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Houseplants require some basic care to remain healthy and vigorous. Here are a few helpful hints to follow to ensure that your houseplants thrive.
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Dust covering leaves reduces the plant's ability to produce its own food. Keep the leaves clean for a healthier, better looking plant. Glossy leafed plants can be dusted with a soft cloth. If the plant has shiny leaves that are marked with spots from mineral-laden water or spray materials, dampen a soft rag or paper towel with milk and rub to remove the spots and add a nice shine to the leaves.
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Don't rub hairy leafed plants like African violets and gloxinias. Instead, carefully rinse their leaves with warm, room temperature water from a spray bottle or from the spray nozzle on your kitchen sink.
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Sometimes leaves become damaged from disease or insect problems. Mechanical damage can also make leaves look unsightly. If only a small portion of a leaf is affected, remove this section only. If half or more is damaged, remove the entire leaf. The plant will look better and can prevent the spread of disease. Remove the leaf with clean, sharp scissors or a knife.
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Correct watering of houseplants is critical. More houseplants die from improper watering than any other factor.
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Houseplants grow more vigorously when fertilized properly. Use a slow release or water-soluble fertilizer and follow the directions on the container. During low light periods from late fall through winter, reduce the fertilizer rate by half. (Some will stop fertilizing their plants during the winter months.) Resume normal fertilization rates in early spring through fall.
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Every year or so plants benefit from transplanting into larger pots. Choose a pot that is no more than one or two sizes larger than the current pot. For example, from a 4" pot, transplant to a 5" or 6" pot.