House Plant Care

All plants should have a symbol on their labels denoting the type of care they need to keep them at their best:

  • S          denotes a succulent or cactus plant
  • HH      denotes a house plant that likes to have misted leaves and a more humid environment
  • HD      denotes a house plant that prefers to keep its leaves dry

 

S – Succulents and Cacti

When watering, don’t get water on their leaves as this might discolour or rot them.

Most plants have a dormant phase during the winter months, when you should keep watering to a minimum and keep the compost almost dry during this time. IF IN DOUBT, DON’T WATER! With succulents, keep an eye on the leaves – if they start to shrivel it’s a sure sign that the plant needs water.

In the growing season, from Spring to Autumn, water ONLY when the top of the compost feels dry, allowing the water to completely drain away. Never leave a plant sitting in water.  For plants that are in the small concrete pots without drainage holes, water carefully using a pipette to give only a few drops at a time during the growing season.

Feed with a cactus/succulent feed (usually available from your local garden centre) once a month from spring to autumn making sure you follow the dilution instructions carefully!

 

HH House plants that like more humid conditions

Mist the leaves of the plants regularly, every day or every other day, all year round (buy one of our lovely misters!).  Allow the top of the compost to dry out between waterings from Spring to Autumn. Reduce watering in the winter months.  BEWARE of over-watering!!! This can kill your precious plant.

In the growing season feed with a liquid houseplant fertilizer once a month between Spring and Autumn. Don’t feed the plant in winter.

 

HD – House plants that prefer to keep their leaves dry

Keep the compost moist but not wet from Spring to Autumn. Allow the top of the compost to dry out between waterings in Winter.

Feed with a liquid houseplant fertilizer every 2 weeks from late Spring to early Autumn. Don’t feed the plant in winter.

Care of Oxalis triangularis – These are grown from bulbs.  Water weekly but not too much as this can send them into dormancy.  They are very long lived plants and are photophilic which means their flowers and leaves open and close in response to light.  Keep in a well lit spot out of direct sunlight, turning them so that they don’t lean towards the light. Occasionally they can go dormant (every 2-7 years).  When this happens STOP watering, let the soil completely dry out, put aside somewhere where you can keep an eye on it and after a few weeks a leaf will emerge and then you can resume watering.  Feed every 2 months or less with a liquid houseplant feed.

Closed Terrarium Care

Terrariums that are closed are self sufficient and environmentally friendly because they recycle water.

It’s important to establish the right levels of humidity and to check it regularly. Adding just enough water – a small amount once or twice a year so that the soil isn’t soaked and the roots don’t rot – is very important to keeping the terrarium healthy.

This type of terrarium does not need watering unless there is no condensation on the inside of the glass. Then give the inside one spray from a mister and close the terrarium again.

If however there is so much condensation that you cannot see the plants inside open the terrarium and let the fresh air in for a couple of days to allow excess water to evaporate before replacing the lid again.

Regularly turn the terrarium so that the plants grow evenly.

Keep in a well lit position but not in direct sunlight, since the container can act as a lens and burn your plants.

If the plants grow too tall, using a sharp pair of scissors, cut the stem just above a pair of leaves. This will encourage new leaves to grow and the plant will become bushier. There might come a time when the plants need replacing due to them growing too big or if one should not thrive.  If this happens please email me to arrange replanting your terrarium.

I hope that you enjoy your terrarium but if you have any questions please contact me at janet.fox@smallandgreen.com

Open ‘dry’ Terrarium Care

The type of plants in this terrarium like ‘dry’ conditions so are easy to care for!  Their natural habitat would be a desert or semi-desert and they grow in dry, sandy soils.

The word “succulent” refers to plants that have thick, fleshy leaves, stems or roots for storing water.  

Keep your terrarium in a well lit position but not in direct sunlight, since the container can act as a lens and burn your plants. Do rotate the terrarium so that the plants grow evenly.

Succulents have an annual cycle whereby they become dormant between October and February each year.  Only water once a month at this time using the pipette to direct the water at the plant’s base, one or two pipette-fulls per plant.  

From March onwards give them some water individually – a soup spoonful or full pipette each at the base of the plant – every 10-15 days.  If the succulent’s leaves are looking wrinkly this is usually a sign that they could do with a little water.  Try not to get the water on top of the plant, which is tricky! as this can cause the leaves to discolour.  

If in doubt DON’T WATER!

If any of the lower leaves start to dry and fall off don’t worry!  This is just a part of the plants natural biological cycle.  The lower leaves die off and new ones grow out from the centre of the plants.  Simply remove any old leaves with tweezers.

Open ‘wet’ Terrarium care

These types of terrariums are open at the top and contain humid loving plants.   They need a little bit more care than a closed terrarium.

You will need to water the plants every 5-10 days and spray them daily or every other day to keep up the level of humidity.  When you water them use a small watering can or pipette to direct the water to the bases of each plant.  Use only a small amount of water otherwise you will flood the soil and the roots of the plants may rot if they sit in water for too long.

Turn the container regularly so that the plants grow evenly and do not bend towards the light causing them to become misshapen.

Occasionally mould may start to grow on the moss or soil. This is nothing to worry about but if this happens try to gently remove the mould and the top layer of the soil it is growing on with a spoon and add some activated charcoal powder or granules to the soil in tiny amounts and this should help to prevent the mould coming back.  This can be bought in aquarium supply shops or online.

The plants should love their environment and if they do will grow well and at some point might need removing because they have grown too big!  You can then pot them on into multi purpose compost into a pot of a suitable size and you will then have a new houseplant for your home!  Garden centres should supply suitably sized replacements so you don’t have a gap in your terrarium, just remember to ask for a small houseplant that likes high humidity.

Any questions or for more information email me at janet.fox@smallandgreen.com

Enjoy your terrarium! 

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