Gardening: Expert reveals air purifying houseplants

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Artur Iliev is a gardening expert working for a company that sells self-watering tubs for plants, LECHUZA. He spoke to about how to keep houseplants alive in winter, what to do if they seem in bad shape, and more.

Artur warned against over-watering plants, especially in winter, saying: “Plants need less food and water in the winter months and you should be careful not to over-water them at this time in particular.

“Also keep sensitive plants, especially poinsettias, out of cold draughts and away from radiators which could make them parched.”

Artur stressed that “the majority of plants” do not like to be kept near the radiator.

The optimal place for them is near the window, as Artur said: “With shorter days, plants which love to soak up sun will appreciate a daily turn, allowing all their leaves to grab some sunlight every few days.

“Gently wipe houseplant leaves a couple of times over the winter months to keep them in good shape, but you don’t have to worry about some leaves dropping as this is natural in winter.”

Wiping plant leaves will also ensure that there is no dust on them.

“Sadly dust is unavoidable so when it gets noticeable you can wipe them gently with cool water or get some specially formulated wipes impregnated with feed from your local garden centre,” Artur said.

To get rid of the dust and to give it a watering at the same time, Artur recommended taking your plant to the shower with you.

But, it is worth bearing in mind that all plants need to be watered in different ways.

Artur said: “While some plants like to be watered and fed from the bottom, others really want to soak up moisture from the top, especially some of the more exotic and tropical plants whose natural habitat is incredibly humid and involves regular bathing in loads of warm rain before a prolonged period of drought.

“There are many houseplants – all kinds of ferns, for example – which thrive in humidity and hate to have dry leaves, making them a great choice for bathrooms.

“Regularly misting can help prevent plants from shrivelling up in hot, dry conditions.”

The gardening expert added: “A lot of houseplants will also appreciate getting a bath to help them rehydrate from root to leaf and clear any dust off the leaves.

“If you like to keep plants in the bathroom, ferns are therefore a good choice and Pilea Peperomioides thrives in steamy tropical environments.

“Golden Pothos, Calathea Rattlesnake Lancifolia and Alocasia also loves humid conditions.”

Winter is the ideal time to prune your plants too, according to Artur.

“You should usually try to cut dead material away from plants,” the gardening expert said.

“Not only do dead leaves and branches look unsightly, they also waste the plant’s energy and can make it more prone to disease.

“Judicial pruning also encourages growth, which you will have noticed if you ever cut yellowing leaves from a monstera.

“This rapidly flourishing plant will quickly sprout more lovely leaves to fill in the gap.”

Artur added: “All plants require a different sort of care and if you’re going to prune them it should be done in the proper place on the stem, often just above any nodes it might have.

“Use your intuition – if a leaf or stem looks diseased or damaged then you should remove it.”

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