Low indoor humidity zaps houseplants
Record-breaking cold temperatures have a lot of folks worrying about the plants in their gardens. The good news is the deep snow cover is actually insulating and protecting them, so the winterkill may be much less than expected.
The plants that are really taking a beating now are the ones that live in our houses. Most houseplants come from the tropics where the temperatures are warm and the humidity is high. Hot air blowing from a register 24/7 sucks the humidity out of our homes, which become dry like deserts.
You can water a fern all you want, but lack of humidity will causes the tips of leaves to turn brown. Many books suggest misting the plants with water a couple of times a day, but that only increases the humidity around the plant for a few minutes until the moisture evaporates.
One of the best ways to increase the humidity is to place plants on pebble trays filled with water. To be effective, the tray should be a couple of inches wider then the canopy of the plant. Keep the level of the water just below the pot.
Large plant saucers, available at garden centers make good pebble trays. If you're looking for something fancy, try a clear-plastic hors d'oeuvre tray from the dollar store filled with glass marbles. For a more contemporary look, use a stainless steel tray and beach stones. Fancy stones and glass marbles found at craft stores are available in a wide variety of colors to match any decor. After time, the tray of stones may begin to build up a residue from minerals in the water. An easy way to clean it is to fill the tray with vinegar and let it sit for a couple of hours. Then dump the stones in a colander and rinse in cold water. The vinegar will dissolve the minerals, making the stones look like new.
Spider mites thrive in dry conditions, and some plants such as ivies are magnets for these tiny pests.
Check the undersides of the leaves for small webs and tiny black specks of bug poop. Hosing the plants down with cool water every three to four days for a couple of weeks will get rid of them. You can also use insecticidal soap, but that too must be applied at the same intervals to get the job done.
HOUSEPLANTS NEED A BIT OF PRUNING FROM TIME TO TIME AND HERE IS THE TOOL
This mini pruner is just perfect for dealing with pruning off unneeded foliage on a delicate houseplant. Nancy points out that it is the very best tool for cleaning shrimp.
- Fiskars pruning snip is ideal for the precision trimming and shaping of flowers and small plants
- Pruning snip has a 1-1/2-inch rust-resistant stainless steel blade
- The 5-inch softouch ergonomic handle fits well in small to medium sized hands
- Use for flower and herb gardening, bonsai, houseplant maintenance, and floral arranging
- Limited-lifetime warranty
Bonide Systemic Houseplant Insect Control 8 oz (.23 kg)
This product is for use on roses, flowers, shrubs and containerized plants to kill insect pests.