This month your houseplants may not be getting as much attention as they did in winter. Nothing personal, but if the weather’s sunny and the garden’s in bloom in May, why focus on indoor plants?
Well, because they’ll love you for it. Like garden plants, many houseplants experience seasonal growth spurts in spring (after all, in their native climates, houseplants are outdoor plants). Others may need a boost of fertilizer or a bath (leaves get dusty in winter months when a furnace blows air and stirs up tiny particles).
Here are 10 ways to show some love to your houseplants this month, to make them healthier and happier.
Save a Succulent
Have you killed every succulent you’ve tried to grow? Or do you have just one in your collection that just refuses to thrive? Maybe it’s getting too much water, or too much (or too little) sun, or not enough air circulation, or…diagnose the problem and fix it with 9 Secrets to Growing Succulent Plants Indoors, from Flora Grubb Gardens.
Fix a Fiddle-Leaf Fig
After a long winter, your fiddle-leaf fig tree may have some yellowing leaves, brown patches, or an overall droopy appearance. Perk it up with some outdoor time on a warm day if you have a covered balcony or shady patio. For more tips, see 7 Secrets: How to Save a Dying Fiddle-Leaf Fig Tree.
Enable an Air Plant
Air plants don’t need soil, but they do need water—the right amount at the right time. See how to help tillandsias thrive with Gardening 101: How to Water an Air Plant.
Obsess Over an Orchid
Repot a Cactus
The secret to repotting a cactus without drawing blood during ” a run-in with all those spines?” Our contributor Jane Perrone reveals all in 10 Secrets to Successful Houseplants from the Experts.
Host a Plant Swap
“Plant swaps are events where plant enthusiasts of all stripes meet in person and trade plants or cuttings and knowledge. Think clothing exchange turned plant party,” writes Margot. See tips to host your own in Plant Swaps: The New Sharing Economy.
Right Plant, Right Place
Plenty of plants can thrive in a dark apartment. They may not love it, but they will adapt—especially if you coddle them with extra light from time to time (if possible, bring them outdoors to enjoy warm weather in a sheltered, shady spot). Find the best choice for your less-than-sunny spot at Best Houseplants: 9 Indoor Plants for Low Light.
Revive African Violets
There’s a good reason the African violet used to be America’s favorite houseplant. Don’t be scared off by its finicky reputation; see our tips to keep yours blooming in African Violets: Rethinking ‘America’s Favorite House Plant’ for Modern Times.
Get Rid of Gnats
Minuscule black fungus gnats look an awful lot like fruit flies and they’re just as harmless, but no less of a nuisance. If you start to notice the tiny flies buzzing around the top of your rabbit foot fern (or any other houseplant), get rid of them with our tips: Goodbye, Fungus Gnats: Pest-Free Potting Soil.
Take Plants Outdoors
Give your plants some fresh air in warm weather by moving them outdoors for better circulation and higher humidity levels. See more in How to Garden Like a Frenchwoman: 10 Ideas to Steal from a Paris Balcony.
Train a Vine to Climb
Trying to get a pothos or other vine to climb a wall? “Unless you grow a self-clinging plant such as ivy, which generally doesn’t thrive indoors, you will need to provide some kind of anchor point for your plant,” writes our contributor Jane Perrone. See her suggestions in 10 Secrets to Successful Houseplants from the Experts.
Every month should be houseplant season, and here’s some help to keep your collection happy all year round:
- Succulents: 8 Tips to Help Your Favorite Indoor Plants Survive
- Houseplants 101: A Field Guide to Planting, Care & Design
- Gardening 101: How to ID an Air Plant
- Air Plants 101: A Field Guide to Planting, Care & Design of Tillandsias
- For more ideas about how to display air plants, see Hooked on Houseplants, Teen Edition
- 9 Secrets for Growing Succulents Indoors
- Best Houseplants: 9 Indoor Plants for Low Light
Interested in other tropical plants for your garden or indoor space? Get more ideas on how to plant, grow, and care for various tropical plants with our Tropical Plants: A Field Guide.