GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. - It's the perfect time of year to transplant house plants, get ready for Spring planting, and plan for the growing season ahead.
Heidi Heiland of Heidi's Lifestyle Gardens joined KARE 11 News @4 to share her tips and tricks.
First off, Heidi says to transplant house plants now. February and March are good times to transplant healthy plants that may have pot-bound roots, or to plant cuttings for propagation.
- Choose pots an inch or two larger than the current pot.
- Succulents can tolerate a tighter pot, but when roots emerge from the soil or from drainage holes, it's time to transplant.
- Always use a premium potting soil, and mix in a good fertilizer like Osmocote®.
- Incorporate a soil-moistening agent into the soil - at the root level - to reduce the amount of water needed to maintain vigorous plants by as much as 50 percent. Soil Moist is a great moistening agent, acting as a water reservoir. It is available at local greenhouses.
-Plants easily propagated with cuttings include Coleus and Wandering Jew.
Caring for House plants-
- House plants will thrive in areas with good air circulation, avoiding drafts.
- To keep plants humid, put the pots on trays filled with pebbles and water.
- Give plants a good rinse in the sink to keep both sides of the leaves clean. This helps them use light and humidity more effectively.
- Turn the plants a quarter turn every week to help them grow evenly.
- Water deeply.
Healthy House plants for a Healthy Lifestyle
At home or at the office, surrounding yourself with the vivid green of indoor plants will not only improve air quality, but will also help improve your mood, combat fatigue, lower your heart rate and blood pressure, sharpen mental focus and make you make you generally more alert.
Purify the Air and Add some Humidity-
At this time of year, we may spend more time indoors at a time when our indoor air quality is often the most compromised. Indoor plants remove carbon dioxide from the air while releasing oxygen.
Airtight or climate-controlled buildings often trap toxins in the air. Many plants absorb formaldehyde and benzene, the most common toxins, from indoor air. Plants pull the toxins from the air and pull them into the soil, where they are converted to food for the plant.
Plants release 97 percent of the water they take in, adding much-needed moisture to the dry indoor air in February. The moisture vapor released by plants in interior spaces helps to decrease coughs, colds and other respiratory ailments.
Right Plants, Right Place, Right Amount
- Be strategic about plant placement, and expect results. Use enough plants to make a difference.
- For the bedroom, consider orchids, succulents or bromeliad varieties, since they release oxygen at night.
- For newly renovated spaces: Chlorophytum comosum, (Spider plant.) It removes formaldehyde rapidly.
- For the kitchen, rooms with wood stoves, or rooms with low light, choose Sansevieria trifasciata (Mother-in-Law Tongue). It removes both formaldehyde and nitrogen oxide produced by fuel-burning appliances.
- For the office, Dracaena marginata, (Dracanea), Hedera helix (English Ivy,) and Philodendron are good choices for purifying the air.
- For the bathroom or other damp areas: Spathiphyllum, (The Peace Lily.) It removes mold from the air.
- To combat fatigue and stress in office or classroom settings, position plants so they can be viewed. Place one plant for every 130 sq. ft.
- To clean the air in the home, place 15 - 18 plants for every 1,800 sq. ft.
Other February Gardening Tips
Tending to house plants keeps us mindful that Spring is right around the corner! Other tips for February include:
- Planning your vegetable garden at home or at the office - decide what you want to start from seed and what you want to buy from a greenhouse.
- Start indoor seeds for plants that take awhile to get going. These include leeks, celery, and kale. Soon you can start seeding cold hardy plants like broccoli, cabbages, and leafy green vegetables.
- Create a mini-herb garden in a window. Parsley, chives, mint and oregano will grow easily and bring the flavor of summer into your cooking.
- Check the bulbs and tubers you may have stored. In case they have started to sprout, place them in a window and force them.
- Winter pruning for dormant trees - do not prune spring-flowering shrubs.
- Clean and fill bird feeders - food is most scarce for them right now.
For more information, visit Heidi's Lifestyle Gardens.
(Copyright 2013 by KARE. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)