Everything starts waking up in spring, including your houseplants. After a long winter of short days, they might look a bit tired. Giving your houseplants a little spa treatment and spring care will help set them up to produce lots of new growth over the coming spring and summer seasons this year.
Spring Clean Your Houseplant Leaves
Over the winter, your houseplants may have gathered a layer of dust. This layer of dust can impede their ability to transpire as well as photosynthesize. Spring is a great time to either wipe down the leaves of your houseplants with a soft, damp cloth, or shower them with the gentle spray setting in your shower or at the kitchen sink. Make sure to get the bottoms of leaves as well as the tops! Keep a close lookout for evidence of pests while cleaning your plants.
Check if Your Houseplants Need Repotting
Houseplants recover from the stress of transplanting quite quickly in the spring, so it’s a good time to check if they need a new pot. Many houseplants like to be a little bit root-bound, but not excessively so. One of the most obvious signs is if you’re starting to see roots on the soil’s surface or coming out the drainage hole of the pot.
Other symptoms include having to water your plant frequently. If it seems to use up water fast and then get droopy within a day or two, it probably needs a new pot. Even if your plants are very root-bound, it’s still best to only go up to a pot size a little bigger than its current one (generally 2 inches larger in diameter at a time). Pots that are too large for the plant they are holding can cause the soil around the root ball to hold too much water, potentially leading to root rot, mold, or other diseases.
As your houseplants start to focus on growing rather than retaining energy, they’ll begin to use more water. If you only checked the soil once a week during the winter, it’s time to start doing it a little more frequently now. Some plants go from requiring barely any water over winter to needing quite a lot as they start pushing out new growth.
Start to Fertilize Your Houseplants
As your houseplants start to wake up and put out new growth in the spring, you can begin to fertilize them. Start slowly, mixing your fertilizer to ½ the usual strength, and only fertilize once per month for March. In April, you can start to work up to more frequent fertilizing and build up to a regular mixing dose for May.
Prune Spindly and Leggy Plants
If you had a few houseplants that got spindly and leggy over the winter (looking at you, Chinese money plant!), you could prune them back to encourage bushier growth. Do a quick internet search about pruning your particular type of houseplant before you start snipping. Save your cuttings and put them in water to try propagating new plant babies you can share with friends!
Start Collecting Rainwater
Tap water is treated with products like chlorine to make it safe for us to drink. This isn’t ideal for plants, so consider collecting rainwater to water your houseplants with. It contains trace minerals that are important for plants, and it’s also softer than tap water, which is easier on plants.
Adjust Your Houseplant Positions
As the seasons change, the angle of the sun changes. Since they’re at a sharper angle, the strength of the sun’s rays are more concentrated in summer, so houseplants close to windows, especially south-facing, are at a higher risk for sunburn. If you don’t want to move your plants too much, you can add a sheer curtain to protect them. Houseplants that may have gotten direct sun from across the room in winter may not be getting enough light now that the sun’s angle has changed.
Need some fertilizer, curious about collecting rainwater, or want to add some new houseplants to your collection? Stop by the garden center! We’ve got new houseplant stock coming in regularly, and our staff can help you find the answers to your spring plant care questions.