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Mythbusting: Some common indoor plant myths

With so much information at our fingertips, it's easy to jump online and find an answer for...well, anything. And plants are no exception - everyone has a tip, a story, or something their grandma did.

Which is by no means a write-off - we are always learning new approaches to plant care and management and the best way to learn is often by giving it a go. 

The following is a list of misconceptions that have already be trialled and debunked, so think of it as a time (and plant saver) for you.

1. Pots need stones in the bottom to help with drainage.

For some reason, this myth just keeps coming back. Adding pebbles, rocks, gravel, scoria is not going to help the plant drain off excess water anymore than using a good quality potting mix will (recommended). Furthermore, by adding drainage material to the base of the pot you are reducing the size of the plants root ball and can in fact increase the risk of water logging and root rot. This is because the water will actually 'resist' passing from the fine potting mix across to the larger gravel mix and therefore build up and saturate the root ball base.

2. Bathrooms are not (generally) a humid room

Yes, when you shower or take a bath, the humidity in the room will increase. But once you're gone, those tiled surfaces will not retain the heat and they'll drain off any excess water quite quickly. Bathrooms are often some of the coldest rooms in the house so when choosing plants for that space think about the conditions of the bathroom when you're not using it rather than the 10-15 minutes a day you are. If you're concerned about creating enough humidity for you plants, think about investing in a humidifier.

3. Don't get the leaves wet

It would be easy to laugh this off (plants grow outside, therefore they're going to be rained on) BUT the rational here is sound. If water sits on the leaves and there is little airflow then you can risk fungal diseases developing.

Chances are though if you are  watering indoors you are not using a hose or a huge watering can that will cover the plant. And even if you do give your plants a shower every now and then (recommended!), unless you're raising the temperature of your home to tropical levels your plants will be just  fine. 

4. Some plants can survive with no light

All plants need some light. The rule is - if you can't read a book with the natural light in the room, then your plant can't live there. That being said if you are desperate to have a plant or two in a low(or no) light space, think about investing in some grow lights

5. Big pot = Big Plant 

Don't jump the gun here. Most indoor plants prefer to be pot up slowly. That is, increase the pot size by just a little bit each time. If you pot up a plant into a big pot too early, you run the risk of the plant not being able to take up all the excess moisture in the potting mix which could lead to root rot!

6. Misting your plant regularly keeps the humidity up. 

Hate to break it to you, but you would have to be there misting you plant for hours to change the humidity levels. Misting is a great way to keep the plant clean though!

7. Plants don't need to be fed over winter

Due to the fact that most indoor plants come from tropical zones with warm temperatures, many people assume that all indoor plants 'switch off' over the cooler months. Plants should not be fertilised when they are not actively growing as the roots won't take up any of the nutrients which can lead to them accumulating in the soil and causing root burn. 

This being said, most plants don't shut down completely and instead they slow their growth dramatically. The plants can still be fed, but at a diluted rate and just once every three months until the warmer months return. 



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