Houseplants: ‘Increase watering’ now but ‘don’t stick’ to a routine – do the ‘finger’ test

Houseplants: RHS advises on watering techniques

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With the weather warming up and houseplants starting to grow again, they may need a little more care, including increasing water intake. Houseplants may also need to be moved to avoid them becoming “scorched” and help them thrive all summer long. How can houseplant owners make sure they are watering their plants correctly?

Gardening guru at Miracle-Gro, Kate Turner, told “If you moved your plants nearer windows during winter to maximise the light, make sure you move them away again otherwise they risk being scorched.”

Some houseplants however, thrive in direct sunlight.

This included aloe vera, the jade plant, the snake plant and the string of pearls.

Leaf scorch symptoms include browning or yellowing of the leaves.

The expert added: “Also increase watering but only when your plant needs it.

“Don’t stick to the same day each week to water and always make sure to check the compost first by sticking your finger in five centimetres.

“If it’s still moist then don’t water as overwatering will attract pesky fungus gnats.”

Overwatering is the most common way houseplants die, with signs including wilting leaves and soggy soil.

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To avoid overwatering, owners can also mist their plants to boost their humidity levels.

Tropical houseplants which love high humidity include orchids, peace lily and ferns.

Kate added: “Make sure the water you use is room temperature and never straight from the cold tap.

“If you have access to rain water then use that occasionally instead as plants love it.”

Using cold water can send the plant into shock which may lead to permanent root damage or leaf drop.

If using tap water, it is recommended to leave it overnight before watering plants with it.

This helps the chlorine to dissipate and reduce the risk of harmful chemicals in the water.

For those with orchids, the expert recommended placing the plant on a tray of pebbles sitting in water.

The gardening expert explained: “That way you can keep the humidity levels up, however, make sure the pot isn’t directly in water.

“Start feeding with a houseplant feed such as Miracle-Gro® Organic Pump & Feed All Purpose.

“All plants need food, just like us!

“Always check your plant’s requirements and if in doubt use half the recommended dose for a fortnight from spring to summer.

“Never pour feed on dry compost, make sure it is moist and water afterwards.”

Other houseplant feeds are also available to purchase from garden centres.

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