You’re back from holiday. How did you plants do while you were away?
Here are 5 Top Post Holiday Plant Care Tips to check that your plants are healthy and happy for the Year Ahead.
1. YELLOW LEAVES
This is usually a sign of overwatering. Roots that sit in water for too long start to rot and deprive the plant of the nutrients that it needs.
An easy check is to remove the plant from its pot and check its roots. These should be white and firm to the touch, with some primary and secondary roots visible. Any squishy, slimy, brown parts are an indication of root rot.
To Fix? Cut off any rotten roots. Check that there are no obstructions to drainage. And place the plant in a slightly warmer and/or brighter spot. Resume watering only when the soil has dried out again.
2. BROWN LEAVES
Brown leaves are the result of underwatering or low humidity for an extended period of time. The plant didn’t have enough water to replace the natural water loss in the leaf, resulting in plant cells dying. Usually this happens at the tips of the leaf, inwards.
To Fix? Simply cut off the brown section of the leaf, without making a fresh cut into the remaining green leaf flesh. Or cut the leaf off if you have enough other nice leaves. Give the plant a good soak (15mins should be good), to make sure that any excess dry patches have been hydrated.
If your plant is humidity loving, then consider misting it daily for the next few months, especially if you are in a dry-summer region, e.g. Cape Town.
3. DULL FOLIAGE COLOUR
The leaves on your plant are looking a bit bleached or lacklustre and aren’t bursting with their usual vitality. This can be the result of too much direct sun exposure or too little nutrition.
Sun light is intensified during summer and moves differently in a space, potentially exposing plants to too much sunlight in its path. Direct sunlight can also result in burnt leaf patches. During the summer growing period, plants also consume more nutrition. Should this nutrition not be available, it can lead to duller foliage.
4. OVERGROWN ROOTS
Your plant may have enjoyed a lovely growth spurt during the holidays, thanks to the additional water that you set it up with, and the warmer temperatures. Larger plant means more roots.
Your soil-to-root ratio needs to be optimal for plant growth. Too many roots can lead to reduced water absorption which can compromise plant health. You’ll notice this, if the water runs out too quickly during watering.
To Fix? Repot your plant into a larger pot, giving the roots more space. Alternatively, if you want to contain the growth of the plant, trim the roots with clean, disinfected scissors. We’ve written about Repotting in detail here.
5. PEST CHECK
With reduced air movement in the house and warmer temperatures, these conditions can lead to the onset of common house pests. This is normal and very treatable, so don’t despair.
Mealy bug, aphids and spider mites are some of the most common pests. Check the soil, stem, leaf nodes and the underside of the leaves for any insect life. Pests especially also like the softer foliage of new growth.
To Fix? Purchase a good organic pesticide such as Bioneem or Pyrol which is safe and effective to use in the home. If you prefer something more DIY, google “DIY House Plant Pesticide” for a few suggestions.
Got any other challenges? Let us know. We’d like to hear from you.