Why Now is the Best Time of Year for a New Houseplant

Spring is the best time of year for a new houseplant or repotting an existing one. The ample amounts of light provide extra energy that the houseplant can use to get established, whether it’s acclimating to a new pot or acclimating to a new spot. Giving houseplants the length of the growing season sets them up for the best chances of success. It’s also a great way to acknowledge the start of the spring season. It doesn’t have to be the official start at the equinox, either. Take care of your spring houseplant care, new plants, and repotting at the end of February or beginning of March. That way, you can get things a little dirty and then you can tackle your spring cleaning head-on.

Best Time of Year to Start a Houseplant from a Cutting

One exception to this rule is starting a houseplant from a cutting that will grow new roots. In this case, it may be better to wait till late spring or early summer in which the plant foliage is likely to be strongest. The cutting and new plant will still have the rest of the growing season to establish its roots and prepare for next winter, but weaker cutting may never get established at all. This is the big reason why it’s usually recommended to take at least 2-3 cuttings in anticipation that they may not all make it.

More Times of Year to Start a Houseplant

There is no wrong time of year. If you have a good spot and proper plant care, most plants will find their footing and start to thrive before too long. If you’re repotting or just bringing a houseplant home to a new spot, it’s not uncommon for plant foliage to show signs of distress. Often, this is just a sign that the houseplant is working to establish new roots, rather than grow new leaves. Before long, the foliage will bounce back and, in the right conditions, eclipse its former glory.

You can try to cheat a little by putting the houseplant in a sunnier window spot during the winter before moving it to more partial shade in the spring. (Of course, if the houseplant likes lots of strong light, it should have a sunnier spot on a permanent basis.) There are a couple different philosophies here. Many plants are well-suited to the seasonal changes of natural light that happen at moderate and higher latitudes. Now, if it’s a tropical plant in its natural habitat, these houseplants may be better adapted to more consistent amounts of light throughout the year. (Note, however, that many tropical plants are adapted to living in the shade of trees and don’t necessary like lots of direct sunlight.)

The type of houseplant matters for more than just modifying the light exposure. It’s easy to find sources that offer plants that can be grown indoors in the fall, but it’s also revealing that these houseplant lists are dominated by resilient, easy-care houseplants.

Best Time to Start Outdoor Plants

There is no wrong time to start a plant, and this is true of many outdoor plants as well. So long as the ground isn’t in a hard freeze—or we sometimes say until the first snow falls—you can put new plants in the ground. Certainly, in climates with hot dry summers, there’s an additional watering burden for getting outdoor plants established. When growing from seed, it’s often best to plant at the end of the growing season and wait till next year.


Why and How to Clean Houseplants: Tips, Benefits & Types of Plants

Healthy houseplants are clean houseplants, or are they? Do you need to clean houseplants, and if so, how do you do it? The short answer is that it’s a good idea when done right but isn’t the most important part of houseplant care. Here is what else you should know about how to clean houseplants.

Is It Important to Clean Houseplants?

If you want houseplants that are as healthy and vibrant as possible, then a little light cleaning is a good idea. When a lot of dust builds up on leaves, the plants won’t be able to get the same amount of light and air that it needs for photosynthesis. Often, it boils down to houseplants that survive vs. houseplants that thrive. You can have houseplants for years and never bother to dust or clean their leaves, but if you want these plants to live their best lives with full foliage and flower growth, then yes it’s important to clean. The other reason why you should clean houseplants is that it provides an opportunity to closely inspect your houseplants for signs of pests or disease. Keep an eye out for weak growth, unusual spots, or discoloration.

How to Clean Your Houseplants

First, remove any dead, fallen growth from the soil and area surrounding the pot. Next, remove any diseased, discolored, or dead growth that’s still attached to the plant. Should this be necessary, it’s best to use clean, sharp scissors or pruning shears to help the plant repair itself and prepare for new growth.

Next, take a clean cloth and gently clean the remaining leaves. A light misting can facilitate this process, but we recommend wiping the leaves with a cloth afterward. Support the leaves with your hand to avoid damage during this process. For houseplants with leaves that don’t like to get wet, like the African violet, you can use a soft-bristle paintbrush or a plain toothbrush if you’re careful. Find more plant cleaning tips.

How NOT to Clean Your Houseplants

There are just a couple things you need to watch out for. You shouldn’t need to scrub or otherwise become abrasive when cleaning houseplant leaves. Simply get the dust or mildew off the leaf. Leaf shine is NOT the way to clean your houseplants. These oils, waxes, and polishes will make your leaves look glossy for a little while, but will clog pores in the leaves and reduce plant respiration. A healthy houseplant will be fine, but if anything, this type of leaf shine treatment is adding stress to your plant.

If you like the look of glossy foliage, we recommend a ZZ plant, schleffera, jade plant, peperomias, or other plants with waxy leaves. The only times we recommend using leaf shine are when you’re trying to impress someone short-term. Home stagers, for example, might use leaf shine on the few potted plants they’ve placed for an open house.