Sticky traps attract insects to their yellow surface and trap them on the sticky surface to prevent damage to plants, undated photo | Photo courtesy of Summit Responsible Solutions, St. George News
ST. GEORGE – Fight the post-holiday blues with a little indoor gardening. Keeping your plants healthy and looking their best with a little care this winter is sure to lift your spirits.
Cut off any dead leaves as they appear. Use sharp cuts or side pruning to make a clean cut that looks neat and closes quickly. An occasional brown leaf is usually not a problem, but if the shedding continues, it may be time to take action. Assess growing conditions and make necessary adjustments.
Brown leaves are often caused by low humidity which is common in many homes during the winter. Increase humidity in your home by grouping plants together. As a plant loses moisture through its leaves through transpiration, neighboring plants benefit. Add pebbles or marbles to the pan or tray below the plants. Allow the excess water to collect in the pebbles at the bottom of the pot. As the water evaporates, humidity increases right around the plant. Move plants that require moist soil and high humidity to a terrarium. They are attractive living decorations and make high-maintenance plant care easier.
Over- and under-watering can also result in brown leaves, tips and leaf tips. Water thoroughly when needed. Base frequency on the plants you are growing, room temperature and humidity. Tropical plants need consistently wetter soil, while cacti and succulents like it drier. With lower light conditions in many homes, plants grow more slowly and may need less frequent watering in the winter. Pour off excess water that accumulates in the pan, which can lead to root rot.
Stop fertilizing houseplants in winter unless they are actively growing. Applying fertilizers that plants don’t need can cause damage to the roots, leading to bleaching of the leaves.
Cut off the brown tips that are common on spider plants, dracaenas, Ti plants and prayer plants sensitive to chlorine and fluoride in the water. Avoid the problem by using chemical-free water.
Wipe the dust off the leaves with a damp cloth. Use a makeup brush to clean up the fuzzy leaves of plants like African violets. Keeping your plants clean and tidy also helps reduce insect and disease problems.
Further protect plants from pests with sticky traps. Just place one or two in the pot with the sticky side exposed. Yellow attracts fungus gnats, aphids, thrips, leaf miners and other harmful pests that feed on your plants. The sticky surface traps insects causing them to die without the use of pesticides. Replace the trap as soon as it becomes covered with insects or every three months.
Increase the resilience of indoor plants by providing the right amount of light. Move the plants to a sunnier window or add artificial lights as needed. Then give the plants a quarter turn each time you water. This promotes more balanced growth by exposing all parts of the plant to the light source.
Taking time to care for your plants improves their health and beauty, lifting your mood and helping to combat stress.
Copyright Melinda Myers, LLC, all rights reserved.
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