This week in the garden: holiday-proofing those houseplants

Freshly potted plants should be placed away from direct sunlight and high temperatures

If a plant looks particularly miserable, it may need to be repotted  or potted on.

If a plant looks particularly miserable, it may need to be repotted or potted on.

 

It’s such a busy time of the year for gardeners that it’s easy to forget about indoor plants, which can quickly dry out if not watered regularly. Removing dead or damaged leaves and feeding regularly with a liquid seaweed feed will help to keep them happy and healthy. If a plant looks particularly miserable, it may need to be repotted (kept in the same pot but given fresh compost) or potted on (moved to a slightly bigger container). While this is best done in spring, it’s fine to do it at this time of year if done gently but with speed. Start by giving the plant a good watering a few hours before gently removing it from the container. Then gently loosen the root ball (if it’s badly root-bound, the roots may need to be gently trimmed back), shake off the loose, old compost and repot/pot using a good-quality, fresh compost. Firm this gently down and then finish off with a watering. Freshly repotted/potted on indoor plants should be placed somewhere away from direct sunlight/high temperatures until they’ve re-established.

Outdoors

Keep a careful eye on young seedlings, transplants, bedding displays at this time of year and make sure that they’re getting sufficient water and are protected from slugs and birds. If you’re planting out more young transplants, bedding plants or pot-raised dahlias over the next few weeks, it’s a good idea to thoroughly soak their rootballs in a weak solution of liquid seaweed,which helps to counteract transplant shock and to keep their vulnerable roots systems nicely damp until they begin to establish.

Make nettle tea for the garden

The soft young foliage of nettles makes a wonderful, natural, nutrient-rich liquid plant feed if picked this time of year. Make sure to wear a long-sleeved top and gloves and use a long-handled shears to harvest the stinging leaves before chopping them up, placing them firmly into a watertight container and covering them with water (use roughly 1kg of chopped, young nettle leaves to 10 litres of water). Cover the container or plastic bin with a lid and leave it in a cool, shady spot in the garden. The nettle tea will be ready to use in about 2-3 weeks, at which point it can be diluted down to one part nettle liquid to 10 parts water and watered on to your plants. Rich in nitrogen, magnesium, sulphur and iron, nettle tea stimulates the immune systems of plants, making them better able to resist attack from pests and diseases, especially slugs. The downside is that it’s extremely smelly so wear waterproof gloves and clothing while using it.

Dates For Your Diary

Continuing until Sunday, May 26th (11am-5pm) at Mallow Racecourse, Co Cork, is Mallow Home & Garden Festival, including Irish Specialist Nursery Plant Fair, with show gardens, floral displays, specialist plant sales and garden accessories by many of the country’s top nurseries: see exhibitionsireland.ie and irishspecialistnurseriesassociation.com; Tuesday, May 28th (8pm), at Foxrock Parish Pastoral Centre, Kill Lane, Dublin 18, Uprooting: New Beginnings and the Tale of Two Gardens, a talk by gardener Conrad McCormack on behalf of Foxrock Garden Club, all welcome, see foxrockgardenclub.com for details; From Thursday, May 30th-Monday, June 3rd: at Phoenix Park Visitor Centre, Dublin 8, Bloom in the Park, see bloominthepark.com

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