Tips for Houseplants

Tips for Houseplants

They say that are people that have a "green thumb" or plant people but it is more than just having the knack for taking care of plants.

There are so many different plants and they each have their own needs to grow. Most people start with a spider plant, pothos, or other smaller plants to get their feet wet.

What Type of Plant Grows Well Indoors?

Not all plants are made for growing indoors. This is too bad because most people are familiar with outdoor plants and hope they can be grown in pots indoors. And then even plants that are meant for indoor gardening turn out to be hard to care for.

There is no one-size-fits-all guide for plants. It really depends on the plant! Even if a plant is a houseplant, it still needs the right light, the right amount of watering, and other needs taken care of.

There are lots of houseplant care tips and it is easy to get confused with all of the information out there. Let's see what are the things to consider when it comes to plants.

What Kind of Light Do Plants Need?

Before even buying a houseplant, potential plant parents need to look at their space and see what kind of light they have. The type of light a room has or doesn't have greatly affects plants. They NEED light, preferably sunlight, in order to survive.

The area by a window or glass door is the prime location for plants. But, it also depends on where the window is facing. Most of the time bright direct light, especially morning sunlight, is great for a houseplant. Sometimes afternoon sun can be too much, but again it depends on the plant.

Generally speaking, bright indirect light is the best for plants. That means that direct sunlight is not hitting the plant but the ambient bright light or medium light is good for growing plants.

Even if a plant is listed as low light, like a snake plant, it does not mean it does not need light. It just means that it can tolerate low light but it will not thrive.

Fortunately, a grow light can be used for indoor houseplants. Some lights look decorative while others are light bulbs that need lamps. An African violet is one of the few flowering plants that can grow under a grow light. Most other flowering plants need direct sunlight and are more of an outdoor plant.

How Do You Water a Houseplant?

When and how much to water a plant is probably the hardest to master when it comes to houseplant care. It comes down to trial and error, unfortunately.

The general rule of thumb is to water when the soil at the top of the pot feels dry. A potted plant usually reaches this state a week after watering, but it could happen sooner or later depending on the conditions the plant is in. Hanging plants or indoor plants near a window will dry out quicker, and vice versa.

A leaf shows clues and shows the state that the plant is in. The is the leaf tip is yellowing it may mean that the house plant is overwatered. There may be root rot, and the roots need to be checked. Healthy roots are light-colored and do not easily fall off the plant. If the plant has root rot the roots are dark and easily fall off, sometimes there is a bad smell too.

If there are brown leaf tips or brown leaves the plant may be underwatered. Check the potting soil and if it is dry then the plant needs to be watered. Place it under running water and try to massage the soil to make sure that all of it becomes damp. Then let it drip before putting it back in its place.

Fertilizer can be added to the water once a month. Plant food is made of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. Again, it depends on the type of houseplant if they need something more.

A succulent and ZZ plant are plants that do not need to be watered as often. Watering can be done once a week or even every two weeks.

Do Houseplants Need Humidity?

Most house plants can survive in normal room humidity.

A peace lily browns and tropical plants dry out quicker in rooms with low humidity. It is best to get a humidity meter to check the air is at 60 percent or higher. It is easy to fix the humidity by buying a humidifier and grouping plants together.

Humidity also depends on the area the house plant is located - deserts are dry and swampy areas are humid. Airconditioning and heating also makes the air dry in a home, so a humidifier may need to be used.

But one thing to watch out for is if there is no airflow around the plants, mold will start to grow on the potting soil or growing medium. To prevent mold from growing, a fan is needed to circulate the air. Sometimes even if a window is open it is not enough airflow to keep mold from growing.

How Often Should a Plant be Repotted?

Part of plant care is repotting the potted plant. The type of potting mix varies depending on the plant. For sure the pot shouldn't be filled with just potting soil. At the very least it needs to have perlite so that the soil is loose and doesn't hold water. Other plants need more air to pass through and wood chips, charcoal, and perlite are part of the potting mix.

If the roots are growing out the bottom of the pot that is a good sign to repot houseplants. The pot should be a size bigger so that the plant isn't shocked. Some people repot a new plant, but that is to check the roots and they repot to the same pot size.

How Do You Prevent Pests?

It is so disheartening to see a healthy houseplant become overridden with pests!!! The most annoying pest are fungus gnats, mostly because they multiply pretty quickly. The best thing to do is to treat any new plants with systemic granules. It is sprinkled on the soil and it seeps into the soil and keeps pests at bay. It has to be reapplied every so often.

Another product to buy is a foliar spray to prevent spider mites and other pests. It is also good practice to immediately spray a new plant with this and then spray it once a month.

If you really want to take care of your plants, they can be cleaned by placing them under the shower, then letting them dry. Doing this once a month is common practice for plant lovers. Then systemic and foliar spray is used as a preventative measure.

Tips for houseplants