What Is Phytopathology?
Vision & Overview
Join / Renew
APS Plant Pathology Video
Borlaug's Undergraduate Scholars
Ideas & Innovation
People & Directories
Private Sector Relations
Join / Renew
2017 Annual Meeting
Calendar of Events
Future Annual Meetings
Topical Meetings and Workshops
Annual Meeting Archives
Annual Meeting Mail List Sign Up
APS Journals Editor's Picks
Plant Health Instructor
Plant Health Progress
Plant Management Network
Plant Disease Management Reports
Common Names of Plant Diseases
APS Image Database
Internship & REU Opportunities
Related Career Sites
Professional Development Center
Careers In Plant Pathology
Buy a Book
Food Safety and Human Health
Home and Garden
It's Flu Season for Houseplants, Too—Tips to Keep Your Houseplants Healthy
St. Paul, Minn. (December 11, 2003)—While houseplants don't get the flu as we know it, the winter months can make them more susceptible to a variety of diseases. To keep indoor plants healthy, the following are some tips offered by plant doctors from the American Phytopathological Society.
Although plants have been grown in homes for thousands of years, it hasn't been without a few problems, states A. R. Chase, professor emeritus, Mid-Florida Research and Education Center, University of Florida. "Plants didn't evolve in our homes which means they don't naturally adapt to the environmental conditions that occur there, especially during the winter heating season," she said.
But, Chase states, there are a few simple things that you can do to keep your houseplants healthy during the winter months.
Inspect a plant before you buy it. Don't buy plants with leaves that are dried and brittle, have spots, or are yellowing or wilting. Look carefully for mites, mealybugs, scales, and aphids, which can resemble plant parts. These pests often hide underneath leaves or on the leaf stems and may move when disturbed.
Put a new plant in a separate room away from other plants for a while. This helps to prevent infecting your other plants with anything brought in on your new plant. If the plant still looks healthy after three or four weeks in its new home, you can move it.
Be sure your plant pot has good drainage. Excess water drowns roots and encourages root rot.
Make sure your plant gets what it needs. Not all houseplants are alike and many vary considerably with regard to moisture, temperature, and fertilization needs.
Clean the foliage. Dust and dirt can interfere with a plant's natural processes. Every few weeks, clean your plants by wiping the leaves with a damp cloth or by putting them in the shower or sink and rinsing with lukewarm water.
Avoid temperature extremes. Placing plants near large windows, radiators, or furnace vents often creates more extreme temperatures than people realize and plants can tolerate.
Be careful about moving plants. For example, do not place a plant in a sunny south window if it has been grown in a less bright location, otherwise a white to brown burning of the leaves may occur.
Don't mist your plants; it promotes disease. Use a humidifier or place pots on a bed of wet gravel if more humidity is needed.
The American Phytopathological Society (APS) is a nonprofit, professional scientific organization dedicated to the study and control of plant diseases, with 5,000 members worldwide.
Get ALL the Latest Updates for ICPP2018: PLANT HEALTH IN A GLOBAL ECONOMY. Follow APS!
© 2017 The American Phytopathological Society. All rights reserved.
Contact Us - Report a Bad Link