Too much TLC can kill

Wed. Nov. 4, 2020

Click below to listen to my 2 min. Garden Bite radio show: Too much TLC can kill

Your tropicals you had outside all summer should be safely indoors now.   As we start turning indoors, we’re paying more attention to all of our houseplants.  Mostly that’s a good idea but too much T-L-C can kill a houseplant!

Elephant Ear has lasted for 3 years, even after throwing it out! I love this plant. I’ll take it downstairs when it starts looking lousy. It will go dormant
zee, spider, begonia, episcia, moss rose
Begonia and episcia cupreata a year later than the above photo

Overwatering is the number one killer of houseplants.  Almost none of your houseplants like wet feet.  We often think water’s the cure-all for what MAY ail your plant.  The reality is, MOST of your houseplants, as well as outdoor plants, do better on the dry side.

Mother-in-law tongue 2020 – SUPER easy plant for less sun areas

However, because houseplants needs do vary, the best advice for a watering schedule is to get to know the plant.   While the majority are better off drying out a little, some plants do like to stay moist.  All this info should be on the tag in the pot you buy, if there’s no information, then ask.  Generally, you’ll get more information from your local garden center.

philodendron 2020

A watering schedule least likely to get you in trouble is to water when the top 1 to 2 inches of soil is dry.  Just stick your finger in the soil to find out.  You can water from the top and let the water flow all the way through till it drains out the bottom (then empty the saucer) or you can bottom water.  Set your pot in water until moisture can be seen on the soil surface.  African Violets, in particular, prefer this method of watering.

African violets

Don’t over fertilize!  I did that to my zee plant…. it was very unhappy with me, drooping over and hanging down.  Gratefully, I flushed it (watering it till water ran out the bottom and then let it dry out completely) and it’s much healthier, standing straighter.

I use rainwater for my plants.  Capturing it in a barrel and saving it in milk jugs.

My rain barrel