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How I prepare my houseplants for the growing season

I've always loved spring, I love those crisp mornings, the blue skies, the sun, the longer days, the smells; It's always felt like a time of year for fresh starts and new beginnings, but now more than ever, it is one of my favourite times of year.

Why? Because all of my plants spring to life and they start pushing out all the growth! Each day there is something new and exciting happening with one of them and it just fills me with so. much. JOY!

Honestly, at this time of year nature is captivating. Truly beautiful.


Now, I know out in the wild, these plants would not have any human help around this time of year. They wouldn't need it, like at all, they would be in their natural environment; their ideal environment.

However, they're currently in my home, they're apart of my ideal environment; therefore, they may need a little helping hand to reach their full potential.


So, how do I do that? Well, I'm going to tell you all the little things I do to encourage my plants to be their best selves:


Removing dead leaves

I'd really love to be that plant parent that sees a dying or dead leaf and removes it straight away, but I'm not. I know that leaf is no use to the plant; I know its using valuable energy that the plant could use to push out new growth; I know that leaf is not going to miraculously come back to life. Yet, I leave it. I don't know why, it's only when that dead leaf is continuously catching my eye and ruining the aesthetic of the plant that I finally get around to removing it.

So, it gets to this time of year and there will be a handful a plants that have a few dying or dead leaves. And now is the time for me to remove them. I check out all my plants and prune off all those leaves that are no longer serving them.


Pruning plants back

When I first started really collecting plants I couldn't think of anything worse than chopping them up. I saw so many people trimming and pruning their plants, sometimes propagating those cuttings and sometimes not. I couldn't understand it, like, I bought the plant because I loved the way it looked, why would I chop it up!?

But, now I get it. I understand that pruning plants can be beneficial for them (and you can create a whole new plant for free! Free!).

So, the reasons I choose to prune some plants are for aesthetics, pests and creating new plants. The aesthetics relates to how the plant is looking, obviously. For example, my Scindapsus Pictus 'Argyaeus' was looking a bit scraggly on the ends, all of the new leaves coming in are much smaller than the ones up top, so I've given him the chop, as this should encourage larger leaf growth. Another aesthetic reason is to make the plant more bushy; when you cut a plant, sometimes more than one new growth point will come off of the stem you have cut, leading to a more bushy plant. You can also take the parts you've cut off, root them and pop them into the same pot as their mother plant. That will really help to bush up that plant. I'll be doing that with my Scindapsus cuttings.

When you own many houseplants you're going to experience some form of pest at some point. It's going to happen. It's really hard to accept when you first realise your plant has a pest problem but honestly, it is no reflection on you as a plant parent, it's just going to happen. I've had my fair share of pests, mostly over the last year or so. I will not lie to you. There have been some plants that I haven't fought hard for regarding getting rid of a pest, but there are others I've battled for. Gone to war on those pests and yet they persist and sometimes there isn't any other option for me than to cut that plant down. I've done this with my Monstera Adansonii and my Ceropegia Woodii. I really love these plants, but so do thrips. Thrips have loved these plants so hard that they have ruined them, it was a toxic love. I had no choice, I cut those plants right back and started again. I potted up my Monstera Adansonii cuttings in a recent IGTV post, did you see it?

Another reason I would prune a plant is to create a new plant! It really is fun to propagate a plant to create a whole new plant for free, free! There are a couple of propagation posts coming out soon, keep your eyes on the look out for them.

The difference between a new leaf and an old leaf on my Scindapsus Pictus 'Argyaeus'

Repotting

Hopefully, the majority of my plants grew so well in the last growing season that they now need to be repotted. So, I take a lil peak at the underside of their pots and if I peep some roots popping out of the bottom, I put them on the 'to be repotted' list. Sometimes, there aren't that many roots popping out of the bottom, but I have a feeling, ever get those feelings when you just know? Just know, that that plant needs to be repotted, and you lift it out of its pot and low and behold; roots! Everywhere, like, where did the soil go? It's a mystery, but that baby needs to be repotted, ASAP.

Staking

Some plants may benefit from having something to climb up. I have several plants that are currently displayed in a plant hanger, so they're trailing and looking beautiful. However, I know that some of these plants would prefer to climb. For example, my Epipremnum Aureum 'Marble Queen' is currently trailing, the newest leaves are slightly smaller than the older leaves; if I gave her a moss pole to climb she would probably start producing larger leaves again. The same could probably be said about the Scindapsus I mentioned earlier, but he's already had the chop, so there we go.


New positioning

Now, my environment will be very different to your environment. A plant could react very differently in my home compared to your home. I have large south facing windows in my living room, they allow my plants to get adequate light during the winter, even during those real grey gloomy days. However, come spring and summer, the sun that comes through those windows can be hella strong and some plants absolutely need to be moved from their winter homes to their summer homes, as too much light or higher temperatures can be damaging for some plants. For example, my Calathea collection sit on the far side of my living room, during the winter they get adequate lighting there but I've recently realised that some of them are not happy and I've figured out why. They're getting hit by the late afternoon sun and it is hot! So, we've got a couple of crispy sections on some leaves - whoops. It's become quite obvious that they need a new home for summer, so I need to get reorganising!

Crispy burnt edges on my Calathea Musaica 'Network'

Fertilising

Now, some people will say to stop fertilising completely during winter. I break that rule, just a teeny tiny bit. I do still fertilise some of my plants. Only the plants that are still actively growing though! I would not encourage fertilising all plants all year long, but the ones that are still growing still need extra nutrients in my opinion. So, when I start noticing my plants are waking up and they're starting to show signs of growth, I will start to fertilise those ones again.


Clean my plants

Another way I help my plants to reach their best potential during the growing season is by keeping them clean. All surfaces in our homes collect dust, leaves are no different, but plants use their leaves to photosynthesis and therefore they need to remain clean. I will be doing a more detailed blog post where I explain how I clean my plants so keep an eye out for that.


Air flow

Air circulation is important all year round; ensuring there is enough space for air flow around your plants will allow them to breath and grow in an unrestricted way. It also helps to prevent pests, and spring and summer can be the height of pest season. Now, I am not saying that if you make sure there is consistent air flow circulating around your plants that you will not get any pest, I'm definitely not saying that. Yet, having fresh air flowing around your plants can make the environment less appealing to pests; so open those windows!

Also, in their natural habitats, our house plants would be subject to the wind; they would bend and sway in the breeze encouraging stronger sturdier growth. Therefore, a breeze through an open window can encourage the strengthening of your plants.

Our south facing windows allow for lots of light and air flow throughout the apartment

And that is it. That's how I prepare my plants for the growing season. I do check on all my plants regularly, I know their water intake will change during this time of year, they'll need much more hydration than they did in winter. I know that they may need to try out several different positions in my home before finding the right one for them to spend the summer in, and they may possibly need repotting more than once during this growing period!


Do you do anything differently? Any extra tips? Let us know in the comments!


Also, if you don't want to miss those blog posts I mentioned on cleaning leaves and propagation, sign up to my mailing list and be one of the first to hear when it has been published!




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