Hello plant lovers!
Today we are going to discuss the awakening of plants in spring and the various cares to bring to them! Which plant wakes up in the spring? Does this phenomenon only affect common plants or does it affect our rarer plants as well? Does Mother Nature have favorite species or is she completely waking up the whole kingdom!?
Spring is the most vigorous time of year for plant growth. Warmer temperatures, longer photoperiods provide our plants with the energy they need to thrive. Houseplants are recovering from winter lethargy and getting ready for their growing season! Little by little, the whole plant world is waking up and the first little shoots of our indoor plants are appearing. The sun has a direct impact on the hormones of living beings, plants recognize it, and respond to it very quickly!
Hormones are organic molecules that can influence the physiology and development of plants, even in low concentrations! Hormones play an important role in plant growth and flowering. Hormones are produced by the plant and transported everywhere inside. These are chemical signals that can be emitted and picked up anywhere in the plant. Hormones can also be linked to sugars or amino acids. In this form, they are inactive and can be stored. Under certain conditions, the hormones can be released again and become active again, for example with the influence of gravity or light. And in the spring, the plants benefit from more light as the days get longer! So the plant receives several signals inviting it to come out of its winter nap.
It is therefore time to change the care of the crops of our indoor plants, adapting them to the new needs of each plant: watering, fertilization, temperature, repotting, everything is taken into account. These changes don't have to be sudden, plants like gradual and gentle changes!
Light is essential for plants. Thanks to it, plants can produce the synthetic substances necessary for nutrition. Therefore, it is recommended to place them preferably near windows. Note that if the space your plants are in is too dark, there are various artificial light supplies that can provide your plants with the necessary light. Once you have found the right location for your plant, one thing is certain, avoid changing it too often!
A need for water and heat
The question we regularly ask ourselves is how much water should we supply the plants!? Mismanagement of watering can cause serious damage. I recommend that you soak your plants for a few minutes, then drain well before putting back in place. You can also spray the leaves with water or your foliar fertilizer (once a week). You can also pour the water evenly over the top of the potting mix, remembering to empty the saucer when you're done watering. Considering that the needs of plants vary greatly from one group of plants to another, it is essential to understand the requirements of each species to determine the frequency and quantity of watering.* A very useful notion to know; an excess of water for a plant is much more devastating than a deficiency in it! So if you're not quite sure if your plant needs water, it would be wiser to wait an extra day to avoid overwatering.
Temperature and humidity are very important constants that should not be neglected for the health of our plants. Plants breathe through pores called stomata, usually located under the leaves. Normally, the stomata open to allow the plant to exchange gas. But during this air exchange, the air released by the plants tends to be wetter than the air. As a result, plants lose water to the atmosphere when they breathe. The drier the air (the lower the relative humidity), the more water plants lose. The plant tries to control this water loss by partially closing its stomata, and closing them completely even when the air is very dry. But then the plants can no longer breathe normally. When the relative humidity of the air remains low for too long, the plants compromise and allow the stomata to partially close, even if it means losing humidity. But this has consequences… The leaves wilt, even curl downwards, dry out and turn brown at the edges or tips, and may even drop off. Flower buds dry out and may even abort; the flowers, if they occur, are shortened. The growth rate of the whole plant slows down because there is not enough respiration. Even if it is barely growing, the plant may need more frequent watering to compensate for the water lost through the leaves. Many plants eventually die, others look bad. Poorly formed plants attract predators, so during the winter months red mites (mites) can appear in abundance on many plants. This is a typical winter situation in our house. We will come back to this problem in a future article!
In contrast, when the air is humid, plants retain moisture for their own needs and breathe easily. They grow and flower normally and are more resistant to predators. The plants prefer a relative humidity of 70-80%, which is a little too high for our needs. On the other hand, if we aim for around 50% relative humidity, we are satisfied with both humans and several plants. Some plants tolerate dry air better than others. Succulents and cacti are native to arid climates and are less bothered by dry air. Generally speaking, the thicker the leaves of a plant, the more it tolerates dry air, but not necessarily like that. Thin-leaved or velvet-like plants are the most vulnerable to dry air and weeds!
Check the thermometer, knowing that the habituation of plants to artificial heating must be done gradually (exactly like your plants coming out of the greenhouse). Avoid cold drafts. They could cause leaf and bud drop!
