HOW TO KEEP THEM ALIVE!

Homes+ (Australia) - - MY BACKYARD -

PRUNING

In­door plants gen­er­ally don’t need to be pruned, though they ben­e­fit from re­mov­ing dead leaves, brown fronds and, in the case of plants like Peace lilies and An­thuri­ums, old flow­ers. Oc­ca­sion­ally pinch­ing back the growth of bushier in­door plants, such as figs, will pro­mote thicker growth. Some taller grow­ing plants, such as Dra­cae­nas (in­clud­ing Happy plants), can be trimmed down to size when they have out­grown their spot. They will then reshoot from this in­ci­sion. The cut­tings eas­ily grow roots, so you can make new plants by plac­ing the cut­tings in a vase, let­ting them grow roots and then plant­ing them into a new pot with pot­ting mix.

FEED­ING

To get the best from your in­door gar­den, re­mem­ber to feed it. You can buy slow-re­lease fer­tiliser es­pe­cially made for in­door plants, which will grad­u­ally fer­tilise plants through­out the year. Sup­ple­ment­ing this with added liq­uid plant tonic, such as Nitrosol, will pro­mote lus­cious green growth. This is nor­mally ap­plied once ev­ery three weeks or so.

CLEAN­ING

Some homes can ac­tu­ally get pretty dusty inside, so when clean­ing, don’t for­get to wipe down the leaves of plants such as rub­ber trees and fid­dle leaf figs, which can catch a lot of dirt. If your in­door plants are small enough to lift, pop them into the shower once a month un­der tepid wa­ter for 10 min­utes – this does a great job of clean­ing palms and ferns and sim­u­lates the rain. Let them drip-dry, then place back in their spot clean and re­freshed. For a fi­nal shine, wipe the top sur­face of your fid­dle leaf figs, rub­ber trees, palm fronds and Peace lilies with a cloth moist­ened slightly with white oil.

REPLANTING

Au­gust is the ideal time to freshen up in­door plants with a re­plant. Make sure you buy pot­ting mix that has the Aus­tralian Pre­mium Stan­dard 5 ticks sym­bol on it. Here’s how: 1

Re­move your in­door plant from its pot and gen­tly tease out or trim off any cir­cling or mat­ted roots. 2 Ei­ther plant back into the same pot or, if you want your plant to con­tinue to grow, plant it up a few sizes into a big­ger pot. 3

Make sure you don’t build up soil around the trunk or leave roots ex­posed – the new level needs to be ex­actly the same as the old one. 4 Wa­ter the plant thor­oughly so you re­move any air pock­ets.

Dra­caena Peace lily

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