Green Thumb Secrets

I have a lot of pot plants indoors and out. I love my courtyard patio in front because it's so shady and that makes it perfect for several large pot plants including a key lime tree in a giant pot. We pick limes off that tree just about year round.

I've learned a few things about growing potplants from my mom. I thought I'd share a few tips, what I call...

Green Thumb Secrets

1. Most people either over water, or under water. The best way to check is to stick a finger into the soil about an inch down. If it's damp, it needs no water—unless the plant is outside.

2. When that summer heat kicks in, increase the watering for your outdoor pot plants. Even if they're shaded, they still need some extra water because in hot weather, plants give off a lot of moisture that must be replaced. If not, the plant will droop. At worst, it may wither and die.

Part of my front patio
3. When you buy new plants, wait 6 to 8 weeks before feeding them. This will give them a chance to adapt to their new environment.

If you intend for them to live outside under a shade tree, start them there from the get-go. If it's to live indoors, do the same.

Don't keep it in the house then suddenly decide to move it outdoors.

4. Plants breathe through their leaves. If the leaves or dusty, they can't breathe and won't flourish.

One way to quickly clean a plant's leaves is to put it under a shower of lukewarm water. Let it drip-dry thoroughly before putting it back in place.

5. Don't use those so-called leaf polishes because that will clog the pores of the leaves. If you want shiny leaves, rub them gently between your thumb and forefinger. You natural skin oil will polish them.

My next patio tree? Bay Laurel sicne I bay leaves in cooking 
6. Another solution to get shiny leaves is to apply skim milk to the upper surface then wipe it off with a cotton ball. You have to remove the milk before it dries.

7. Hairy-leaved plants can be dusted by rubbing gently with a cotton swab or pipe cleaner.

Takeaway Truth

Do all of this, and you'll have healthy, flourishing plants—able to pass a white-glove test for dust!

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