They need food
In the spring, plants need nutrients to stimulate new growth. WARNING: Excessive use of fertilizer can lead to vigorous plant growth, leading to overproduction of leaves which can damage flowers and even roots! Green plants prefer nitrogen-rich fertilizers. Flowering plants prefer special fertilizers for flowering plants, rich in potassium. Fertilize only when the soil is wet, chemical (synthetic) fertilizers can burn the roots and damage the foliage if the soil is dry. At the beginning of the season, use only one third of the prescribed dose. Slightly increase the amount of fertilizer as the season progresses and the plants grow. Do not fertilize for two months after repotting, as the added fresh soil contains enough nutrients.
Repotting is best done in the spring. Wait until the plant is in the midst of active growth before proceeding! Never repot weakened plants (sick, with undesirable problems, freshly arrived from greenhouses, etc.), you risk causing their death or causing a shock. In general, a change of pots every two or three years is sufficient for most species.
You can also carry out a surface treatment, commonly called surfacing. What is surface treatment?
-This includes replacing the top layer of potting soil that was first washed away by watering.
-This is also where mineral salts accumulate (much like off-white/dirty beige deposits) and in the long run they are toxic to the roots! Tilt the pot, place 3 or 4 cm of potting soil on the newspaper and use a sponge to clean the edges of the pot. If the soil does not come out, scrape lightly with a small knife or worn blade. Then replace with a few handfuls of good soil for tropical plants, add 1/5 organic amendment based on composted seaweed and/or earthworm compost and fertilizer. Finally, water lightly!
Are the materials added to the soil really necessary?
Yes, we must not forget that the quality of the soil directly affects the quality of the plants you grow! If we feed plants a diet that is depleted and devoid of essential nutrients, they won't reach their full potential, and that's not the intended result, is it? Here's some good news: creating quality flooring is easier than you think! All you need is a little information and a little time and effort to unravel the mysteries of soil. Once you know what you're using, it's like solving a puzzle: you'll get the answers you need to create the best soil for your precious plants!
Soil is a vital element for plants. The general trend is to use any type of soil, for any type of plant, thinking that dirt is just dirt! But, this is a belief that we will try to demystify together. Potted plants have a limited amount of soil in a small space. So this earth (this mixture) must be of very good quality due to the limited space, the low quantity that results from it and its continual depletion.
The soil nourishes the plant with the minerals it contains. Minerals are basically vitamins; they are essential. The soil also has physical qualities in its structure by the size of the particles that compose it. There are different types of mixtures, depending on the type of plant grown. The difference lies in the proportion of the different additives added to the average soil.
*Did you know that a plant completely exhausts the soil in less than 6 months! It's amazing, isn't it?!
The role of the earth is to fix the plant in the ground and to nourish it. The pot and the weight of the soil must be sufficient to support the plant well without it being continually uprooted or lying on one side. For large plants, a sufficiently large and heavy pot is needed.
Food: the plant takes it from water, air and soil. The air provides carbon dioxide which is converted into plant tissue. The air also provides nitrogen which is transformed in the soil by the action of bacteria.
*Did you know that: the best way to sterilize the earth is to place it moist in the oven at 250*F for half an hour. This will keep most insects and diseases out of your houseplants.
There are different types of mixtures, depending on the type of plant grown. The difference lies in the proportion of the different additives added to the average soil.
-The sand added to the mix helps to drain the soil better and aerate it, so it will dry faster; it is suitable for cacti and succulents.
-Perlite is popped sand, like "Pop Corn". It fulfills the same role as sand but has the advantage of being lighter, thus making the soil less heavy; it is ideal for lightening hanging baskets and flower boxes.
-Peat moss decomposes over time to black earth. Its main advantage is that it retains a lot of water like a sponge. It is ideal for plants that drink a lot of water and to improve heavy soils such as clay or to help light soils retain more water such as sand.
-Vermiculite is exploded mica and fulfills the same role as peat moss while being inert and decomposing very little.
-Charcoal is sometimes used to ground African violets and other plants grown in soil that is kept constantly moist to prevent mold and disease.
For today, we are not going to go further in the floor compositions. We will come back to this very soon and we will go in depth in this subject.
We have learned that all plants wake up in the spring, that Mother Nature does not distinguish between species or the trendiest plants of the moment!
I hope this article has given you enough information on caring for your precious plants in the spring!