10 Tips for Growing House Plants
Growing house plants is a hobby that many enjoy. Lately, it seems no matter where you go online there is someone talking about their love of house plants online. In a previous article, we even discussed which house plants are the best air purifiers. Growing house plants has also become quite the hobby for some so called Millennials (I hate that term personally). With that being said, I thought it would be nice to give a few tips for growing plants indoors!
Inspect before they infect
Before you bring any plant into your home, you will want to inspect it for any ailments. If a house plant is diseased or infested with pests, then you definitely will not want it in your home. This prevents you from spreading the issue to other plants, and helps keeps unwanted critters out of your home.
Know when to water
Just as with sunlight, many plants have different tolerances when it comes to watering as well. However, no plant appreciates standing water. Be sure to use containers with drainage holes (and saucers if need be) to ensure proper drainage. If the water is allowed to sit in the base of the container, then your plant can experience root rot. Be sure to read your plant’s labels to know how often it should be watered.
Get right with the light
Many plants can thrive indoors. Just as outside plants have many different tolerances and preferences to amount of sunlight, so do indoor plants. Some plants thrive in direct sunlight from a window. While some can do just fine in dim interiors. Be sure to learn about the plants before you purchase them, so that you can ensure you can give it the right amount of light it requires.
If you notice brown leaves on your house plant, the main cause of distress is probably related to moisture. If you over water or under water your plant, this symptom can often crop up. This goes hand in hand with knowing when to water. If you see that your soil is dry to the touch, then you probably need to water your plant. If it’s still retaining quite a bit of moisture, then you may want to hold off on watering. Another cause of this could be related to humidity. If the air is too dry, then brown leaves can crop up. Using a spray bottle to spray your leaves can help take care of this problem.
For many flowering house plants, you need to dead head them by picking the spent blooms. This helps to keep your plant looking its best. However, this also helps to encourage more flowers. While you are at it, be sure to remove dead or yellowing leaves as this helps prevent disease. I enjoy growing house plants just to increase the quality of air inside. For my peace lilies, I dead head any new bloom I see to prevent pollen from getting in the air. Allergy sufferers may wish to do the same.
Removing Dust is a must
A home is likely to get dusty. And often times, people forget about removing dust and debris from their house plants. Dust for a plant can stick to it’s foliage and block it from receiving sunlight. Fortunately dusting plants can be easy. Just set it in the sink under running water to wash it’s dust off. For larger plants, you can spray it with a spray bottle and wipe clean with a cloth or sponge. Afterwards, be sure to let air dry in a warm spot.
Watch for Ailments
Just because your plant is inside, doesn’t mean it is not susceptible to pests or diseases. Indoor pests like whiteflies can usually be removed with watering. However, if you notice this isn’t getting the job done then you may want to look into using insecticidal soaps. For diseases, you will want to inspect all over your plant’s leaves and steams. If you notice any diseases, then look online for common ailments for your plant and treat with the appropriate product. Any good garden center or nursery will be able to assist as well.
As your plant matures and grows, it will probably outgrow it’s pot a few times in its’ life. Periodically, you will want to inspect the plant’s pot. If you see roots protruding from the drainage holes, or if the plant is drying out much faster than usual then it may be time to re-pot the plant. For this, you will want to step up one size and replant it using new potting soil. This will give your plant plenty of room to grow, but will also refresh the nutrients in it’s soil. While you are at it, if you see that there is any crust or build up on the pot, then you still may need to remove the plant and clean the pot itself. Salts from your water can build up over time and become toxic to the plant.
Since the plant is in a container, it will most likely need regular fertilizing so that it grows well. However, your plants should ONLY be fertilized during the time they are actively growing. As a rule of thumb, most indoor plants should be fertilized from January through September to allow for a good growing season. Most will only need fertilizer once every 1 -3 months. The remaining months, you should withhold the fertilizer to give the plant a period of rest. For specifics consult your plants label.
Location, location, location
You will want to avoid placing your house plants near trouble spots. Typically, house plants will not like drafts. This means you will want to keep your house plant away from heat or air conditioning ducts, radiators, curtains, cold windows, etc. South facing windows will have the most sun while east and west facing windows will have a moderate amount of sun. You will probably want to avoid north facing windows since they have very little sunlight.
Growing house plants can be a very rewarding experience. If you keep the tips above in mind, then you will be well on your way to taking good care of your plants. So what did you think of these tips? Are there any that I missed, or do you have something to add? Be sure to hit up the comments section!
If you are interested in other gardening articles, feel free to browse my gardening section.