The intensity of their growth, the quality of flowering and life expectancy will depend on how properly the care of indoor plants is carried out. But the secrets of caring for indoor plants are very simple: prepare high-quality soil, water and fertilize on time, ensure the correct temperature and humidity conditions, and cut as necessary.
What you need to care for indoor plants: soil for growing
When leaving in room conditions, plants place increased demands on the quality of the substrate, since the living conditions in apartments differ sharply from natural ones.
First of all, the substrate must be nutritious, air and water permeable and have a certain acidity for different crops.
Most indoor plants prefer a substrate that is slightly acidic or neutral (pH 5.5-6.5).
In specialized stores, you can buy ready-made soil mixtures. They are environmentally friendly and contain all the necessary nutrients. For example, the substrates “Rose”, “Begonia”, “Palm”, “Saintpaulia” and others are distinguished by a high content of humus and a slightly acidic or neutral environment.
They can be used for complete soil replacement when replanting, partial mixing or surface bedding.
For home care of indoor plants that require a slightly alkaline reaction, the most suitable substrate is Cactus +, to which the appropriate amount of chalk is added.
Indoor flower lovers often prefer to prepare the substrate themselves.
Before you properly care for indoor plants, prepare a substrate that will include:
- turf land, which is used in most earth mixtures. It is prepared for 1.5-2 years from turf cut in the fields. It is slightly alkaline, pH 7.0-7.5;
- leafy soil is light and nutritious, it is customary to add it to heavy soils. Harvested in deciduous forests, pH 5-6. Most often, leafy soil is used in the cultivation of begonias, gloxinia, primroses, cyclamen and other plants;
- humus soil – nutritious, rich in organic matter. It is obtained from rotted manure and household food residues, pH is about 8. Used in a variety of mixtures;
- peat substrate is prepared from high-moor brown or transitional peat. It is a loose, light substrate, included in many mixtures, pH 4.5-5.5. It takes about 3 years to prepare. In a mixture with other components, the peat substrate is used for growing begonias, azaleas, ferns and some other plants; heather land – light, loose. It is harvested in heather thickets, pH 5.0-5.5. Maturing for at least 2 years. Add to mixtures when growing orchids, gloxinia, azaleas;
- sand is added to almost all mixtures to improve the structure. It is best to use washed coarse-grained river or lake sand; moss. Some plants, such as epiphytes, require sphagnum moss. It has a high moisture content. Dried and chopped moss gives the substrate looseness and lightness, pH 4;
- charcoal is added to some mixtures to disinfect the substrate. Additives of perlite, foam chips, expanded clay, peat improve the structure of the soil, and perlite also increases its moisture capacity.
Knowing what you need to care for indoor plants, do not forget – soil mixtures are light, medium and heavy.
Following the rules for caring for indoor plants, to increase the drainage capacity, it is necessary to add coarse sand or fine gravel to the mixture.
- Light mix – 40% leaf earth, 20% greenhouse, 20% turf and 20% coarse sand.
- The average mixture is 30% leafy soil, 30% humus, 30% clay-turf soil and 10% coarse sand or its substitutes (expanded clay, vermiculite, foam chips, etc.).
- Heavy mixture – 50% clay-turf soil, 10% peat, 15% leaf and greenhouse soil and 10% river sand or its substitute.
Next, you will learn how to care for indoor plants in terms of watering.
Features of caring for indoor plants: watering techniques (with photos and videos)
Watering when caring for indoor plants is the most important agricultural technique, since any plant is 80-85% water. With the help of water, photosynthesis occurs and minerals enter. The need for water largely depends on the type of plant, the phase of its development, the degree of illumination, the size and composition of the substrate. Tropical and most subtropical plants are especially demanding for watering.
During care when growing indoor plants, they should be watered with water at room temperature (20-24 ° C). Watering with cold water leads to fungal diseases. Tap water before irrigation must be defended for 12-14 hours so that chlorine evaporates and lime settles. You can pass water for irrigation through a household filter. Given this feature of caring for indoor plants, they are watered in such a way that the water soaks the entire lump, and its excess freely goes into the pan through the drainage hole.
With very few exceptions, houseplants prefer a generous watering followed by a reasonable drying of the soil.
Do not forget that during the implementation of this agrotechnical technique when caring for indoor plants, excess water with poor drainage causes acidification of the soil, rotting of the roots and, ultimately, the death of the entire flower.
