Indoor plant care can be tricky, depending on which plants you own and how many you have. Between providing the right lighting, watering consistently, and watching temperature fluctuations, there is a lot to consider in keeping your houseplants alive.
However, those aren’t the only required tasks in indoor plant care. There are many other small tasks that will improve the look and growth of your plants over time. Some are mostly for aesthetics, which could be considered ‘manicuring’, while others do have a long-term impact on plant health. Make sure you tackle these tasks this year to give your plants the best start possible in 2022.
Clean The Leaves
Your first manicuring task is cleaning your plant’s leaves. Outdoors, plants receive a thorough cleaning when it rains, and enough wind to knock off any unwanted debris. Indoors, that is not the case. Homes are dusty and full of stagnant air – an environment not conducive to clean, shiny leaves.
As dust settles on your plants, their ‘breathing’ is obstructed. Plus, dusty plants, like dusty homes, are not particularly pleasing to the eye. Give your leaves a gentle wipe with a cloth every month or two after watering and wipe down the pot to remove dirt.
The second task, only taking about five minutes out of your day, is to remove any dead leaves or debris around the base of the plant. In nature, plants are consistently surrounded by decaying leaves and plant debris. They prefer it, as these organic materials decompose and add nutrients back into the soil. But indoors, it’s not a great look, and can attract pests and diseases.
Every so often, just before the plant’s next watering, remove any decaying leaves that have fallen off the plant and any other materials obstructing the soil. You can also remove dying leaves from the plant before they drop. This will promote growth as the plant doesn’t expend any extra energy trying to keep a dying leaf alive.
Committed indoor gardeners with unruly plants can attempt to prune once a year, although this is not usually necessary for most indoor plants as they grow far slower than they would outdoors.
Pruning promotes new growth and keeps the plant to a more manageable size. You are welcome to let your plants go wild and skip pruning altogether, but if you want your plants to be more compact, this is a good step to take. Hanging plants in particular may benefit from an occasional pruning to lower the pressure of the hanging stems on the base of the plant.
Many indoor plant parents forget to repot, only considering the task when the plant shows signs of stress. However, your plants will be far happier when placed in their new pots at just the right time.
Due to their slower growth, most indoor plants will only need to be repotted every 2-3 years, or when their soil begins to degrade. Quick-growing plants may outgrow their pots faster than that, but mature established plants won’t mind a longer period between repotting.
This is one task you certainly don’t want to miss. As the roots begin to outgrow the pot, they may stop taking up moisture and essential nutrients. Growth will also slow and can stop completely, ultimately killing the plant. Degraded soil will have detrimental impacts on the health of your plant as it lacks nutrients and cannot hold onto moisture. If that time has come, make sure you don’t put off repotting this year.