Potted plants can add visual appeal and a sense of wellbeing to any interior,
but they can sometimes be tricky to keep alive. Here, Bhria Vellnagel consults
the owner of Sydney-based plant emporium Beyond Sunflowers, Gisele Zanier,
for her top five tips on taking care of your leafy friends.
1. AVOID OVERWATERING
Overwatering is one of the most common ways gardeners unintentionally damage their new plants. “While most think it’s basic knowledge to water a plant, often [they] will only require a little water every so often [to survive],” says Gisele Zanier.
“Overwatering can actually introduce diseases and pests to your plant,” she continues. “Before caring for your [indoor] garden, make sure you research what exactly you are planting, and its specific watering needs for optimum [results].”
2. FEED THEM WELL
While maintaining a correct watering schedule is paramount to your plant’s survival, adding fertilisers or ‘plant food’ will ensure it will thrive. “Fertilising [your plant] with organic material or soil conditioners will assist the soil in retaining moisture,” Zanier says. “This will also make the soil healthier and provide beneficial nutrients to your plant.”
Fertiliser comes in two different forms, liquid and granular. The type of fertiliser your plant needs will depend on how rapidly it grows, as a fast-growing variety will need more fertiliser than a slow-growing one. “If you decided to use liquid fertiliser then you will be feeding them on at least a monthly basis,” Zanier says. “If you take the slow-release option, you’ll [only need to] fertilise [your plants] at the start and the end of the season to replace lost nutrients.”
3. WATCH FOR CRITTERS
From aphids to fungus gnats, all manner of creepy crawlies can sneak into your home and attack your indoor plants. “Keep an eye out for these little critters,” Zanier says. “If you do see signs of any bugs, you can hand-pick them off your plant, [as this] will help stop more bugs from moving in.”
If bugs are becoming an issue, Zanier suggests using an organic spray or insect soap to rid your precious plant of these unwelcome guests.
4. CHOOSE THE RIGHT ENVIRONMENT
Just as we need a certain amount of sunlight to stay healthy, so do your plants. “When maintaining new plants, make sure that you assess the environment you have them in,” Zanier says. “Some plants need more sunlight than others, [while some] don’t grow well in the heat and are better suited to a cooler climate,” she explains. “Always asses where your plants [will sit before] bringing them [home]…you will save yourself money in the long run by choosing the right candidate for the environment.”
5. PULL OUT THE PRUNERS
Over time, your plant will need any dead or diseased stems or branches removed to continue to flourish. As an essential part of plant care, regular pruning is paramount to ensure the longevity of your potted friends. “[By] pruning your plants correctly, [you] can prolong their lifespan,” Zanier says. “[It may also] help keep your plants dense and full of foliage.”
Beyond Sunflowers products available from www.beyondsunflowers.com.au while stocks last.