Indoor Gardening Tips
" I always kill my plants. I get them for holidays from my kids, and they die. I feel so awful."
You may not be getting the correct plants for Mother's Day or Easter. You are perfectly capable of taking care of plants, some HOLIDAY plants are just meant to be enjoyed for... the Holidays.
Florist mums, bulb plants and Cineraria are meant to be enjoyed for a week or two- if you're lucky- a month. It's hard to keep them going. Martha Washington Geraniums are a beautiful plant that is the favorite hanging basket for Mother's Day- but it will not bloom past July first.
When you get a lovely pot of tulips, daffodils or Easter lilies, just plant the ugly things outside when they die off. They will regrow next year.
For many years of helping customers, we understand that you have some problems with growing plants indoors.
We are always here to help, and some issues can be solved on this page.
"My houseplant is losing leaves. What should I do?"
If your plant is losing leaves, most likely there are just 2 common problems.
Not enough light ( with Ficus and other woody stem plants) or Too much water.
Try these simple steps. Bring your indoor houseplant to a sunnier window. As you are dragging it across the floor ( or just moving it) is it really heavy? Is it so light that you can hardly feel any weight in the pot whatsoever?
If your plant is too wet and in a dark corner, it will never dry out. This will cause root rot, bacteria growth and eventually, smelly soil.
If the soil is dry, but you claim you water it faithfully, chances are that you don't water it enough at one time. You have to pretty much soak the soil, ( let those little feeder roots get moisture) but then let it dry out a bit. Don't suffocate the roots with stagnant water. Many plants can live in low light, but they need to be watered occasionally, and not just a little cup full. Take it into the sink, soak that plant, let it drain for overnight. Then you can put it back where it belongs... and ignore it for the next few weeks. You be the judge. Some plants only need water when they tell you they need it.
The most notable plant is the Ficus Benjamina. When purchasing these trees or bushes from an inexperienced source, you will get a cheap tree but suffer the consequences. We buy only shade grown trees and plants, that are already acclimated to your home environment.
Other plants such as Peace Lily, Chinese Evergreen, and large leaf Philodendron Selloum, are another common houseplant that loses leaves.
But you could also have bugs on your plants. Sorry. It just happens.
I have ants. Lots of ants. They are climbing up the stalk of my plants, indoors.
Ants on your plants? you just watered the plant too much in a dark space. You might have ants in your cupboard also that have migratedt o your rotted roots.
You can fix this. Just let your plant dry out to the point of wilting, just a little. And find that source of sweet raisin bread you kept in your pantry and forgot about it for a couple of months. Try a little Bug Be Gone spray.
However, the most common problem with ants on your plants is with other insects.
Aphids, Scale and Mealy Bug secrete a sap while sucking on your plant called " honeydew"
LOOK for these other pests HERE
"My plant is all tall and ugly looking. It just keeps looking like it's stretching"
That's because it's reaching for the light. Is your succulent or cactus growing in LEAPS AND BOUNDS? They aren't supposed to. They are supposed to grow S-L-O-W-L-Y, and reach toward the light at their own pace. Plus, they will grow too fast if you water them too much. So, just stick them in a sunny window, and water them when you think about them. Hopefully that will be about once every few weeks,
depending on the size of their pots. This goes for any plant that is stretching too much.
How do I propagate my favorite plant?