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Tips for Keeping Your Houseplants Healthy & Happy!

Tips for Keeping Your Houseplants Healthy & Happy!

Some people just seem to have a green thumb and can keep their plants thriving with seemingly very little effort. For others it is a much bigger task with a few casualties along the way!

Unfortunately, there’s no recipe you can follow like when baking a cake. It all depends on the type of plant, the type of pot, the type of soil and of course environmental factors like; heat, humidity and the amount of light available.

In general, the happier your plants are, the less likely they are to encounter disease and pest issues. Bugs can just seem to come out of nowhere and if you’re not paying attention, they can become a major problem before they are noticed. It’s a good idea to inspect the leaves of your plants weekly and check for any damage to the leaves or other signs of infestation like honeydew or webbing.

The most common problem pests you are likely to encounter at home are aphids, mealy bugs, scale and spider mites. They all feed on the juices of the plant, robbing it of nutrition and weakening the plant.

When it comes to pest control, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Try to use good hygiene practices such as:   cleaning up organic matter like fallen leaves, cleaning and disinfecting pots between uses, disinfecting scissors and pruners between uses, and using fresh potting soil instead of re-using old soil.

It is also a good idea to keep the leaves on your plants clean and dust free. Spider mites in particular, like dry air and dusty leaves. You can wipe leaves with a damp cloth or give your plant a rinse in the sink or shower. Remember that too much nitrogen fertilizer can lead to a flush of fresh growth which is where aphids like to hang out and feast on that juicy, tender new growth. Scale is usually found on the stems but can be found elsewhere. They are tricky to spot because they just look like little bumps or scabs on the stem. They are only mobile as juveniles. Once they find a good place to feed, they mature into adults and stay in that one place. Try removing them with a Q-tip and some rubbing alcohol. Mealy bugs on the other hand are more noticeable. They look like teeny tiny pieces of white fluff. They can often be found on the undersides of leaves and in the crevices where the leaves meet the stem. Mealy bug can also be removed with a Q-tip dipped in rubbing alcohol. This should be done regularly to keep them at bay.

Unfortunately, you can’t assume that a plant is pest free when you purchase it. It’s a good idea to quarantine your plant for a couple of weeks to make sure you’re not bringing home any unwanted guests. Inspect it daily while in quarantine and if looks good after a couple weeks you can put it with your other plants.

This may all seem like a lot of work but as some of you know plants can be a bit of an obsession! Ask any plant parent, the feeling of nurturing and watching something grow is so rewarding. Plants are known to make us feel calm and more relaxed so green up your indoor space today!

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