Winter Houseplant Care
Most of us love houseplants, it's just amazing how they can brighten up a room, particularly at this time of year. But whether or not we can grow them successfully is a different story.
Ironically, most houseplants die from overfeeding and overwatering. Too much of a good thing can be hazardous to their health. We're more guilty of this during the winter, when plants are responding to reduced daylight and are not in a growth phase. Now what I mean by that is that they are not flushing out lots of new growth, buds and flowers like they do in the spring and summer.
If a plant is looking tired and weak we automatically think, well, it's time to feed it again. But fertilizer isn't a cure. You see, if a plant isn't in an active growth stage and you put fertilizer around it's roots, it just sits there and this can be damaging to the plant. Generally most houseplants will do fine only being fed every three to six months. I use a liquid fertilizer, with a five-ten-five ratio.
Overwatering is another way we can kill plants with kindness. This time of year when we have the heat on in our homes, our plants can dry out sooner, so you may want to check them and add a little extra water, but be careful. Too much water can actually suffocate the roots. You see, healthy roots need plenty of oxygen. Now, if you're going to make a mistake in watering, I think it's better to err on the dry side rather than putting too much water around your plants.
From the garden, I'm Allen Smith.
P. Allen Smith Gardens
© 1997 Hortus, Ltd.