Gro Urban Oasis: Top 5 tips for indoor plant care this Spring
There are five things plants need to survive: water, air, light, soil and feed:
It sounds obvious, but watering can be tricky for indoor plants. It’s not like outside in the garden where rain and drainage are normally a given. For indoor plants, the ability to have a drink and a wash comes down to you, the plant parent! So, think about why and when you get thirsty, and translate it to your indoor plants.
It’s best to water your plants outside with a hose or in the shower, where you can give them a drench and a wash, every month. Top up in between times throughout the warmer months by adding water whenever your plant needs it. This can be ascertained with a watering gauge, your finger or if your plant is dropping and showing signs of stress.
Plants need oxygen for respiration, put also ‘breathe out’ oxygen during photosynthesis as a by-product. What this means is that air has to be able to get to the places its needed. That’s why leaves should be cleaned down with a damp cloth or rinsed off in the shower, as it stops the stomata, or the breathing pores on leaves, from becoming clogged with dirt and dust.
Sunlight, or artificial ‘grow’ lights are needed for plant growth – even indoor plants. The ‘rule of thumb’ is that if you need a light to read, it’s too dark for plants to grow well too, unless you can provide them with horticultural LED lights or fluorescent full spectrum or “cool white” bulbs. Most people just pick a spot that’s bright enough and rotate their plants a ¼ turn every few weeks so that they grow evenly. If you’re worried about how much light you have, choose a low light tolerant plant like a peace lily or devil’s ivy. Also make sure they aren’t getting burnt by heat as the months warm up!
- Plant Growing Media
Australia has some of the best potting mixes in the world, provided you get the ones with the Australian Standard 5 ticks on them. The red ticks are the premium version and contain fertiliser and water storing crystals. If you have plants in pots, grow them in potting mix for the best results. Indoor plants can also become rootbound and should be repotted every few years into a slightly larger pot, or root pruned and put back into the same pot. This is best done at the very end of winter and beginning of spring when the roots are actively growing and will settle back into their new home with ease.
Indoor plants should be fed when they are actively growing, which is during spring and summer. Regular feeds of liquid fertiliser and a once-a-year application of slow release are the simplest methods. Be careful not to fertilise in winter, as you can burn plants, as can overfeeding, so always use fertiliser as per instructions.