' that cleanse the air and reduce pollution and toxins, improving our immediate air quality and oxygen levels.
So we know they look after us; here are a few basic rules to follow that will ensure you have the best chance of success keeping your plant healthy and well in your home, so they can keep on doing what they do best.
Most houseplants require bright filtered light. Light levels decrease rapidly as plants are placed further back from the window. It is important to avoid sun through glass as this can scorch the leaves of tropical plants. As light levels fall in the winter some plants may benefit from being moved to a lighter position such as nearer a window as long as the minimum required temperatures can be maintained and there are no draughts.
- In 'light' of the above, know your home or work space well: light travels around your building, so for most space this means the light levels will fluctuate. This is fine as long as you understand your plant's needs, so always check the specific plant's profile to get the low down. Positioning your plant south facing or north facing could make a huge difference.
- Most houseplants will thrive in even temperature, between 60-72 Fahrenheit. if your plant becomes too cold or too hot it will show signs of distress such as dropped leaves or wilting. Most modern homes will stay between these temperatures but if you go away remember to move your plants to a warm spot in winter or away from direct sunlight in summer.
- As a general golden rule, think little and often during the growing season (Spring / Summer), with less watering in the Winter months when most plants become dormant or stop growing. Check your selected plant's profile for specifics, but typically you should always check the soil (stick a finger in!) before watering to see if a) it is dry enough to action a watering, b) that it hasn't become soggy. Overwatering is the number one killer of houseplants; if you overwater and your plant is dying, repot immediately.
- The vast majority of houseplants available to you grow naturally in the warm and humid tropics. Most modern homes are centrally heated, which will considerably dry out a room's air in Winter; in the warmer months, the air similarly dries out, so almost all plants will benefit from regular misting or being placed on a tray of pebbles with a small amount of water that will naturally evaporate into the air. Plants also can also benefit from being placed and grown together to create a natural micro climate. Misting also usually has the added benefit of cleaning and glossing a plant's leaves.
- Feeding your plants through the growing season can have a real impact. Using a good quality feed can boost your plant's immune system and help it grow quicker and stronger. Again, check your chosen plant's profile for specifics.
RE-POTTING & DRAINAGE
- Most plants will be very happy for 1 to 2 years in the pot they arrive in, but when signs are there that they need an upsizing, choose a clean pot, one or two sizes larger than the original pot. Make sure that existing compost is moist before repotting into a similar medium. Never repot unless the plant actually needs it. The best time is Spring. A multipurpose compost, houseplant compost or loam-based compost will be suitable for most indoor plants. Make sure there is a drainage option for the plant; most nursery pots will have drainage holes, but your planter may not; so factor this into 'how' not just 'when' you water.
AILMENTS & ISSUES
- All houseplants take time to recover being moved from grower to seller to their new home; some settle faster than others, but its normal for some plants to look a little sad for a few weeks; worry not, unless they've arrived with an underlying issue, they will recover when they have adapted to their new home. Sometimes plants need a bit more care; be confident changing your routine or moving a plant to see if it will grow better in a new spot.
- Older leaves on healthy houseplants will naturally turn brown and die back over time as the plant matures, which is no cause for concern. But if most of the foliage on the houseplant changes colour in part or whole there may be a cultural problem, often rectified by paying more attention to watering, feeding or moving the plant to a more suitable position indoors. Plants that are unsuited to the conditions are unlikely to survive let alone thrive in the long term.
- The Royal Horticultural Society Website has a highly recommended page on specific ailments to look out for, like browning or yellowing leaves etc. Check it out here
- Rule number one: take your time and do your research before purchasing your houseplant. Like pets, they're not just for Christmas! Don’t judge a plant based just on look, price and height. Get to understand if it will be compatible with your lifestyle.
- One good rule of thumb in purchasing plants – the ones that often do well indoors are slow growers. Slow growers usually cost more and may not be as tall but are better over the long haul.