How to keep your houseplant healthy after lockdown

House plants are said to improve a person's mental health.

Thursday, 18th June 2020, 3:15 pm
Updated Thursday, 18th June 2020, 3:16 pm
House plants

With many of us spending more time in our homes over the last few months it isn't surprised that The Royal Horticultural society reports a huge rise (by a third) in houseplant sales as people in the UK turn to indoor gardening during lockdown.

Reports show that younger generations are responsible for the increased interest in indoor plants, as figures show that 75 per cent of 16-24 year olds are now houseplant owners.

Indoor plants are thought to have a positive effect on mental health and wellbeing, and a snapshot of greenery is a sure way to get you some Instagram likes. But if you’re one of these new plant parents during lockdown, you might be worried about keeping your new leafy family alive when you return to work.

Keeping your plants healthy, growing and blooming can be a challenge while you're away, so apartment rental brand Essential Living has rustled together 7 healthy houseplant hacks to keep your plant alive on your return to work (even if you lack a green thumb).

But for anyone worried about what will happen to their plants when they go back to the office, here are seven simple steps to keep your houseplant alive:

1. Providing your plants with the correct amount of water. When returning to work an obvious solution to keeping your plants hydrated would be to overwater. Doing this can potentially damage the plant’s root and prevent growth, so as an alternative we suggest your soil is moist, but not wet.

If your plant leaves begin to turn brown and wilt, this is a clear sign of over watering. To check your plant's hydration level, place your finger into the soil - if there is alot of soil sticking to your finger, then the plant doesn't need watering and if there is no soil on your finger, this suggests your plant needs more water. Simple!

2. Choose a plant that’s easy to care for. If you are yet to pick the perfect plant for your home, then choosing a plant that requires minimal effect is the best solution. There are a large variety of indoor plants that don’t need regular attention, for example the snake plant and spider plant. Find an indoor plant to match your busy work schedule.

3. Remember to clean your houseplants. On return to work you may find yourself with a lot less time to focus on your plants, they may even begin to catch dust. Dust on your plants prevents sunlight from reaching them, which will have an impact on growth.

Using a damp cloth or fluffy duster, clean your plant leaves once a month but remember to be extra cautious, you don’t want to damage the leaves through being heavy handed.

4. Providing the right home temperature. You may find that when returning to work the temperature of your home may alter, heating systems have the tendency to dry the air. And although most indoor plants prefer slightly warmer surroundings, being placed near a heating system can cause plant leaves to dry up and go brown.

An easy way to increase the humidity for your plant is to create a pebble tray. Add clean pebbles into a shallow water-filled tray and place your plant on top, the water will gradually evaporate around the plant. Ensure that you never leave your greenery on or near a heated radiator!

5. Find the perfect plant location and keep it. When returning to work you may begin to worry about the exposure of sunlight your indoor plant is getting. Plants have the ability to acclimate themselves to their surroundings, so it’s more safe that you don’t move them around alot. Each plant classification is different, so research into your chosen plant to find their ideal living environment.

6. Avoid using common fertilisers. While you're working and have less time to care for your indoor plants, it's best to keep them growing as slowly as possible. Fertilisers increase the growth speed of your indoor plants. If however you do want to see results fast, then consider creating a makeshift greenhouse by watering your plant thoroughly and covering your plant with a clear plastic back with holes in for circulation.

7. Reduce the lighting exposure. Try moving your plants away from windows when you return to work, so that photosynthesise is reduced therefore the plant will require less moisture. However don’t move your indoor plant into a dark corner, just move a little back from the window. A great location to store your plants in a bathroom, as it provides humidity and moisture for your plant.

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