Monty Don: Overwatering houseplants is ‘biggest mistake’ made – soak for 15 minutes only

Gardening: Monty Don lays out 'jobs for the weekend'

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Monty Don regularly shares gardening advice online as well as on television, including how to care for houseplants. Sharing tips and tricks for April in his latest blog post, the expert explained that overwatering is the “biggest mistake” people make when it comes to looking after indoor plants.

Monty wrote: “There are, of course, a huge range of plants that can and are grown permanently indoors with a wide range of conditions best suited to them.

“By large, the biggest mistake people make with their houseplants is to overwater them.

“In fact, that can be qualified, or refined, by saying most are overwatered at the roots but under-watered in the air.

“A coolish spot, out of direct sunlight is likely to be more congenial for all evergreen plants from tropical regions than a south-facing window sill above a radiator.”

Monty added that this doesn’t apply to desert cacti and succulents.

Houseplants should only be watered when the potting compost is dry.

Then, instead of regular watering, the expert recommended soaking them in a basin with water.

Monty explained: “Soak them in a basin for 15 minutes, draining them completely before returning the pot to its position.

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“However, the single most useful thing is to get hold of a really good mist sprayer holding at least a litre of water with a trigger action.

“Use this twice a day to give your plants a really good spray so the foliage is running with moisture.”

Misting houseplants is a great way of increasing their humidity and moisture levels.

In turn, this can help to prevent overwatering and help indoor plants flourish.

Plants with brown or dry leaf tips can also benefit from regular misting.

It is recommended to use tepid water and to do the job early in the morning so the plants have all day to dry out.

Monty added: “However, this does mean placing them where very humid air is not going to damage furnishings or surfaces.

“This is why a bathroom or kitchen is likely to be more suitable than a living room.”

Speaking in a recent BritxBox video on YouTube, the expert provided top tips on how to feed houseplants and when to feed them.

Monty said: “Every plant that is grown in a container will sooner or later need a supplementary feed because it will exhaust the available nutrients inside the pot.

“If you overfeed, it will result in overly lush soft tissue and soft growth that is much prone to disease and predation.

“The key to it is to feed when the plant is actively growing.

This is typically done within the spring and summer months and less in the winter due to houseplants going through dormant phases.

Succulents and cacti don’t need feed to survive. 

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