Feel the earth by gently pressing it with your finger: if you feel moisture, then the plant does not need watering. If the ground is dry, do not immediately run for water, check the ground a little deeper. It is possible that on the surface it is dry, but still retained moisture in the depths.
If green moss appears on the surface of the soil, this indicates prolonged waterlogging, lack of light and poor drainage.
To prevent the formation of a crust on the soil in a pot, loosen it after watering to a depth of 1-1.5 cm. This will improve air access to the roots.
The photo of houseplant care shows how to water flowers:
It is very useful to water the plants with rainwater. Newly transplanted plants are watered less often, as the root system has not yet entwined the earthen ball and water is absorbed slowly. Flowering plants that are in a period of active growth need abundant watering, and in a dormant state – moderate and rare.
During the maintenance of indoor plants, special watering rules should be observed:
- Cacti and other succulents are watered carefully, directing a jet of water onto the substrate without wetting the plants themselves.
- Saintpaulia and gloxinia are watered through the pan.
- Bromeliads love moisture; in the funnels formed by their leaf rosettes, there should always be water, so the spout of the watering can is directed to the center of the funnel when watering.
- Epiphytes, as well as very dry plants, should be immersed in water for 35-50 seconds along with the pot. After that, put the pot on a tray and let the water drain. Remove water from the pan. In the same way, plants grown using the bonsai technique are watered.
In summer, plants, as a rule, do not lack fresh air. Another thing is in the cold season. Direct influence of cold outside air on plants and drafts should be avoided. Ventilation can not only provide fresh air, which plants constantly need, but also regulate the temperature in the room. If you plan to move your plants to the balcony in the spring and summer, then they should be accustomed to fresh air in advance.
Create a favorable air regime for the plants, and they will delight you with a healthy look and regular flowering.
On the video “Care for indoor plants” you can see how to grow flowers:
Houseplant Care Tips: Nutrition and Fertilizer
For normal development, when caring for indoor plants, proper nutrition and fertilizer with macro- and microelements is simply necessary.
The substrate must contain, first of all, a sufficient amount of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. Nitrogen stimulates plant growth, phosphorus ensures regular flowering, potassium increases resistance to diseases and adverse environmental conditions, enhances the color of leaves and flowers.
As the plant develops, the substrate is depleted, so you need to regularly fertilize with mineral and organic fertilizers. In addition to macronutrients, plants need microelements: iron, copper, manganese, molybdenum, zinc, and magnesium.
Another tip for caring for indoor plants: purchase and use ready-made complex fertilizers – they contain all the necessary trace elements, as well as humic acids.
Fertilizers are sold in the form of powder, granules, tablets, sticks and liquid.
Choose the form that is most convenient for you and strictly follow the instructions for use. Pay attention to which plants the fertilizer is intended for.
The technology for caring for indoor plants involves the following rules for fertilizing:
- you can not feed sick and newly transplanted plants;
- apply fertilizer only during the period of growth, flowering and fruiting;
- to avoid burns of the roots, it is necessary to water the plants before feeding;
- do not exceed the dosage indicated in the instructions. When preparing the solution, it is better to make the concentration slightly weaker than indicated. Too concentrated a solution can lead to burns and death of the plant.
How to properly care for indoor plants: transplant (with photo and video)
When the plant has grown so much that the pot no longer corresponds to the overgrown root system and the roots begin to break through the bottom hole, it is necessary to transplant – replacing the soil mixture with a partial violation of the earthy coma. Transplantation is done once every 2-3 years, and if necessary, more often.
As a rule, at this time, the earthen ball should be completely braided with roots. A few hours before transplanting, the plant (except for cacti and succulents) is strongly moistened, then the pot is turned over, holding the earthen ball with your hand.
If it is not possible to remove the plant without effort, then tap on the side surface of the pot. Before transplanting, weak and diseased roots are cut to healthy tissue. Cuts on the roots are sprinkled with crushed coal.
The best time to transplant is spring. The new pot should be 2-3 cm larger than the old one. The drainage hole is closed with a shard.
As with planting, the bottom is covered with 2-3 cm of drainage material (pebbles, expanded clay, broken shards), covered with a small amount of soil mixture.
The plant is placed in a pot, soil is poured around it and pressed tightly. From above you need to add a little more earth. Then the plant is watered and placed in a warm, bright place.
