While gardeners reap the benefits of long, warm days tending to the outdoor garden, landscapes and lawns, it's often easy to forget about those indoor plants that give residents loyal and continual pleasure 12 months of the year. While the vegetation inside appear to be maintenance free, the “indoor landscape” has requirements that need to be met to keep them happy and healthy. The good news is, following some of the basic tips below and applying some preventative care, many common problems can be avoided or corrected.
Believe it or not, summer is the time that that indoor plants need fertilizer the most. The long days with extended sunlight create key opportunities for plants to thrive. Don’t deny plants the food they need to make the most out of their optimum growing season. One application of fertilizer per month is generally enough. Not certain what kind of fertilizer to use? Consult the local full-service garden shop. Keep in mind to back off in the late fall as plants start to go dormant and remain less active into early spring.
All plants vary in their light requirements. Typically plants come in three general categories of light requirements: low, indirect medium and high. To determine the perfect placement of each plant, take a minute and view the room as a whole. How much natural light does the entire room receive as opposed to the amount of direct light that may pour through the window? When the light evaluation is complete, find the ideal location that will satisfy the plant's light preferences. If the plant is under or overexposed, the leaves may yellow and die. If this occurs, try another location.
Most plants are happy and content with temperatures between 60ºF and 75ºF. Always avoid placing plants in the line of fire of extreme drafts, especially air conditioning or appliances with heat registers.
Under watering and over watering will almost produce the same result. Leaves will turn yellow and fall off the plant. Keep in mind that the longer days during the summer will make plants thirstier than at other times of the year, so it is a good idea to increase watering frequency during these warm months. Check water daily.
It's the middle of prime vacation season, and there are a few things that can be done to keep plants happy while their caregivers are enjoying a little R & R. Before going away, move the plants to a lower light area and add a moisture control product (available in most garden shops). The lower level of light will make your plant less thirsty. Another option is to place the plants in a bath tub with pot saucers. Before leaving, give the plants a good soaking until the saucer-pot overflows. This should buy almost a week's worth of vacation without the need to water.
Most gardeners anxiously await throughout the winter for the warm temperatures of spring and summer and that prime growing season, but don't forget about those indoor plants that have remained devoted and strong providing lush foliage all year long.