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Keeping it real: how to tend to indoor plants

The purpose of displaying indoor plants is to not only add vibrancy and life to your interior but equally to improve air quality and enhance psychological wellbeing — for the viewer and carer.

However, for your plants to look the part and householders to receive their visual and health benefits, it’s important to maintain natural greenery at its most verdant.

With a little regular effort and ongoing TLC, even the most time-poor green thumbs can ensure that interior plants reflect their natural glory.

Fast facts

Plant owners do not need to be expert botanists. All that is required of them as caretakers is to consider the hardiness of the plant, its suitability for variations in indoor temperatures (including heating and air-conditioning demands), light requirements, air circulation, feeding, weeding or pruning and repotting.

Gorgeous greenery and indoor suitability are achieved with Zanzibar gem, Mass cranes, rubber plants, Sansevieria or mother-in-law’s tongue and rosette-forming perennials such as Bromeliads. 

Maidenhair ferns also evoke a delicate natural beauty but require a warm spot with adequate natural light.     

Soul food in the giving

In these post-pandemic times, tending to plants can be a balm to the soul. Adopting a daily plant care routine requires minimal time but offers maximum gain.

Indoor plants often starved of natural light and fresh air, require regular watering. Dropping plant food in your watering can is also recommended every third or fourth watering.

Making the rounds is an enjoyable exercise for your plants and the waterer alike. While doing so, you can either reduce the supply or forgo entirely if the soil is still damp.

You should also examine the leaves, giving the pot a turn if it needs it, recognising and celebrating new growth as you preen, fuss and tend to your treasured greenery throughout its life cycle.

For a methodical task with instant visual gratification, the trimming process is next on your to-do list. This is an ideal weekend project, as it is designed to get everyone involved and provide your plants with a new lease on life. 

Keeping tired foliage in trim condition 

Restoring your indoor plants to their trimmest condition is a matter of regularly pruning dead or dying leaves. This task will not only improve the health and livelihood of seasonally weary greenery but removing withered leaves also helps prevent pests from making their home in your plants. 

Wait at least until a leaf is fully yellow and it pulls easily away from the plant before taking it off. A leaf that’s only partially yellow means that the plant is still absorbing the leaf’s nutrients. But brown leaves and brown leaf tips can be trimmed with impunity. 

Compact-sized hand pruners should do the trick for indoor plant maintenance. In addition, you should sanitise your pruners between plants so you don’t transfer diseases or pests. A disinfecting wipe to clean the blades works great. 

Prudent snipping not only makes your plants look better and helps them stay healthy but trimming off dead parts creates space and energy for new growth. Doing so will not only encourage your plants to grow but will remind you, while you’re doing it, of how true this holds for you, too.

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