Listen: Episode 119: how to give your houseplants a health check
"This week. I'm sure you can bear with me and I will be back to normal in the near future did you. What is normal? I ever get this week on talking about how to give your house plants a health check as we had in last week's episode these death months of November Edberg December and January can be very tough on our plants so you need to keep an extra close own. What's going on and in this episode? I'm going to run through some of the checks that I like to do on my plants every so often just to make sure that everything's ticking over a no horrible surprises await me and we'll also be enjoying another meet the listener with listener Nikolovski and catching up with our campaign to get the monster emoji attitude Lavar smartphones Welcome to money patients this week. MILTA- and emily great to have you on board. And if you'd like to become a patron of on the ledge then visit my show notes at Jane Perot Dot Com to find out how thanks to Brooklyn succulents. Who got in touch after the Cuna on finding water for carnivorous plants and other plants that are sensitive to mineral salts? They suggested having a look at the zero water filter which is a joke water. Filter this this system claims to your move ninety nine point six of the dissolved solids in water. which would make it absolutely fine for giving to house plants so this is thumping definitely worth looking at if if you are going through a lot of bottles of distilled water bought from the shop because of course if you buy this yes it is plastic? Hopefully you're going to reuse it many many times I they also claim that the filters can be received so yeah the the zero water jug looks like a good option. And Brooklyn's Oakland's says the filters life is affected by how hard the local water wrist in New York City last month because the water is soft and they also point out the thousand fluoride which and other plants don't like so this is definitely worth a look if you all somebody who's getting through a lot of bottle distilled water it retails in the UK for about sixty pounds as with many things. It's a little bit cheaper in the. US It's hard life being a Brit. You know anyway if anyone has any other suggestions on this broke the deal Kentucky the outlets get without house blood health check well. This may be counterintuitive. But the first thing to do is to start with the port if your plants in a cash pot it's time to brace yourself and get that part out to the cash born till you can see exactly what's going on. I know this can be a pain loss loss applause on high shelves and so on. But this is really the only way you're gonna go tell what's happening so lift out the reports and have a look at the bottom of the cash pot. What whoa you're going to see down there? Worst case scenario you can see a puddle of water that stagnant stinky and horrible. And that's probably a really good sign that that's plant has been allowed to have stagnant water sitting around the roots and unfortunately root rot is quite possible to get rid of that water straight away give the inside of the pot. A good clean out. Good Hygiene is a beautiful thing when it comes to plants the thing you might see if there's not a layer of water the bottom but perhaps just a little bit of dampness isn't tiny insects scurrying around which often sends people into absolute fits of despair. But oftentimes these can be little things called spring tails would you organisms which live in soils and really. They're not going to do your plants any harm. They're usually a bit of a cleanup crew for soil eating decomposing stuff. So don't panic. If you see things scurrying around as your hand lens comes in useful to have a look at the but when you get to the rest of your plant as we'll get onto then you can check the foliage of the plant for any problems and also the roots but we're getting ahead of ourselves. What else might you see the bottom part? Well you need to lift up the pot look at. What's what's happening underneath on the base because the other thing that does happen especially when he broke plants in from outside is that you might find? There's a little we slug hanging about the bottom of the pot that's hitchhiked in so if there's any hitchhikers on the bottom of the pot or at the bottom of the cash then do get rid of them and while you got the in your hands. It's a good idea to test the weight of it. How heavy does it feel now? I've got some two points. Here of socks Frisia stolen for up Maroon breathe PT Z.. which is in technical parts? I've got another sexy Frazier Gingko. This one's called in a plastic pot so obviously the plastic. It does feel a lot lighter than the terra cotta but I can tell from having picks up this Maroon. Bt many times that actually this is a little bit light right now an means it could do with some water whereas the plastic pot is actually a reasonable way. I think that one is OK. And while I'm looking at the outside of this there's a few other things to observe on the terra cotta front. There's a white crust around the edge of this pot and that's from mineral salts where the plant's been watered