COMPILED BY Jo Buitendach
Here are easy, practical tips to get your own floral kingdom ready for summer.
Summer Indoor Plant Tips with Fatima Mabulu
Tech analyst, long-distance runner and social media influencer Fatima Mabulu’s lifelong passion for plants only amped up during the Covid-19 lockdown. She found tremendous solace and refuge among them. Today, she promotes and helps green spaces through her business, Nurtured Spaces South Africa.
Even if you only have a few potted plants perched on a sunny windowsill, Fatima has you covered as you prep them for summer.
- Pick up your plant and check whether it’s heavy or not. If it’s lighter than usual, it’s time to water. If it’s heavy, give it another day or two. You can also check the soil with your fingers or a wooden stick. It’s better to underwater plants than overwater them – the latter will lead to root rot.
- Root rot is the number-one killer of plants so resist the urge to water them every day. The root system of a healthy plant is always firm and white.
- Hotter weather means that you’ll have to water plants more frequently. There’s a chance that nutrients may get washed out of the soil as a result, so consider including plant food every second or third time you water.
- Look out for fungus gnats, which spring from overly moist topsoil. The best way to help manage them is to start bottom watering your plant, to allow the topsoil to dry out. This works for plants that are potted in a pot with drainage holes. Get a container and fill it with water. Place the plant inside the container, and let it soak for at least 30 minutes before taking it out of the water.
- As your plant grows, it may outgrow its pot. When repotting, try to choose a pot that is one or two sizes larger than the current one. Allow your plant to adjust to its new environment – and remember that some plants can go into shock after transplanting.
- Just like anything else in your house, plants accumulate dust. It’s important to clean the leaves occasionally by wiping them with lukewarm water. This will help them to absorb sunlight more easily.
Summer Outdoor Plant Tips with Hannes Maritz
Hannes Maritz and his wife Tina are well known event planners in the Western Cape. Hannes is also a passionate gardener, and helps local communities grow vegetables and make their own compost. Here are his pointers for alfresco achievements.
- Don’t be scared to cut back your garden. I learnt this the hard way. I don’t like cutting any plant or tree, but the result of new growth is incredible and fulfilling.
- Spend as much time as possible in the garden, and create nooks where you can experience it in different ways from different angles.
- Challenge yourself to make your own seedlings from existing plants in your garden.
- Make your own compost – this is not negotiable! It is the biggest gift you can give your patch of turf.
- Observe closely which plants grow best in different areas of your garden, as well as which plants grow well together. Don’t hesitate to move things around until you find the perfect growth spots for everything.
- Treat yourself to proper garden tools. As superficial as it may sound, it gets you excited to play in the garden again.
- One part of your garden must be dedicated to an edible section, with herbs and vegetables.
- Invest in organic gardening books, and follow the guidelines. It will make you feel more confident during the gardening process.
- Mulch as much as possible. This keeps weeds from growing, feeds the soil and helps retain water.
- Attract birds to your garden as much as you can. Not only are they great for pest control, but you will find so much joy in seeing them.