Some of us saw this coming. After all, fall happens right about now every year. So, you might as well get with the flow. Notice that we didn’t say anything about resigning yourself to the imminent end of the growing season, because there’s nothing negative about fall. If you’re into houseplants, this is a joyous moment. Yay! This is the start of the houseplant season. Plan for it, and it’ll be even better.
The Underground Story
Being Fall Ready can be so much fun. Now is when you want to work with your houseplants to get them groomed and in perfect shape to be their “best self” over the winter. Any houseplants that summered outdoors should be given a health check and also examined to see if they need a new container.
In general, most houseplants prefer to be repotted in spring when new growth happens. So don’t go crazy graduating into larger pots. But do check the root systems to make sure the plant will not be pushing at the seams throughout winter.
When plants are in containers that are much too small, they are constantly thirsty. You don’t want to be worrying that a houseplant will be wilted if you happen to be away for a few days. If the roots have completely filled the container, find a pot that is about 2 inches wider than the current pot. Use Coast of Maine Bar Harbor Blend Organic Potting Soil and tamp the soil down to make sure no air holes remain around the edges of the newly repotted plant. Then water the soil lightly. The plant can remain outdoors until temperatures begin to dip at nighttime. Then, bring the plant inside.
Early Autumn Haircuts
Get your plant ready for coming indoors by giving it a good grooming. Shape it up while the light levels are still sufficiently high to support filling in with new growth. At the same time, consider taking cuttings. Because cuttings don’t want or need fertilizer, Coast of Maine Cape Neddick Blend Indoor Houseplant Mix is perfect for rooting new plants. Just cut off a stem about 2-4-inches long (depending upon the plant you’re propagating), dip the bottom of the newly cut stem in rooting hormone, and place it in a small container filled with dampened soil. Be sure to firm the cutting into the soil before giving it another drink. While roots are forming, water the cutting regularly and keep it in a cool, shady place either indoors or outside. Coleus, plectranthus, ivies, and zonal geraniums are a snap to root.
Divide and Conquer
Some plants fill their container by sending up new plantlets with their own set of roots. Autumn is a great time to divide up plants that have filled their containers. Expose the roots and pull off some small sideshoots, making sure they all have plenty of roots. You’ll be putting the mother plant back in its previous container with a little new soil to firm it in. Give the babies their own small containers with fresh soil. Now you’ve got more of a good thing!
Most houseplants enjoy being fertilized until Thanksgiving. So keep your Coast of Maine’s Squid Concentrate All Natural Plant Food handy to continue feeding once a month. For the last feeding, you can dilute the concentrate a little more than the label instructions to “wean” the plant off food in prep for the shorter day length season of the year.
See? We told you: autumn is a season blazing with plenty to do and lots to look forward to doing. Given a little autumn care and TLC, your houseplants are going to shine this winter. Kudos to you!
Written by award winning author, Tovah Martin. Photos also taken by Tovah Martin. Find her books and more information on her website: tovahmartin.com.