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Tips to Caring for Outdoor Tropicals

By following these simple tips, you can grow the perfect tropical plants for your patio or garden.

TROPICALS

Water

— Plants should be watered to the point that water is running out the bottom of the pot. Shallow watering will cause poor root growth and weak stems.

— Soil must be allowed to dry out between watering. Overwatering kills roots and therefore plants.

— Do not allow tropical houseplants to accumulate water in trays while growing inside.

— Increase humidity by using a water bottle to spritz plants, clustering plants together or using a humidifier.

— Use distilled water rather than tap water. Tap water contains fluoride and causes leaf tip burn on many plants. Peace lily and spider plants are among the most vulnerable houseplants.

Fertilizer

— Fertilize most tropical plants two to three times during the growing season with diluted fertilizer. Diluted fertilizer means to use half the amount indicated on the fertilizer package. Orchids will benefit from more frequent fertilizer applications.

— Fertilize tropical flowering plants when flower buds appear for better floral display.

— Do not fertilize dry plants. Fertilizer treatment will burn the roots.

— Unless plants are placed under lights during winter months, do not fertilize.

Temperature

— Most tropical plants will not withstand temperatures below 55 degrees. Higher temperatures are required for active growth.

Insects

— Regularly look — including under the leaves — for plant damage.

— A water bottle with a soapy mixture will deter/kill most houseplant insects like aphids and spider mites.

— Use a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol to remove and kill mealy bugs or scale.

Giordano’s carries a full line of safe, organic products that can be sprayed for increased effectiveness against the “usual suspects.”

Care

— Many tropical houseplants may require pinching to maintain tidy appearance. Pinching back to the node (leaf attaches to stem) will encourage branching and maintain a more tidy appearance. Pinch in the spring before active growth occurs.