It’s no surprise that houseplants bring amazing benefits such as relieving stress, purifying the air, improving concentration and creativity, and transforming your space into a much more relaxing place. But do you know how to properly take care of them? Check out these amazing tips that will make your indoor plants much easier to look after.
Know Your Plants
All plants need food, water, and sunlight to survive, but different houseplants require different amounts of each. While some plants like Geraniums, Sago Palms, Pothos, and Cast-Iron Plants are low maintenance, durable, and are easy to care for, some plants require more attention to humidity levels, sunlight exposure, and watering routine.
It’s important to find what is ideal for your specific type of houseplant, so it will grow and thrive in the best and easiest way. There are many online encyclopedias that tells you in detail how you should take care of your specific houseplant, such as Gardenology and BHG Plant Encyclopedia.
- Houseplants usually come with a tag with their name on it. If it doesn’t, ask your florist.
- If you are unsure what type of plant you have, go through photos in a flower book or encyclopedia and find the one that best matches your plant.
Provide the right light for your plants. They require sunlight in order to grow, and the quality, duration, and intensity of the light all affect the plant’s growth. Plants that require full sun will thrive in a south-facing window. East-and west-facing windows have moderate sun and North windows have very little sun, perfect for African violets, for example.
Tip: Fluorescent lights can work as an alternative for some plants, if you can’t get them into direct sunlight.
As expected, water is essential for any type of plant. You need to keep the soil moist, but not wet. Keeping the plants in a well-balanced soil will help them grow healthier and prevent any damages. The general rule is that you should only water a houseplant if the top of the soil feels dry. You don’t want to overwater your plants, since it can kill them.
- Plants with lush, thick leaves require more water than plants with waxy or leathery leaves.
- Plants in the succulent family and cacti require periods of dryness between watering, while some other types require to be kept constantly moist.
- There is no specific frequency that works for all indoor plants, so it’s better to get to know your plant and follow the specific guidelines for the best care.
Room temperature tap water is the best option for most indoor plants, even if there is chlorine, fluoride or other chemicals added to your city’s water. Rainwater or melted snow are also great options, as long as you don’t live in a region with acid rain. Avoid using softened water frequently.
Plants that require more water:
- Flowering plants
- Plants potted in clay pots
- Plants grown in small pots
- Plants located in direct sunlight
- Large-leaved or thin-leaved plants
- Actively growing plants
Plants that require less water:
- Resting or dormant plants
- Recently repotted plant
- Plants grown in high humidity
- Plants with thick or rubbery leaves
- Plants potted in a non-porous containers
Good drainage is essential to growing healthy houseplants. Select a pot that has good drainage, preferably with drainage holes. If your option doesn’t have any holes, put a layer of pebbles on the bottom of it so the plant doesn’t stand in water. Remember to occasionally check that the drainage holes have not been clogged and always empty standing water.
While certain plants do well in dry air, such as cacti, most plants thrive in high humidity. Unfortunately most homes don’t offer the best environment for plants, especially in the winter where the weather gets much drier. Use a humidifier to get rid of the problem, making sure it’s close enough to provide moisture in the air to the plant, but not get the foliage or flowers wet. Grouping plants together can help with the issue, while a small tray containing pebbles and water can boost local humidity.
Unlike plants living outside, houseplants don’t have a regular source of nutrient replenishment unless you fertilize them regularly. Use a well-balanced fertilizer for your houseplants to give them nutrients and repot them at least once a year, preferably during spring. You can add a water soluble fertilizer to the plant’s water about once a month, or use a slow release fertilizer, adding it to the soil every two or three months.
Maintenance is key to have healthy houseplants. Regularly prune your plant, cutting off dead branches or stems, and look up how often your type of plant should be pruned and what other measures must be taken. A plant that isn't pruned can grow out of control, and the roots from a plant can outgrow their pot or vase.
Avoid little flies that can annoy you or even eat away the leaves by not adding coffee into your houseplants. The sugars left in the compost make it an ideal breeding ground for sciarid flies, and adding coffee grounds to plants that have a low acidic tolerance can actually kill the plants.
Your plants need water, light, and warmth to survive, so don’t forget to take care of them. When you have a trip planned or when you’re going on vacation, make sure you have someone reliable to water them, open the blinds, and turn the thermostat up.
Plants slowly acclimate themselves with their surroundings, so don’t move them around a lot. They slowly change their leaf orientation and structure, so if you make a drastic change in the space, your plants may not adapt as easily as you think, especially when going from a dark area to a sun rich area or the other way around. This also includes drastic change in temperature!
What do you think of these tips? How are your plants holding up this season? Let us know on our Facebook page or in the comments below!