[ Hanafiee Azlee, 18 August 2021 ]
As the saying goes, many want butterflies but not caterpillars. It is always easy to buy plants due to their aesthetics and design intention. However, what many may not know is that plants are fragile beings, and they need to be taken care of, whole-heartedly – like a parent to a child. Generally, watering them once a week, placing them under bright indirect light and giving them a sufficient amount of fertilizer will fit the bill, which sounds like an easy routine. However, different plants require different treatment and care, depending on the plant species, obviously. Henceforth, it is vital to understand the environment of the proposed area and do research about the plants that could potentially thrive in that area.
Plants need to be nurtured in ideal conditions in order to grow healthily. The habitat in which the plant will grow is one of the factors that must be addressed. Ecological variables play a significant role since they give external assistance for plants to achieve their goals while remaining healthy. In this blog, I will list down the factors that may affect overall plant health and how one can preserve a healthy living plant by doing basic plant maintenance routine!
Lighting factors could be a challenge as you’re usually unsure of a certain amount of light required for the plants to thrive healthily. Therefore, it’s important to do further research about the types of plants that are planted in and ensure that they are getting the necessary light required for optimal growth. For plants that get way more light than they require, leaf margin burns may occur, destroying the plant's physiology. For plants that are not getting enough sunlight, they may become chlorotic, a reduction of coloration of leaves, losing its greenness.
Different types of lighting
It simply means that a plant requires at least 6 hours of direct, unfiltered sunshine per day. This is the bare minimum of light required for a sun-loving plant to grow. The intensity of sunshine fluctuates depending on the time of day, as you may have seen.
Partial shade refers to an area that receives 6 hours or less direct sunlight per day. The majority of plants appear to prefer direct sunlight in the morning or evening, as well as shade from the scorching noon heat.
Shade means no more than two hours of direct sunshine every day. Although plants in full shade receive little direct sunshine, some ambient light is reflected off neighboring surfaces such as windows and white walls which often reflect it and reach them. These plants grow steadily but slowly in full shade. Because of the milder temperatures, there are fewer flowering plants, but those that do bloom last longer.
Proper hydration is vital to all beings, including plants, which absorb moisture from their roots. Water is needed to facilitate photosynthesis, to transfer nutrients, stimulate germination and complete the transpiration process.
When to water your plants?
Look out for curling leaves! They are usually the best indications of dehydration. Alternatively, one can carry the pot and test out the weight of the pot, if it feels quite light, it means there is not enough moisture, or you can dig your finger one inch deep in the soil and feel if it's moist or dry!
Ideally, thoroughly watering the plants once a week would provide them the right amount of moisture they need. The proper amount of water ensures that plants do not experience problems with bacterial or fungal diseases like rot or attack from sucking insects like aphids. For plants that are categorized under succulent families, such as Sansevieria and Crassula, they can survive if it is not being watered for almost a month. Cactus as well.
Look for a loose, crumbly texture in your potting soil. Heavy, dense potting soils can retain an excessive amount of moisture, preventing oxygen from reaching plant roots. This can cause the roots to decay, allowing mold to grow. Avoid potting soils that contain large bits of bark or wood as well. Good aeration, or flowing of air and water, is ideal not only for giving roots the ability to grow longer but preventing bacteria from growing as well, as they thrive in moist conditions!
Having an equal amount of perlite, bark chips, potting soil, and vermiculite helps with retaining moisture and aerating of air at the same time.
NUTRIENTS AND PH:
Plants receive nutrients from the growing medium that they are in, be it the soil or growing system. Therefore, it is important to ensure that the right amount of nutrients is being absorbed by the plants and the growing medium is rich in organic matter. By adding fertilizer, it substitutes the missing nutrients that are found in the existing soil, but you have to be mindful of the amount of fertilizer one adds in. Giving too many nutrients may cause the plants to burn.
Your plants' ability to take nutrients is influenced by the pH of their nutrient reservoir. The ability of your plant's roots to absorb nutrients can be completely shut down by a pH that is too high or too low. The optimum pH level for plants would range from 5.5 to 7.0 ph. Henceforth, having a pH reading is optional but would be ideal.
Alright! There you have it! Some basics for plants owners to take note of while maintaining and preserving plants at home or even at a garden! It is always best to further read up if you guys have some burning questions or worries that was not answered here in this blog. Like they say, better to be prepared than to get ready at the last minute. Happy planting!