Ahead of Mental Health Month at Collarts, students received a plant pot and sunflower seed to cultivate their own flower at home, helping to ease their stress by nurturing some nature. To make sure your plant flourishes on that windowsill or bedside table, here are some tips on how to keep your greenery alive—whether it's a Collarts sunflower or an indoor monster.
REMEMBER TO WATER
One of the basic tenets of caring for plants is remembering to water them; they get thirsty too, you know! While some people prefer a set time for watering their plants, several sources say it's often better to water your plants when needed. But how do you know when that is?
Do your research: different plants will require different watering methods. The general consensus is that plants in well-drained soil should be watered when the top 1-2cm feels dry, but for sunflowers, consistent daily watering is required, and A LOT of water too.
PRUNE, PRUNE, PRUNE!
Are you seeing faded flowers or brown leaves? Don't be afraid to snip them off!
Often, pruning back those withered elements will encourage thriving regrowth, and can also stop diseases and pests from spreading. Cutting houseplants into a certain shape can also encourage them to grow into that mold too, although you want to make sure to do it at the right time—usually before they start to "leggy" (unkempt plants that keep flopping over) or "rangy" (plants that grow tall with few leaves, making them look spindly).
WATCH THE DUST
If you're not careful, houseplants can get covered in dust, forgotten in a sad dusty corner. Yes, it doesn't look great, but unsurprisingly, removing dust can also help plants absorb light much better.
Give them a gentle shower, use a soft brush to remove, or even wipe with a damp cloth to keep your plants' leaves clean and breathable. For best practice, give your plants are dusting whenever you dust the rest of your house too; that way, you know they won't end up dirty and neglected.
TAILOR SUNLIGHT HOURS
Something those dusty corners can also lack is sunlight. But that doesn't necessarily mean you should take your plant outside and put it directly in the sun's way.
The best course of action is to see what the plant you have prefers, but most houseplants can suffer under direct sunlight. For sunflowers, it's a bit different: yup, sun's in the name, so sunflowers prefer full unfiltered sun (at least six hours everyday!). It can still grow in a bright indoor space, but won't yield as many blooms as it would if it was outside.
Collarts Mental Health Month is running from Friday 1st October to Sunday 31st October, with a range of activities to help our students ease the pressure. Students can check their emails for more information.