Growing fantastic plants, and keeping them that way, can be a lot of work. Even the easiest to grow house plants can usually be convinced to grow bigger, faster, and healthier with some extra care and attention. This month, we wanted to give you an inside look at just a small part of the work that the team at Plant Revolution does to change ‘regular’ plants into something special.
Clean, clean, clean, repeat
Clean everything as often as you can. This will help reduce pest problems significantly. Wash out all dirty pots and garden tools after use and disinfect them. Use a solution with bleach or hydrogen peroxide where appropriate and keep a spray bottle with alcohol around for small jobs. Wipe away any dirt, soil, dust, cobwebs, etc. whenever you see it. The more plants you have the more important this becomes.
Always use good, clean, high quality potting soil mix
Our team repots over 90% of the plants we get from other growers, even if they are not rootbound. This takes a lot of time and has a significant cost in our business so you can imagine we have strong reasons to do it. This will have more impact on your plants than anything else you will do and should not be ignored. We typically notice an improvement in plant health, vigor and color within a few days after repotting. Do not assume that any commercially produced houseplant in Costa Rica is in high quality soil… the vast majority of the time the soil will have inadequate aeration, poor drainage, and high clay content.
Check your plants often
I prefer to tell people to ‘enjoy your plants often’. Admire your plants often. By looking at your plants frequently you will also notice when they are doing well and when they are not. When pests arrive, you will notice them quickly so you can prevent them from getting out of control. Most issues affecting plants can be resolved easily if dealt with quickly.
Deal with pests immediately and practice prevention
‘Enjoying your plants often’ will inevitably lead to discovering pests at some point. Learn what to look for and immediately treat affected plants. Common and effective methods include insecticidal soap or neem oil sprays, removal with a cotton swab dipped in alcohol, spraying the plant with a strong stream of water. We sometimes use a systemic insecticide like using neem oil when watering plants that are susceptible to pests. Add a drop or two of insecticidal soap when you spray your plants with water or other products, as a preventative measure.
When enjoying your plants, you will also notice damaged leaves. Remove dead, dying, diseased, discolored, or otherwise unsightly leaves. Besides improving the aesthetical appearance of the plant, it also helps you to notice issues affecting plant health, like underwatering, overwatering, or pests.
Fertilize regularly, following a schedule. Have a goal for what you want to achieve with your plants and implement a schedule accordingly. Do a little research online to find products that best suit you. Unless you have a huge collection of houseplants, fertilizer is usually fairly inexpensive so it’s worth considering paying a little more and using higher quality products. In particular, there are a lot of flowering plants that really need proper fertilization to achieve their true potential.
Lately our routine includes seaweed foliar spray weekly. For some plants that we particularly want to grow big and fast we use a foliar spray with nettle monthly. We use a solution with seawood when watering new cuttings, after repotting, or for some diseased or recovering plants. We routinely try out new products and do a lot of research. f I had to pick one product, I’d say get any good quality seawood product.
We recognize many of our customers might not be able to dedicate as much of their time to their plants as we do. The above list is just a small portion of the work that often goes into producing a specimen plant. With that in mind, let me suggest one final tip: you can save a lot of time and effort by purchasing strong, healthy plants, grown in premium potting soil mix from Plant Revolution.