How to keep your indoor plants alive during isolation

Have you bought some plants during the Coronavirus isolation? Are they not thriving as you expected?

While isolation is a great time to start an indoor plant collection, you may find yourself wondering why your plants are not looking as beautiful and healthy as they did in the shop. 

That's where plant expert, Lauren Camilleri from Leaf Supply can provide some simple, useful tips to keep your indoor plants alive. 

"Many people lack confidence when it comes to caring for plants, but armed with the right knowledge, anyone can enjoy a thriving indoor jungle," she says. "For those just getting started here are some tips to encourage success."

Choose the right plants for your space

Many of us are guilty of blindly falling in love with a plant at a nursery, only to bring it home and have it steadily decline into poor health.

One of the most important tips for caring for your indoor plants is actually choosing the ones that will work best in your space. You want to facilitate the right conditions for light, humidity and air flow so your plants can live their best lives.

Start by analysing your space, identifying light sources and determining the way the light moves through rooms over the course of the day. Most indoor foliage will thrive with lots of bright, indirect light.

If light is limited, opt for varieties that will tolerate lower light conditions such as Devil’s Ivy or the un-killable Zanzibar Gem.

Get your watering right

Watering is where many of us go wrong. Plant-owners essentially are killing their plants with kindness!

While all plants should be potted in vessels with drainage holes that allow excess water to escape from the base, how often you water will depend on the water requirements of your plant.

Do your research so you can meet the specific needs of the plants you have in your collection.

Many cacti and succulents can sustain periods of drought and prefer the majority of their potting mix to dry out before watering again.

Most foliage plants on the other hand have moderate water needs so allow the top two to five centimetres of their potting mix to dry between drinks.

Plants with high water needs such as Maidenhair ferns and Alocasia enjoy a consistently moist mix, be sure to only let the very top of their potting mix dry out.

Regular maintenance is key

Checking in regularly with your plants allows you to enjoy them when they’re looking their best but also to recognise when they may need some attention.

Brown crispy leaf edges can signal that humidity levels are too low, while droopy leaves may mean you need to up your watering regime.

Pests and disease can strike when a plant is weak so the quicker you can respond to any issues that arise the better the chance of the plant returning to full health.

Just like our furniture, indoor plants gather dust which can discourage effective photosynthesis and affect healthy growth.

Using a damp cloth or a soft brush, gently wipe leaves to remove any built up debris. Dead foliage or spent flowers should also be removed with a sharp pair of secateurs and unwieldy plants can be pruned back with cuttings propagated to make more plant babies.

Despite our best intentions, things can and will go wrong at times and it’s important that you don’t beat yourself up when plants die.

Even the most advanced gardeners experience plant deaths and, disappointing though it may be, see it as a learning experience for your future endeavors.

When dealing with the natural world it's important to have realistic expectations and enjoy the process. Imperfections are a part of life, so embrace the quirks, blemishes and irregularities.

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