Stay-at-Home Houseplant Guide

In the name of practicing social distancing, we are all spending more time at home to help stop the spread of the coronavirus. If you’re like me and trying to do literally anything to keep busy, why not take the opportunity to spend even more time with your houseplants? When you’ve binged all you can binge and baked all the bread you can stomach, check out the list below. At the very least, you can make sure your indoor jungle is thriving while outside is off-limits.

Inventory and Inspection

Just how many plants do you have in your house, anyway? Every time I check there seem to be a few more than I remember. Take a pen and paper, or use your favourite notes app on your phone, and make a list of your plants. Now is a great time to look up all of the names and check out the individual care instructions. When you’re making your list, it’s also a good idea to take a look at the leaves, stems and soil. Check out often neglected spots like under the leaves, the spots where leaves meet stems and soil surfaces. If you notice any pests, webbing or strange spots try and resolve that issue as soon as possible.

Move Plants for Spring

It’s warming up in North America, and summer is around the corner. If you have air conditioning that will be in use soon, consider moving plants away from air vents that can shock them. If you’ve got hot water radiators in front of windows that you’re turning off, consider reclaiming that prime plant real-estate as well. If during your plant inspections you noticed signs of etiolation (stretching due to lack of sunlight), find a sunnier spot. Likewise, consider moving plants out of direct sun that might burn as the days get longer. Resist the urge to move all the furniture and redecorate the entire house. Or go for it. You have time.

Tidy Up and Dust

While dirt around the roots of your plants is good, dirty leaves are not. Houseplants with larger, broader leaves can tend to be dust magnets over time. There are leaf shine products that are available, but they can do more harm than good. Grab a soft towel or an old t-shirt and gently wipe down leaves. If you have delicate plants or succulents use an old soft toothbrush. Dust buildup can get in the way of your plant absorbing the sun it needs. Take this opportunity to remove dead leaves and wipe down pots and drip trays as well, keeping an eye out for pests or loose change. We’ll all need it once this thing is over.

Repot or Pot-up

Did you notice roots poking out of the bottom of your pots? Long roots on your cuttings sitting in water? If you happen to have soil and pots handy, take the time to move your plant into a bigger pot. If you noticed your aloe pot overflowing with pups, it can be a fun afternoon spent splitting them into their own pots.

If you only have fresh soil or amendments available, you can still help your plants out. Trim up to half of the existing roots, add fresh nutrients or soil and place it back in the previous pot. In a pinch, old take-out containers or disposable drink cups both make great temporary pots. Remember to add drainage holes!

Propagate and Prune

Spring is a great time to take cuttings of your plants to propagate them and make more. When tidying up maybe you noticed your pothos vines have long bare sections. Prune it back and take some cuttings to keep it nice and bushy. Cut back other plants that are growing a little wild, much like cutting your own hair – use your own judgement. Save the plant cuttings where possible and plant them. If anyone asks, yes you do need more plants and at least these are free.

Tame Those Unruly Vines

A happy pothos can grow very long and unruly. The aptly named monstera can also very quickly become spread out. A fun project that’s not too hard is to fashion a stake out of scrap wood for a growing support. It is easier to do this while repotting but not too hard to add to an existing pot. Add the stake/trellis and use twist ties or garden twine to hold the vines. If you haven’t got any stakes handy or you’re a vampire and staunchly against the idea, fishing wire or twine can make great supports for a pothos or philodendron to grow across a wall or above a window.

Make More Houseplants

Avocado pits? Grow them. I know everyone is doing extra groceries these days which means – more things to grow! Seeds from fruit, vegetable scraps and even extra herbs can be started in water. Growing from kitchen scraps is a fun and FREE project. I like to keep the ends of my green onions in my kitchen window so I can watch them while I stare outside every five minutes, trying to remember what a patio beer tastes like.

Do you have any more ideas for fun activities to do with your houseplants at home? We would love to hear them, sound off in the comments below and please stay safe during this pandemic. We can get through this by working together.

Leave a Reply