If you’re struggling to keep your houseplants alive this winter, you’re certainly not alone – sometimes it feels like no matter what we try, keeping our plants from shrivelling seems impossible when it’s this cold and dark.
However, according to one houseplant pro, our kitchen cupboards are packed full of items that could keep our plants going until spring.
Fiona Jenkins, Houseplant Expert at MyJobQuote.co.uk warns that the colder weather and fewer hours of sunshine in winter can stunt the growth of your houseplants as they can struggle to thrive in these conditions.
The biggest mistake we’re all making according to Jenkins? Overwatering.
“Many houseplants can become dormant in winter due to the less than favourable growing conditions,” she explains. “This means they do NOT need as much watering as they do in spring and summer.”
The key to keeping them alive? Well, bananas, potatoes, mayo, cups of tea, cinnamon and eggs, of course. No, that’s not a recipe from hell – these six unexpected items can actually rescue your dying houseplants says Jenkins.
Here’s everything you need to know.
Use mayonnaise to make your houseplants shine
If the leaves of your houseplants are looking dull and you want to restore their natural shine, try using mayonnaise on them. Take a piece of kitchen roll with a small amount of mayonnaise on it and rub this on the leaves, this should have them shining for weeks. However, it’s important not to use too much mayonnaise otherwise it could leave a residue that could clog the leaf pores.
Fix a broken stem with cinnamon powder
Cinnamon is a natural fungicide and has both antifungal and antibacterial benefits for plants, therefore it is great for repairing broken stems. Make a clean cut on the broken stem and sprinkle cinnamon powder on it, this will stop it from becoming infected. Mixing cinnamon powder into the soil of your houseplant will also help to prevent mould and fungus.
Give your houseplants a calcium boost with eggshells
Putting crushed eggshells in the soil of your houseplants is a quick and easy way to provide them with extra calcium. Simply crush the eggshells using a food processor or a pestle and mortar until they’re almost a powder. If you’re planning to repot your plant then mix the eggshells into the soil as you do this, this will get the best results. However, if not you can still spread the eggshells onto the soil around the plant.
Make your houseplants stronger with banana skin
If you want to give your houseplants an extra boost when watering them try making a homemade fertiliser using banana skin. Once you’ve eaten a banana simply place the skin into a jar of water and leave it for 24 hours. Then use this water to feed your plants, this will give your plants nutrients including potassium, phosphorus and calcium which will make them stronger as well as deter pests.
Water your plants with leftover unsalted potato water
Leftover water from boiling potatoes contains potassium, phosphorus and magnesium which all help houseplants thrive. Simply let the water cool before using it to water your plants. Just be careful not to use potato water that has salt in it as this can harm your plants and prevent the roots from absorbing water.
Feed your plants with a pot of tea
Tea leaves are enriched with nitrogen which helps plants to grow, however as tea can contain tannic acid it should only be used on houseplants that like acidic soil such as spider plants and rubber plants. To try this hack, brew a pot of tea using two tea bags and leave this overnight so it cools down as you shouldn’t water plants with hot water.