Nyore Madzianike Home and Garden Writer
MANY people like keeping houseplants, especially flowers, but they are taken aback by the stress that comes with keeping them alive all year round.
The “trauma” of seeing them dying and the fear of carrying a failure tag also come to the fore. Some people will quickly resort to growing outdoor flowers, which they feel are easy to maintain.
It is actually not that difficult to keep house plants alive, although you need to pay particular attention to their needs.
Plants need water, light and nutrients to grow healthier.
These are basic things that need to be kept in check and made available depending on the amounts that each type of plant requires.
Some plants require a lot of water and light while others need few amounts of each of them.
House plants come in different ways, as some are bought from vendors, while others are just picked from gardens for replanting.
Harare florist Johannes Muzande emphasised that indoor flowers are the easiest to maintain, especially for people who stay in flats.
“Before taking them home, there is need to check for pests. If they show signs of pests or diseases, keep them away or cure the problem before you infect other indoor plants.
“It is prudent to avoid placing plants in trouble spots, which leaves them vulnerable to playful children who can easily destroy them.
“Indoor flowers also need not to be kept where there are extreme temperature fluctuations meaning they need to be placed away from air conditioning ducts or behind curtains.
“Remember that heating systems can dry out the air when there are low temperatures,” he said.
Muzande said the most important thing to understand before considering keeping an indoor flower is location of your house.
“Choose a plant that matches your house or room lighting conditions. This is where you look at whether there is darkness or there is a point where the sun reaches.
“If your room is not getting a lot of sunlight, do not pick a plant that demands direct sunlight. It will certainly not survive or it will give you labour when taking it outside to get light,” he said.
Muzande said there was no need to water some flowers regularly as moisture levels remain constant.
“Do not water your plants all the time because different types have different water needs. You need to just keep pots that have good drainage, to avoid root rotting when they sit in still water for a long time.
“If the plant is outgrowing its pot, find another pot because flowers also need space. It is like a human being, who changes size of clothes as he or she grows bigger.
“People are fond of changing their flowers from one corner of the house to the other. This is not advisable. There is risk of them breaking plus plants also tend to love places, which at the end of the day get used to the condition.
“Moving them around all the time is a disruptive event in a flower’s life,” he said.
Muzande said some flowers do shed leaves when seasons changes which then calls for pruning.
He said pruning helps flowers to divert nutrients to health leaves, that makes them look good all year round.
“Once you follow the basics, you will not think of buying the synthetic flowers that are being imported from Asian countries,” he said.
Muzande hinted that there was need to regularly perforate the flower pot to allow water to flow freely.
“Some people use containers which have holes drilled on them. There is need to regularly see to it that the holes remain open to allow water to flow.
“Clogging the flower pot will make it difficult for the roots to grow and purposefully do their work. Other people use some glass jars where they put water and let the flower grow from there.
“It is important that one changes water in those jars. This is because with time, the flowers would exhaust all the nutrients. Fresh water will then give the flower a new lease of life and at the end the flower will blossom,” he said.
Muzande also said types of soils play a pivotal roles in the life of an indoor flower.
“There is need to know a little about the type of flower to keep in the house. This is because some flowers do not survive on certain types of soils. Flowers are very selective in terms of soils and if grown on wrong soils they will definitely die or suffers a stunted growth,” he said.