Oh Baltimore, we have almost made it to spring. Can’t you feel it, smell it? Fresh buds starting to bloom, grass starting to grow, and the heavy scent of cumin floating in the air? Sorry, that’s just the McCormick factory over there, but you know what I mean.

Some say that the holiday season is, “the most wonderful time of the year,” but let’s all be serious, that title should be held by spring. Spring is all about rebirth, happiness and new growth.

As a lover of plants, whether they’re indoors or outdoors, what more can you ask for? In the plant community, spring through summer is called “growing season.” This is when your plants will be getting more light throughout the day and actively growing. So get ready with me (and my houseplants) for spring.

Light work

Spring will be providing your plants with a lot more light throughout the day. But if you’re like me and pushed many of your plants closer to the windows during the winter so that they could get as much light as possible, you’re going to want to start pulling them back just a bit so they don’t get sunburned or bleached. While that fern was loving its winter break in that southern-facing window, it’s now time to move it to a northern-facing spot in your home. At the end of the day, just be mindful of the amount of light (and heat) your plant friends are getting.

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New pot, who this?

The thought of having to repot plants can feel overwhelming, but it’s necessary for healthy growth of your plants. Do you like squeezing your feet in shoes that are too small? The same goes for your plant’s roots and pots that they’ve outgrown.

If you’ve noticed that the roots of your plant are starting to creep out of the drainage hole of the pot, or your plant hasn’t grown in a really long time, or it’s inexplicably shedding leaves, these are all signs that your plant is ready to size up its home. Repotting your plant helps your roots get the moisture and nutrients they need to properly grow.

Here’s a pro tip — repot your plants on the day you planned to water them, so that the plant is at its driest. This will make it easier to remove from the pot. To start, you want to select a planter that is made from material that will help support the roots of your plant. Porous vessels help wick moisture away from the roots, while glazed and plastic containers help retain it. Generally, desert plants love drying out fully in between waterings, so a raw clay-based pot like terracotta is best. Tropical plants generally enjoy staying consistently moist, so a glazed pot that retains moisture works well. So make sure you place your plant in a pot that will help control the moisture around its roots.

Your new planter should be about 2 inches larger in diameter than your previous pot.

Quick note: Don’t panic if you see a few of the lower leaves turn yellow and fall off. All plants need a moment to adjust and acclimate to their new homes.

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(Courtesy of Ryan Rhodes)

Heavy rotation

Whenever I discuss routine plant maintenance, rotating your plants is always at the top of the list. The reason it’s so important is that when you rotate your plant, it helps to promote balanced growth. Since spring means your plants will be in full grow mode (or shall I say “go” mode), the parts of your plant that are closest to the window will begin to develop new growth faster. This could lead to your plant becoming imbalanced and toppling over. So to prevent that and provide each part of your plant a moment in the light, you should rotate your plant 90 degrees once a month. This can be a difficult ask for those of you that have larger, heavier plants, so placing your larger plants on casters would be ideal.

I’m genuinely so excited for spring to get here in full force. I mean, spring is when I grow best! And the same for our plants. Spring is knocking on the door — let’s make sure we give it a proper Bmore welcome: ”Hey, Hon!”

Hilton Carter is a plant and interior stylist, artist and author from Baltimore.

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