All too often we either love our houseplants or neglect them. But with a little common sense, and a little love, your indoor plants can live and thrive throughout the year. Here are some things to keep in mind.
When placing plants in your home, make sure they have good ventilation and natural light. Keep them out of direct sunlight, which will reduce stress and water loss.
Be Water Wise
Knowing how much and how often to water is the key to not only keeping plants alive but helping them be healthy. A great indicator that a plant needs watering is when its leaves start to droop. Ironically, this is also an indication that a plant has been overwatered. Once a plant has root rot from overwatering, it can be very difficult for it to recover. For most plants, the soil should be kept moist but not saturated — use your finger as a guide; if it feels dry an inch or so down, give it a drink.
While a large, striking feature pot looks outstanding, don’t forget smaller pots. Smaller containers can be easily changed, taken outside in good weather or moved around the house. A collection of plants is a low-maintenance but high-impact way to use plants inside.
Give Them Room to Grow
If you do have the room for a large feature plant, then you need to have a regular maintenance plan. Large plants are an investment and need good care. Make sure the pot you choose allows room for the plant to grow over the years.
Keep Them Clean
Plants rely on their leaves to make their food. Outside, the leaves get washed clean with rain; indoors, leaves can get clogged with dust, a gentle wiping with a clean, damp cloth once a month will keep the leaves looking shiny and healthy.
For plants with more intricate leaves, taking them outside and hosing them off will do wonders. Better yet, leave them out on a rainy day.
All plants benefit from a little extra fertilizer, but for potted plants it is even more important. Always choose the best potting mix you can find. If you are potting a specific species, like orchids, cactuses or citrus, or in a terra-cotta pot, get a mix specifically designed for these plants and conditions.
You should repot your plants every year or two. Most slow-release fertilizers only last a while, so remember to top it up once in a while. You could also add a liquid fertilizer to your watering can once or twice a month.
Give Them Some R&R
Indoor plants benefit from being outside once in a while. For small to medium-size pots, it is a good idea to have a rotation system. By leaving plants in black plastic pots, you can put them into your more decorative pots and change them as often as you like. Make sure the outdoor location is similar to the indoor one. Or the plant can be stressed and die.
Choose the Right Pot
Of course, a plant is nothing without the pot, so it is important to get it right. Some pots can be very heavy even before you fill them with soil and plants. By keeping plants in their plastic pots and adding them to feature pots, you will reduce the risk of overwatering and make repotting, much easier.
Having a pot within a pot also allows you to have a tray underneath to catch excess water. Self-watering pots are also great, as they give an even, consistent water supply to the plant.
Whatever your environment or lifestyle there is an indoor plant right for you.