Houseplants are almost magical; they can make a dull room look and feel inviting and transform a dreary room into a luxurious and relaxing space. In this article, I’ll reveal some of the secrets that will ensure your houseplants retain their magic!
First of all, always grow houseplants in containers with holes at their base that allow water to run through the pot and enable air to reach the plant’s roots. To enhance their appearance, pop plastic pots inside decorative ceramic planters. Optimum watering is key when it comes to maintaining healthy houseplants. More plants are killed with kindness by overwatering than are eradicated by under-watering; yet the appearance of overwatered and dehydrated plants is similar, as they often display wilting and yellowing foliage.
Many folks assign one day a week to houseplant watering, spending Sundays (or Fridays) religiously lining up and watering every houseplant. However, it is always best to check your houseplant over before you water. I poke my finger into my plants’ compost to determine the moisture levels around the plant’s roots before deciding whether or not to water. During the autumn and winter months, most houseplants are not actively growing and tend to require fewer waterings. My Sansevieria cylindrica ‘Straight’ plant is only watered once every few months in wintertime.
I prefer to water my houseplants in the morning. I use water butts to collect rainwater from my roof; to ensure the water is warm enough, I fill up bottles and bring rainwater indoors 48 hours prior to use. Rather than giving my houseplants a direct overhead shower, I favour directing the water to the outer circumference of the compost around the plant. I find that Peace Lilies (Spathiphyllum) often appear worn down and oppressed when watered overhead. Many other houseplants don’t want water to enter their central crown, including Phalaenopsis and Sansevieria.
If you’re interested in finding out more about Spathiphyllum wallisii ‘Bingo Cupido’, please click here. Learn more about my giant Peace Lily – Spathiphyllum wallisii ‘Sensation’ by clicking here.
Not all houseplants thrive on a windowsill above a radiator, but African Violets will flourish grown in containers in saucers on windowsills. Water these plants from below: simply top up the saucer and allow your African violets’ roots and compost to take up the water. African violets were previously known as Saintpaulia; botanists have now moved them to another genus, changing their name to Streptocarpus. Plants are sold under both names.
Find out more information about how to grow Tradescantia zebrina ‘Violet Hill’ by clicking here.
Tradescantia plants in garden centres are usually bushy, trailing plants that look fantastic. In the wild, Tradescantia are creeping plants that anchor themselves into the soil by sending out new roots and foliage from the leaf joints on every stem that trails along the ground. After a year of growing in a container, Tradescantia hasn’t been rejuvenated by any new growth so plants drop older leaves and present themselves as sparsely leaved, scruffy looking plants that have narrowly survived some form of drawn-out torture! Avoid this stage entirely by taking cuttings every few months and keeping a couple of spare plants as reserves. I adore giving plants to my friends and family. What could be a nicer gift than a plant you’ve propagated yourself?
Find out about how to grow Tradescantia cerinthoides ‘Nanouk’ by clicking here.
For more articles about houseplants, please click here.
For more gardening advice for November, please click here.