Troubleshooting Indoor plants.
If you are having trouble with your indoor plants you have joined a fairly large community. Getting the right conditions isn’t easy so lets have a run down of common problems.
- Soil too dry, plant dies. This process wont take long if you are away for a week. The plant will tell you that it is under stress if you are observant- leaves take on a lighter green colour and wilt. Tips brown off and become crispy and reflect what is happening to the roots.
Watch for dry soil surface and water immediately. Keep in mind that soils will be moist further down the soil profile.
- Soil too wet, plant drowns. Plant roots absorb CO2 through soil pore space but if it’s too wet then this function fails. Signs to look for are leaf tips brown and often mushy, dark soil surface. Hold back on more water until soil dries out a little.
- It does not follow that a little fertiliser is good so more is better. Use fertiliser sparingly to maintain somewhere between maintenance and a luxuriant appearance. Use low nitrogen sources, use a little and often rather than a big load twice a year.
- Pests and diseases can destroy your efforts really quickly. A sheltered environment means that there will be few predators to keep sucking pests in check. First sign will be masses of white crawling pests roaming around the leaves (mealy bugs) or small shells especially under the leaves (scale insects). Avoid chemical control inside your home, take the plant outside and try less toxic solutions like wiping off pests, painting with rubbing alcohol or spraying with botanical oils. Follow up a week later. For leaf spot and fungal infections use wettable sulphur to manufacturer’s instructions. Wettable Sulphur is very low toxicity.
- Species selection- sometimes even after trying with your desired plant it just isn’t working. Plants are cheap so maybe it’s better to consign it to a sheltered spot outside and select another.
- Soil media can be the issue. Always best to buy premium potting mixes when repotting that are pH adjusted, are correctly aged and have good nutrient levels.
Indoor plants have many pleasing attributes so their addition to any space is a worthwhile ambition. Get good advice regarding species from your nursery, place it in a well lit position and be observant to get the best outcome.