A collection of houseplants in a home

Spring plant care: how to look after your houseplants as we head into growing season

Posted by for Plants

Keep your houseplants looking happy and healthy this growing season with these expert spring plant care tips.     

It’s nice to see the sun again, isn’t it? After what felt like possibly one of the longest winters ever, the spring-like weather we’re seeing at the moment certainly feels like a breath of fresh air.

The arrival of warmer weather also marks the start of growing season, too. As the days grow longer and brighter, plants that went dormant throughout the winter period will reawaken. And although the growth rate will vary from plant to plant, you should start to see all of your plants produce more new growth in the build-up to summer, when their growth rate is usually fastest. 

This is, of course, very exciting. But it also means you’ll need to start paying a bit more attention to your plants to ensure they stay happy and healthy. 

Alongside increasing how often you water your plants (the warmer temperatures and increased growing activity will cause their soil to dry out quicker than it did during autumn and winter), there are a number of extra things you can do to prep your plants for growing season and help them to thrive.

To find out more about what you can do to prepare your plants for the months ahead, we asked Richard Hull, Patch Plant’s plant doctor, for his top tips. Here’s what he had to say.  

1. Start fertilising again

To set your plants up for a successful growing season, you’ll want to start adding fertiliser – or plant food – to your care routine, to ensure they have all the nutrients they need to thrive.

“New growth can be encouraged by adding a few drops of liquid fertiliser when watering your plants,” Hull says. “This only needs to be done once a month.” 

A collection of plants on some shelves
Adding a few drops of fertiliser to your watering can will ensure your plants have the nutrients they need to grow.

2. Consider repotting your plants

If your plants are showing signs that they’ve outgrown their pots – such as roots coming out the bottom of the pot, drooping leaves that are still green or top-heavy growth – it could be time to find them a new home.

“By adding fresh compost, you will give your plants a boost of fresh nutrients, and by choosing a pot that is larger than the current one by a measure of around 2 inches in diameter, you will give the roots new soil to grow into,” Hull says.

To find out more about how to repot your plants, you can check out our guide.

A little warning: if you use an old nursery pot for repotting your plant, make sure to clean it out first.

“Old nursery pots, especially ones that have previously been outside, may have harmful bacteria or pests hiding in them,” Hull says. “Wipe them down with a cloth and soapy water to ensure they don’t affect your plants’ health.”

3. Prune back dead growth

If your plant has any dead leaves or growth from the winter months, now’s the time to cut that back. If you want to do this properly you should use botanical shears or secateurs, but scissors should do the trick, too.

“By removing dead growth, you will allow light in and give space to new leaves that are trying to emerge,” Hull says.  

A plant in a woven basket pot
Give the leaves of your bigger plants a dust to ensure they're getting enough light.

4. Give your plants’ leaves a dust

If you haven’t given your plants’ leaves much attention since last year, chances are they’ve gathered quite a bit of household dust, which can limit their growth.

“Now is a good time to dust off leaves in preparation for the growth season,” Hull says. 

“Any dust that gathered on the least surfaces of larger leaved plants could be blocking light and thus inhibiting photosynthesis. Dust them down gently with a damp cloth.” 

New to plant parenthood? Check out Stylist’s guide to buying, styling and caring for plants to get started.

You can find out more about the most common houseplant problems by checking out our range of plant care content, too. 

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Lauren Geall

As Stylist’s digital writer, Lauren Geall writes on topics including mental health, wellbeing and women’s issues. She’s also a big fan of houseplants and likes to dabble in film and TV from time-to-time. You can find her on Twitter at @laurenjanegeall.