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Have a little extra free time this coming Memorial Day Weekend? It’s a great occasion to show your houseplants some love. Since plants tend to grow more in the spring and summer, as the seasons change, it’s important to address any needs they might have (like more shade, or a bigger pot). Here are seven things to consider doing to give your plants their very own “spa day”:
Have a pair of chopsticks lying around? Put them to good use and aerate your plants’ soil. Over time, soil can get compacted and won’t absorb water as well. As Darryl Cheng, plant expert and author of New Plant Parent, previously explained to mbg, simply take your chopstick and poke through the soil a few inches into your pot and give it a good twirl. That’s it, and you only have to do it two or three times around the perimeter of the pot to give your plant some fresh air.
2. Give the leaves a good cleaning & misting.
Like every other surface in your home, plants, too, can collect dust. Give them a gentle wipe with a damp paper towel or microfiber cloth to clean up any dust or residue on the leaves.
Once they’re nice and clean, feel free to give your plants a nice misting. Lots of plants like pothos, philodendrons, and ferns appreciate getting their leaves wet once in a while.
Should you notice any pesky pests around your plants as you’re giving them their spa day, you’ll definitely want to pick up some neem oil, which is essentially a natural pesticide. And of course, even if your plants appear pest-free, it never hurts to use a little to protect them into the summer. Here’s a beginner’s guide to using neem as a treatment and a preventive measure.
Is your plant looking a bit crowded in its pot? Or perhaps its soil has become super compact? It might be time for a repotting (or “up-potting” if it needs something roomier). Even if you’re just taking it out, removing old soil from the roots, and placing it back in the same pot with fresh soil, it can do wonders for your plant. And if it’s outgrown its current planter, you’ll want to swap it for a slightly bigger one.
What better way to stimulate growth than with some fertilizer? Your plants will love it, and there’s no shortage of fertilizers to choose from—including natural fertilizers you may already have. Banana peels, for example, can be soaked in water (for at least an hour) to create a nutrient-rich fertilizer you can use to water your plants.
Depending on your plants’ individual needs, it might be worth placing them in a different spot. With intense summer sunshine just a few weeks away, some plants may need some more shade. On top of that, if you notice your plant is leaning toward one side, simply give the planter a spin and rotate it. It’s likely leaning toward the sun, so it should balance out as you get in the habit of rotating it periodically. (P.S.: Be sure to check out our full guide on finding the best spot for your plants!)
7. And of course, water them.
We couldn’t leave this one out. If your plants need a watering, be sure to do it. If the soil feels completely dry to the touch, it’s probably time to hydrate. But be careful—as all plant parents know, overwatering can be just as bad as underwatering. Take a look at our guide to plant watering for extra tips if you’re unsure.
And just as a heads-up, it’s best to water your plants in the morning, particularly when it’s hot out so the plant can absorb the water before it gets too hot and it evaporates.
Setting aside a “plant spa day” is such a lovely way to be more mindful, tend to your green babies, and make your home that much more beautiful. So when you find yourself lounging this long weekend, grab your watering can and some fresh soil, and give your plants the TLC they deserve.
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