Bringing the green plants from the outside has a way of brightening up our house and offices.
As I type these words, I look around to count the number of houseplants I have on my writing desk and across the room. I am fortunate to have a sunroom in my apartment, providing a safe haven for houseplants to spring up and do their thing.
But I wasn’t always so fortunate. My last apartment had four (count ’em, four) windows, which faced east. It struck me as an unwelcoming setting for houseplants, a gloomy and cold prison with no invitation or assistance.
It took some searching and research, but I compiled an outstanding list of plants that could grow in my dimly light flat.
I discovered the absolute least that houseplants require to survive inside. And I put some basic precautions to keep these guys safe and happy.
I’m here to inform you about a fantastic range of houseplants that everyone can grow and the fundamentals of care and upkeep. You’ll notice your thumb growing green right before your eyes when you better understand these tactics.
Related: How To Take Care Of A Yucca Plant
Caring for Your Plants
We’ll get into the specifics of why this works later, but first, repeat after me:
“All things in moderation.”
That felt great. It’s a truth that applies to all facets of our lives (except cake, which always needs more! ), and it surely applies to plant maintenance. All plants need water, light, and nourishment, but the key to success is moderation.
Let us also consider the natural climate of the majority of our houseplants. It is usually a tropical region. Our goal is to replicate the surroundings as accurately as possible without going too far. The regulations are the same as on The Price Is Right.
Start with the Soil
When it comes to the growing media used for indoor plants, the term “soil” is a bit misleading. The ideal soilless growing medium is a mixture of equal parts peat moss, vermiculite/perlite, and compost.
Orchids are infamous for being finicky about their potting material. There aren’t as many “one size fits all” possibilities for orchid growing media, but a well-drained mixture with lots of area for the roots to breathe is an excellent combination for orchids.
People are frequently anxious that they are not watering enough, when in fact they are watering far too much! Plants do not like to have “wet feet,” a colloquial expression meaning having their roots completely drenched after lying in a puddle for days.
Testing the weight of a plant provides the most precise indication of its water requirement. Pick up the plant’s container and weigh it; the lighter it is, the more it needs to be drunk. Unless specified, most houseplants prefer to be slightly dry rather than soaking wet.
That means that a watering regimen of once or twice a week is appropriate for most plants when you thoroughly but infrequently water the plant. When I water my houseplants, I pour water onto the soil slowly and deliberately until the water begins to escape through the drainage holes in the container. That is your cue to cease watering!
A plant only has to be watered a few times every month during the winter.
Placing a tray beneath the container of the potted plant is the simplest approach to capture extra water and avoid a mess. If you want a plain and unadorned plastic tray, these may be purchased for a few bucks. Alternatively, you might spend extra money on more attractive trays.
Investing in a simple spray bottle is also beneficial for houseplants. A gentle misting once or twice a day is generally sufficient. Remember, we’re attempting to replicate the natural climate for these plants, which includes humidity and misting!
Some plants want more water, while others prefer less… But that is the purpose of this guide!
Light is as essential as water. All plants require light to carry out their metabolic processes. Photosynthesis, I’m staring at you!
Although all plants require some light to develop, some require far less than others. Consider their native environment and the dark undergrowth where these plants thrive. They are exposed to strongly filtered light but continue to live.
Related: What Succulents Grow Indoors?
Houseplants often demand high light (six or more hours per day), medium light (four to six hours per day), or low light (four to six hours per day) (less than three hours a day). Plants will require either direct or indirect light (such as sunshine from a south-facing window) or indirect or filtered light (sunlight through a curtain or light from a bulb).
Plants will not die if they do not receive enough light, but they will stop creating new growth.
Plants use photosynthesis to process the carbohydrates they need to survive, but they also require a more direct source of nourishment to grow. Providing fertilizer to your houseplants helps to ensure their happiness and health.
The food can be provided in the form of a granule that degrades over time, or it can be added more directly in the form of a water-soluble fertilizer. Granules should be applied every few months, whereas water-soluble fertilizers should be applied every two weeks or so. Check the label of the fertilizer to see what is suggested.
Remember that fertilizers should only be used during the growing season.
Correct Temperature, Adequate Air Flow, and the Best Face
Maintain a warm environment with some air circulation for the plant, and rotate its face!
To live, almost all houseplants require a minimum temperature of 55oF. In the winter, keep plants away from cold drafts. The warmer it gets, the happier the houseplants are!
Airflow is essential for keeping a house plant healthy. This is readily accomplished by using ceiling fans to circulate the air in your home. Still air, on the other hand, can wreak havoc on your houseplant. That’s why gigantic fans are installed in all greenhouses.
Wipe off the leaves of houseplants on a regular basis with a cloth to prevent white accumulation and dust coatings that can harm their health.
If your plant is in a sunny area, it should be rotated on a frequent basis to ensure even growth. If you imagine your plant’s “face” towards the main light source, turn it one-quarter turn each week to assist ensure even growth.
More Houseplant Care Tips
- Save the (unsalted) water used to cook the pasta. Allow it to cool before using it to water houseplants. Use it only if the pasta water is UNSALTED. The plants will appreciate the starchy addition. (If algae grow on the soil of your houseplants, loosen the dirt in the pots on a regular basis.)
- When the weather permits, open the doors and windows to allow fresh air into your home. This is beneficial to both you and your houseplants.
- Remove the top 1/4 inch of soil from your houseplants and top-dress with fresh potting soil to re-energize them.
- If the leaves of your houseplants become dusty, gently wipe them down with a moist paper towel. Dust can clog a plant’s stomata (pores), making it difficult for it to “breathe.”