They sit there, quietly, minding their own business. Trying to please. Whatever the circumstances.
Imagine what they could be saying...
Time she washed these curtains; clean the windows, the light is appalling, I can’t grow.
Could do with a bit of food, a drop of water.
And yet the majority continue to do their job; occasionally, there are problems, and it’s only then that something is done.
Feed them, water them, make sure they get the right amount of light, the right temperature, repot them.
“Them”, of course, are house plants, the steadfast, dependable millions that have to battle some of the worst conditions known to plants – poor light, drought, drowning, starvation and the highs and lows of temperatures inside the average English home.
So before you spring-clean your home, spring-clean your plants.
Repot them if they need it (look for roots poking out of the base of the container) and then make sure they are in the right place. Light needs vary with the type of plant. Check the tag that comes with the plant when you bought it.
If it wants lots of light, give it lots of light – but avoid hot, direct sunlight. Some plants’ leaves may be sensitive to the sun and may be burned.
If a plant needs more humidity than it can get on a windowsill, put it in the bathroom. For those plants that seem to need lots of water, pop their pots in a saucer that contains gravel; the gravel can be covered with water. Change the water every few days because if it gets past its sell-by date, it becomes a good breeding place for pests and diseases.
Watering can be tricky. Plants can easily be killed by over-watering. For most plants, water when the soil surface begins to dry and not when it feels damp to the touch. Many plants with coarse roots, such as dracena and philodendron, generally are kept on the dry side.
Keep plants out of drafts which can result in yellowing and leaf drop.
Basically, it’s a case of knowing what plant wants what – and remembering them when spring comes around. It’s also a way of saying thank-you for helping keep your spirits up throughout winter.