The weather is changing; it was hovering over 39 degrees burning us alive with the heat just two days back and today it is all cloudy and chill. The drastic change in weather is a welcoming change to our moods but not so much for the plants.

Have you noticed how the growth of plants suddenly slows down when seasons change? Just as we adapt ourselves in clothing and eating habits based on the weather condition, it’s important to modify feeding patterns for plants through the year.

In her book on homemaking tips, Household Wisdom, author Stephanie Donaldson writes, “There is a world of difference between a healthy, ?flourishing houseplant and the sad specimens that die a slow, lingering death on the windowsills and mantelpieces of far too many homes. The mortality rate among houseplants is staggeringly high. Half the fatalities are killed by kindness such as overwatering and and overfeeding, while the other half starve to death — an occasional splash of water and no feed.”

Here are some tricks that have worked for me:

1. Group the plants together.

2. Develop a watering pattern for every season. Check the moisture content in the pot by inserting your finger in the soil before you water. If you’ve placed the pot in a saucer, then the roots will remain moist for more than a day. If you’ve been watering every evening during summer and continue to do so even during the monsoon, then the plants are bound to die a slow death.

3. Some plants require a lot of sunlight while others thrive well in shade. However, avoid keeping any plant directly in sunlight. South-facing windows or balconies receive more sunlight during the day than the north-facing ones. Choose your plants based on the location of your balcony or garden.

4. The compost in soil when you get plants from a nursery lasts for a maximum of six weeks.Some plants such as money plant do not require any manure while others can grow at a faster rate with manure.  Tea leaves, vegetable and fruit skins work well as manure.

5. Beware of pests. I’ve lost way too many plants to pests. Check the underneath of leaves for any signs and spray a pesticide at least once in three months.

6. Remove the yellow leaves regularly. Yellow leaves are not signs of a dying plant. Old leaves give way to new leaves.

What are your tricks of caring for houseplants?

9 Comments

  1. Hi,
    Came by your blog just yesterday. Mighty impressed.
    What pesticides do you use to keep the pests away. I have a problem with spider mites on our roses.

  2. Came over to your blog from Shruti’s. Timely advise for me abt caring for houseplants. Our tulsi plant always succumbs to pests…we are not sure what it is but there is either white or black powdery stuff all over the plant before it dies. What should I spray on it to fight the pests?

  3. Not sure if you got my msg earlier…I was asking abt the Tulsi plant. We have made sure it gets plenty of sunshine (our balcony is west facing) but it still always succumbs to pests. What do I spray on it to fight pests?

  4. laksh

    Divya,

    I generally don’t spray anything for my Tulsi as we consume it. So, if you intend using it too, avoid using pesticides as they can be harmful. Good general care in terms of keeping it away from other plants that are infested with pests, right amount of sunlight, just enough water to keep the soil moist will help your Tulsi. Check the pot in which it is growing. Change the soil, if you are still doubtful. Put a few neem leaves in the pot. That should take care of it.

  5. laksh

    Natti,

    Thank you. I had a persistent problem with spider mites on one of my plants. Washing the leaves repeatedly with water solved the problem. I didn’t have to spray anything. However, you might get a insecticide spray meant for houseplants in your nursery. Try that. I would suggest taking the pot away from the rest before you spray. Do not spray a lot as it can potentially damage the plant. Leaves tend to wither if oversprayed and take a very long time to grow back. It has happened once with all of my plants. Even liquid soaps used in the kitchen are effective against mites. Again a word of caution: use very sparsely.

  6. Thanks for the bits of advise folks…I will try all of the above for tulsi. My only dissapointment is that this is the third time I have repotted new tulsi in the same pot with brand new soil and new shoots of tulsi (bought from a nursery). But each time this is the fate it ends with. My other plants do fine btw and they are right next to the tulsi plant.

  7. Pingback: dress your home » Gardening: Are you overwatering plants?

  8. I had the same problem, basis suggestion i did spray salt water to the tulsi, it tried completely within a day……i was very disappointed. I softly washed away all the dried leaves once and placed the pot on my terrace, where it gets direct sunlight for atleast 4-5 hours. Now it has grown back with lots of leaves and seeds in them…….i guess tulasi cannot bloom without min 3-4 hours of sunlight. my personal experience.

  9. laksh

    Seema: can relate to your experience. a lot of times, the solution for a pest may be right but what I’ve learned over the years is how concentrated or dilute the solution is. Too concentrated, you may have a burnout and disastrous effect. Too dilute and it will not have the intended effect. Also with treatments such as neem oil it’s important to be consistent for it to have effect. Just once doesn’t solve the problem.

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