It's that time of year when you will probably have moved your focus from the garden to the house and may have installed a giant plant in your living room and adorned it with lights and sparkly things. That Christmas Tree is just a visitor though, how are your more permanent household plants?
Houseplants don't necessarily need as much upkeep as those in your garden but there are a couple things that are important to do so that they stay healthy and look lovely. Firstly keeping their leaves clean. This isn't just for looks but to help them to breathe. A microfibre cloth smoothed gently over the leaves will do the job. Dust blocks pores and makes it harder for plants to conduct photosynthesis which is the metabolic process that keeps them alive. Dust build up on leaves limits the amount of light leaves receive. In winter, when there is less natural light, this poses a bigger problem.
A dirty leaf surface also provides easy footing for diseases and can help hide and give a cosy home to insects. This brings us on to our second subject, bugs and pests. Catching any infestations early is key to the survival of the plant. If you catch those pesky pests before they take hold you can rid the plant of the problem before having to take further action. And be careful not to pass diseases or insects from plant to plant when you are cleaning!
Really the two go hand in hand. Checking your plant for pests and disease will alert you to any dust build up and cleaning them will get you up close and personal with your plant and you might spot something that needs treating.
How can we help? Well something you might want to keep in the cleaning cupboard is our Horticultural Soft Soap. Use a soft cloth and mix with some nice lukewarm water and smooth over the leaves. For plants with lots of little leaves you can spray it on.
If you've noticed pests then head over to the Biological Controls section of our shop to see what we can offer you to combat these and in the meantime wash them off as best you can. Mealybug, Spider Mite and Sciarid Fly, amongst others, can be present on houseplants all year round.
Got a bug problem you're not sure how to fix? Had success with biological controls on your houseplants? We'd love to hear from you, firstname.lastname@example.org