Everything to Know About Indoor Houseplants

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Indoor houseplants should be a vital component of every home’s interior design. The greenery inside your home can make your living space healthier, and it’s also known to boost moods. Across many homes in the US, indoor houseplants are popular because they are easy to take care of, boost your immune system, and you can use them to decorate your house in a lot of ways.

Indoor Plant
Indoor plant

If you have a small yard space or if you live in a chilly environment, indoor houseplants can be an excellent option for you. This way, you can fulfill all of your gardening needs throughout the year, without worrying about snowfall. Many houseplants are easy to grow, but to make sure they stay healthy, you have to give them the appropriate care.

The appropriate home gardening tips can ensure your indoor houseplants bloom throughout the year.

Getting an Indoor Houseplant

There’s a good chance that if you’re getting an indoor houseplant – your home has ideal conditions to support it. But if it doesn’t, don’t think of getting one. Many aspiring gardeners get indoor houseplants without evaluating if their home can properly nourish the plant. The plant that you’re getting was most likely grown in a greenhouse.

This would mean that moving the plant into your home will take some getting used to for the plant. Sunlight and sufficient water are the most important elements of indoor plant care. But with that being said, the temperature of your home and the humidity levels play a role too. The best way you can succeed is by mimicking the environment the plant came from.

Cacti and succulents prefer hot and dry environments, while tropical plants prefer humid and warm environments. It’s crucial that you remember that your house won’t be ideal for every plant. That is why, before you choose a plant, try to understand the environment around your living space first.

With a few tricks, you can be sure that your green friends are living in the best environment!

Which Plant Do I Get?

There are a few things you should consider before you get an indoor houseplant. The first thing you need to decide is where you’re going to put the plant. The spot you decide to place your plant in should have all the basic needs your plant requires.

For example, if you’re getting a plant that requires ample sunlight – that’s what your spot should have. Your decision can change depending on the spot you have. Some people have an ideal spot by a window, while some people have a small space with moderate sunlight.

Once you’ve matched the space with the plant’s sunlight and water requirements, try to decide which kind of plant you want. Do you want a plant with big green leaves? Or do you want a plant with flowers? Some indoor houseplants look pretty for a season – while some bloom the entire year.

Lastly, try to understand how much time you can devote to your plant. Many people make all the right decisions while getting a plant, but don’t consider that they’re out all day. It’s vital you get a plant that you can take care of. For example, it’s okay to neglect a spider plant – but you can’t neglect an orchid.

Indoor Plant Care

Water

The soil you keep your plant in should be moist, but not wet. However, there can be exceptions in this situation. For example, thick-leafed plants and succulents thrive in an environment where the soil is always wet. If you’re caring for these plants and you keep the soil too dry, the roots will start to die. This can cause slow growth or even death.

There are several ways you can determine if your plant needs water. For example, if the soil gets a lighter color or starts to crack – it’s probably time you watered your plant. Once you’ve watered the plant, pick it up and try to understand if there’s a weight difference.

A few times after you’ve done this, you’ll be able to tell if the plant needs water just by its weight. Another way you can understand if a plant needs water is by sticking your finger in the soil. If the soil is moist, you don’t need to water the plant.

If you have a larger plant, you should consider getting a moisture meter. A moisture meter can tell you how much water is present around the plant’s roots.

Dehydration

Don’t let your plants reach a point where they are kneeling and the soil is falling from the edge of the container. If this is happening, your plant is showing clear signs of dehydration. By now, the plant is severely damaged and under a lot of stress.    

Signs of Dehydration

  • Slower leaf growth
  • Translucent leaves
  • Leaf edges are brown, yellow or curled
  • Flowers and leaves drop prematurely

Overwatering

It’s important that you learn how to keep a balance when you’re watering your plant. A lot of water is just as dangerous as very little water. Regularly watering the plant brings out air from the plant, and that’s when dangerous bacteria move in. Believe it or not, but overwatering is the number one reason houseplants die. 

Signs You’re Overwatering Your Plant

  • Mold or fungus on the surface of the soil
  • Stinky or brown roots at the bottom of the plant
  • Standing water at the bottom of the pot
  • Old and young leaves fall at the same time
  • Brown patches on leaves

Water Your Plants

Plants That Require a Lot of Water

  • Thin-leaved plants or plants with large leaves
  • Plants under direct sunlight
  • Plants that are actively growing
  • A plant growing in a small pot
  • A plant in a clay pot
  • A flowering plant
  • A plant that is from a wet area

Plants That Don’t Require a Lot of Water

  • A plant that you’ve recently placed in a different pot
  • A plant you’ve placed in a non-porous container
  • A plant you’re growing in a water-retentive mix
  • A plant with rubbery or thick leaves
  • A plant growing in an environment with high humidity
  • A resting plant
  • A plant placed in a cool room

If you’re too busy to maintain a watering schedule for your plant, which will require you to check your plant every three or four days, you can get a self-watering device. For example, a moisture wick can take water from a dish and supply it to the root of the plant. If you want, you can also make your own self-watering container!

