January 18, 2011 in Indoor Gardening
While I’m biding my time until I get outside and do some “real” gardening I thought I would take a moment to pass along some tips and tricks of indoor gardening. January is a good time to focus on the plants inside your house. Odds are they’ve been neglected for most of the year and could use a little TLC.
The first thing you should do is inspect them for any insects that may have been brought in. Scale, aphids and mealy bugs love houseplants. The first sign that something might be wrong is a sticky residue on the plant or its surrounding area. Look for hard lumps on the stems and trunks of plants (scale) or fuzzy white stuff in the crotch of leaves (mealy bug). Pick off what you can and then spray the plant with an organic bug killer such as a clove or peppermint based product. If you notice the plant’s leaves have a fair amount of grittiness to them tap a leaf onto a white piece of paper. If any of the dust moves then your plant has spider mites. Clean the leaves thoroughly with mild soapy water and then spray with the organic bug killer.
They key to keeping your indoor plants free of bugs is to keep them clean. Wipe down the plants with mild soapy water, or just plain water once a month if possible. This will keep the dust down, the plants looking nice and eliminate places for the bugs to hide.
Fertilize your houseplants on a regular basis. Use a diluted amount of fertilizer every time you water or a stronger amount less frequently. I suggest a liquid organic fertilizer such as Dr. Earth Liquid Solution. It works on all of you indoor plants as well as your outdoor containers.
Water your houseplants regularly. About a coffee cup of water a week should be sufficient. If you notice the soil isn’t drying out that often cut back the watering. If it dries out more often increase the water or frequency.
Trim off any dead, dying or diseased leaf material. Use a sharp pair of scissors to trim the edges of large leaved plants such as Philodendrons or Peace Lilies. However, once you trim more than 1/3 away it is time to remove that leaf.
Indoor plant care is easier than you think.