Kildare Post Column – Getting to Grips with Houseplants
The week this article came out in the Kildare Post marked my 30th and 31st gardening columns with the newspaper. When I realised this I was a bit shocked! It has been a very quick 30 articles. This article appeared edited in the Kildare Post on 5 August 2014.
This one is dedicated to house plants and some tips to getting the most out of them. If you have any tips of your own make sure to comment below and I will update the article here with them.
Getting to Grips with Houseplants By David Corscadden
While gardeners spend a lot of time outside caring for the plants which are out in the elements, it is equally as important to spend time caring for those plants inside. I am a fan of houseplants and think they are a great way of bringing the outdoor inside and one that will last much longer than cut flowers.
Of course now houseplants do not simply have to be green and boring, there is such a wide selection of plants on the market. From ones with variegated leaves to ones that are busting with flowers, there is something to work in every room of the house.
For as long as I can remember there has always been a collection of pelargonium in the porch of this house. Whether it was my grandmother’s collection of giant red flowering ones or the ever growing collection of pinks and whites that I have started collecting. Pelargoniums are great plants that do not require much maintenance apart from the obligatory deadheading.
When it comes to houseplants in general there are a few rules that should be observed for happy healthy plants.
Keep on Top of Watering
One of the most important tasks of an indoor gardener is keeping on top of watering. House plants can dry out very quickly thanks to central heating. This task can be made easier by investing in water aids which slowly release water into the pot or by simply placing a saucer under the pot to store water.
Time to Dust
Now this may seem like a strange tip but it is a very important one. Because the plants are indoor all the time and do not get rained on, which washes dust off outdoor plants, it is important to dust them. Dusting the plant will help promote better photosynthesis and encourage a healthier plant.
Throughout the year it is important to check that your plant and pot are in harmony. Make sure the plant is still suitable to the pot your have it in and that it is not out grown it. This can be done by making sure that roots are not growing out of the bottom of the pot. If this happens it is time to upgrade the pot to a bigger size.
Just as you fertilize your window boxes and hanging baskets, you should fertilize your house plants too. I am a fan of using tomato feed on my houseplants as I find it gives great results. There are also a number of slow release fertilizers that can be bought specially for houseplants.
Keep on top of deadheading and pruning
Just like the prized plants we love outdoors, houseplants need to be deadheaded and pruned to encourage second flushed of flowers and health growth.