Green fingers. They’ve still yet to prove their existence you know…probably because the worst crimes perpetrated against houseplants are actually pretty simple. With a little more confidence – or sometimes maybe a little less – we can all prove to be expert gardeners. Well…maybe not all of us (I don’t want to flood the expert gardener market after all), but surely most of us can improve our plant-knowledge enough to keep our humble houseplants alive and happy? Welcome to the Citrina Blog…I’m Dr. Citrina and these are my Worst 8 Mistakes to Avoid for Happy Houseplants.
Ignoring instructions for their care
So this is probably the easiest for us to get around…those notes attached to your plant are there to help you – and your plant. Refer to the how-to sheet provided by the florist or nursery - or the seed packet if you have grown from scratch. Try online – Citrina, for example, provide details on care for each of our plants, from watering to repotting. The internet is a wealth of information for any variety of houseplant. To cut down on clutter, you could even scan each plant’s notes and store them digitally. Well maybe that’s going a little OCD…but, hey, your plants aren’t there to judge…
Over-watering or Under-draining
Well, this is a big one. Over-watering, and its moustached evil twin, inadequate drainage, is perhaps the most common cause of death for unfortunate houseplants. Excesses of water will flush away the valuable nutrients in a plant’s soil – leading to insufficient oxygen being available to it. It can also rot away at its roots. The other extreme is that under-watering will make the plant literally die of thirst. Our care page details how to avoid these problems – it’s a lot simpler than you might think.
Giving your houseplants the wrong amount of light
All plants will appreciate growing conditions that are similar to those of their native environment. Check those care instructions - and plant details - again to find out whether a particular variety prefers full sun or indirect lighting…and don’t forget to open up those curtains first thing every morning, you lazy thing you…
Healthy plants need to be re-potted in a larger container or given a fresh potting mix once in a while – they will outgrow their old homes or find that theirs in need of refurbishment. In fact, some gardeners repot plants shortly after bringing them home. Don’t go for a huge jump in pot size though; too large a container means too much soil, which will hold excessive amounts of water and may cause root rot – our care page can help find the right new property for your Citrina.
Choosing the wrong soil
Go for high quality organic soil (not the stuff you can dig up from the average backyard, which is too dense and might harbour pests or diseases). Select a kind that is suited to the needs of your plants — for example, sandy and fast draining for cactus or heavy and clayey for geraniums. Your Citrina will need a special soil designed for citrus plants – they are quite discerning characters, and not just your standard houseplant you know…
Letting insects thrive
A daily check of your plants will work wonders, regularly examine their leaves from top and bottom and treat any harmful creepy crawlies you see immediately. The earlier they are caught, the better your chances of getting rid of them. In the early stages, insects may be removed by hand picking or spritzing the leaves with a stream of water.
Water is not the only element of a healthy diet for your plants. Houseplants appreciate the occasional change of soil to replenish depleted nutrients - add an appropriate fertilizer or mix in some well-rotted organic compost for additional nutrition. Keep them fed – keep them healthy.
Treating plants like bric-a- brac
Every houseplant has its own individual needs, likes, and dislikes. They are not simple ornaments – they are a living thing. Each of our Citrina plants has a distinct personality of their own, take the time to get to know them, their character…and soon you’ll get to know where you can move them, where they thrive…and where they’ll be happiest.
And a happy plant is a healthy plant.