Houseplants make a great addition to any space in your home and can help create an attractive, restful environment that enhances your sense of well-being. Indoor plants have numerous other benefits such as improving air quality by trapping and absorbing pollutants. With proper care and maintenance, indoor plants can thrive and be enjoyed for years to come.
When deciding what houseplants to grow, there are several things to keep in mind. Some houseplants are low maintenance and hardly need any attention to thrive. However, other plants require more intensive management and may not do well if not properly cared for or homed in the right environment. Before buying a plant, consult the plant label to determine if you have an area that fits the plant’s needs.
Houseplants should be grown in a potting mix or one designed for houseplants, not garden or top soil. Different types of plants have different needs, and oftentimes you can find potting mix for specific types of houseplants such as tropical plants or succulents. Make sure the container that you choose has adequate drainage.
Light is said to be the most important need of houseplants. Placing plants near a sunny, south-facing window usually provides adequate light for high-light plants. If you notice your plants reaching toward the light source or window, that may mean that it is not receiving enough light. Move it closer to the light source if possible. There are many houseplants that will thrive in low-light situations as well.
Watering houseplants properly is key to their success but is less straightforward than it seems. Indoor plants have limited rooting volume, so they are much more sensitive to overwatering or underwatering than outdoor plants. Every indoor plant has different water needs. Instead of watering on a schedule, pay attention to each individual plant. When the soil dries out, you know it needs watering. In general, overwatering is more often the reason for indoor plant death than underwatering is.
Indoor plants typically grow slowly and do not need the level of nutrition that garden plants do. Overfertilizing indoor plants is actually more common than underfertilizing. Plants that are larger or receive a higher light intensity generally need more nutrients than others. Address water and light issues prior to fertilizing, and don’t fertilize in an attempt to stimulate new growth for a plant in poor-growing conditions.
In order for an indoor plant to grow well, use proper maintenance. Pruning is an important step in maintenance and helps contribute to the overall health of your plants. Clean plant leaves regularly to remove the buildup of dust and debris, which can inhibit proper photosynthesis. Use a sponge, wash cloth, or paper towel with water to gently wipe down the leaves. Different types of leaf sprays are available and help remove dust and make the leaves shiny.
When the plant begins to outgrow its container, it is a good idea to repot and, in some cases, prune the roots. When repotting a houseplant, select a pot larger than the one it was previously grown in. Before replanting, gently pull apart some of the bottom roots if there is a dense root ball.