House Plant Care For Spring and Summer

April 27, 2021

House Plant Care For Spring and Summer

Spring is an exciting time for house plant growers. Everything starts to come alive with new growth and we're able to get more hands-on with our plants again. After a long period of not being able to repot, fertilise, or even water our plants throughout winter; in spring we're able to repot and propagate again!

I love this time of year. It feels like a fresh start and an opportunity to really make the most of the warm weather to grow big, healthy plants. With a little care and attention, your house plants can double or triple in size giving you the opportunity to propagate new ones or simply enjoy the fresh growth. This is my advice on what to do and how to care for your house plants during spring and summer.



Clean Shelves and Windowsills

For most of autumn and winter, we keep our windows closed. Things tend to get a little stuffy. At the beginning of spring it's a good idea to clean down all shelves and windowsills, wiping around pots and saucers to clear away dust and debris. This helps get rid of unhelpful pests, dropped leaves, and spilled soil. During this spring clean you'll notice any plants that are struggling and need dealing with as well as those that are thriving and need repotting.

I use this time to make note of any house plant tasks I'll need to do in the next few months. Tasks include identifying plants needing immediate pest treatment, any that need repotting or binning, and those that could do with a trim. I also move plants around to better spots where they can get more or less sunshine, away from direct sunshine or open windows.



Increase Watering

As the weather warms up you'll need to start checking your plants more often. You'll notice the soil drying out quicker and your plants needing more regular waterings as they grow. Instead of watering every week or so, you'll need to start watering every 3-5 days, sometimes more often and sometimes less depending on the plant.

Always check the soil and condition of the plant before watering. Never water on a schedule. Some plants can go a lot longer without being watered while others need much more regular drinks. It's really important you know what plants you have and the conditions they like to live in. Generally speaking, most common houseplants prefer their soil to dry out between waterings. It's much better to under than over water!



Mix Soil

The best soil is the one you mix yourself. Creating your own soil mix can seem daunting, especially if you search for other people's recommendations. It can be as complicated or as simple as you want to make it. I like to keep things as simple as possible and have a really easy method for mixing your own soil. You really need to know your plants and what conditions they like in order to be successful at mixing your own soil.

I mostly use three substrates: basic compost, coconut coil, and moss. All my plants are potted into different ratios of these three substrates. For the most common houseplants, a 50/50 mix of compost and coir will do. For plants that need more nutrients or prefer a quick-drying soil, I adjust the ratios accordingly.



Repot Plants

Chances are you have a few plants that really need to be repotted. Maybe you missed the cut-off point in autumn or your plants continued to grow throughout winter. If you notice roots creeping out the bottom of their pots, it's time to upgrade their space to give them more room if you want them to grow as much as possible throughout spring and summer.

As soon as the weather warms up, I get my repotting tools out and start moving my plants into bigger pots. Small plants should be sized up into pots no more than an inch or two bigger than their previous one. For bigger, more mature plants, you can jump a few inches at time. This will give them enough space to grow but not too much they put all their energy into the roots. If you don't want a plant to get any bigger, you can trim the roots, and repot back into the same pot with fresh soil. This will keep the plant healthy.



House Plant Care For Spring and Summer



Fertilising Plants

When you notice your plants pushing out fresh growth you can start fertilising them again. Start with a small dose and gradually increase it as the weather warms up and your plants really start to grow again. I give all my plants a dose of fertiliser at the start of spring, around March, and then wait a month before starting biweekly or weekly fertilising treatments. I do this until I see growth declining as the weather cools.

Fertilising isn't essential, especially if you've only recently bought the plant or have repotted it. Fertilising your plants can damage them if you're not sure what to use and how often to apply it. I recommend Liquid Gold Leaf as it's easy to use and kind on your plants. For hoyas and orchids, I use Miracle Gro Pump & Feed Orchid.



Prune Leggy Vines and Stems

Plants that continue to grow during winter often produce smaller leaves and leggier vines. It can look odd next to the older, healthier growth from earlier in the year. These ugly and misshapen stems can be removed for propagation (or composted!) which will make the plant look nicer but also encourage it to push out new growth. If the winter growth doesn't bother you, it doesn't need to be removed. I prefer to chop the winter growth off.



Check For Pests

When spring arrives so do all the pests. While pests are still a problem in autumn and winter, they're much more common in spring and summer. In order to catch and stop pests before they cause too much damage, you need to know what to look out for. It's easy to miss the signs if you're not familiar with them. The House Plant Expect by D.G. Hessayon is the ultimate house plant book with everything you need to know about common pests and how to deal with them.

Preventative care is just as important as treatments. I routinely spray down my plants with this homemade pest spray to prevent trouble before it happens. When I notice pests on my plants, I spray liberally with the soap spray every few days until the pests are gone. I've treated every pest from thrips to mealy bugs in this way.



Propagate Plants

Spring is the ideal time to start propagating your plants. Cuttings will root quicker in warmer weather resulting in the option to grow a brand new plant or make your original one much bigger. If you want your plants to look fuller and bushier, you'll be able to achieve that in only a few weeks with a little propagation. Once the cuttings have sprouted around an inch of root, you can place them back into the original pot. Alternatively you can give them away or trade for different cuttings. This is how I originally grew such a large plant collection!



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