The National Institute of Health says children grow faster during spring than at any other time of the year. If spring makes most living things grow faster, no wonder both of my monstera plants shot out a new leaf each last week.
Spring has sprung and if you are reading a column about houseplants right now, you probably like houseplants and don’t enjoy causing them harm whether through neglect or human error. So, let’s dig up the dirt on what proper houseplant care looks like when spring strikes.
Spring is the time of year when most houseplants start to awaken from dormancy and their active growing season starts. Here is a checklist that will make this seasonal transition less hard on your plants.
Slowly acclimate to outdoors: Just because it hits double digits one at the beginning of the week doesn’t mean you are free to relocate all of your plants to your deck or balcony for the next few months. When temperatures are consistently above 7 C I think it is safe to put your plants outside. I bring mine in when the sun goes down.
Water more frequently: This doesn’t mean double the volume of water you’ve been giving your plants throughout the winter, but it does mean checking more often if the soil is still wet or moist. If it is, put the watering can down. In spring and summer plants use more energy and need more water. Depending on how much extra water each plant is absorbing, each plant may need to be on its own different watering schedule. Be vigilante.
Prune: It is common for houseplants to have yellowing, decaying, tired leaves after making it through the cold, dark winter. After experiencing a season of minimal to no growth it is a good time to prune, deadhead, or remove all the parts of the plant that are robbing the plant of nutrients. The yellow and dying lives will use some of the energy the plant needs to maintain its healthy leaves and store some to support the growth of new leaves.
Let in some fresh air: On really warm days, open some windows in your house or apartment and let in that breeze. This is also a good idea to do before moving them outside for longer periods of time as it starts the acclimation process sooner than later. I often complain about the humidity in southern Ontario but when it comes to kickstarting the health of your houseplants in the summer it is a godsend. Open those windows for a few hours and give your plants some much-desired humidity.
Clean and dust leaves: Plants love light. It almost seems like they need it. This is a very small simple step that seems trivial but actually makes a world of difference. Dust accumulates on the large parts of the leaf and even just a thin layer of dust can take away a large percentage of light the plant can absorb. Take a dry or damp cloth and lightly wipe the side of each leaf. Be careful you don’t cause too much friction as you may damage the plant.