Caring for plants, both indoors and outdoors, is important in maintaining their health and appearance. Whether you want to keep your flowers in bloom longer or just want to save a sickly looking plant, don't worry! This article has plenty of tips and tidbits for caring for your plants
Caring for Indoor Plants
1. Choose the right location. Although you may have the perfect end-table or countertop in mind for your houseplant, you may need to rearrange things a bit depending on each plant’s individual needs. Find a location with good light, away from a heat vent/air conditioner, above a radiator or television, and in front of curtains.
- For lots of sunlight, put your plant in an east/west facing window. For mild sunlight, a south facing window is good. And for little sunlight, place your plant in a north facing window.
- Avoid placing your plant in a location where it might be easily knocked over by children or pets as well.
2. Give your plants the right amount of water. Water can be the primary reason for a plants’ death - when they either get too much of it, or not enough. Make sure that your plant is getting plenty of moisture, depending on its type. For the most part, you want to make sure that the soil in your plants’ container is moist at all times, but not soaking; the soil should never be so dry it is crumbling.
- Some plants, like succulents and cacti, require very infrequent waterings every few weeks.
- In the winter months when the air is dryer, mist your plants with a spray bottle or use a humidifier to provide them with extra moisture without bogging down their roots in watery soil.
3. Keep your plants free of pests and dust. Over time, your plants can become sickly and poor-looking as the result of dust buildup and insect pest infections. You can prevent health issues with your plants by cleaning them with a soft rag and organic insecticide soap every few months. If you notice that your plants seem particularly dusty or ill looking, take extra care and clean them a bit more often, moving them to a new location if necessary.
- Don’t use a duster to clean your plants, as these can transfer bacterial pests from place to place and infect your plants all at once.
- If insecticide isn’t your thing, you can gently wash your plants off with lukewarm water and the sprayer-head of your sink or shower.
4. Remove unhealthy growth. Although your plants are potted and indoors, that doesn’t prevent them from growing to a large size and becoming ill at times. Use a small pair of gardening shears to trim off excess growth and to cut away sick parts of the plant. This will not only keep your plant looking healthier, but also prevent them from turning into huge overgrown messes that take up massive amounts of space in your home.
Caring for Outdoor Plants
1. Make sure your plants are getting enough sunlight. The most important thing for healthy plants is the perfect amount of sunlight. Some outdoor plants are sun-lovers, while others prefer more of the shade. If your plants are potted, move them to the right location depending on their species. If you are planting your plants in a garden, make sure they’re in a good spot or else relocate them to a better place which suits their needs.
- You can look up the sun requirements for each plant by visiting a local nursery or checking online.
- When in doubt, move a plant to a location that gets equal amounts of shade and sunlight over the course of the day.
2. Water them on a regular basis. Outdoor plants tend to be a bit hardier than indoor plants (because they typically have to be indigenous), but that doesn’t mean that they don’t need plenty of water. Set up an automatic sprinkler system if you can, or else water your plants on a daily basis if it doesn’t rain.
- On the flip side, set up a drainage system if your garden plot seems to be flooding or having drainage problems.
- If you’re not sure how much water your plants should be getting, look up their species online or visit a local nursery to ask.
3. Make sure your plants are getting plenty of food. If your plants are looking a bit drab, they may not be getting the necessary nutrients from the soil. Visit a local nursery and see what plant food or fertilizer would be put to best use in your yard. You may add chicken manure or compost into the soil as a natural way to provide nutrients for your plants.
4. Keep weeds at bay. Weeding is a task few enjoy, but it is necessary in order to properly care for you plants and keep them looking healthy. Pull out all weeds from the roots, and check back on a regular basis to make sure they continue to stay away. It is important to weed regularly, as these unwanted plants can steal valuable nutrients and soil space that your plants need to be healthy.
5. Dead-head and prune your plants when necessary. Although you may not want to cut back the size of your plants, it is important to cut off dead flowers and branches as well as sickly looking parts of your plants. Typically done after a growing season has finished, use a pair of garden shears to dead-head (cut off the brown flowers and leaves) your plants. If you feel you plants are getting too big, you can cut them back at this time as well.
6.Kill off insects, slugs, and snails. Nothing is worse than having a perfectly tended-to garden that gets destroyed by pesky bugs and slugs. Find an organic insecticide to use on your plants, or use predatory insects that eat the plant-eating bugs for an all-natural alternative.
- For example, nematodes can be used to eat spider mites and ladybugs can be used to eat aphids - but neither will damage or consume your plants.
- To keep slugs and snails out of your garden, you can sprinkle crushed egg-shells around the perimeter. If you would rather kill them, a bowl of beer will do the trick.