It's been an absolute delight to see indoor plants gracing homes with abundance in recent years, and while indoor plant care can be complex, it certainly doesn't have to be that way. In conjunction with our support of Sophie Thomson's 2022 show garden, Grow Up, we thought it was time to share some simple, easy to follow indoor plant guidelines to help you get the best from your plant babies.
How to water and When:
Most indoor plants are killed with kindness (that is, too much watering). We recommend getting to know your plants. Look at the soil – is it damp or dry? Get to know the leaves – are they soft and floppy, or rigid and tight? Most plants only require watering when the soil is dry and the leaves begin to droop. The easiest and most efficient way to water is to give them a ‘BATH'. Fill a laundry basin with about 8cm of water and place your plant, plastic pot and all, in the water bath. Remove when the soil is fully saturated, drain and simply pop back in the cover pot. The only thing that will change is the duration between watering. More days between watering in winter, less in summer. Be aware though, that Sanseveria and Zanzibar Gem do require very infrequent watering - depending on the conditions in your home it could be as far apart as every 6-8 weeks.
Like their outdoor cousins, indoor plants benefit from regular feeding. Fertilise your indoor plants during the growing season (spring, summer and autumn). A simple rule of thumb is to fertilise every second watering. I like to use soluble Thrive. It’s something your nan would have used, is very cost effective, super easy to mix and & there's no doubt most plants thrive on it. Other fertilisers which have great results are We The Wild and Munash. You will find all three and more in store at Barrow & Bench Mitre10.
It's become increasingly common to find decorative 'cover pots' in garden centres and giftware shops in recent years and there's no doubt that they are beautiful. Cover pots have no drainage hole and are best used as just that - to cover the plastic grower pot. That's because there is no where for the water to drain, so PLEASE do not 'plant' your plants directly into cover pots.
The most common indoor plant pests include:
Mealy Bugs - these small fluffy white bugs can be difficult to control. Move infected plants away from your other plant babies. Treat by applying Baythroid Advanced or Naturasoap.
Fungus Gnats - tiny flying insects are generally a sign of overwatering. Reduce your watering; give the gnats a quick spray with a pyretherum based fly spray when you see them flying and you should get these pesky little bugs under control.
Black Scale - less common than some indoor plant pests, but worth keeping an eye out for these small black lumps/bumps on the stem. As with scale in your outdoor garden, scale inside is best treated with eco-oil.
Spider Mite - also less common than mealy bugs and fungus gnats, but can be devastating. Signs of spider mite are shown through silvering of the leaves. Isolate your plants and treat with either pest oil or with pyretherum. Like Mealy Bugs, controlling spider mite is a lesson in patience. You will need to be persistent.
Light is Key
All plants need light to thrive. Some plants however are more tolerant of low light than others. If your plant is a little 'leggy' (reaching for the light) or struggling to thrive, it's probably time to change its position & give it a little more natural light. Plants which do survive better in lower light conditions include Sansevieria and Zanzibar Gem. A word of warning, it's best to move plants from low light to really bright light gradually, with any sudden changes in light and room warmth often leading to premature leaf drop.
Top 5 Easiest to Grow Indoor Plants
Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum wallisii)
Pothos/Devils Ivy (Epipremnum aureum) Rubber Plant (Ficus elastica)
Zanzibar Gem (Zamioculcas zamiifolia)
Mothers In Law Tongue (Sansevieria)
Ficus Elastica (Rubber Plant)
For more great plant advice, along with a fabulous range of plants and pots, pop into Barrow & Bench. Open 7 Days.
Paul and Amanda
Barrow and Bench Mitre 10