A New Way to Be a Best Friend to Your Houseplant

A houseplant is different from a tree because it must be cared for. The butterfly palm is not only a houseplant that attracts butterflies, but it requires attention to keep it healthy. Unlike most houseplants, the butterfly palm needs a perfect balance of soil as well as fertilizer and water. Some time of the year is needed to start the plant; it requires protection from direct sunlight; and breaks or individual leaves on the leaf should be biodegradable.

Homeowners should know that they should not water plants over a period of 10 to 12 days. Only fill a 5- to 6-inch pot with one full-potful of water when the plant is dormant or has become dormant. This will let the plant recover its energy reserves and prevent it from dying. Vegetables, flowers, and foliage should be ready when the leaf is 10 to 12 hours old.

Plants that need plenty of water, or that tend to become waterlogged when the weather heats up, should be put on a heat lamp for about 4 to 5 hours a day to help them get off the ice and dry out. Once the plants come out of the cold, but not under direct sunlight, they will be ready to be cared for.

For houseplants, the most challenging growing conditions are between frost and summer drought. When the plant is dormant, it may become unbalanced with few nutrients, and it does not become thirsty. An interesting herb used by butterfly experts when their mother plants are dormant is pine chocolate, a good source of nitrogen. In the spring when the plants are growing vigorously and flowering, they use lots of water and nutrients; while at the same time, they need to put on thick cover sheets of mulch.

Materials to begin an initial phase of growth:

Mix two 4-ounce packages of soil with two tablespoons of sodium-acid per quart of soil. For a rough estimate, divide the mixture by two to get 10 teaspoons (inches) of soil per gallon of liquid. For a petite houseplant it does not take a lot of application of the mixture to start the plant. This soil does not have too much either, since the plants are large, so they use as little water as possible.

Fertilize the plant with a soil fertilizer using the recommended amounts per quart of soil. The idea is to try to make the right balance of salt and nutrients for the specific species.

Top dressing the soil daily. This can help eliminate the waterlogging when the plants are watering. Get a supply of water along with the fertilizer every day and top-dress as often as possible. This will provide the needed nutrients when the soil is not watered. Houseplant experts may use a low- to no-nitrogen product to help the plants retain moisture.

Trim leaves to the height of the tips. If leaves are large and become excessive, scissors can be used to remove excess leaves so that the plant will not overshoot its root and has a better chance of survival. The leaves must be biodegradable, since they become large and take over the plant, especially if they get wet.

Ideas to provide clean irrigation water:

When the leaves are cut off, make sure the leaves are thrown away after they dry out. This is important if the leaves are biodegradable or are small. A pot with a label lets you know the color of the water to put on your houseplant. Some types of plants must be watered sparingly while others need extra frequent watering. Some houseplants need constant use of water or they will die.

Plant your houseplant on a clean foundation. If the soil is full of garden dirt, it may be hard to maintain an even sprinkling of water on the plant during the dry summer months. Try to place your houseplant where it will receive water steadily and if not, alternate surface waterings with top-dressings on occasions when the plant has sufficient moisture.

Adjust the levels of mulch around the base of the plant. This helps to conserve moisture and maintain soil moisture levels while a home was last remodeled.

If you would like to begin the start of caring for a houseplant, send an email to InvincibleHousePlants@gmail.com.

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