|Taking Care of Your Apartment & House Plants|
Plants are wonderful for bringing color and vitality into your apartment. If you’ve had a bad experience with caring for plants in the past, perhaps the following tips can help you grow and maintain healthy pots of greenery.
Check the plant tag: Plants purchased at the nursery or garden center typically have an information tag inserted in the soil or a sticker at the side of the pot. This provides you with the name of the plant, amount of light required, and frequency of watering and fertilization. Plants that need high light or direct sunlight should be placed outdoors or at a window which receives lots of light, while plants that are in the medium to low light categories can survive in lower temperatures and in partial to full shade.
Monitor your plant: When you first bring your plant home, check on it weekly to become familiar with the level of care it needs. In particular, determine the amount of watering your plant requires. Some plants require consistent moisture at the roots while others need the soil to dry out before the next watering. Check the foliage of your plant for signs or health, weakness, or disease. You may need to move its location so it gets more sunlight, or treat it with insecticidal soap. Remove dead flowers and leaves regularly.
Regulate water: Over-watering is a frequent cause of plant death, since excessive water in the soil reduces the oxygen supply needed for the plant roots to thrive. You can do a quick test of soil moisture by pressing your finger into the soil and assessing if the soil is sufficiently moist such that watering is not needed that day. Another quick test is to pick the pot up and determine if it is still heavy from water weight. Or, for a foolproof method, use a moisture meter that can be purchased from the nursery.
Choose the right container: If you are growing your plants from seed or bulb, or replanting a young plant, it is important that you select a container that will allow your plant to grow without restriction. Determine beforehand how deep the roots need to grow and how big the plants will get, so you can space them accordingly.
Remove dust: Indoor plants tend to accumulate dust over time, which hinders the leaves from respiration and photosynthesis, and can attract plant pests as well. A good practice is to wipe down the leaves with a wet cloth to remove dust and dirt. For plants with smaller leaves, spray them with water using a hand sprayer or under a showerhead.
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