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Indoor plants & recognising their call for help

Updated: Apr 21, 2018


Have you found yourself swept up in the plant craze? Indoors and outdoors, plants are splashed across social media and magazines everywhere. Scrolling through your feed, you are guaranteed to come across a freshly styled room with a Fiddle leaf or Olive, sitting proudly in an organic hand woven basket. And the trend is right, plants bring so much to a space, but, they are living things so it’s important to remember they require particular care, (some more than others.) In order to keep you newly purchased friend happy and healthy, I have put together a guide to recognizing when your plant is not so happy. Let’s start with how to prevent the problems.

PREVENTING PROBLEMS

Often problems will arrive with new plants, so be sure to inspect the plant before you bring it inside. Things to look for could be any insects already on the plant from the nursery, or the root quality. Your plant might have been sitting in the pot for too long and the roots could be root bound. This will always make for an unhappy/stunted plant.


If you keep your plants free of dust and clean by wiping them down with a damp cloth, it not only keeps them looking good, you will also help to rid them of insects.


ASSESSING THE PROBLEM

Like all plants, indoor plants require regular care. Of course this is all plant dependent, but generally if your plant is showing signs of stress, start by checking the soil & light.


SOIL

It’s important to be sure your plant is getting enough water but not too much. Water levels depend on your plant, but the simplest way to check, is the finger test. Put your finger in the soil and if you feel no moisture on your finger, then it’s time to water the plant.


LIGHT

Another important factor for indoor plants is lighting. Lush tropical plants, such as Philodendron’s or spathiphyllum have big, bold leaves and they will get burnt if kept too close to the window or in direct light. If you can see the leaves burning on your plant, perhaps relocate the pot to a different position in your house.


PESTS

If you have tested both the lighting and soil, it might be a pest that is troubling your friend.

If your plant is showing signs of:

  • Wilting

  • Loosing it’s leaves prematurely

  • Leaves turning yellow and patchy

  • Leaves have a black dusty look or are sticky

Look for one of these common indoor plant pests as they could be causing the aggravation.

  • Fungus Gnat – Small black fly that tends to hover over the soil.

  • Mealy Bug – Furry white insect that clumps together on the underside of the plant.

  • Spider Mites – Tiny black specks with spider-like webbing on along the leaves and stems

  • Scale –Flat, brown hard shelled insects that are on the underside or stems of plants

If you discover one of the above, then you can find a pesticide that will treat that particular pest. Keep in mind any pets when spraying your plants, so if possible, move your pot outdoors and spray outside, clear away from any animals or children.


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