Indoor greenery should become an essential part of every interior design simply because it has an amazing power to instantly brighten up the indoors and boost your mood. The choice of indoor plants is huge and they are quite easy to care for, giving you in return numerous health benefits and aiding your interior décor.
However, there are people who complain of just not being able to keep their houseplants alive. It may not be a case of having black thumbs or any kind of a curse – it could just be they’re making classic, rookie mistakes when it comes down to Plant care.
To make sure you don’t go down that road, here are several useful tips on how to give the best care to your indoor plants.
Where and how to shop for indoor plants
The first step is choosing the right plants. It’s not advisable to go shopping at a big box store but rather to a reputable nursery or garden center that has been in business for a while. Plants from big stores are for those who already know what they’re doing and can recognize if the plant is healthy and what it needs. Beginners need more education and that’s what you can get at a local nursery or farm.
Picking the soil
The word soil is somewhat an inaccurate term when it comes to the growing media needed for indoor plants. The best growing media you can choose is a soil-free mix of equal parts compost, peat moss, and vermiculite/perlite. Most nurseries will be able to offer you a good quality potting mix that’s great for houseplants.
For instance, orchids are notoriously choosy with their potting medium and there’s no “one size fits all” option for orchids, but what works well for them is a well-drained mixture with plenty of space for the roots to breathe.
The typical concern for most people is the fear of not watering enough, when in fact, they are most likely over-watering! Plants don’t want to be drenched in moisture and sitting in a puddle. The key lies in an accurate assessment of a plant’s need for water. It largely depends on their weight – the lighter the plant, the more water it needs. Unless advised otherwise, most houseplants prefer being slightly dry to soaked.
The best way to go is to adopt a watering schedule of once or twice a week and during winter months, a plant commonly requires watering a few times a month. Also, place a tray underneath the potted plant’s container to catch that excess water. Another useful hack is to use a simple spray bottle – a light misting every day is usually beneficial.
Providing adequate light
In addition to water, light is just as important a factor for plant growth. All plants require light to perform their necessary biological processes. Light is necessary but not all plants need it in equal amounts.
Houseplants typically fall into three categories: high light (at least 6 hours a day), medium light (4 to 6 hours a day), or low light (less than 3 hours a day). Also, some plants might need direct sunlight from a south-facing window whereas for others indirect or filtered sunlight through a curtain is enough. If not given adequate lighting, your plants may not necessarily die, but they would stop growing and thriving.
Besides the natural process of photosynthesis in plants that processes the sugars they need for survival, plants also need additional food to boost their growing processes. Using fertilizers on your houseplants will ensure their well-being.
You have two choices – deliver the fertilizer in granular form that breaks down over time, or administer it more directly via a water-soluble fertilizer. Just bear in mind that fertilizers should only be used during the growing season.
The right temperature, airflow, and the best face
The final step in good plant care is providing the right environment – a warm area with some air circulation and don’t forget to rotate its face!
Most houseplants need a minimum temperature of around 13 degrees celsius (55°F) to survive. Keep them away from cold and drafty areas in the winter. Airflow is another crucial element in maintaining a healthy house plant. You can easily achieve this by running ceiling fans that keep the air circulating.
Don’t forget to occasionally wipe down the leaves of houseplants with a cloth to prevent the build-up of dust that can have a negative impact on their health. And, if the plant is in direct sunlight, it’s important to rotate it every once in a while to ensure even growth.
With the tips listed here, you will enhance your general knowledge of basic houseplant care so you can freely embark on your adventure of building your little home empire of lush greenery!