In growing indoor plants, it is not so difficult to avoid mistakes. It is enough not to rely on intuition, but always follow the individual instructions for each species. Despite the availability of information about any nuance of growing, often indoor plants are treated carelessly, or even negligently, ignoring their requirements and features. Or they are trying to look for their own rules and norms of care, which give rise to dangerous myths about growing. Let’s try to understand 5 key misconceptions that lead to plant loss and endless repetition of common mistakes.
5 myths about houseplants that will help destroy them
Houseplant myths are born where knowledge is lacking. And the replenishment of the latter is the best defense against delusions. But some myths have become so entrenched over time that they are taken for granted even by experienced flower growers.
Myth number 1. You need to transplant a purchased plant as soon as possible.
Even experienced professionals often consider this myth to be a must. And they try to transplant the plant as soon as they brought it into the house. The purchased substrate, according to a common misconception, is categorically not suitable for plant growth. And this is the most dangerous myth!
No plant will benefit from such a transplant. With one exception, if you bought a plant in poor condition – in a sour, dense, moldy, infected substrate, the condition of which threatens the life of the plant. But then the question arises, how was the plant chosen without careful examination? Any other soil in which the plant grows normally would suit it in the flower center, it will do in the house too.
You should not transplant the plant immediately after purchase, or even several weeks after it, for a very simple but important reason. Any move for a plant is a serious stress. It already needs a mandatory quarantine period and adaptation to new lighting, temperature, humidity, and even orientation in relation to the window.
The transplant will not only make the difficulties worse, but it is also the strongest possible stressor. It will force the plant to go through two adaptations at once – to a new place and new soil and capacity. And the more they try to get rid of the old substrate, the stronger the injury and the higher the chance of plant death.
Ideally, replanting plants should only be done at the time that is suitable for this – according to the recommendations for the species, usually not earlier than the next early spring or filling the substrate with roots. If you really want to see a newcomer in an elegant pot suitable for the collection, it is not necessary to transplant it: you can simply put the plant in a new container or think about additional decor and “wrapper”.
In principle, unnecessary transplants are not good for the plants. The containers are changed when there is a need for it and they have completely mastered the substrate. And they always observe accuracy, avoiding unnecessary contact with the roots.
Do not replant the plant immediately after purchase.
Myth number 2. Place of plants – on the windowsill
The time when placing indoor plants only on windows was the norm is long gone. Even flowering species are slowly moving into interiors, and the list of plants for landscaping in the shade and under artificial lighting is constantly growing for a reason.
Most indoor crops are not shade-loving; they cannot grow at a great distance from the window. But the requirement to place plants in the sunniest place is rather an exception than the norm. Fashionable indoor plants, with rare exceptions, do not tolerate direct sun, they love diffused lighting and soft partial shade. This means that they can be safely removed from the windowsills and placed both nearby and in bright areas inside the rooms.
Careful selection of species allows you to find plants that will feel good even on furniture or on a coffee table. If there is a possibility of supplementary lighting or creating decorative compositions with backlighting, there are no restrictions at all in landscaping. It is enough to group the plants according to the degree of preferred illumination, evaluate the illumination in individual zones, and you can safely expand the area of landscaping in the interior. But do not forget about the “winter mode” when plants prefer to move closer to the window.
Read also our article Features of wintering indoor plants.
Myth number 3. Abundant watering is always for the benefit of the plant
Regular doesn’t mean too abundant. Even plants that do not tolerate drought will not tolerate stagnant water. The risk is not only rot, but also soil compaction, due to which the roots of the plant cannot breathe normally.
With watering, it is better to be careful and slightly underfill than to overfill. Leaving water in the trays is possible only for indoor papyrus and its “swamp” colleagues, cereals. For all other plants, it is drained – immediately or after 5-10 minutes. Dampness and the risk of decay can be avoided only by checking the degree of drying of the substrate between water procedures or using special indicators.
For most plants, dry 2-3 cm from the top of the soil, for succulents, the substrate is allowed to dry up to half or almost completely. And be sure to reduce watering for the dormant period, focusing on the instructions for each species.
It’s better to be careful with watering.
Read also our article 10 plants that are better not to water than to overflow.
Myth number 4. Generous feeding are the best friends of indoor plants.
The more fertilizer, the better the growth and flowering of the plants. It would seem that there is nothing contradictory in this statement. Here are just indoor plants, like any plants in principle, the excess of nutrients is no less harmful than their lack (and sometimes many times more).
Difficulties can be avoided if you remember that feeding for indoor crops does not serve to stimulate growth, but for normal development. They are aimed at compensating for the depletion of soil resources, the “reserves” of which are only enough for a few months after replanting. Top dressing should be applied in the quantities recommended for a particular species during the period of active growth, but not earlier than 5-6 weeks after transplantation. Their composition should exactly correspond to the preferences of the plant, and it is better to slightly lower the dosage than exceed it.
It is often believed that additional fertilizing – organic, by leaves, in the form of long-acting fertilizers – can not be considered additional fertilizing. And this approach can also lead to serious disruption to growth.
Contrary to myths, “female happiness” spathiphyllum is suitable for both sexes
Myth No. 5. Plants-defenders, vampires, aggressors, bait for money, etc.
Influenced by either the feng shui fashion, or rumors and speculation, and sometimes just coincidences and understatements, many myths about indoor plants from the “gossip” section have been created over the decades:
- Crassula was turned into a “money tree”, and zamioculcas – into a dollar tree;
- the monster was disliked and is still perceived as a vampire plant, which also exudes completely negative energy;
- ivy, if all their “terrible” talents are to be believed, has no place in the house at all;
- scindapsus is almost the main “muzhegon” of all time, and many do not even look in his direction, despite the beauty;
- cacti are still, even after two decades of technological progress, considered obligatory plants to absorb radiation from monitors, not even paying attention to the recommendation to place them in sunny places;
- “Female happiness” spathiphyllum or “male” anthurium stubbornly refuse to recognize plants suitable for both sexes.
And there are dozens of such examples. The only rumors that are fully justified are the status of green filters in sansevieria, chlorophytum and Co. and medicinal, aromatic crops – in rosemary, laurel, citrus fruits, etc. Plants, indeed, emit phytoncides and essential oils, improve the air in the house. But they cannot cope alone with huge rooms, carbon monoxide and in no way replace hygiene and ventilation.
For an average room of 15 squares, at least 3-room adult cultures are needed. And if they are dusty, neglected and not getting enough attention, then their leaves simply turn into another haven for allergens and dirt.
Speculation should remain speculation. Each plant has advantages and disadvantages, but they do not have magical properties. And they play only the role that we ourselves assign to them.
Dear readers! These are not the only myths that can harm indoor plants. Disinfection of the soil, the imaginary advantages of any “own” substrate over the purchased one, home fertilizers, polishes and household pest control products – over professional ones, as well as the opinion that it is safer to water any indoor plants through a pallet or not cut – just delusion.