Plant Care Tips
All plants need light, and the most important thing to consider when choosing your houseplant is the quality and quantity of light. It's good to remember sunlight is your plant's primary source of energy. Without sunlight, plants can’t photosynthesise, nor grow, therefore it's essential to provide your plant with the right light conditions. Where you position your plants throughout your home should depend on each plant's lighting requirements, which in turn is indicative to the way your windows are facing.
South facing windows: Bright, continual light. This position receives full sun throughout the day and offers continual direct light. A windowsill in such a spot is perfect for cacti and other succulents.
East/ West facing: Moderate light, some direct light either at the beginning or end of the day. These windows are great as most plants will do well in such spots or most certainly adapt. One thing to remember between east and west, is West facing positions will be that bit warmer due to the natural course of the sun, keep an eye on the temperature and ventilation to avoid overheating. These two positions are suitable for most plants and a great place to experiment with where you place your plants.
North facing: Low light. There isn't anything inherently wrong with this position if your plant doesn't require full or partial direct light. You can place your plants directly on the sill to maximise light exposure, or choose a plant that can survive in shade.
While most plants enjoy and thrive in bright light, they usually need some amount of protection from direct sun, especially during spring and summer when the sun's rays are stronger and the days are longer. You can help by moving your plants away from the window and into the room.
The easiest way to kill your plants is by overwatering. We're often asked to provide a watering schedule: wanting to know if it's once a week, or once every two weeks you should water your plant, but in reality it's not that simple. How often and much you water your plant depends on several factors: temperature (how hot or cold it is), your plant's natural requirements, the size of your plant and the pot it's in, and whether it's the summer or winter. We always recommend testing the soil with your fingers to decide when and how much to water your plants. Most plants need watering when the first to two inches of soil has dried out. For plants like cacti and succulents, who require less amounts of water, let them dry out completely before watering them again. Ferns, and tropical plants tend prefer their soil to be kept moist to the touch, so keep an eye on them to ensure they don't dry out completely.
The best watering method is submersion as it allows for a more even and complete coverage of soil. Fill a vessel with ambient water so it comes around halfway up the side of your plant's pot and leave until the top layer of soil is wet to the touch. Next, discard the remaining water and allow any excess water that has been absorbed through the holes at the bottom of the pot to drain away. This is essential as any excess water sat in the soil will mean you plant's roots are sat in water, which can lead to root rot. If you do prefer to water from above, be careful to water at the base of the stem to avoid getting any leaves wet, which can lead to them becoming mushy or increase the chances of scorching. Finally, reduce watering over winter and increase gradually from March.
Be aware of putting your plants near drafty windows, or too close to the radiator as extreme fluctuations in temperature can cause serious damage to your plants.
We've all killed plants too, and as heartbreaking it may be, it strengthens your understanding of how to look after them.
Please remember these pointers are very general, each type of plant requires different care, it's always best to check what your speciemen requires before buying it and to remind yourself of its care requirements. Any questions? Just ask!