Quality of Water

If you’re getting an indoor houseplant you should know that for most plants, room temperature tap water is fine. Even if your city’s water has chlorine or fluoride – you can expect your plants to stay healthy. Interestingly, plants love rainwater and melted snow. Try not to use soft water consistently, because it can contain sodium.

How to Water Your Indoor House Plant

Watering plants
A girl watering indoor plants

Believe it or not, but you can water your plants any way you want – whether it’s bottom-up or top-down. If you’re watering your plants from the top, make sure you don’t wet the foliage. Try to make sure that the soil is moist. When you’re done watering the plant, there should be water coming out of the drainage holes.

If you’re trying to keep the water supply to your plant completely efficient, place the roots of your plant in a water dish, and the roots of your plant will soak up all that it needs. This way of watering your plants is called bottom-watering. It is a bit more thorough and it takes more time, but it’s a lot more efficient.

Just make sure you dump the access water from the dish after an hour.

Drainage

Not many people understand this, but good drainage is essential if you want to take good care of your plants. You can start by getting good organic soil that was especially mixed for indoor gardening.

Remember, no amount of home gardening tips can save your plant if you don’t allow it to have sufficient drainage. Try to pick a container that has drainage holes or put pebbles at the bottom of the pot if your container doesn’t have holes.

Make sure that the water doesn’t stand on the plant’s soil. Frequently check and ensure the drainage holes aren’t blocked, and make a habit of emptying out standing water.

Sunlight

Just like water, every plant has different sunlight requirements. While there are several plants that require direct exposure to sunlight, some don’t require a lot of it. Giving your plant direct exposure to sunlight inside a house can be difficult.

You can place the plant by a window, but there might also be a need for a grow light.

Flowering Plants

In general, flowering plants do well when exposed to moderate amounts of sunlight. Because of this, the windows on your house’s south, east, and west sides are perfect for flowering plants. But in the rare case you have an African violet, use the north-facing windows.

Plants With Foilage

You can divide foliage plants into three categories:

  1. High light
  2. Moderate light
  3. Low light

A dimly lit room can be sufficient for plants that can survive in low light. A plant that needs moderate-lighting can grow well on a north-facing window. Sunlight that is diffused through a curtain can also work well in this situation. If you have a plant that requires high-light, keep it at a south-facing window. You can also keep the plant under a grow light.

Fun fact: Some indoor houseplants can grow well if you keep them outside the house during the summers.

Other Crucial Factors

Temperature

Getting an indoor houseplant can be a good idea if the temperature inside your house ranges between 65-75 degrees during the day and 55-60 degrees in the night. However, in some conditions, you can expect different temperature requirements. For example, tropical plants need temperatures of more than 90 degrees, while other plants can grow in cooler temperatures.

Humidity

Many plants prefer a highly humid environment. This can be between 80%-85%. Unfortunately, many homes are dry in the winter, and forced heat can deplete humidity levels even further.

If you want to make sure your plants enjoy a humid environment, consider getting a humidifier. A humidifier can increase the moisture around your house. Another way you can increase humidity is by placing pebbles in a tray. You can also help your plants stay humid by misting them daily.

If you have a plant like an orchid or a gardenia, try keeping it in the bathroom or the kitchen for increased levels of humidity.

Fertilizer

Every time you water a plant, some of the nutrients in it leave with the dripping water. Even if plants didn’t lose nutrients that way, plants generally consume the nutrients in their soil pretty quickly. Unlike plants that are outside, indoor houseplants don’t get a lot of nutrients unless you fertilize them regularly.

However, newly bought plants can last a few weeks because they are constantly fertilized in the greenhouse. Make a habit of fertilizing your plants once every month when they’re flowering or growing. During the winter, when your plants aren’t growing that much, you can cut down on the use of fertilizer.

However, there are certain signs which make it clear that your plant needs fertilizer. If your plant is showing weak growth, has a yellow-green color, or is dropping its leaves, it might be a good time to fertilize it.  

Your plant can also require more or less water. So before you decide to fertilize it, make sure you analyze the situation completely. Remember, adding fertilizer when your plant does not need it can be harmful to your plant too.

Pro Tip: If a plant is looking weak, water it first and then use fertilizer.

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Remember, even the best home gardening tips can’t make your indoor houseplants blossom if you’re not serious about the activity. Treat your plants as you would your pets, they’re going to require a lot of your attention, and at times – you need to understand what your plant wants before you decide to take action.

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