The Sill + Terrain: House and Patio Plant Care
This month, we're teaming up with The Sill to focus on indoor gardens. Always seeking new ways to bridge the gap between plants and people, The Sill inspires us with creative ideas for indoor, windowsill, and near patio gardening. Stay tuned throughout April as The Sill shares more of their abundant knowledge; below, check out some tips for cultivating healthy house and patio plants.
Spring is a great time to up the ante in your plant care routine. To keep house and patio plants looking their best, follow these simple steps:
Most plants benefit from a summer outdoors. Think of it as their summer vacation. If you have an exterior space, move your plants outside around mid-April, or when nighttime temperatures are higher than 50 degrees F. If you have an unexpected cold night, take them indoors.
Once outside, gradually move plants from shade to sunlight; they will burn if moved immediately into direct sunlight. Also, make sure to shelter them from strong winds. Remember: plants need time to acclimate to new environments– check on them frequently in the first few days.
Spring is the best time to repot and prune your plants, before the summer growth season starts. Plants typically need to be repotted every 12 to 18 months. A common misconception: repotting does not necessarily mean putting the plant in a new planter, but rather, changing its soil or potting mix. If you do change planters, try not to go more than 2–3” large than the current pot.
Signs you need to repot:
Roots growing through the bottom drainage hole
Roots pushing the plant up and out of the planter
Slow growth (unless that is common for the plant species)
Plant becomes top heavy, falls over
Plant dries out more quickly than usual
Noticeable salt & mineral buildup on plant and/or planter
How to repot:
1. Water thoroughly a day or two before.
2. Pre-moisten new potting mix.
3. Turn plant upside down, holding it gently by the stems, and tap the bottom of the container until the plant slides out. Feel free to get those hands dirty and help your plant.
4. Prune dead or extra long roots. Dead or dying roots take nutrients from those in good health.
5. If root bound – roots growing in circles around plant – unbind roots and trim them back.
6. Remove 1/3 of the old potting mix.
7. Pour a layer of new, pre-moistened potting mix into the bottom of the (new) planter.
8. Set plant in the center of the planter.
9. Add soil around the plant until it is secure– be sure not to press the soil down too hard, since the roots must be able to breath.
10. Even out mix on top, water well, and let drain.
Remember to keep a newly potted plant out of bright, direct light for about 1 week as it acclimates to its new environment.
Regularly pick or cut off dying or unnecessary foliage so it does not use up nutrients and water that should go to the healthy parts of the plant, or attract pesky insects.
Spring is a great time to group plants together indoors and outdoors to up their humidity and moisture level (unless they’re succulents or cacti, of course). Invest in a mister so you can easily give your plants a good spray during the hot days ahead.