With simple plant maintenance, such as cleaning your leaves, watering correctly, and knowing the correct soil to use you can be sure your plants will be healthy and strong. Indoor plants have become extremely popular over the last few years so it’s best for all if we know how to keep your plants healthy. If you’re taking care of your plants for the first time, our plant maintenance tips and tricks will provide you with some of the necessary information to allow your plants to thrive.
Plants can be mysterious sometimes, one day they look perfect and the next they are struggling. But with our simple tips and tricks you will have the basics to know what to do.
How to keep your plants healthy
Planting indoor plants
It is easier than ever to buy beautiful indoor plants, keeping them healthy and strong doesn’t need to be a full time job. With some simple plant maintenance tips, you can be sure that your indoor plants will live as long as possible. Whether you’re an avid Orchid fan or more of a Monstera lover with some simple plant maintenance tips you can be sure that your indoor plants will thrive and live as long as possible.
One of the first tips and an important one, is do not repot your indoor plants as soon as you bring them home from the garden centre. Give them at least a week to get used to their new surroundings before changing their pot and the soil. This will stop them going into shock.
There are three main reasons why you would need to repot your indoor plants. The first is that the roots are protruding out of the bottom of the pot and therefore the plant has naturally grown out of its original pot. The second is because you would like the plant to grow bigger, so you need to give more space in a larger pot to grow. The third is because you do not like the original pot that it came in.
When replanting any indoor plant make sure you use a good quality indoor potting soil. Potting soil is very different to the soil you find in your garden. A good quality potting soil will provide your plant with the nutrients it needs, and consists of some perlite, peat and a little bit of shredded bark to aerate the soil. This stops it from becoming so dense that it can’t absorb the water correctly.
To repot your indoor plant you will need; your new pot, soil and your plant. Firstly, half fill your new pot with the potting soil, then carefully take your plant out of its original pot and gently open up the roots at the bottom of the plant. Make sure not to damage the roots. Place the plant into your new pot and fill the space around the pot with the new potting soil. When you have finished give it some water. As well as giving your plant a drink this will help it to settle it into its new home.
Plant maintenance for indoor plants
Knowing how much water to give your indoor plants can be tricky. It can be very easy to think that your plants need water every day. But the truth is that some plants prefer their soil to dry out before being watered. Some plants ‘show you’ when they need water. Their leaves droop and become floppy. One plant this is renowned for this is the Peace Lily; once it is watered it instantly perks up.
In general watering your plants once a week is enough. This gives the soil a chance to dry out a little.
Check your pot to see if it has a hole in the bottom or not. If it does this will help the water to drain through the plant rather than become waterlogged in the bottom of the pot. Pots with holes in the base are generally preferable, as long as you have a saucer underneath to catch any excess water.
If your pot does not have a hole make sure you do not over water your plant as the water will just sit in the base of the pot and ultimately lead to the plant roots rotting.
Feeding your plants with fertiliser is also an important part of your plant maintenance. As a rule of thumb it is best to feed your plants every 3-4 weeks when they are actively growing. By this we mean when you can see flowers or new leaves growing. When the plant is dormant, usually during the winter months, do not fertilise your plant as this may cause the foliage to burn or may even kill the plant.
Planting outdoor plants
There is nothing better than growing your own food from seed, planting beautiful shrubs and trees and watching their flowers and leaves bloom. But Qatar’s climate and soil do not provide the best environment to make growing an easy task. The harsh climate can often be worse for plants than humans.
When think about growing your own fruit and vegetables, think about tomatoes, melons, eggplant and zucchini. These are plants that do fairly well in Qatar’s hot climate. Consider initially planting the seedling inside in September and when the weather cools in October they can then be transferred outside. Until they have their own strong roots when you can be plant them directly into the ground.
One of the best ways to ensure that your plants thrive when they are transferred outside is to prepare the soil. This is best done in September, whilst in Qatar. If you plan to grow your plants in pots and planters then all you need is a good potting soil mix. These are available at our garden centre. If you plan on planting directly into the ground there are a few things you should consider beforehand.
Firstly take a look at the soil. If your plot has not been planted in before your soil may need some attention. Begin by removing large rocks and boulders as this will help with the water flow and help the roots to grow freely. Adding top soil, which is available at our garden center, will help to enrich your soil with fertiliser and nutrients. By mixing this into the soil you already have in your garden it helps your plants to have the best start.
Once you have done this you can begin planting. Whether it is a tomato seedling or a frangipani tree that you are planting, the task is the same. Dig a hole just bigger than the root ball. Remove the plant from its original pot and place it into the hole. Surround your plant with soil until the roots are fully covered and the plant is sturdy in the ground. Once your plant is in the ground give it some water. This helps your plant to ‘settle in’ to its new home and will also give it a good drink.
Plant maintenance for outdoor plants
As you begin to enjoy the plants in your garden you will start to notice changes in your plants. As with everything, plants need a little care and attention.
Watering your plants especially in a Qatar garden is essential to keep them alive. Succulent plants such as Cacti, Desert Rose, Bougainvillea, and Agave do not necessarily need water everyday unless the weather is very hot (+40). They can survive and also prefer to have less water; part of the reason they are seen in so many gardens in Qatar. Jasmine, Hibiscus, Olive and Lemon among others, require water more frequently as the desert weather conditions are not their native habitat.
When the weather heats up in Qatar you need to spend a little time moving your plants into a shaded area. The sun can be vicious in the summer months, so to avoid damage to your plants, such as Hibiscus, young Jasmine and Cycas you will need to cover or move them into the shade to avoid burning the leaves.
Weeding the area around your plants is an important part of plant maintenance. Spend a little time removing small unwanted saplings that grow in the soil around your plants is important to ensure that the water you give you plants only goes to the plant you want it to go to. It also stops your plants from becoming over crowded.
When your plants are established and are growing well they may need to be pruned. Pruning not only encourages new growth but it also ensures your plants keep a neat and tidy shape. Pruning involves cutting leaves and branches back where they are either not wanted or where the plant has become too big. Pruning should only be done in the cooler months of the year, October-April. When cutting your plants back be sure to use a sharp tool for example secateurs or a garden knife this will make sure the cut is clean and no bacteria can get into it.
As with indoor plants your outdoor plants will also need some fertiliser to add extra nutrients and vitamins not easily available in the soil. Fertilise your outdoor plants once every two months in the growing season.
Plants, whether indoor plants or outdoor plants, can give so much joy. From freshly grown food to indoor air purification, with a little plant maintenance to keep your plants healthy, there is so much we can enjoy from growing our own plants.