Now that spring has arrived, you may be itching to get outdoors, but don't neglect your houseplants. The winter has probably taken a toll on them. Indoor heat dehydrates foliage and fosters insects, while lower light and drafts add to your miseries. Here's a quick list of items to help perk up your plants.
- Moisture meter--This easy-to-use gauge lets you know if a plant needs a drink. Work the pointed probe deep into the soil for an accurate reading. Most houseplants prefer a moderately moist environment, with the gauge reading in the middle of its dry/wet range.
- Watering can--A model with a small pointed spout works well. It directs water exactly where you want and dispenses liquid slowly.
- Mist bottle--A thin film of water keeps foliage hydrated and clean--dust diminishes light. Also, red spider mites flourish in dry heat indoors and can consume a plant in rapid fashion. A daily dose of clear water on susceptible plants, such as ivy, reduces the risk of these pesky creatures.
- Insecticidal soap--When mites and mealybugs get a jump on your leafy friends, it's time for first aid. Clean foliage with water; then apply this spray to leaves and stems, saturating all surfaces. Repeat weekly until insects vanish.
- Snips--Small, pointed, and sharp are the pruner qualifications necessary for maintaining most indoor plants.