Many of you may be spending some extra time at home over the next few weeks. I had written this blog post before the Corona Virus shut most group activities down. It seems timely now to help give you all things you can do at home that are fun, good for your health and great for your plants! Gardening has not been canceled and we still expect to open for the season March 25th. We will be taking extra precautions like offering deliveries and drive through pick up services to make sure everyone stays safe. We will keep you all posted as we move forward, but rest assured, all the baby plants are safe in our greenhouses and growing strong!
It’s Time for a Spa Day!
During the winter months my friends hide their houseplants when I come over. I know they have hidden them prior to my arrival because there are always tell tale giveaways, like empty saucers on a window sill or a few withered old leaves left in a corner. I picture these poor embarrassments for plants hiding in the closet in which they were hastily thrown before my arrival like little pots of horrors. I can see them peeking out from under the door while we enjoy brunch, cocktails, dinner or a football game silently screaming “FEED ME SEYMOUR!”. I’m not kidding, they are screaming for your attention!
Stop hiding your plants from me! Yours don’t look all that much different from mine. How would you feel (and look!) if you hadn’t showered since October? We all know the benefits of a good shower and grooming. It’s true for us, our pets and yes, most certainly our plants. Even though most of your houseplants aren’t actively growing, the months of dry indoor air and dim light will take a toll. But don’t despair, have faith in your plants, a good makeover spa day will go a long way to an amazing spring revival!
How to perform a good spring cleaning for your plants – how to spring clean your house is another blog that I am not qualified to write! I hide my clutter before you come to my house like you hide your plants when I come to yours!
The first step to a successful spa day is give your houseplants a shower. My grandmother provided her charges with a quick shower almost monthly from December to April. My victims of benign neglect are lucky they get one good rinse once a winter! You will be amazed at the transformative benefits one good shower will make – so imagine what one a month would do. Helpful Tip: I put a bit of screen over the drain to catch particles from washing down.
Wipe the dust and grime from leaves with a paper towel. Use a fresh paper towel on every plant that way you will avoid the possibility of spreading pests from one plant to another. Take time as you clean to check for the most common houseplant pests: spider mites, mealy bugs, and scale. Examine the top and bottom of the plants’ leaves for discoloration, webs, or any sort of sticky or dirt-like substance. These could be a sign of pests. If you suspect pests, use a handheld magnifying glass to look for eggs, cast-off skins, or the pests themselves. Some insects, like Scale, secrete a shiny, sticky substance on the leaves. If you find evidence of any insects or disease, snap a picture and bring it in for us to help identify and find the best solution for control. Most common insects can easily be controlled with an organic insecticidal soap like Espomas and the more challenging ones like spider mites might need organic Neem oil. We’ve got effective solutions that are safe and organic!
Plants with dead leaves or damaged stems should be cleaned up. Use sharp pruners, scissors or, for tender growth, you can pinch off the dead part with your fingers. Even if they look healthy, most houseplants benefit from a good spring pruning. If you aren’t familiar with your houseplant’s specific pruning requirements just ask us! Always remember to pinch back just above a leaf node to encourage better branching in your plant. Do not prune blooming houseplants until after they have completed flowering, otherwise you might clip off tiny flower buds that are just forming.
I generally don’t fertilize much in the winter except for my flowering plants like African Violets. All my green foliage plants get a rest from November to March. But now that it’s warmer and the days are getting longer, it’s time to start fertilizing again. We’ve got everything from Espomas Organic Houseplant Food to Osmocote so we can find the perfect match for both your fertilizing schedule and your plants needs.
Repotting anything that is pot bound (you can see the roots coming out the bottom or circling on the top) can be done now also. Use a sterile soil mix like Fafard’s Container Mix. If you don’t spend the extra money and get a sterile soil, you are bound to get soil gnats. These nasty and hard to get rid of bugs look like fruit flies and are common with cheap non sterilized potting soils! Good soils are definitely one area you want to spend the extra money on! We’ve got lots and lots of new and exciting pottery in for this spring, so repotting will be more fun to do as you get to redecorate at the same time!
We will be opening for the spring season March 25th! Alec and Angela have been busy in our greenhouses planning, potting and caring for an exciting spring selection of new plants! The baby plants began arriving in early January and even though that can be one of the bleakest months of the winter season, it’s exciting to see all the tiny little seedlings and cuttings come in!
Wishing you all a safe and healthy few weeks!
Michelle and Team Lakeview