Thursday, April 3, 2014

As the Weather Changes, You Should Adjust Your Plants' Care

We have finally made it into Spring, at least by the calendar. While we still have snow on the ground in Southern Ontario, I saw my first robin yesterday - and that to me is the surest sign that Spring is here.
We have talked about the affect that the longer daylight days have on your indoor tropical plants' growth..
With the milder temperatures and increased humidity that accompany Spring, how much and how often you water your plants will change.
We are experiencing more days of dampness right now because of quickly melting snow and more rain. Even if you have a well-sealed building, which most aren't, some of that outdoor humidity is making its way indoors.  As well, you are not running the furnace as high or as much because of the milder outdoor temperatures. This has the effect of increasing your indoor humidity levels.
Inexpensive temperature & humidity meters
It is easy to monitor the humidity with one of theses simple meters, available from your favourite hardware store. The blue meter indicates relative humidity as a %.  The grey meter is a thermometer. Each of these will cost about $5. The dual dial meter if a combination of the 2 in one case and will cost about $15. Ideally, for most of your indoor plants, we would like to maintain a relative humidity between 30 and 60%. This is also healthier for humans than too dry or too moist. These low cost humidity meters have an accuracy of +/- 7% . This doesn't sound very accurate; but it is good enough for monitoring purposes.
With increased humidity, your indoor tropical plants are not giving off as much moisture through transpiration.
The overall result is that your plants, right now, will not need as much water. Check your plants at least once a week and adjust water/feed as required.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

The Longer Days Make a Big Difference

For me, the psychological turning point of the winter season is December 21st, the shortest daylight day of the year.  From that date on it's a downhill ride to longer and warmer days.
It not only affects me mentally and physically, it has a significant effect on your indoor plants. The leaves of your plants can process more of the light energy. The result is larger, thicker leaves and healthier plants. I shot this short video last night of a pothos hanging plant.  One side of the plant faces a north window and the other side of the plant faces inward to the room and no natural light.  See the difference in the size of leaves from one side of the plant to the other.
The larger leaves measure 8" long by 6" wide and the smaller leaves measure 4" long by 3" wide.  That's about 3 times the size.  The larger leaves were noticeably thicker, as well.
Take advantage of your plant wanting to grow - continue your feeding programme and you may need to water more and/or more often.
Let the sunshine in and enjoy the new plant growth made possible in part by the longer daylight days.

You can download a free pdf that details the "Nutrient Application" feeding programme that we, at Plants ForAll, use in our commercial plant maintenance accounts.

I'd love to here your comments and about your plant successes.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Are Your Tropical Plants Stressed ?

No, I'm not kidding. Your indoor tropical plants are very susceptible to environmental stress.
In all cases, an overall objective, when caring for your plants, should be to to keep their environment on a nice, consistent schedule. We tend live tropical plants in offices and homes. When we start, we tell the client that their plants need 8 consecutive hours of light per day for 5 consecutive days per week. Turn the lights on in the morning when you get into work and turn them off when you leave at the end of the day.
Other important environmental factors - humidity levels should be constant between 30 and 50% relative humidity. Temperature should be constant between 68 and 72 degrees Fahrenheit. Watering - follow the directions as provided by your plant provider (where you bought your plant). If in doubt - contact me at
Aim for this kind of environmental consistency and your plants will be happier.
However, far too often lights are turned off when staff go to meetings, lunch, break, etc. Far too often humidity levels drop drastically when heaters are turned way up. Every winter we come across cases where humidity levels have dropped below 15% rh. That is desert conditions. Temperatures are often pushed to 75, 78 or even 80+ degrees. Plants will cook being in those hot and dry environments 24/7. Smarten up - what creates a healthy environment for your plants also creates a healthy environment for your people. These pics show the symptoms of  a single plant under environmental stress. Watch for these signs and make the changes for a happier, healthier environment for your plants and for you.

Plant Information Sheets  - I have created a new Plant Information Sheet for the Dracaena demeriensis Warneckii Ulises, at a customer's request. You can get a copy of this pdf  free by going to our website. Should you have any indoor tropical plants that you would like a Plant Information Sheet, please request it through that same website contact us link