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7 Tips to keeping your plants looking lush

We’ve all seen the beautifully curated plants in homes and apartments on Instagram and we know that they don’t get like that without a little bit of maintenance. Most of us are operating in limited space, so here’s how to make your plants look their best, with the minimum of effort and mess.

1. Plan ahead for maintenance. The main jobs will be repotting, trimming leaves and stems, and spraying, and it can be messy. You might want to do a bit of propagation from time to time too. Those blessed with a bit of space outside might have a potting station complete with some bench space, a tap and storage, whilst apartment dwellers might need to use the kitchen bench. Do a little maintenance regularly - it won’t be so daunting and you’ll keep across any pests earlier.

A good basic set up would include your favoured potting mix, fertiliser, snips, some grow pots and saucers in a mix of sizes, a few ladders, clips, hangers, a general fungicide and insecticide spray, and a game-changing potting mat to keep all the mess in one place. 

2. Repot only if you have to. It might seem counter-intuitive but plants will tolerate a small dryish pot better than a wet large pot. Only repot if roots are coming out the bottom. If it falls over, but is in the right-sized pot then put it in a heavier cover pot

3. Trim up and trim back to encourage growth. Put cuttings in the same pot. If your plant is getting too long and lanky then prune it back to a growing node, usually around where the leaves join, and this will encourage it to grow more stems. If it is lanky then also consider moving it to a brighter spot. Poke a hole in the pot and put any cut-offs back into the pot and this will also help make the plant look fuller. Water it a little more than usual if you do this until the cutting has rooted.

4. Refresh the potting mix from time to time and add slow release fertiliser. If you haven’t repotted a plant for a couple of years, consider repotting it with some new potting mix and fertiliser back into the same pot. This will replenish the nutrients and invigorate the plant.

5. Fertilise your plants monthly during Spring and Summer. There are some excellent fertilisers that give a hit of N:P:K to the plant during its growing period. The can be sourced from fish, seaweed, or worm castings, and some have additives such as soil wetting agents. 

6. Check for pests and treat. Isolate if required. Observe your plants and if they don’t quite look right chances are there is a problem. Regular preventative checks reduces your workload.

7. Put the plant where it grows best. Some, but not many, can survive in low light. ZZ gems and Sanseiverias will tolerate these conditions (but do better with more light). Most plants like bright, indirect light - this means they’re near a window but not in the direct sun. Morning sun from an Easterly window can be OK for many of these plants as it's not as hot or intense as the afternoon sun. A few can cope with full sun. You may need to move a few plants around, but try to group like minded plants together.

So there you have it - a few regular activities can keep your plants living their best lives.