Houseplants: RHS advises on watering techniques

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Houseplants can provide the home with several benefits including adding greenery to a space as well as purifying the air. In order for them to thrive, they must be looked after differently in summer to how they were in winter. According to Kate Turner, gardening guru at Miracle-Gro, owners should increase watering during the warmer months.

The expert told “If you have moved your plants nearer windows during winter to maximise the light, make sure to move them away again.”

Placing some houseplants in direct sunlight will risk them being scorched.

Symptoms of burning or scorching in houseplants will show up as brown, burnt spots on the leaves or on the tips.

Leaf scorch can often not be reversed.

The expert added: “Increase watering but only when your plant needs it.

“Don’t stick to the same day each week to water and always make sure to check the compost first by sticking your finger in the soil.”

Kate recommended sticking a finger in the soil at least five centimetres deep.

She added: “If the soil is still moist, then don’t water as overwatering will attract pesky fungus gnats.”

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Gnats thrive in moist conditions and can spread rapidly to other houseplants. 

When watering indoor plants, it is also recommended to use room temperature water.

If using water from a cold tap, it may shock the plant.

Some houseplants are also extremely sensitive to tap water due to the chemicals present and prefer to be watered with filtered or rain water.

Kate said: “If you do have access to rain water then use that instead as plants love it.

“Mist the leaves of the plants that need it, such as ferns and orchids.”

Misting houseplants is a great way to boost their humidity levels.

It can also help to prevent overwatering.

The gardening expert continued: “Stand orchids on a tray of pebbles that are sitting in water, that way you can keep the humidity levels up, however, make sure the plant isn’t directly in water.

“Start feeding too with a houseplant feed such as Miracle-Gro Organic Pump & Feed All Purpose.

“All plants need food, just like us.

“Always check your plants requirements and if in doubt use half the recommended dose once a fortnight from spring to summer.

“Never pour feed onto dry compost, make sure it is moist and water afterwards.”

Other brands of houseplant food are also available from garden centres and online.

Some feeds need to be diluted with water before use.

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