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Houseplant clinic: from crispy ferns to collapsed cacti, all your problems solved | Houseplants

My cat/toddler likes nibbling my plant’s leaves. Should I be frightened?

Presumably. There are numerous houseplants which can be poisonous to a point, so if your pets or kids are doubtless to pay money for your crops and put them of their mouths, it’s value ensuring you recognize what you’re rising and preserve something dangerous out of their manner. Many aroids, equivalent to satan’s ivy (Epipremnum aureum) and the Swiss cheese plant (Monstera deliciosa), are poisonous to people and pets, for example. Seek the advice of the ASPCA for a helpful database of poisonous and non-toxic crops.

Assist! My wilted plant doesn’t perk up after I water it

Houseplants can wilt after they have an excessive amount of water, in addition to too little. So by watering once more you could be making the issue worse. Take the plant out of the pot and push your finger into the rootball. If the soil is bone dry, put the plant right into a bucket of water and let it soak for an hour or two, then drain totally. If it’s soaking moist, knock off the moist compost, trim any mushy roots and repot in contemporary, solely barely moist compost. Most houseplants get better higher from drought than from flood, so by no means allow them to sit in water.

How do I get my orchid to bloom once more?

Moth orchid.
Moth orchid. {Photograph}: Alamy

If the flowers have not too long ago died again, strive chopping the flower spike again to simply above a node (really feel for a bumpy, scale-like bit alongside the stem) with clear scissors, and it could ship out contemporary buds. If the flower spike is brown, lower it again to the bottom of the plant and wait. Moth orchids (Phalaenopsis) normally flower annually, so preserve watering and feeding, and look ahead to a brand new flower spike to seem. There may be some debate about whether or not a fall in temperature at night time of between 3C and 5C helps kickstart flowering; this gained’t hurt the plant so it’s value a strive if it’s been greater than a 12 months for the reason that final flowers; turning your heating down or off will assist create the required drop in temperature.

My fern is a crispy mess. Ought to I throw it away and take a look at once more?

Don’t quit but. Many ferns develop from rhizomes – thick underground stems – and can resprout even when all the foliage dies again. The key with ferns is to present a gentle provide of moisture across the roots; a technique of doing that is by utilizing a self-watering pot. You can even strive double potting, the place you sink your fern in its plastic or terracotta pot into one other, waterproof pot stuffed with damp compost, gravel or sphagnum moss. If your fern actually has died, strive an asparagus fern subsequent time: a fern lookalike that offers the high-quality foliage with out want for fixed coddling.

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I’m on the lookout for an enormous, showy plant for my lounge that’s simple to look after – any concepts?

Ponytail Palm, potted in a large white tub isolated on white
The ponytail palm: much less delicate than a real palm. {Photograph}: Getty Photographs

A sunny room is ideal for a mature specimen of the ponytail palm (Beaucarnea recurvata): though the topknot of straplike foliage on a woody stem does lend it a palm-like look, it’s really a member of the asparagus household, and is much less delicate to dry air and the occasional drought than a real palm. For a room with no direct daylight, the dragon timber, equivalent to Dracaena fragrans and D. marginata, are clever investments that can address essentially the most erratic care regime. The primary factor that can kill each of those crops is waterlogged roots, so solely water when the soil is dry.

Zamioculcas zamiifolia.
Zamioculcas zamiifolia. {Photograph}: Getty

I kill the whole lot I contact. What plant will survive, even in my fingers?

The ZZ plant, Zamioculcas zamiifolia, is the houseplant I normally purchase for individuals who declare they can’t preserve crops alive. It’s a stoic however lovely foliage plant from east Africa that may address an enormous spectrum of situations. Should you like a contact of the gothic, the almost-black foliage of Z. zamiifolia “Raven” will attraction.

My succulent grew tall then fell over – assist!

Too little gentle and an excessive amount of warmth in winter is to blame. This causes succulents to stretch out (the botanical time period is etiolation), and so they usually get so tall that they droop. Strive to discover a sunnier spot for your plant: a south-facing windowsill, lined porch or balcony is good. If your house is just too darkish for that, you could want to spend money on LED growlights: Sansi promote bulbs that match into common gentle fittings.

Ought to I fear concerning the white fuzzy stuff on the soil?

Mould around a violin fig plant.
Mould round a violin fig plant. {Photograph}: Alamy

This widespread subject is attributable to saprophytic fungi, which stay in soils and feed on decomposing plant materials. They gained’t straight hurt you or your plant, however their presence most likely means your potting combine is a little bit too water-retentive, or you’re watering too often. Take the plant out of its pot and take a look at the roots: test for tender or lifeless roots and lower these away. If the potting combine wants changing, knock off all the outdated compost and pot up in contemporary houseplant compost, including some perlite or grit to enhance drainage. Gently scrape the highest floor of mould away and discard, changing with contemporary compost. Mulching the soil floor with expanded clay pebbles (leca) or gravel could assist to cease the return of the fungal progress.

To get the plant again to its unique form, you may chop off a piece of stem, permit it to dry out for a few days, then place in gritty compost or a glass of water till rooted. The plant left behind ought to resprout.

Aspidistra elatior.
Aspidistra elatior. {Photograph}: Alamy

What plant can I put in my windowless toilet?

No plant will survive long run with completely zero gentle. However should you can go away the door open more often than not so gentle can get in from the neighbouring room, you could possibly strive shopping for two or three similar specimens of shade-tolerant crops such because the peace lily (Spathiphyllum wallisii), the forged iron plant (Aspidistra elatior) and even the ZZ plant talked about above. Give them a spell in a brighter spot elsewhere each few weeks.

What can I do concerning the tiny black flies floating round my crops?

Fungus gnats, also referred to as sciarid flies, are totally different from the fruit flies that hover round your fruit bowl, that are greater and brown in color. Fungus gnats lay their eggs in houseplant compost, and their larvae (clear, black-headed worms 5-10mm lengthy) feed on fungus and algae within the soil. They don’t do a lot hurt to mature crops however can kill seedlings. Both manner, they’re unpleasant and annoying.

The most secure manner to sort out the issue is organic management – hypoapsis mites or nematodes that can kill off the larvae. These remedies are protected for people and pets: utilized twice a 12 months, they may preserve the issue below management. As well as, strive Zoot Off Sciarid fly granules as a high dressing on your pots. This discourages the flies from laying their eggs.

• Jane Perrone is host of houseplant podcast On The Ledge

Young Woman Watering Freshly Potted Houseplants with Watering Can
There’s a houseplant for each house. {Photograph}: Getty Photographs

Pots within the put up: 10 of the most effective houseplant supply providers


Bunches
Household-run, specialising in flowers and small, colourful houseplants. Has not too long ago branched out into giant indoor crops.

Bloombox Based by a former therapist, it sells crops with a wellbeing focus, with common collections, from pet-friendly to immune-boosting plants.

The Little Botanical Fashionable crops in beautiful ceramic pots, in addition to equipment.

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Canopy Plants Big selection with sustainable packaging (no single-use plastics), and gives subscriptions.

Leaf Envy This London retailer delivers nationwide: collections embody air-purifying crops. Plenty of recommendations on plant care.

Hortology Every little thing from small succulents to giant, office-sized palms – and gives ideas for plants by room.

Beards and Daisies A trend-led, curated choice, with nice in-situ images for inspiration.

Patch Store by kind (unkillables, shade-lovers) or room; additionally sells out of doors crops and timber.

Flowerbx This flower specialist additionally sells a curated range of plants, in addition to a big selection of orchids.

Papaya Born throughout the first lockdown, this website sells quite a lot of crops in Insta-friendly pots.

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