It's officially summer and that means its time for our plants to thrive! Here's a list of tips to help set you up for success:
•Inspect your leaves (top and bottom) weekly-monthly. Look for any signs of pests: spotted leaves, change in leaf texture, holes, sticky residue, fine webbing, etc. Spider mites LOVE a hot dry environment. It can take less than a week to have a full blown infestation. Routinely checking your leaves can catch an issue early before it becomes a problem.
•Wipe or shower your leaves whenever they appear dusty. This will help them to photosynthesize and not invite pests. Open windows in the summer means more dust and more pests!
•Fertilize! If your plants don't already have slow-release pellets (white, green, yellow, etc) in the soil then your plants could stand to get regular doses of fertilizer during their busy growing season. We recommend a balanced NPK liquid houseplant fertilizer. Follow the recommended dose or use at half-strength. Healthy plants are able to fight off pests and diseases better and put out more growth!
•Slowly acclimate indoor plants (even succulents and cacti) to the outdoors. Many folks like to bring their indoor plants outside during the summer and watch them explode with growth! If you want to do so, please acclimate your plants by taking them outside for short periods of time & start in the shade! Slowly increase the amount of time outside/in direct sun. Start with early morning sun as this is more gentle. Direct sunlight on leaves that have been growing indoors or under shade cloth can easily burn.
•Avoid getting leaves wet in direct sunlight. Water on leaves in the summer is like a magnifying glass to the sun. Only spray plants down while they are shaded and you know they will dry before any direct light hits them.
•Water based on the moisture content of the soil. We know, a lot of folks love a good schedule, but nature doesn't run on a schedule, plant fam. If you really need to keep a schedule, use that time to check in on the plants but use the soil as a guide for when to water. How? Our favorite method is accurate and FREE! Use a takeout chopstick! Stick it in the soil at least a few inches down (be careful of roots). Place your thumb on the chopstick where it hits the top of the soil and remove the chopstick. If it comes out clean, it is dry. Dirty means it is damp... just like in baking! Since you have your thumb as a guide, you'll know how far down the soil is wet vs dry. Water accordingly to the plant's needs. Hotter temps and brighter light mean the soil will usually dry out quicker due to evaporation, increased water intake from the plant, etc.
•Be mindful of AC/fans/humidity levels. The AC and temperature in one room can be drastically different from another. Be mindful of the location of your plants and keep them away from cold drafts. A cooler room might also mean the plants in that location won't dry out as quickly as plants in a hotter room and on the converse, fans may speed up the drying time of the soil. Humidity levels are also important to note for certain... shall we say... high-maintenance (but ever so lovely) plants. Keep an eye out for brown crispy edges on Calatheas and Marantas.
•Plan ahead and get a sitter. If you're going on vacation, ask a friend to look in on your plants while you're away. If that isn't an option, see if you can opt for self-watering pots for the plants that like to stay evenly moist, such as ferns. There are other watering gadgets like terracotta watering spikes that can also be used.
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