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The ABC of plant care

The ABC of plant care

all you need to know about watering
Most plant owners become concerned that they are not sufficiently watering their houseplant, but in the plant world there is a tendency to overwater! This can be far more damaging to your plant health than having a slightly dry houseplant. The most accurate assessment of a plant’s need for water is through the old weight test. Pick up the container of the plant and see how much it weighs; the lighter it is, the more it needs a drink. Unless noted otherwise, most houseplants would prefer being slightly dry than soaked. During winter months, a plant typically only needs watering a few times a month. Placing a tray underneath the potted plant’s container is the best way to catch that excess water and prevent unnecessary mess. Purchasing a simple spray bottle (these are cheaply available almost anywhere) is also helpful to prevent overwatering. A light misting once or twice a day is generally beneficial to your houseplant’s health. Remember that we’re trying to duplicate the natural environment for these plants, and that requires humidity and misting. Click here for more information.
fertilizing time

Although plants carry out photosynthesis to produce the sugars they need to survive, there is a more direct form of nutrition to maximise houseplant potential. Providing fertilizers to your houseplants ensures they remain happy and healthy.

Nutrition can be delivered via a granule that breaks down over time, or it can be added more directly via a water soluble fertilizer. Generally, granules need to be applied once every few months, while water soluble fertilizers should be applied every fortnight or so. Again, read the instructions on a specific fertilizer to see what is recommended.

give the right amount of light

When it comes to houseplants, light is just as essential as water! The amount of light required varies by species: Houseplants typically require high light (six or more hours a day), medium light (four to six hours a day), or low light (less than three hours a day). Plants will either require bright or direct light (sunlight from a south-facing window), indirect or filtered light (sunlight through a curtain or light from a bulb).

If plants don’t get the light they need, they won’t necessarily die, but they will stop growing and may begin to look unhealthy. When in doubt, always consult the label. If it says “full sun”, put the plant where it can soak up all those rays. Where the label calls for “bright indirect light” it translates as “put your plants where they can see the sky”. In these cases an open sky means a healthy plant.

It all starts with the soil

The first step towards healthy plant life is the soil. The best growing media is soil-less and is a combination of equal parts peat moss, vermiculite/perlite, and compost. When a healthy base is established the other parts become far easier.

the right temperature

Aim to keep the plant in a warm environment with sufficient air circulation, and periodically rotate it to ensure consistent growth. During the winter months, keep plants away from the cold draft areas in the house. The warmer it gets for houseplants, the happier they are, so try to remain vigilant when it comes to placement.

Airflow is the third element that is key to healthy plant growth. Still air can cause a host of ailments in your houseplant and creates leave-clogging dust. To ensure houseplants remain healthy you should periodically, and gently, dust the plant’s leaves so they can take nice deep breaths.

Now that you’ve mastered the basic conditions, the next challenge is to avoid the common mistakes. Just remember, it’s not just newbies who struggle with this, many seasoned plant owners can benefit from a refresh to prevent bad habits.

 

What to do if your plant has got

What to do if your plant has got

falling leaves

This can be a sign of both underwatering and overwatering. Check the instructions that came with the plant to learn how often your plant needs to be watered.

leaf spots

There are two types of leaf spots. Fungal spots appear brown with a yellow halo and will kill either portions or the entire leaf. Bacterial leaf spots appear water soaked and can also have a yellow halo.

Solution: Remove the infected leaves, increase the air circulation around your plant and avoid getting water on the unaffected leaves.

powdery mildew

Powdery mildew: A white, powdery fungal growth will start to take over foliage, causing leaf distortion and potentially leaf drop.

Solution: Increase air circulation, ensure the soil is draining properly and remove severely infected leaves.

small flies

All of a sudden they appear, those bothersome little black flies. If it’s not a fruit bowl with ripe bananas, you may be suffering from fungus flies. These tiny flies lay their eggs in the soil of your plants, larvae then hatchs from the eggs which eats the roots of your plant. Not a good idea. This issue can be tackled in a few easy steps.

1 Make sure your soil of your plant dries, dry soil prevents larvae moving as freely.

2. Put some white sand on top of the soil of your plants. The flies will be unable to lay eggs here. It is important to do it with all your plants, otherwise the problem will only relocate.

3. Buy nematodes of organic origin. Mix the nematodes with some water and they will eat the larvae of the flies. At PLNTS.com nematodes are available to purchase in our care range.

yellow spots

Tips of leaves turn yellow and then brown with the potential for the entire leaf to die.

Solution: Remove the infected leaves and avoid misting the plant.

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