If houseplants could yawn, stretch their limbs, and look sleepily around like a bear coming out of hibernation, the end of February would be the time! Days are getting longer, which is noticeable to indoor plants, letting them know it's time to come out of dormancy. Because you love your plants and are responsible for their little ecosystems, here are some helpful things you can do for them this spring...
Dust and Wipe Down Leaves
You'll be amazed at how dirty your leaves become over winter. That first swipe with a damp rag is always satisfying, and clean leaves photosynthesize better! A win for everyone.
Use a clean rag from plant to plant to avoid spreading any pests or diseases. This is also a great time to check under leaves and in branch crevices for lingering spider mites and mealy bug! You might also notice that calcium build up from tap water has created white "tide lines" from misting with a spray bottle. These are easily wiped away with a vinegar solution made of 1 part distilled vinegar and 9 parts water.
*please note that not all leaves appreciate a wet rag. African violets don't like to get their leaves wet so it's better to use a soft dry brush.
Trim and Prune
Once your plant is dust free, it's time to tidy up any damaged leaves. If you have brown tips on blade-like leaves (dracaena, spider plant, air plants, etc.) you can trim them off at an angle with very sharp flower snips. Cutting straight across is blunter and will be more noticeable. If broad leaves are mostly yellow or brown, it's better to cut off the whole leaf, but if it is the margins of the leaf that are crispy you may very carefully trim around them. Thin out dead leaves from densely foliated plants to provide better air circulation. Clean up any fallen or dried leaves in the pot around the base of the plant. You may be thinking of them as mulch for your plant but they actually harbor disease and pests... perfect breeding ground for pesky fungus gnats!
Start Fertilizing Again
We recommend giving your plants a break from fertilizer during winter dormancy but you can start up your regular feeding routine in the spring. Choose a fertilizer intended for indoor plants and follow the instructions on the label as per amount and frequency.
Give your roots some wiggle room by changing to a slightly larger pot. We recommend going up one pot size... if your plant is in an 8" pot then you would choose a 10" pot for its new home. Re-potting is best done in spring to coincide with the new growth cycle. Use fresh potting soil to give your plants an extra boost of nutrients. Good drainage is a must in whatever container you use as wet, boggy soil can potentially kill your plant.