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Plant care

How to look after plants in the house

 

How to clean plant leaves

To have shining leaves, dust them with a feather duster. Then put a few drops of glycerine on a cloth and gently wipe the leaves. Glycerine is preferable to olive oil because it does not attract dust. You can also use water and milk in equal quantities to make the leaves shine.

Upright houseplants
In order to have houseplants growing upright, frequently turn the container approximately 45°; as plants grow they tend to lean towards the sun.

 

Light pruning
To cut branches that have grown too much, cut diagonally just above an outside bud. To remove the whole branch cut at the trunk or at the main branch. The cutting should be done with a sharp instrument to avoid crushing or pulling the bark which could infect the plant.

 

Pot plants
The decision to grow plants in pots, other than the fact that no garden is available, is because some will not survive in open ground during the winter period. Using pots allows you to add colour and ornament to different areas: path borders, terraces etc. Regardless of the type of flowers grown, continuous attention must be given to the pots.

Irrigation
This must be done when the earth is dry. For this purpose it is useful to have an indicator in the soil which shows when it is too dry. During holidays, use an automatic drip.

Maintenance
Pots should never be placed in very windy areas, or areas of high humidity because the plants will suffer. In general, all the excesses should be avoided: full sun, excessive cold, heavy rain, etc. Dead leaves and petals should be removed daily and the plants protected from freezing, and placed in a protected area during the cold season.

Fertilising
The soil in the pots only provides limited nutriment for the plants and so they need fertilising at least once every fifteen days with a liquid diluted with water. Stick fertilisers can also be used as well as the chemical 'sticks' which can be worked into the soil in the pot and which slowly release their nutritional elements into the soil. The instructions clearly indicate the quantity and timing of application depending on the size of the plants in the pots.

Pruning
Pruning is fundamental for improving the plant and for encouraging growth. Basically, it means cutting one part of the plant to encourage growth, flowering or to make fruit in the best possible way. For this reason, the type of pruning differs depending on the result required.

When to prune
Shrubs should be pruned in late autumn and winter; hedges from June to August; roses should be pruned during the winter months.

 

Precautions
Be careful when pruning that the temperature does not fall below 5°C because the plant could be attacked by parasites.

Pruning to shape
This is the most important type of pruning because it gives the plant its most suitable shape. This is generally done from the second year onwards: cut the lateral shoots whilst the main stems should be cut to a quarter of their length.

Thinning out
If a shrub is very dense, then some inside shoots should be cut. This should be done near to the base so that sufficient light can reach the plant.

 

Pruning for rejuvenation
When a shrub or tree ages and growth diminishes, cut the lateral branches down to the last bud. The central branches can be drastically cut. All the parts which have been cut should be coated with the correct resin to prevent parasites.

Hedges
Hedges are pruned twice a year; in June and in September. Pruning should endeavour to make the hedge into the form of a high, compact isosceles trapeze. In general, the edges should have an inclination of ten centimetres towards the centre for every metre of height. In cases where the hedge has become too overgrown, wait for winter and cut approximately one third of its height in a way that pruning can be carried out in the desired way in the future.

 

Fertilising

The plants
There are numerous types of commercially produced fertilisers for green plants, climbers, shrubs etc. It is always best to ask advice so that you get the right fertiliser for the right plant.

 

 

Gardening
Looking after plants should be a pleasure and not a duty, otherwise it is best to leave it. With plants you can have a relationship almost akin to love, because they depend wholly on you and their way of saying thank you is by giving you beautiful growth and splendid flowers. It is said that one should speak to them, but without going that far, look at them often, cut off their yellow leaves, clean the dust and anything else that covers their pores, check that they are not attacked by insects, which could make them die, feed them, because water alone is not enough, and last but not least, given them plenty of light.