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Indoor Plants: 11 Ways to Help Houseplants this Month

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Indoor Plants: 11 Ways to Help Houseplants this Month

May 20, 2018

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

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Above: “Check out this amazing Compton Carousel by @fairyblooms,” writes @the_simple_succulent. See more at #houseplant: 10 Best Hashtags to Explore on Instagram.

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

What your fiddle-leaf fig tree craves: bright, indirect sun, good air circulation, and well-draining soil.
Above: What your fiddle-leaf fig tree craves: bright, indirect sun, good air circulation, and well-draining soil.

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

The tillandsia does not ask for much. Your little friend will be happy with humidity, mist, and the occasional dunking.
Above: The tillandsia does not ask for much. Your little friend will be happy with humidity, mist, and the occasional dunking.

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

Start an orchid collection with easy-to-grow indoor varieties. See more at Best Indoor Plants: 6 Flowering Orchids to Grow. Photograph by Mimi Giboin.
Above: Start an orchid collection with easy-to-grow indoor varieties. See more at Best Indoor Plants: 6 Flowering Orchids to Grow. Photograph by Mimi Giboin.

Was the orchid a housewarming gift from your grandmother? For tips, see The Orchid that Owned Me. Are you trying to coax it to flower? See How to Get an Orchid to Bloom Again.

Repot a Cactus

See more at Rent-a-Houseplant: The Plant Library Delivers. Photograph by Molly Decoudreaux.
Above: See more at Rent-a-Houseplant: The Plant Library Delivers. Photograph by Molly Decoudreaux.

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

Start the plant swap with a display table where everyone can ogle the goods. Photograph courtesy of A Fresh Start.
Above: Start the plant swap with a display table where everyone can ogle the goods. Photograph courtesy of A Fresh Start.

“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

Tried and tested, here are nine of our favorite houseplants that can survive in low light. Above: Photograph by Mimi Giboin.
Above: Tried and tested, here are nine of our favorite houseplants that can survive in low light. Above: Photograph by Mimi Giboin.

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

Photograph by Mimi Giboin.
Above: Photograph by Mimi Giboin.

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

Photograph by Erin Boyle.
Above: Photograph by Erin Boyle.

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

Plants prefer the humidity levels in outdoor air. Photograph by Mimi Giboin.
Above: Plants prefer the humidity levels in outdoor air. Photograph by Mimi Giboin.

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

  See more of this spectacular pothos vine in Jamie’s Jungle: At Home with Houseplants in London. Photograph by @Jamie Song.
Above:  See more of this spectacular pothos vine in Jamie’s Jungle: At Home with Houseplants in London. Photograph by @Jamie Song.

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:

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.

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