Check out these essential tips for houseplant care thanks to Randall D. Schultz, Content Editor for HomeGardenandHomestead.com.
Nurturing indoor plants can be therapeutic, and healthy houseplants can brighten a room while they brighten your spirits. Houseplants might be the ultimate “pets,” because they are quiet–and they tend to behave themselves.
Some people claim to have a “brown thumb” because all their houseplants die. Personally, I don’t think anyone has a brown thumb, but many people don’t know the basics about how to take care of houseplants.
The key is knowing what is takes to keep houseplants happy and giving them the regular attention they need. It’s not difficult when you follow the 3 essential tips for houseplant care. Follow these tips and your houseplants will thrive.
Tip #1: Get the Light Right
The majority of outdoor plants prefer to grow in full sun. But that’s not true for houseplants. The plants we grow indoors typically DO NOT like full sun. Instead, houseplants usually thrive in bright, indirect light or partial sun. Some houseplants even enjoy low light levels.
So, to make your houseplants happy, determine what kind of light is available in your home or apartment. Do you know what direction your windows face? East-facing windows get morning sun, which many houseplants adore. West-facing windows get hot, afternoon sun. Plants such as succulents and cacti like this kind of light. South-facing windows also provide a lot of light. And North-facing windows provide the lowest light levels.
Once you know which direction your windows face, you can start to find suitable growing spaces for houseplants. If you know what kind of plants you already have, do an online search to find out what kind of light they like. Then locate them accordingly in your home. When you buy new houseplants, read the light requirements on the tags so you can make sure to buy plants that like the kind of light you have to offer.
Tip #2: Water Only When Needed
Far more houseplants are overwatered than underwatered. That’s probably because many people water on a schedule. They get into the routine of watering their plants twice a week—whether the plants need water or not. The result is unhappy plants growing (or trying to grow) in soggy potting soil.
It’s great to check the soil regularly, but water only when the soil starts to dry out. Use your finger to determine how wet the potting soil is. If it’s a large pot, use a bamboo stick or a dowel and gently push it into the soil. If the end of the dowel is dry, then it’s time to water the plant. Add water until it begins to come out of the hole at the bottom of the container.
Tip #3: Turn It, Baby!
Have you ever seen a houseplant that grows really big on one side, while the other side looks puny? That’s because all plants tend to grow toward the light. If the light is coming from only one direction (the window), then the plant will put all its energy growing toward the window.
The solution is to periodically turn your plants. This is really easy to do when you turn the plants whenever you water them. Just give the pot a quarter turn. Do that over a period of weeks and the plant will grow happily toward the light all the way around. The result is a symmetrical plant that looks great from any side.
Of course, as you get more interested in growing houseplants, you will find out there are additional tips for houseplant success. But start with these three tips and you’ll find your plants are happier and healthier.