It is important that direct sunlight does not fall on the plant. After a few days, when the soil in the pot dries and settles, it is necessary to add a small amount of substrate again. Adult tub plants, which are very difficult to transplant, can be replaced annually with a fresh substrate, adding fresh substrate instead.
See photos of how to care for indoor plants:
- just bought plants – wait two weeks;
- diseased, weakened plants, if this condition is not caused by excessive watering and rotting of the root system;
- branching plants.
Transshipment is the movement of a plant into a larger pot, without violating the integrity of the earthy coma. Transshipment is more easily tolerated by plants than transplantation, and it can be done at any time of the year, although spring is, of course, preferable. Indications for transshipment are the same as for transplantation.
The video “How to care for indoor plants” shows how to transplant flowers:
Technology for proper care of indoor plants: pruning methods
How indoor plants are formed largely depends on their attractiveness, duration of flowering and foliage.
The main methods of plant formation are pruning, pinching and garter.
Some plants need periodic pruning of shoots. For example, flowers with flexible long shoots (epipremnum, scindapsus, tradescantia) need to be cut to 1/3 of the length in early spring – this stimulates further growth. The resulting cuttings can be used for rooting.
By pruning houseplants every year, you help bushy crops maintain their lush shape. Do not be afraid of strong pruning – after it, side shoots develop better, and the crown quickly takes the desired shape. Hibiscus, callistemon, camellia, oleander, noble laurel, coffee, feijoa, all citrus and fruit crops can be formed in this way.
Flowering plants that lose their leaves for the winter – roses, pelargoniums, fuchsias, heliotropes, etc., are pruned annually in the spring once, before the start of growth, to cause awakening of the buds and branching of the shoots.
Evergreen noble laurel, myrtle, tea require annual pinching.
The upper part of the shoot is pinched off, thus removing the growth point.
Many adult specimens, such as coleus, also require regular pinching to keep the bush compact. You can pinch the top of the shoot at any time of the year.
Tying growing shoots to various supports is a good solution for many vines. The support is carefully stuck into the ground, trying not to damage the root system of the plant. The shoots are loosely tied to it with a thick soft woolen thread, preferably green, or fixed with clamps. The support can be attached to the floor or wall if a permanent location is chosen for the plant. For plants such as philodendrons and monstera, a moss-wrapped post can serve as an excellent support.
Care Tips for Houseplant Lovers: How to Preserve Flowers While on Vacation
The headache of any grower is a vacation and departure outside the city. Indoor plants require systematic care and regular watering, especially in the summer, when moisture evaporates faster and the flowers begin to wilt. This is especially important if among your indoor plants there are tropical specimens – the most capricious and demanding.
Here are some care tips for all indoor plant lovers that will help keep plants even in the hottest weather when you leave home for no more than one to two weeks.
For 2 – 3 weeks before departure, stop all types of top dressing. Before leaving, check if the plants are affected by pests and diseases. Treat diseased plants with the appropriate preparations.
Remove from the plants all dried and disease-damaged shoots and leaves, as well as large buds and flowers. Close and partially curtain doors and windows so that the room where the plants will remain is free from drafts and the sun, which only hasten the drying of the soil.
Place all large plants away from windows on the floor by placing them in metal or plastic containers. Pour gravel, perlite, vermiculite or expanded clay into it and pour water.
For watering plants, the capillary suction method (cord method) should be used. To do this, one end of a piece of fabric or woolen cord is lowered into a container of water, and the other into a pot with a plant. The water container should be above the plants. If you have a summer cottage, the plant can be taken out for a “walk”. Dig a flower there into the soil along with a pot. The surface of the soil should be densely covered with peat or sawdust.
On sale there are also special installations and devices that help plants to be without watering for a certain time.
So, good growth, abundant and long flowering, delicate aroma of indoor plants largely depend on proper care: regular watering, timely transplanting and pruning, necessary feeding, protection from pests and diseases.
The method of vegetative propagation of indoor plants by cuttings
Most indoor plants are propagated by cuttings, division of the rhizome, bush, offspring, air layers, bulbs and corms, and grafting. The main advantage of vegetative propagation of indoor plants is the exact preservation of all available signs and varietal characteristics of the plant.
The most commonly used cutting method. The best time for cuttings is spring. To obtain cuttings, one-year herbaceous healthy shoots are used, 8-10 cm long, with two to three internodes and three to four leaves. When propagating indoor plants, the cuttings are cut with a sharp knife under the very node (the place where the leaves are attached to the shoot).
