This is it: your houseplants’ favorite time of year. As they come out of their winter dormancy (read: long nap), your plants will awaken refreshed, vibrant, and ready to get their grow on.
A little extra care will go a long way in helping your plants kick off the warmer months in full force. Here are the steps to prep your plants this spring:
Replenish soils and re-pot your plants
After conserving energy through the winter, your plants are entering their prime growing season. Now is the time to replenish the soil to give your plants fresh nutrients. Toss out about one-third of the current soil and add in the same amount of fresh soil or potting mix.
Early spring is the best time to re-pot and give your plants more space to stretch their roots. Plants typically need to be repotted every 12 to 18 months, depending on how quickly they grow.
Whether you re-pot your plants depends on whether they’ve outgrown their current accommodations. If roots are visible and wrapping around each other, pushing the plant up and out of its planter, or if your plant is extremely top-heavy and falling over, those are clear indications that it’s time to upsize your pot!
Aim to upgrade to planters that are no more than 3” larger in diameter than current pots for medium-sized plants, and no more than 6” larger for bigger (floor-dwelling) plants.
Prune to promote growth
Just like a haircut can promote hair growth, pruning plants promotes leaf growth! Remove older or less vibrant leaves and vines to help your plants focus their energy on their healthiest foliage. Also give your plants a generous wipe down to remove dust buildup and ensure your plants can absorb as much sunlight as possible.
Reposition for perfect sun exposure
After the Spring Equinox, the sun continues to follow a higher and higher path throughout the sky as the days grow longer. This means that you might need to rearrange where your plants are located to ensure they receive their ideal amount of sunlight. Notice where the sunlight moves throughout the day and determine where to place your plants based on their individual sun exposure needs.
Adjust the watering schedule
As the days get longer and the sunrays warmer, you’ll notice that your plants are thirstier than they were in the winter months.
Be sure to increase water frequency and volume gradually to avoid overwatering. This is a time to be more attuned to the signals your plants give off: water when leaves start to look wilty or deflated, and check soil moisture to ensure the soil is drying out between showers. The best time to water is early morning or early evening, maximizing the amount of time your plant has to absorb the water without it evaporating.
Houseplant pests thrive in warmer temperatures and tend to infiltrate our homes as the seasons turn from winter to spring. From aphids to spider mites, fungus gnats and mealybugs, there are a number of miniscule pests that love to prey on our precious fronds.
To get ahead of these pesky bugs, there are a few (toxic to the pests, not you) insecticides you can use. Spray the base of your plants with a diluted neem oil solution, or mix some diatomaceous earth into the soil for protection against plant-killing critters.
To feed or not to feed? That is the question.
If you just awoke from a 3-4 month nap, wouldn’t you be hungry?! But in all seriousness, it does take a little research to see which of your plants actually need to be fertilized. Overfertilizing is worse than not fertilizing at all, so be sure to check each plant’s specific needs and always lean on the side of under-feeding.
Those are the basics for setting up your indoor plants for a prolific growing season! Don’t forget to complement them on their lush foliage too, affirmations are part of being a good plant parent.
Cover photo by @terracottakat