i don’t know about you, but the arrival of spring is the main thing that is keeping me going lately. that & my houseplants aka my healing garden. the spring solstice & the return of longer days means my green babies have been waking up from hibernation. it makes me so happy catching a new leaf these days.
it’s rough times being stuck inside, for both houseplants + humans. our plants have suffered from a less than ideal environment for several months now. thanks to winter my space was dimmer + dryer, & the worst part is this winter i’ve harmed a couple of plants because i left them sitting in water – please let my ficus elastica tineke be ok 🤞🏼
as of late, the days all feel the same & tbh i didn’t even realize it’s already april. this month is a good time to start tending to houseplants (if you live in the northern hemisphere), eventually bringing them outside if possible some time in may (at least in tkaronto). the following is a breakdown of my spring plant care routine.
generally, it’s suggested that you repot your plants annually, but let’s be real – i’ve got a lotta plants & didn’t have enough time to get to all of them during the past couple of years since moving back home. in addition, i didn’t want them to grow to be too big, too fast since i live in a small space. it’s also good to consider that some plants prefer being slightly root bound (hoyas, for instance). all that to say, i haven’t repotted some of my plants since i got them almost three years ago. however, that being said, i have topped some of them up with fresh soil to tide them over. this spring i’ll be repotting all that plants that need it.
🎍it’s good to repot your plants before their spring growth spurt, providing them with a more spacious home environment aka pot to grow because they’ll be growing fast soon
🌿you’ll also be giving them much needed nutrients to thrive bc plants were never meant to grow in pots – in their natural habitats they have room to grow their roots deep into the ground & in pots, after a year or two, the light + fluffy soil your plant came eventually breaks down & compacts, placing your green baby at risk of retaining too much water & not being able to breath
🌀in most cases the roots will fill the pot & will require support freeing up space to grow. when the roots take over the space, the soil is completely displaced & your green baby cannot adequately support its needs for moisture + nutrients. for more detailed info on repotting click here, it’ll take you to my post on repotting.
❌it’s important to remember that most potting soil contains fertilizers. so to prevent from overfertilizing & as a result, damaging your plant, you should hold off fertilizing for approximately six weeks after repotting.
🐠tbh, in australia i never fertilized my plants & since moving back to tkaronto i fertilized my plants last growing season for the first time. i’m not an expert & everyone has different fertilizing routines. in the past, i’ve used an organic liquid fertilizer, such as fish emulsion or seaweed.
prune + trim
🍂your plant may have shown you how unhappy it was last szn with some yellowing, dropping, browning, or wilting leaves. real talk, we can’t provide them with the conditions of their natural habitat & have disrupted their natural rhythms. spring is the perfect time to get rid of these leaves. trim off any leaves that are yellow or brown. i used to have a hard time cutting leaves off, but it’s good to let go of dead/dying leaves to make room for more growth. for real, they won’t be turning green again. you can either do it right away or wait until it could drop off easily on its own to pluck it off.
🌱spring is also the time to prune any stems that are etiolated, which have grown long & leggy, or have put out only small new growth. new stems will grow in their place & depending on your plant it will branch out.
wash dem leaves
💦wash & dust your leaves, as dust that accumulates actually blocks your plants from receiving light, therefore inhibiting photosynthesis + respiration, processes necessary for your plants to thrive
🚿to clean your plants, support the underside of a leaf with your palm, and then wipe the surface down gently with a soft cloth – i use a microfibre towel, which can be washed & used again. be sure to clean both sides of the leaf. if you’re lazy like me lol, you can also place your plants in the shower & give them a rinse with tepid water, so long as your water pressure isn’t too intense. in fact, this is also a great method for washing away pests. just keep in mind that this process isn’t for all plants, such as cacti & succulents, as they may end up drowning.
bringing your houseplants outside
🌤most houseplants aren’t the biggest fans of direct sunlight, unless it is the am kind that east facing spaces can provide (lucky me!) if you’re able to, most will benefit from spending sometime outdoors in a shady, protected area. for those of you with west or south facing windows, you’ll need to consider moving your plants away from the windows so they don’t get burnt, especially taking care of new growth. alternatively, you can keep them by the window & use a sheer curtain to filter the light.
🌡to know when to place your plants outdoors, check the nighttime temperature. in tkaronto, i know it’s time when it reaches 10 c or 50 f overnight. prior to that, you can start moving your plants closer to the window if need be to slowly acclimatize them for about a week or so before placing them in direct sunlight.
🌵if your set up is like mine, they’ve been pressed up against the windows taking in as much as light as they can lol so what i’ll do is slowly bring them outside, placing them in the shade or semi-shady spot for seven to 10 days before placing them in the full sun. but take care, not all your plants can handle the scorching summer sun so you need to get to know their individual needs. cacti + succulents love being in the direct sunlight, but don’t assume that all your tropical plants will want to be in direct sunlight – some will actually do better in shade.
💗ultimately, my best advice is to watch how the sun moves around your space & move your plants around until you find the right mix of sun + shade, then sit back & grow with them.