Year-round Guide for the Care of House Plants

January...Adjust watering schedule to compensate for house heat. Raise humidity by using pebble-filled trays. Spray foilage once or twice a day if leaves are not hairy. At night protect plants from cold windows. Light may be insufficient now, resulting in leggy growth. Don't over water..Use little or no fertilizer, the growth rate is slow anyway unless plants are grown under artificial lights.

February...Same general care is needed as in January. Propagate by air laying. Prune leggy plants, and keep on the dry side after pruning.

March...Plants should start making good growth, air-layered plants should be ready for repotting now. If you have additional plants that might profit by air layering, do it this month. Make leaf cuttings now too. Move plants from strong midday sunshine or shade them slightly. Check to see if any need repotting and top dress with new potting for those that don't need repotting.

April...This month start a fertiliizing program, half strength, once a week. Pot any well rooted cuttings, keep plants watered, although, newly or severely pruned plants should be kept a little drier.

May...Plants should be looking much better now that there is less artifical heat and longer days provide better light. Less water will be needed, but keep a constant check. Newly potted plants should be watered sparingly, given extra humidity, and not fed until new growth is in evidence, continue feeding other plants and repot seedlings as necessary.

June-July..Your plants should look good now. Repot smaller plants if they need it. Spray leaves with forcible jets of water to keep them clean and to reduce pest incidence. Plants may be moved outdoors now. If you intend to sink the pots in the ground, place some drainage material in the bottoms of the holes. Pick a cloudy day and situate plants according to their growing needs.

August...Lift plants that have been buried to be sure they haven't rooted outside of the pot. Fertilize all root filled pots and watch for insects.

September...Winter will be coming soon, so prepare plants for the house. Remove dead leaves, clean plants well, check for pests and treat if any are present. Bring plants in the house at least two weeks before the heat goes on. Plant bulbs in pots for early spring flowering inside, (great to do if you like blooms for Easter), Taper off watering of tubers and allow them to go dormant, and store them in a cool, dark, dry place when they are dry.

October...Make adjustments in watering if necessary because of house heat, prepare trays of stones to hold water for humidity. Don't over water cactus and succulents, but don't let them dry out completely. Rest Christmas cactus from October to mid November by giving them little or no water, and keep them cool.

November...Routine care is required for plants in the house this month. Don't over water and fertilize lightly only the plants with large leaves or the ones that are potbound. Move plants away from cold windows, or draw a drape or blind and keep away from any heat source. Give the plants as much sunlight as possible now. Long, spindly growth indicates poor light, so supplement with artificial light if possible.

December...Wash any large leaved plants with soapy water and a soft sponge, this will open dust clogged stomata. Start to water Christmas cactus and bring them into a warm sunny room. Watch that terrariums don't over heat. Keep gift plants away from drafts. Bring the potted bulbs in that you planted in September if roots are showing in drainage holes. Keep in complete darkness for a week to induce long stems, for hyacinths place in light when the shoots are 5 inches tall, for tulips and narcissus when they are 3 inches tall.