Ask the plant folk #2

Ask the plant folk #2

Being a plant parent can sometimes be tricky, but we are always here to help!

Founder, Jo, is on hand to answer some of your most commonly-asked questions.

My plants are attracting a lot of flies — what do you recommend for getting rid of them? — Tori, Chichester

Don’t panic — if you have a lot of plants please know this is completely normal and almost expected. To get rid of them, make a soapy solution using simple washing up liquid and warm water. Put this in a mister and spray your plants with it twice a week and they should be gone within a few days.

I’ve always wanted a fern but I’ve heard they are hard to keep alive, can you offer me some care tips? — Jane, Essex

Ferns may be a little needy, but they’re definitely worth the extra effort. Whilst they like moist conditions, don’t get over zealous when watering, as they don’t like their soil too soggy either — little and often is key. Maintaining high humidity levels is also important to fern plants, so mist them regularly or home within your bathroom where they can enjoy the steam. 

I’ve heard tap water is bad for houseplants, is this true? — Ed, Suffolk

It all depends. Hardier types — such as the Snake Plant — are fairly unphased, no matter what. However, others are sensitive to standard tap water due to the chemicals found within it. If this is the case, hydrate your green friends with distilled water, either from a filter or after boiling it, as this will remove any chemical nasties. Another option is collecting rainwater.

My prayer plant is drooping a lot, is there anything I can do to perk it up? –  Sophia, Sussex

Don’t panic, this is really common! Prayer plants are famed for moving their leaves in accordance with their circadian rhythm and environment. During the day, it’s normal for them to appear more droopy and settle with their leaves in a downward position so they can absorb sunlight. By the night and as daylight fades, you’ll see the leaves start to close and stand upwards again. Calatheas respond to light conditions, so bear this in mind next time yours looks droopy.

I’m considering getting a tropical plant, can you tell me how I can keep the humidity levels up? –  Alex, Bedford   

There are a few ways to boost humidity levels. For one, try misting the leaves of your plant with a spray bottle and lukewarm water. Do so a couple of times a week – it couldn’t be easier. Alternatively, you could try grouping your plants together if you have a collection. When you collate greenery together, not only do they look awesome, but they also trap air and moisture between each of them, boosting humidity in the process.

My Tradescantia Fluminensis is looking a little spindly and leggy, what am I doing wrong? – Leah, London

Usually this happens when plants are growing quickly in search of a light source and the result is a gangly and thin appearance. The stems can become weak, which isn’t good! Remedy this by moving it closer to a window – just be careful it’s not in direct sunlight as this can scorch some plant’s leaves. Also, remember to rotate the plant regularly to ensure the light gets to all the plant, promoting balanced growth.