Plants make wonderful gifts, so show how much you care and give a potted plant that will continue to brighten up someone's day for years to come.
Looking after them is a breeze once you know how. So, keep reading to find out ways to enjoy plants at home hassle-free.
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A pot with a stylish design will add more colour to complement the vegetation. You could even personalise your own pot by painting it or adding some hessian, satin ribbon or other material embellishment.
Indoor hanging baskets are becoming ever more popular. A jute or ceramic planter filled with Chrysanthemums will add height and a pop of colour to the room, or a hanging terrarium packed with succulents will provide a contemporary look.
Else, orchids have become extremely popular houseplants, symbolising love and beauty, each colour variation can change the intended meaning of the flower, so be sure to find the perfect one for Mum. Phalaenopsis (moth orchids) do really well in heated indoor environments and have long-lasting flowers over the year. Keep in mind, though, that many orchids require clear pots because their roots do the photosynthesising which is why the roots are often green in colour and sold in transparent plastic pots.
Generally, houseplants prefer a spot with bright but filtered light, whilst being protected from direct sun to avoid leaves from being scorched. Chlorophyll is the pigment in the leaves and stems which traps light energy to photosynthesise. Darker leaves have more chlorophyll which means they’re better able to absorb the light, so less need for sunlight, whereas lighter or variegated leaves indicate that more light is needed.
Keeping an even temperature all year round is important to keep growing conditions consistent and the plant stress-free. Fluctuating temperatures can damage plants, so even though the windowsill may be the perfect position for plants to sit in the summer, bear in mind that the winter drafts aren’t quite as cosy. Draft-proofing your windows will keep the temperature on track in the winter months when light levels fall, and plants need as much access to natural light as possible.
Many plants will grow without feeding, but they will benefit hugely from a little help and flowering plants can get very hungry. It’s best to give these a weekly dose of liquid feed. For example, to keep orchid flowers flourishing for longer periods of time, just add one simple pump of Miracle-Gro’s® Orchid Pump & Feed into a bucket of water and let the orchid soak—it will keep the blooms beautiful for longer.
Alternatively, indoor hanging baskets are a great contemporary addition to your home. Boston ferns look great in a hanging pot and will thrive in a setting with higher humidity and good ventilation such as the bathroom or kitchen. Even if there isn’t much time to spare, Miracle-Gro’s Drip & Feed All Purpose is a convenient plant food that will release over 4 weeks, meaning that you aren’t leaving your plants hanging and hungry.
By watering your plants little and often, you are reducing the risk of leaves wilting from being underwatered or overwatering which can lead to rotting of the roots. Ideally, the soil needs to stay moist but wait until it is mostly dried before rewatering.
Watering from below is a great way to give your plants sufficient moisture without soaking the foliage, ensuring that the roots are able to lap it up. Do this by placing a container half-filled with water below the planter for 10 minutes. African violets are attractive houseplants with pink-purple flowers and they prefer watering from below because even a small splash of water on the foliage can cause spots and damage.
Ferns, bromeliads, Calathea and other tropical plants prefer a daily mist of water to keep hydrated. Or, to give your orchids leaves that extra layer of hydration, give a quick mist of Miracle-Gro Spray & Spritz Orchid Mist around the leaves and roots weekly to lock in moisture and help to prolong the flowers.
Room to roam
Repotting your plant upgrades its growth to a slightly bigger pot with fresh soil. Plants typically need to be repotted every 12 to 18 months, but some slower growers will be happy in the same pot for years. This task is best carried out in early spring, just before the start of growing season, to give your plants a head start. Miracle-Gro’s Plant & Grow is a lightweight compost that holds more water, meaning less watering is needed and will also feed your plant for 6 months—it’s win-win!
When transferring orchids to bigger pots, avoid using loam-based or standard multi-purpose products as orchids have specific growing requirements to keep them upright without their roots becoming too damp. Miracle-Gro’s Premium Orchid Compost contains large pieces of pine bark to produce a free-draining structure which promotes healthy root growth. The unique combinations of the 14 vital minerals essential for maintaining the happiness of the orchid.
With these top tips, you can gift a plant that will bring joy to the home every day, all year round.
This article is a special feature by David Domoney, professional horticulturalist and television presenter, and our Ambassador for Miracle-Gro.