The Complete Guide to: Spring Indoor Plant Care

As the days get that little bit brighter, the weather gets warmer and the spring bulbs begin to appear it’s difficult not to be filled with a newfound sense of optimism. The long, dark winter nights of cozying up by the fire begin to be replaced by clearer, bluer skies and evening strolls. Opportunity is in the air and we just can’t wait to seize it.

This time of year is any plant parent's favourite and it’s easy to see why. Spring marks the beginning of the most exciting, and busy, time of year for our houseplants: The growing season. And just like we all say when it comes to New Year’s Resolutions; Start as you mean to go on, the same is true for our tropical companions.

"Spring marks the beginning of the most exciting, and busy, time of year for our houseplants: the growing season."

So how do we set the ball rolling this spring for a season filled with prolific Philodendrons, abundant Alocasias, and superfluous Strelitzias?

Check Your Roots

This time of year it is vital to check how your plant is doing below the surface. A healthy roots system with room to develop and spread is the foundation of prosperous new growth throughout the spring and summer months. 

In most cases the best way to check your roots is to gently remove the whole plant, compost and all, from its pot by grasping the base of the plant and teasing it out patiently. When your plant is removed you want to be vigilant and take note of 3 main things:

Do the roots have any more room to grow?

In order to produce stunning new shoots, stems and leaves your plant needs room to continue to weave its complex system of roots. Without adequate room your plant's growth rate may be stunted and new leaves may emerge ‘atrophied’ (underdeveloped). To tell whether your plant requires a bigger pot check whether the roots are winding their way around the edge of the pot. If the roots are doing so and have become tightly entangled around each other, taking on the shape of their container it may be time to repot.

Are the roots healthy?

The winter months are challenging, the cold and dark bring an increased risk of root rot, a peril any plant owner has likely fallen victim to. While in the process of checking your roots for room you can also check for root rot. Observe the roots for a black colour that is not consistent throughout, a mushy texture and a ‘swampy’ smell. If you observe this hope is not lost. Take a clean secateurs and carefully cut away any rotted roots and repot your plant either in a pot of equal or smaller size. 

Does the compost need to be refreshed?

Dull, dusty compost offers little from a nutritional standpoint for your plants. If your plant has lived in its pot for quite a while, think 12+ months, it may appreciate a refresh even if it doesn’t necessarily need a larger pot. This is as simple as removing the plant, teasing the roots to allow any old compost to fall away and placing the plant back in its pot with a good trowel-full of fresh, nutrient rich compost.

Feeding Time

Now is the time to dive into the kitchen cupboard and dust off that bottle of plant feed you stashed away last October. The extra boost of nutrients will help kick start growth this time of year.

However, as is the case with most things, moderation is key. After several months without plant feed it’s probably best to gradually reintroduce this back in, either by progressively increasing the concentration of feed in the water or the frequency of fertilizing. For example, it may be worth starting with a dilution of a half or even a quarter of the recommended ratio on the bottle and increasing from there. This will prevent any negative effects related to adding additional nutrients to the soil, like fertilizer burn or salt build up.

Cut your Losses

While it might seem counterintuitive, giving your plant a prune at the beginning of spring can boost new growth and result in fuller and healthier plants later on. During winter you may have noticed some leaves will have faded in colour or gone yellow, particularly towards the base of your plant. This older growth is likely now of little benefit to the plant as the newer, larger leaves have taken over the mantle of absorbing sunlight. By removing these older leaves you allow the plant to focus more of its energy towards sustaining the newer, healthier growth as well as prioritizing the production of new growth.

"This older growth is likely now of little benefit to the plant as the newer, larger leaves have taken over the mantle of absorbing sunlight."

It can also be helpful to trim back leggy stems and branches that were produced towards the end of last year’s growing season. Removing this sparser growth will tidy up your plant and make way for the new stems and leaves, giving your plant a more abundant and full appearance.

While you’re giving your plan a spring clean, take the opportunity to clean off any dust that may have accumulated on the leaves. This will allow your plant to make the most of the longer Spring days.

Location, Location, Location

While your plants may be happy to continue their stay in their winter residence for now it’s definitely advisable to continuously check on them. As the weather improves and sunshine intensifies, so too do the risks associated with harsh direct sunlight.

Plants like Parlour Palms, Alocasias and Calatheas  will appreciate a move a little further away from windows, particularly south facing ones, while others like Strelitzas and Banana Trees will be more than happy to continue to soak up those spring and summer rays.

Water, Water Everywhere

Just like your fertilizing, it may just be time to ramp up your watering. But be sure to do this gradually, particularly if you have moved your plants away from the window. Take note of whether your plants prefer to stay moist or dry out between waterings and investigate how dry the soil is before you water again.

Spring Indoor Plant Care & Tips Video


Clay: The Contemporary Botany Company

We lovingly curate a selection of indoor plants & handmade pots. Delivered across Dublin and Nationwide.

Words by: Clay: The Contemporary Botany Company

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