Transition Into Spring With Your Indoor Plant Care Routine
It’s time for a spring awakening for your indoor plants! Most of your houseplants will have entered a dormant phase over winter, conserving energy for their next spring growth spurt. Now that the temperature is rising and more sun is streaming through the windows, your plants are about to kick things into high gear and it's important they get the right care.
How to Switch Up Your Indoor Plant Care Routine for Spring
Indoor plant care doesn't need to be complicated, but to help your plants grow lush and green at impressive speeds, you do need to provide some accommodations. Give your plants a spring refresh by going through the tasks listed below.
Consider Repotting Your Indoor Plants
For some plants, repotting them in a slightly larger container every few years will help them to increase in size at a manageable pace. It’s also a great opportunity to switch out old soil with some fresh stuff. Choose a pot that’s 2–3 inches wider in diameter than the previous one. Slow-growing plants don’t need to be repotted as often, but some plants grow faster and may become root-bound in a small pot.
That being said, some plants actually prefer to be root-bound, so it’s good to be discerning about which plants actually need repotting. For example, spider plants do well when they are root-bound, because it encourages them to produce those little “pups” to propagate and replant. If your plant is comfortably root-bound, water it more generously than your other plants, and if you repot a root-bound plant, make sure you scale back on watering!
How Do I Know If My Plant Is Root-Bound?
- Roots are poking through the drainage holes in the bottom of the container.
- Roots are poking up from the soil surface.
- When you pull the plant out of its pot, the roots form a dense, tangled mass in the shape of the container.
- The root ball is stuck in the container and difficult to remove.
When you replant a root-bound plant in a bigger container with fresh soil, you’ll want to loosen up the root ball, so it can properly spread out. Gently loosen and untangle the roots with your fingers. If they’re too tightly tangled, you can score the root ball's exterior with a sterilized knife and then continue loosening with your fingers.
Start Fertilizing Your Plants
When indoor plants are dormant over winter, you shouldn’t fertilize them. This will confuse them and send them into a premature growth spurt, and they won’t have the energy to produce quality growth. In spring, as you work your way through your seasonal plant care routines, you can begin fertilizing your plants again because this helps to perk them up and start growing again.
Maintain a consistent fertilizing schedule for your plants until fall. Once a month is usually sufficient, but the frequency may vary depending on your plant and the fertilizer formula you’re using. Some houseplants are very heavy feeders and like to be fertilized every 2–3 weeks.
Different houseplants will benefit from different kinds of fertilizers, so while an all-purpose slow-release fertilizer is an easy way to get good results, you might want to consider picking up a few different formulas. There are specialized fertilizer formulas available for all sorts of plant species, including:
Some fertilizers are water-soluble and can be mixed into water and poured directly into the soil. This method is fast-acting but may require more frequent reapplications. A lot of folks prefer the easy application of sprinkling on granulated fertilizer across the soil surface. The slow-release granular fertilizers tend to last longer and don’t need to be topped up as frequently.
With more sun and more fertilizer to supercharge their growth, your plants will need some more water to stay hydrated! However, you need to be careful about not overwatering your plants—this can be very detrimental to your poor plants! Too much water can lead to fungus gnats, or even worse, root rot.
Others like their soil a bit more on the moist side, such as maidenhair ferns or selaginella. Pots with drainage holes will help release excess water, so you’re less at risk for overwatering your plants.
Pruning and Inspecting For Pests
You might assume pruning is a task reserved for shrubs and trees outdoors, but it’s actually an important part of indoor plant care too. Like leaves, flowers, or stems, any dead or damaged parts should be removed with sanitized shears. If those pieces remain on the plant, they could still be draining a significant amount of energy. Often, flowering houseplants won’t rebloom until the old, dead remnants have been taken off.
Take care of your hands by wearing protective gloves when pruning damaged leaves or branches off of an indoor plant—many of our favorite houseplants contain sap that can irritate our skin. While you inspect your plants, keep an eye out for any signs of pests that may be lurking. The undersides of leaves may often hide unseen eggs and tiny bugs! If you see any signs of plant pests, use an appropriate indoor plant care treatment, such as insecticidal soap or pyrethrum spray.
If you’ve nailed down the basics of how to care for indoor plants, and you’re ready to add some more to your collection, browse our full catalog! We’re constantly updating our shop with fascinating plant varieties in all different colors and sizes. Take a look at what’s new for spring 2021!