It is best to cut the plant in cloudy weather or at the end of the day. When caring for and propagating indoor plants, rooting cuttings are planted in boxes or pots filled with cleanly washed sand. There must be a hole in the bottom of the container.
The lower part of the shoot (especially if the stalk is difficult to root) is immersed in a solution of a growth stimulator (heteroauxin) for several hours before planting. A box or pot with planted and watered cuttings must be covered with a plastic bag for 5-7 days. Depending on the species, the plant takes root within a few weeks, and sometimes months.
Chrysanthemum, fuchsia, pelargonium, carnation, hydrangea are propagated by apical cuttings.
Some plants – tradescantia, pelargonium, white perone, ficus, oleander, coleus – take root perfectly in a high container of water.
Decorative leaf begonias, gloxinia, peperomia and saintpaulia (Uzambara violets) can be propagated as a whole leaf.
There are two ways to propagate houseplants with a leaf:
- a leaf with a petiole 3-5 cm rooted for two weeks in a vessel with water; before planting, the petiole is treated with a phytohormone;
- a recess is made in the substrate, a petiole is placed there with an inclination of 45 °, so that the lower surface of the leaf faces the wall of the pot.
Other types of vegetative propagation of indoor plants
One of the easiest ways to propagate indoor plants is to divide the bush. This is how those plants are propagated, in which root offspring or adventitious roots are formed underground or at the very surface.
Divide the bushes in the spring. At the same time, with a sharp knife, the bush is cut into several parts and planted in the soil so that the root neck is at the same level as before dividing.
Indoor bulbous plants – lilies, zephyranthes, daffodils, krinum, etc. – propagated by daughter bulbs (children), after flowering, when the leaves begin to wither.
Some fruit plants – mandarin, orange, jujube, medlar – are propagated by grafting. It is used to preserve the varietal characteristics of propagated plants.
The essence of this type of propagation of indoor plants is as follows. A small cutting or bud is transferred from a propagated plant (graft) to a seedling (rootstock).
In this case, one whole plant is obtained, which has the properties of the plant from which the bud or stalk was cut.
Azaleas, ficuses, figs, dieffenbachia, dracaena, monstera, etc. reproduce well with air layering.
The best time for this is spring and early summer. On the selected shoot, 20-30 cm from its top, remove the leaves.
Make an annular incision 1–1.5 cm wide with a sharp knife. After treating the cut with growth stimulants (heteroauxin or its analogue), apply a loose substrate (sphagnum moss or peat) to this place, fix it.
Fasten a strong plastic film below and above the incision, giving it the shape of a bag. The edges of the film from below and above are fixed with electrical tape, which will make it possible to maintain the microclimate and prevent water from leaking out during irrigation.
Also, effective methods of vegetative propagation include:
- propagation by part of the leaf is suitable for begonia, saintpaulia, sansevieria, streptocarpus;
- propagation by layering is suitable for ampelous plants;
- mustache reproduction is suitable for crested chlorophytum, saxifrage wicker, etc.
How to propagate houseplants from seeds
In indoor floriculture, seed propagation is rarely used. As an experiment, you can sow the seeds of dracaena, cineraria, cyclamen, some types of palm trees, asparagus.
For sowing seeds, use a mixture of soddy, leafy soil, humus and sand (1:1:1:1). To disinfect the substrate, it is recommended to add a little crushed charcoal. The substrate in the box should be covered 2.5 cm below its edge.
Before sowing, check the seeds for germination. To do this, moistened filter paper, gauze or other cloth folded in three layers is placed on the bottom of a flat plate or saucer. The seeds are laid out on top, covered with the same material, moistened with water and placed in a warm place, making sure that the paper or cloth is always wet.
The soil for sowing is slightly leveled and loosened. Very small seeds and spores are not covered with a substrate, but lightly pressed against the soil with glass or covered with damp paper. Plant large seeds at a depth twice their size, cover with a small layer of soil, moistening it with water from a spray bottle, and cover with glass.
Keep crops in a warm, bright place at a constant temperature of 22-25 ° C, water with water at room temperature through a fine strainer or from a spray bottle.
The grown seedlings, having 2-3 pairs of young leaves, dive, that is, they are transplanted into pots or balcony flower boxes.