with talk water probably that Scott Mineral Salts dissolved in it that then cut become lodged in the poorest parts and Leach out through the surface. It's not too much from a problem for this plant. This does get with rain mortar. So this is part of old damage as it were he gives it character. I'd be more worried if I were seeing green slime on the outside of the park which is a sign that the pot has been damper very long time and as Richard produce some algae growing on the surface and that would be telling early meet that the plot was being over watered. So there's a few things to the council on on the outside the one more thing to know. Obviously if I lift up these two pots other roots growing out the bottom and the answer in this case is no. Just be careful as you tip the part that you don't end up with compost all of your lap. But what do you do at this time if if you do find a massive roots coming through. Should you report well. That is a really good question. I think the answer is as is often. The case is it depends and if you applaud maybe a tropical plant. That really isn't going to hit any. Don't see through the winter and he's going to go on growing his absolutely fine to report into was slightly larger part. If something that's kind of gone dormant and putting on any Negro th whatsoever. It'll probably be fine to be left till spring so it's a bit of a judgment call. You do need to report CACTI and succulents over the winter. The best thing to do is either to wait until spring. That's kind of obvious or you can report brought them into completely dry cactus compost so that they avoid getting waterlogged because that is the one thing that catalans. It's absolutely hate over the wintertime right. I'm going to put these back on the window sill one and two and we can much squeaking apologies so we've looked at the pots. What about the surface of the soil? Well things you might see. You might see Olympic white mold which is not the end of the world if you bothered by. Oh you can just scrape up the surface a bit or put up. Put a little bit of a mulch down some clay pellet in the mall could be assigned that the source a little bit damp but not always. He's but a safety policy. Just scraped away what I'd be more concerned about seeing. Is I the Moss or live words. These are both indicator plants that the soil is. He's pretty moist because they exist only where there's a lot of moisture around liver word if you haven't come across it for ill looks like a little sort of green. Sometimes tmz slightly slimy stuff that grows on the tops of parts particularly in nurseries where the plants have been left their own devices for a little while in damp and shady replaces. LIVERWURST IS ABREO fight. which is a group of plants that is linked to mosses and allergies? And you don't really want to see any of these. Brian Lights on the top of your parts. Because it really does mean that conditions are too damn if you have got them scrape move away and then do a careful check on drainage and possibly report if your compost is just to cluggy because most plants growing inside are going to be pretty unhappy in those kind of conditions with the beautiful few exceptions such as plants. If you've got time it really is worth taking the planet out of its parts. You can take a look at the ball reached a Very quite a lot. You see some routes that a bright orange widdly like sense of area reach the snake plant. Most plants will have white roots though of varying thicknesses. And the one thing they shouldn't be smelly or Mucci so have a look at what your roots are doing. If you've got loads of roots growing on the surface of the soil of the top of the pot that can also be a sign that you're watering too little and too often rather than giving the planet re deep doc drink every once in a while net that makes the roots go to service to get that water. But he's not good for the plot. It's much better to water more occasionally let that reborn Develop lower down so that it's less prone to stress when the plot does dry out while he got that route. Ball exposed. Grab yourself a chopstick or Kebab. Sick Hongi all stabby because one of the things that can happen to potting mix overtime is sort of slumps down in the pot and all the air pockets are gone so give the plant a good stab with your chopstick and that way you'll encourage them air pockets of form and loosen up that potting mix and it'll which can benefit lots. Yes you will damage a few routes along on the way but it will be fine. Trust me it'll be absolutely fun. So do that if you're plopped particularly if you're finding your plant is hard to water because the water just runs off that means is just there's two compacted down there so adding some extra aeration will really help save Donnie little stubby bit you can put back in. Its part if you do find a lot of slimy wetness down now now. That really is time to take action. Cuts away anything that's damaged. I'm report in fresh and fairly dry. potting mix and hope for the best is because that is the worst possible thing you can teach your plant. So now you've looked at the pot the roots it's time to move onto."