Maintaining Your Plant for that Indoor Lifestyle
As indoor plant lovers, we want nothing more than to see our plants thrive but sometimes their enthusiasm can become unruly for their space and may even result in them outgrowing their pots too quickly. Although we can’t prevent their growth while keeping them healthy, we can slow the growth down enough to be manageable. Here are a few recommendations on how to contain and maintain your plants for that indoor lifestyle.
Prune the leaves and branches
It is recommended to prune away the scraggly leaves and dead stems of your plants for general maintenance and to keep them looking tidy. However, also removing the larger healthy ones will not only contain the overall size of your plant but divert energy into growing the smaller ones and promote new growth.
Start pruning from the top and sides of your plants as these are the areas that take up the most space. If your plants are particularly bushy, don’t be afraid to be ruthless. Most can take losing up to a third of their volume or more and still be healthy.
Pruning will also help tame your plants to either grow taller or wider depending on your preference. You can do this by focusing your cutting around the areas you don’t want and leaving alone the areas you want to maintain and expand.
Prune the roots
Like pruning the top of your plants, pruning the roots will also divert their energy into new growth. However, an added benefit of pruning the roots is that it slows down the rate of nutrient absorption from the soil, which in turn slows down leaf and stem production over a longer period.
If your plants are tightly packed or pot-bound be careful to not force the plants out as you may accidentally tear the roots and stem creating unnecessary trauma. Instead, you will want to break up and soften the soil around the roots by gently pocking holes into it with a gardening tool or your fingers.
With clean and sharp secateurs, cut away any roots that look dead, smell bad, or feel wet and squishy to the touch as these can spread harmful bacteria and may infect your other plants. You will want to trim away at least a third of the smaller outer roots to be most effective at slowing down growth, but ensure that you avoid the larger, thicker ones as these are vital for your plants’ health.
Colder temperatures and less sunlight
Most indoor plants will thrive during the warmer months but go dormant during the colder ones. During the dormant cycle, your plants will conserve energy by slowing down growth or even temporarily stopping it altogether. You can simulate this by moving your plants into a room that has less light or is colder in temperature.
Be mindful that your plant needs at least eight hours of moderate sunlight a day to survive. If the leaves become unusually lighter in colour or your plants start wilting, you will need to increase this for their general health and well-being.