Goodbye Winter! The time for rumination, reflection and hibernation has passed. Now we begin wakefulness. Feathers are bristling at the quicksilver energy that sneaks up every year - that palpable vernal frenzy of budding, blooming and bursting. Spring spring spring spring SPRING! It's finally here.
Well, pretty much. Frankly, it's been a soggy foggy old week here in Boston, with little to be seen of the sun. Nevertheless, the crocuses and hellebores have been dutifully raising their sleepy heads & waving the flags of spring's arrival about our ankles. Plants everywhere are emerging from dormancy and revving their engines for growing.
With this period of new growth come some seasonal shifts in plant care! Here's a quick list of things you can do to help your plants in this exciting time of growth:
1. Re-Pot or Pot Up
After their long winter nap, your plants are likely to want to strrretch their stems and petioles! And, in tandem, their roots. If your plant's pot is becoming too snug to accommodate spring root growth, it may be time to "pot up," or transplant to a larger pot. If you think your plant still has ample wiggle space in their pot, then a larger pot may not be necessary, but it is still a good idea to give your plants a fresh batch of soil to give them the nutrient boost they need to produce growth that is healthy and strong.
2. Feed Your Plants
Now is the perfect time to give your plants a boost to fuel their new growth. A word to the wise: over-fertilizing can cause root burn and harm your plants, so it is a good rule of thumb to dilute fertilizers down from the recommended dosage on the package instructions. For those in the Boston area, we carry Neptune's Harvest fertilizers in our shops. Companies also sell worm castings, which, despite being what they are, have no smell. You can also use your own organic material, like compost, as long as it is fully decomposed.
3. Prune, trim, primp!
Let's be honest, we can look a little shaggy coming out of the winter season. The same applies for plants! Now is a good time to prune plants that are gangly. The new growth will come and your plant will not be wasting energy feeding that extraneous appendage.
Many of the plants we keep indoors are tropicals that have a tough time adjusting to the rhythms and temperatures of winter. They show their stress by dropping leaves, yellowing, browning, wilting and so on. Now is a good time to trim dead or dying material.
Keep in mind, however, that any green you see is chlorophyll working hard to turn sunlight into sugars that fuel the plant and give it strength. If your plant has a browning leaf that is still mostly green, it may be good to exercise a little forgiveness when deciding whether or not to give it the snip.
4. Re-Position Based on Plant Needs
The earth's tilt has shifted! This means more hours of sunlight at more direct angles, which means more intense light and heat. Consider each of your plants' individual needs and be willing to do the plant shuffle! Plants that were perfectly happy near the window in the winter may now be in jeopardy of being scorched by the sun. And as always, keep temperature changes in mind. Jog your memory by looking up your plants' temperature needs online, and shift them around in your home accordingly.
5. Water More Frequently
More hours of sunlight means more heat, so your plants' soil may begin to dry out more quickly than usual after watering. This does not mean it's time to go into watering overdrive! The days are only gradually getting longer, and waterlogged soil spells death for any plant. However, it is time to start paying a little closer attention to when your plants need water. Stick your finger in the soil. When the soil is too dry for your plant's needs, give it a drink. If the soil is not in need of any water, check tomorrow or the next day.
6. Spring Cleaning! Wipe Those Leaves Down
This step is not merely aesthetic: dust blocks out vital sunlight and keeps leaves from performing respiration. Your plants are moving into growing and will be so much happier and healthier if they can fuel up and breathe without obstacle. Make it easier on them by giving them a little sponge bath sans soap. Gently wiping with a damp paper towel or washcloth to both sides of the leaf will do the trick. And remember, the real bonus here is that it's an incredible way to form an emotional bond with your plants (full support over here).
And with that, we wish you an exciting and fun season of new growth! Be sure to share any comments or questions you may have in the comment section below.
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