Vacation Time Almost Over...For Houseplants...

Sep 29, 2022

Vacation Time Almost Over...For Houseplants...

Dear Friends:

Cold nights are coming and if you gave your indoor plants a "vacation" by placing them outdoors on the deck or porch, it's time to bring them back indoors.

As temperatures, light, and humidity vary dramatically from outside to the inside of your home, a gradual introduction back into your home should be initiated.

First, check your plants for bugs or disease. I always use a two-step attack when bringing plants inside my home. I spray with "Triple Action" a neem-based spray by Fertilome which kills insects, diseases and mites. Then I add the recommended amount of Hy-yield brand systemic granules to the soil. The spray gets rid of bugs that are present and the systemic prevents most insects from returning. Nothing is worse than discovering hijackers have infiltrated your plants after you have just brought them inside. You can soak plants in lukewarm water for 10-15 minutes which will cause insects to come out from the soil. Larvae may still be inside, however, so the systemic is a must. Please note systemic granules should not be used on any fruit or leaves on plants you may eat.

The next thing to do is check the condition of the root ball of your plants. 

Some may be pot bound and need to be transplanted. Now if the time to shift them to the next pot size and add fresh potting mix when planting. The better the soil the better your results will be. I love "Happy Frog" soil and feel it is the best soil out on the market. In comparison test we have done at our garden center, "Happy Frog" soil outperformed others by as much as 50% more growth. You may be tempted to shift plants to a much larger pot size. Pending the growth habit of the plant, it may not be the best option and you should consult with your favorite greenhouse guru before you do this. Most plants like to be gradually moved up to larger size pots as they grow. After transplanting, make sure you water thoroughly.  

Now would be a great time to feed them as well. A water-soluble food like Pandy's "blue stuff" or 20-20-20 will give them a boost to get those roots growing. This will also probably be enough food to carry them for the next 6-8 weeks.

After plants are transplanted, move them into the brightest location possible. A south window, if you have them is ideal. A quick cleaning of the windows inside and out will aid in getting the most light available to the plant. You may want to bring the plants in the evenings when temperatures are cool and then place out in the mornings when temps rise at least for a few days. This will allow the plant to better acclimate to its new surroundings.

Monitor for watering. Allow plants to dry to the touch before watering. Misting of the plants will help keep humidity up around the plants. Plants love the added moisture, especially ferns. I often will get a saucer and fill with pebbles, add water and then place the potted plant on top of the pebbles. This keeps the humidity elevated around the plant without remembering to mist daily. Do this for the first two to three weeks.

As your plant re-adapts itself to its new surroundings, it may shed a few leaves, but new one should start given time. I have found, more times than not, plants are "killed with kindness" usually by over watering. The key is to water a plant thoroughly when dry to the touch. Take to a sink or bathtub and give it a good soaking. Let it shed its excess water and then move back to your spot you had it. Wait till it gets dry again and repeat. The weight of a plant is a great tell-tale of when it needs watered. A wet plant is heavier than a dry one. This is a great tip to use for hanging baskets.

Plants inside are a great addition. They add color and greenery to your home all year long. They help clean the air from toxins in our home. Some plants even help with asthma. Try a spider plant or aloe plant if you're a novice. Both are easy to grow and hard to kill. The aloe is also great for burns and helps purify the air by ridding chemicals from cleaning products.

Having trouble sleeping at night, plants may be the answer...Try a pot of lavender in the bedroom. 

Lavender is one of the most well-known scents that can help you relax and induce sleep.  It has also been shown to reduce stress and anxiety and can help with insomnia and restlessness. 

The fragrance of jasmine can help improve sleep as well. German research found it is as effective as taking a valium and similar drugs for relieving anxiety and promoting sleep.

Other low light, hard to kill plants are philodendron or pothos or a mother-in-law's tongue. Known as the bedroom plant, the snake plant purifies air from household toxins and gives off oxygen at night unlike other plants that store but do not release oxygen at night.

If you are forgetful as to watering of your plants, you may want to try a zz plant or succulents. This hot trend offers many different options which can be a single pot or even combined together into a container. You can even hang them on the wall or grow in a vertical container.

A plant exists for every location so add a small plant to your desk at work or on the nightstand in your bedroom.  

Let's not forget your work desk. A new plant potted in nice pottery is trending as a backdrop when you are on the computer.  Plants at work actually improve work productivity and aid in creating a healthy, happy workplace. Many studies have been done which prove this theory. So add a plant, here and there and make yourself and the world a happier place to live.

J.R. Pandy, "The No B.S.Gardener"
Pandy's Premier Garden Center

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