All about healthy houseplants with Shea Doherty

Dorothy and Shea discuss how to keep your favourite houseplants alive and healthy. They talk about why poinsettias lose their leaves when you bring them home from the shop and how to prevent this.

How long can Christmas cactus live and how do you keep them blooming every year? Shea reveals the secrets of Christmas cactus success that Dorothy has never been able to conquer.

And what about the perennial question of how much to water? When the plant goes limp, isn’t it crying out for a drink? Not always. In fact, hardly ever. Most people overwater their house plants, especially in winter when many plants are trying to take a break. Just like people, they need a rest, too. When they need to rest and for how long and under what conditions depends on where they came from originally. In fact, one of the best things you can do for your houseplants it to learn what the conditions are like where they come from and then try to mimic these as best you can.

They discuss amaryllis and the two types. How do you keep them blooming longer? What do they need to stimulate bigger and better blossoms each year?

Dorothy bought a beautiful pink and white azalea from the supermarket, but it had a lot of dried out buds. Nothing you can do this year, says Shea. Treat it well, though, and next year you will be rewarded. Azaleas need light and consistently moist soil – not wet: moist. Like all woody plants, they need a fair amount of light.

Dorothy tells the tale of the weeping Ficus and Shea explains his experiments to see what really pleases them.

Finally, they discuss the difficulty people have in keeping their beautiful succulents happy throughout the winter. These fabulous plants are losing favour because they so often fail indoors. The answer? Don’t water so much or so deeply. Let them dry out, then moisten, don’t drench, the soil.

We also learn the one plant that Shea can’t grow in his house! Yes, folks, it happens to the best of us. There are some plants that just won’t succeed with you, no matter how hard you try! But don’t give up. There are hundreds of others that will do just fine.

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