Indoor Plant Love - 5 ways to do it better

Turn up the light

Stretching symptoms:

Plant has lost it colour, form and vigour (particularly cacti and succulents, but also drcaenas and others)


Gradually give your plant more light - cacti and succulents have evolved in very sunny places and they resent being stuck in the dark! Prune back your plant and give it a dose of seaweed solution and slow release fertiliser to help it back on its feet.

Enjoy a dry spell

Fungus Gnat symptoms:

Small dark-coloured flies buzzing around the plant and getting up your nose, in your ears and generally on your nerves.


Relax - fungus gnats do no harm to plants. Let potting mix dry out between waterings, take care to keep saucers free of excess water and avoid self watering pots - they are evil! Use a covering of sand, drench with neem and use fly spray for chronic cases.

Keep moist, not wet

Swamping symptoms:

Leaves wilting and blackening even though potting mix is moist, leaves dropping off, mildrew on leaves.


Allow potting mix to go dry on the surface before watering again, remove saucer from below pot and ensure potting mix is draining well. Use plant starter or seaweed solution to stimulate the root system. N.B. wilting, yellowing, silvering or bronzing of leaves may other problems - ask us for advice.

Use the good oil

Scale symptoms:

Limpet-like scales on the leaves and stems, black dust, sticky goo, ants hanging about.


Scale is easily controlled with an oil such as Neem or Eco-oil. Spray all over affected area. Repeat spraying is often necessary. Give your plant a bit more light or a dose of fertiliser to boost its immune system.

Get the white stuff

Mealy Bug symptoms:

Sad plant, crumpled new leaves, cottony fluff, white slater-like insects in hard-to-reach spots.


Treat with Neem Oil or systemic insecticide. Fertilise your plant to increase in vigour. Consider using predatory ladybirds. If the plant doesn't have much sentimental value, save the heatache and geta new one.