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June Indoor winter maintenance

Follow our indoor winter checklist for happy and healthy plants. As we enter the depths of winter, bringing the garden indoors adds a warming touch of greenery while much of the backyard goes into hibernation. If given the right growing conditions and care, your indoor plants will reward you with year-round living décor and joy. Watch out for scale!

Indoor maintenance checklist

  • Fertiliser: Indoor foliage plants go into semi-dormancy during the winter, so it is not necessary to fertilise them. However, winter is the growing season of spring-flowering bulbs such as daffodils and hyacinths and plants such as cineraria, cyclamen, poinsettias, chrysanthemum, and begonia. Plant these with Bio Rock and feed every four to six weeks with Bio Ocean. Water every two to three days.
  • Light and air: Most houseplants require good, indirect light – not direct sunlight, particularly damaging is sunlight striking them through glass. The light should be balanced and if not, turn the plants once a week to prevent them from becoming lopsided. Do not place plants near south-facing windows (they will feel the chill rather badly in cold areas). A north-facing window screened by a net or voile curtain is a good position.
  • Temperature: Many indoor plants originate in the tropics and therefore prefer to be kept in warmer temperatures. In cold areas and rooms heated by heaters and fireplaces, the plants will need extra humidity to keep them happy. Plants should therefore be misted with tepid water regularly to counteract the effects of reduced humidity.
  • Water: Use tepid or lukewarm water. Your plants will be able to absorb the water easier and avoid sending them into a state of shock. Reduce the watering schedule of indoor foliage plants but never let them become bone dry. A dose of warm or lukewarm water every 10 days is quite sufficient for most indoor plants as they go into semi-dormancy during midwinter.
  • Cleaning: Throughout the year, indoor plants collect dust which can block the leaf pores, hindering photosynthesis and transpiration. Make sure that dust is removed from the top and bottom of leaves. For small indoor plants, put them in a bath or shower and give them a gentle spray of lukewarm water. For larger plants, a warm wet cloth will do the job.

Did you know? Leaf shining products are available from our GCA Garden Centres to help protect your plants from dust and keep leaves looking their best.

  • Repotting: June is also the time to assess whether your plants need a larger container. Are roots growing out of the base of the pot? Are the new leaves on the plant smaller than the existing leaves? Does the plant dry out quickly? If the answer is yes, yes, yes – your plant needs a larger home.

Pest control: Scale alert

Identification: Very small tan or brown oval insects with a hard shell that infect the stems and undersides of the leaves of indoor plants. They are sap-sucking and can eventually ruin a plant. The secretions of heavy infestations can lead to sooty mould and black fungus. The best way to curb scale attacks is to keep your plants clean from dust, in a humid atmosphere, and in optimal health,

Symptoms: The appearance of raised bumps on leaves and stems. Leaves may also be covered in a sticky substance. Because these insects suck the sap of plants, heavier infestations can cause yellowing of leaves, stunted growth and even dieback of the plant. If left untreated, the yellowing and dieback of the plant will increase, meaning the plant will be sapped of all its nutrients and will eventually die off completely.

Suggested Action: Infested plants can also affect other healthy plants near them. Keep affected plants separate from healthy ones. Remove and dispose of any infested branches, twigs, and leaves (do not put these on the compost heap – throw them in the bin or burn them). Where scale colonies on plants are not so large, they can be picked off by hand. Dabbing individual pests with an alcohol-soaked cotton swab will also work when infestations are light. In cases of larger scale colonies, treat with a systemic insecticide.

Instant indoor colour

If you would like to add some instant colour to your home, choose from the wide range of stunning indoor plants available now at GCA Garden Centres. Try African violet, begonia, cyclamen, peace lily, calceolaria, kalanchoe, cymbidium orchids, chrysanthemums, cineraria, and primula acaulis.

Make the most of winter indoors and always remember to grow on! Visit your GCA Garden Centre for a gorgeous variety of pot plants, fertilisers, and pest control solutions. If you are unsure about products or which plants to choose, ask the friendly staff for assistance – they’re there for you!

Source: Life is a Garden