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  HOME AND GARDEN » House Plants Gardenig Tips  

House Plants Grooming (By Bobby Keziah)


image 9

Plants are often classified as needing low, medium, or high light. As a guide, figure low light to be that from a north-facing window, medium from an east- or west-facing window, and high from a south-facing window. Another way to judge exposure is by the shadow cast by the plant. If it is barely discernible, the light is low; when the shadow is present but indistinct, light is medium; when the shadow is sharp, the light is bright. Choose plant types according to the light conditions you can give them (image 9)

It is also possible to give too much light to a plant, resulting in compacted growth and burned foliage. If this happens, move the plant farther from the window or put a sheer curtain on the window.

Windowsill plants tend to lean toward the source of light. To keep houseplants shapely, give their pots a quarter turn every time you water.

Pest Control

Plastic bag around plant
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Houseplant pests can spread and multiply rapidly. Act quickly to minimize damage at the first sign of insects. Isolate affected plants and begin control measures. If a pesticide is called for, be sure to use one that is labeled for indoor use, such as an insecticidal soap spray or a houseplant spray containing pyrethrum.

If your plant has a pest problem, you will want to contain the pesticide, for both effectiveness and safety. Plastic around the plant will accomplish both. Remove the plastic after several days (image 1).

Raising Humidity

Most plants, with the exception of cacti and succulents, like high humidity. Misting is a way to raise humidity, but you'll need to do it several times a day to be effective (image 2).

Misting Plants

Plants on wet gravel

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Another way to raise humidity around plants is to group them together on a tray of wet gravel. Put enough gravel in the tray so the pots will not sit directly in water (image 3).


Pruning African Violets Cutting off brown tips of plants Trimming ferns
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Periodic grooming keeps houseplants, such as these miniature African violets, looking good (image 4). As flowers fade, clip them off to direct the plant's energy toward growth and flower production, not toward the production of seeds. Pinch the growing tips of foliage houseplants to encourage dense, bushy growth. For a shapely plant, prune off any wayward or misshapen stems.

Often, heat or dry conditions can cause plant foliage tips to turn brown and dry out. If this occurs, use scissors to cut off the browned tips at an angle (image 5).

Fronds of Boston ferns can turn brown. Use scissors to clip off brown fronds at the base. Yellow or brown foliage on other plants also should be removed (image 6).

Keep them clean

Large, smooth-leaved plants are frequently collectors of dust. In normal housekeeping chores, wash or wipe away dust to keep the plant attractive and to keep it photosynthesizing at its best (image 7).

Removing dust from large plants

Removing dust from African violets

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Hairy-leaved plants such as African violets also collect dust. Because moistening the leaves can cause unsightly spots, remove dust with a small paintbrush or by blowing it away (image 8).

Bobby Keziah





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