Healthy House plants: Bring the Outside In

 Healthy House plants

Healthy House plants

 Healthy House plants

Most people at some time in their life have probably been exposed to a dying house plant. There is perhaps nothing more morbid in the everyday home environment than watching a plant slowly waste away.

Most house plants are plants. That is, they naturally tended towards the outdoors. This is a simple concept, but keep it in mind when the plant initialy adjusts to the inddor environment. Don't freak out if your plant experiences slight discolouration, or drops a few leaves here or there!

There are many ways to kill a houseplant. Funnily enough, they usually die from TOO MUCH care. If you can avoid the following, you may be OK...

1. Overwatering

Plants are fairly autonomous creatures. Their root structure takes in air, and if you constantly water the plant, it cannot do this efficiently, as the soil is constantly wet. This can lead to rot, which prompts more watering, which in turn leads to a kind of comical death really. Don't water too much! (A good way to check is to dig a finger about 3cm below the soil surface, and 'if it's dry, give it a try').

2. Lighting

Learning about what conditions are right for what plants helps in this area (as well as watering), so do a bit of research first.

On the whole, most plants indoors will resent direct sunlight. A sign of this is burn marks on the leaves.

Plants that need more light however tend to fade in colour, and form spindly branches in attempts to reach for the sunlight.

3. Draughts

As in the wind, not the game (as yet there in no conclusive evidence to show that playing draughts with you house-plant will harm it in any way).

Don't place houseplants near frequently opened windows where they might experience cold draughts. This is especially so with tropical plants. Too much cold will kill a houseplant.

4. Pesky Pests

Here are some common pests that you may want to look out for:

  • Aphids: These are small green, white or black spots that form on the surface of any part of the plant. They are quick to spread, but can be killed easily by repeated spraying of insecticidal soap.
  • an ant and his aphids

  • Scales: These are little buggers that suck the sap from the stems of the plant. You can spot them by their hard, oval shaped shell, which they use to protect themselves (but not for long, as you can get rid of them with insecticide soap, and rubbing them off with your fingers - but persist, they are stubborn).
  • Spider Mites: These guys leave a webbing, it's their tell-tale sign. Attacked leaves usually become yellow and brittle, and quickly die. You must spray thoroughly with an insecticide soap, one of the stronger ones preferably.

So there you have it! If you can avoid these common problems you should have healthy plants in no time.

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