While watering plants, keep a few things in mind:
- Check soil for moisture, if moist watering is not required. If you do expect a hot day ahead then you could give it a bit of a sprinkle.
- Make sure the soil is never left soggy for long periods letting it dry between watering. This will prevent the plants from rotting due to suffocation. Plants like cactus need to be watered once in a week and placed in full sun.
- The best time to water plants is in the morning, before the sunlight is at its strongest intensity as this is the optimum condition for plants to photosynthesize.
- If plants have plastic trays beneath them, make sure there is no standing water in the tray as this could inhibit air flow to the roots. Once watered, make sure the tray is emptied of standing water and placed back. Standing water can cause mosquitoes to breed and results in over watering of the plants.
- Make sure to thoroughly clean plants up to twice a week to keep them dust free. Dust interferes with the breathing of the plants and if not cleaned, plants appear dull and tend to wilt.
All potted plants need to be re-potted at least once a year to maintain stable growth and luster. Some slow growing plants may take longer; hence pay attention to your plants. Some signs to look out for are:
- Roots are visibly sticking out from the bottom of the pot as well as the surface.
- Soil surface looks depleted of soil.
- There is no space for you to apply any additional fertilizer.
- The plant may look wilted and sick.
In that case, you must remove the plant from its pot and trim the roots. Be careful while doing this as some plants may suffer shock and not recover. Ideally, plants should be placed in a larger pot (approximately 2-4 inches larger) or the ground. Prune and re-pot the plant, making sure you have added a good amount of fertilizer. After re-potting, water the plant thoroughly and place under shade for two days till it settles and then reintroduce it to its desired location.
It is mandatory that all plants be fertilized once a month. Make sure they are supplied a balanced diet of NPK- Nitrogen, Phosphorous and Potassium or any well-decomposed organic fertilizer.
- Create a ring around the plant.
- Dig about 2-3 inches in and sprinkle some fertilizer.
- Cover it back with soil and then water.
- For leaf shine and brightness, a weekly routine of spraying any organic liquid or soil fertilizer is advised.
Trimming and Pruning
Pruning is a horticultural practice that involves the removal of certain unwanted, diseased, non-reproducing parts of a plant. It is advised according to a particular plant’s growth habit. While pruning, keep the following points in mind:
- Is it flowering time of the plant in question?
- If it is, then wait until it is done flowering and then continue to prune.
- How much you need to prune will depend on how much you expect it to grow within a certain period. For example if you decide to drastically prune your bougainvillea, it will be another 6-10 months before you see in a lush bushy flowering state.
Pruning must be done systematically. A good method is to trim the young, wild, out of shape branches before you tackle the older, more established ones. In this way you give the plants a better form as it grows to increase its overall aesthetic appeal. It is advised that the cutters have sharp blades or else they could damage the plant creating and open wound susceptible to fungal and rust diseases.