From adding warmth and vitality to your aesthetic to boosting your mood and purifying your air, houseplants bring big benefits to every space they live in. But as any plant owner knows, loving botanicals doesn’t necessarily mean you know how to keep them alive. In fact, even seasoned plant parents can struggle to keep their houseplants thriving, especially during the summer.
If you noticed that your plants are struggling more than usual right now, then you’re definitely not alone. Many people don’t realize that even plants that live inside are affected by seasonal changes outside.
Fortunately, it’s pretty easy to keep your plant friends happy throughout the long days of summer, you just need to apply the right tips and tools.
Use Monthly Fertilizer
During the summer, the days are longer, which means plants experience more sun exposure than they do during the cooler months, requiring more nutrients to thrive. If you’re new to the plant world, then the thought of fertilizing can seem overwhelming, but it’s actually quite simple. Sure, you can look up fertilizing ratios and schedules for every type of plant if you really want to get nerdy with it, but you don’t have to. Feeding your plants with a basic, all-purpose organic fertilizer once a month is typically sufficient for most houseplants and will work wonders at keeping them happy throughout the summer.
Pay Mind to Your A/C
Just as you react to changes in the temperature, so do your plants, so take care not to position your botanicals too close to a blowing air conditioner. Not only can the cool temperature make your plants uncomfortable, which affects their growth, but the dry A/C air can quickly dehydrate them, requiring you to water them much more than you normally would. Not sure whether it’s too drafty for your plant friends? Then keep an eye on their leaves. If you notice browning around the edges and any discoloration or breaking, your plants may be trying to tell you that they’re too cold and/or dry.
Give Them More Water
Speaking of dehydration, the longer days of summer mean that your plants will likely need more water than they do otherwise. Different plants require different watering schedules, but most common houseplants will do well with a weekly summer watering. Just take care not to overwater—doing so can swiftly cause root rot, which is very difficult, and often impossible, to recover from. If you stick your finger about an inch into the soil and it feels dry, then it’s likely a good idea to give it some water. You can also purchase a cheap water meter to help you assess water levels more accurately.
Watch Your Windows
Of course, many plants benefit from close proximity to the window, but you can definitely have too much of a good thing. Particularly during the summer, the sun shining through your windows can become incredibly harsh on your plants, resulting in scorched leaves. Most plants feel best if they’re at least a foot away from the window, though some may need to be even farther, especially if your windows face south or west. Just as plants let you know if they’re thirsty or cold, they’ll also let you know if they’re too hot—if you notice any reddish-brown or faded splotches on their leaves, then they're probably getting sunburned.
Give Them Some Outdoor Time
Plants love fresh air just as much as you do, so don’t be afraid to give them an outdoor vacation during the summer months. That said, the outdoor sun can be much harsher than what your plants receive inside, so most of them will do best in a bright but mostly shady spot, like under the dappled sunlight of a tree. However, succulents love the sun, so feel free to give your desert plants plenty of it. Just be sure to bring your plants inside if there’s any extreme weather or temperature changes.
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