Spring is Here - and with that comes change! We are finally in the best season for our house plants to truly thrive in as the days get longer and hotter. During the Spring/Summer growing season, our plants can seem to flourish right before our eyes if we take care of them properly.
Many plants go dormant over the winter, allowing them to conserve energy during the months they can’t function efficiently. For houseplants living in a controlled environment like our homes, shorter days in the autumn are often what initiates their dormancy as their regular temperature, sun exposure, and moisture content decreases.
With the shift in season, your plants' regular care routines will change. Here's a guide for the things you should pay extra attention to and change in your plant routines for them to continue to be healthy, strong and beautiful additions to your home this Spring.
1. Watering Frequency
Since plants take up water based on the amount of light they receive, the increase in daylight hours, from winter to spring, coupled with warmer temperatures, may impact how often your plants need water. As the temperature increases, water tends to evaporate more quickly from the soil. Keep an eye on how quickly your plants are using up their water and be prepared to water more frequently if necessary and at a gradual pace to help not send your plant into shock.
With this comes risk for over watering if you increase the amount of water you give them too much and too quickly all at once. The best way to help avoid this is by consistently checking on the moisture levels of your plant's soil. Using a moisture meter will make this process much easier as you will be able to test the moisture content in all areas of your plants soil and accurately tell you if you need to give them more water. If you don’t have a reliable moisture meter at home, here's a link to ours!
2. Sunlight and Temperature Changes
Did you know that you plants can experience sunburn just like us? When we burn our skin turns red, peels and tends to be painful. While our plants don’t turn red, their leaves can turn yellow or even white. If it's a severe sunburn, they can even become a little brown and crispy around the edges.
In the winter, your houseplants were probably as close to the window as possible to maximize the lower amount of light your house got. As we transition into spring and summer, the days get longer and the sun passes at a higher angle in the sky. This means a few things for your indoor plants: they’ll receive longer stretches of light throughout the day, and the pattern of direct sunlight streaming through your windows will change. As well, the temperature of your plant's environment will inevitably rise. Any extreme change in temperature or draft of cold or warm air can cause indoor plants, used to somewhat stable conditions, to stress out.
Now that the sun is stronger and days are getting longer, you may need to consider relocating some plants away from the window and further into your spaces, or potentially adding/using a sheer curtain to your window to lessen the sun's rays, ultimately, to avoid sun burning your plants’ leaves. Similar to increasing your watering frequency, decreasing light should be a gradual process so as not to shock your plant with a sudden change to its environment.
3. Plant Spring Cleaning
As you would complete an annual spring cleaning around your home to freshen up your spaces, it’s good practice to do this with your plants as well. Completing the following steps, you’ll help prep your plants for a beautiful and successful growing season!
- Dust Your Plant’s Leaves. A layer of dust left on the foliage will block sunlight and reduce the plant's ability to photosynthesize, which is ultimately how the plant feeds itself. A clean plant that's photosynthesizing at optimal levels will be a healthy plant, and in-turn more resistant to diseases and pest infestations. Completing this step will allow your plant to grow and thrive as efficiently as possible. HOW: Grab a microfibre cloth and your cleaning liquid of choice (find a list of these on our instagram, plant tips highlight!) and gently wipe your leaves with the mixture.
- Prune Your Foliage. Pruning lacklustre or wilted foliage gives your plants back nutrients to use towards new, healthy growth as your plant will put energy into trying to fix those leaves. Pruning houseplants can also encourage branching and new growth. It can also eliminate hosts for disease. HOW: Using a pair of sharp and clean shears, trim off any yellow, wilted or unhappy looking leaves you want to discard of. Do some research for the various types of plants you are pruning as to wear the best spots to trim are if needed.
- Collect Debris From Soil. By collecting any debris or dead leaves from your plant’s soil that may have been collected over the winter, it will allow for your plant to properly soak up any extra nutrients you are adding to your plants soil through fertilization. This also helps to improve the overall appearance of your plant. HOW: Carefully discard of any fallen leaves or other debris from the soil and throw out or compost them!
- Top Dress Your Soil. If you don't have to repot your plants it can be a good idea to add some more soil to the top of your pot to help replenish lost nutrients. It will also help to improve the overall look of your plant. HOW: Pick a type of soil that will be best for your plant type and remove the top layer of soil from the pot and any other debris that is in your soil. Add a new layer of soil on top and give a good water to let the new nutrients start soaking in.
- Examine/Treat for Pests. Carefully examine remaining leaves for signs of pest and disease. Any bumps, splotches, or sunken yellow or brown areas are a potential sign of problems. To get the most out of your plants this growing season, getting rid of any pests will be extremely important! HOW: Different pests will present themselves in different ways, check under the leaves, in the soil, around the base of the leaf, in tight crevices and other good hiding spots for anything that looks unusual. To treat if necessary, we recommend a good neem oil mixture to wipe down infected areas.
4. Encourage New Growth
Are you looking for your plants to grow healthy new leaves, roots or even bloom this year? There are two ways moving forward you can best help to encourage that new growth your are looking for:
Repot Your Plants. Spring is one of the best times to repot your plants to help provide plants with new nutrients and/or more space for the growing season ahead. Remember repotting does not necessarily mean putting the plant in a new planter, unless it has outgrown its current and needs more space, but rather changing its soil or potting mix to provide fresh nutrients so it can continue to thrive.
To check the roots of your plant for signs that a repot into a new pot is needed for space, gently slide your plant out of its pot. If you see roots winding all the way around the outside of the root ball or see more roots than soil, then it is time for a new and bigger pot! Typically, most plants won’t need to be repotted more than once a year, and some can go three or more years between.
When you are repotting, try to disturb the roots as little as possible! Root systems are complex, and damage can be stressful for your plant. For healthy plants, there’s no need to break up the rootball; simply transfer it to the new pot and backfill with fresh potting mix. There are a few exceptions to this rule: if you find rotten roots, carefully cut them out with clean snips, or if root growth is dense with little or no soil, gently unwind the outer roots before repotting.
Fertilize Your Plants. Almost every potted plant requires fertilizer to sustain its growth. Fertilizing your house plants is one of those steps that tends to get overlooked or forgotten about even though it is so beneficial for the long-term health of your plants! Think of fertilizer as a multivitamin that will replace essential nutrients in the potting mix that are used up as the plant actively grows in its soil.
If you’re nervous about over-applying fertilizer, especially as plant care picks up, it’s ok to dilute your mix to half-strength by doubling up on the amount of water. This approach ensures your plants get the nutrients they crave in smaller doses to start out as they get more accustomed to the increase in vitamins and minerals.
Thrive is your ultimate multi-vitamin during this season change. Use it 2 - 4 times a month to see the best, healthy, strong leaves and to help reduce the stresses of inevitable environmental shifts this spring.
Boost will be your best plant care addition for the new growth you seek on your plants. Use it 1 - 2 times a month or whenever your plant is putting out lots of new growth as well as to encourage blooming of flowering plants and root growth after repotting.
Follow these steps and pay attention to these important factors in your plant’s environment and you will have the most beautiful and healthy plants thanking you for your changing plant care routine based on what your plant needs most.
Let us know what else you do for your plants during the spring and summer seasons to help them thrive!
Download and print the below checklist to follow when taking care of your plants