Gentle House Plant Reminders


For me, it’s that time of year. There will be no more outdoor gardening. We have had our first hard freeze so the only thing left to do outside is to manage the remaining leaves–and eventually shovel snow.

But of course, my own house plants–as well as lectures I have been giving on them and a few articles I have seen lately–led to this post.

One of the most common questions I get is about repotting and when, specifically to repot a plant. Normally, unless I drop a pot and break it, I save all my repotting until spring.

Yes, I know spring is a very busy time for gardening but I generally begin my repotting as soon as the sun really begins to get stronger–early to mid-March for me. That’s much too early for me to work outside so it all works out well.

I don’t repot in the fall because plants are going into a bit of dormancy. The chances of killing a plant will over-watering after repotting in the winter are far higher because its roots are not going to be actively growing to fill that pot until spring.

That’s also why we don’t feed plants in winter.

And over the weekend I saw an article about “ooh, try some of those trendy marimo moss balls,” with no discussion of over-harvesting. I hate that. I also hate to see that 5 “trendy” plants were listed with no discussion of how to grow them. Why not just buy them and put them directly in the trash, as a couple were quite difficult?

Finally that same article did mention plants and toxicity to pets (I am not even sure if it mentioned toxic plants and children!)

Of course if you have cats in particular, who can be very prone to nibble plants, or puppies, you know it can be difficult to have plants and you will want to be sure to take care. The ASPCA has a very good list. Plants that are toxic to cats are not necessarily toxic to dogs, for example.

With children, it’s a little more complicated because there isn’t one site for that. (Perhaps that’s why most folks avoid the topic altogether). Some internet research should help, but get 2 or 3 definitive responses. Don’t rely just on one source.

Since I know I will be seeing more articles about house plants that will make me crazy, maybe this will become a regular feature.

3 thoughts on “Gentle House Plant Reminders

  1. tonytomeo November 15, 2019 / 12:07 am

    All those ‘conforming’ articles are how I started writing my gardening column twenty years ago. I was so frustrated by how all the other columnists simply copy each others’ clishe information, no matter how inaccurate or unimformatie it was. It was always about what was trendy at the time, but no one discussed what was actually growing in our gardens from a few years earlier.

  2. gardendaze November 15, 2019 / 5:11 am

    And then folks bemoan the bad information out there on the internet. What was so troubling–2 things really–were that parts of the article were so good–or sounded so good–that the whole thing came off as very authoritative when clearly the bit about “ooh, grow these trendy plants” was, at best, ill-advised.

    Oh well. The world isn’t perfect–yet.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.