You can enhance your home with beauty, color and life by adding beautiful, healthy houseplants. Whether you want a few plants or a jungle, you can learn how to grow and maintain indoor plants successfully. Here are some simple steps to make your houseplant happy and healthy:
- Choose Healthy Houseplants
- Consider Your Light and Space
- Complement Your Decor
- Water Properly
- Fertilize Regularly
- Control Houseplant Pests
- Provide Adequate Humidity
- Groom, Prune and Repot as Needed
CHOOSE HEALTHY HOUSEPLANTS
IN THIS ARTICLE:
Plants are the foundation of a flourishing “jungalow”. Only buy from vendors you know and trust. Be selective when choosing new plants. Generally, do not mix them with other plants, and do not use them for any purpose other than to check for healthy plants.
Do not fall for plants that do not look good. Do not buy plants that have wilted or drooping foliage, soggy soil, mushy stems, or are small and shriveled. The plants may be dormant or have a disease. Warning signs include excessive brown leaves, yellowed leaves, elongated stems, and visible insects.
When you are unsure of which indoor plants will work well in your home, ask your favorite plant shop pro for guidance and assistance. There are many low-maintenance plants that can thrive in virtually any home, including Chinese evergreens, golden pothos and snake plants.
CONSIDER YOUR LIGHT AND SPACE
In plants, growth occurs through a process called photosynthesis, which only happens with light. Some indoor plants require less light than others, but even low-light houseplants become weak and spindly without the light they need. They are also more susceptible to pests and diseases. When you have a certain space in mind or a specific plant in mind, research its light requirements before you buy.
Southern-facing windows tend to provide the best light for plants that require high light. Plant medium-light plants in east-facing windows or about 2 to 3 feet away from high-light windows. A few low-light plants that thrive in north-facing windows and normal indoor lighting can tolerate the northern lights and the trees and buildings outside. A southern window that is obstructed may get less light than a north window.
Small indoor plants, such as mini succulents, baby cactus or pileas, can be moved easily, so take time to take into consideration size. But you may only have one or two sun-filled areas within your house for indoor lemon trees and Thai limes. Hanging plants, such as ivies, string-of-pearls, and vining pothos, need space away from traffic to grow undisturbed.
COMPLEMENT YOUR DECOR
Plants that complement your house décor are one of the niftiest parts of owning a houseplant. A plant itself adds a touch of color, texture, and structure perfect for capturing your individuality while enhancing the latest décor trends. There are cool indoor plants for many styles, including boho or mid-century modern.
Fiddleleaf figs, rubber plants, and Monstera deliciosa make big statements with bold, dramatic foliage. Shiny ZZ plants in green to black are also striking and colorful. Spiky snake plants contrast vertical lines with rainbow-hued strikes of color in colors from golden stripes to moonshine green. Based on light intensity, crotons explode in combinations of orange, red, yellow, pink, and purple.
Irregular watering is the leading cause of houseplant damage and premature death. When plants are underwatered they wilt, lose leaves and flowers, and develop brown leaf tips. When they are overwatered they go limp, yellow or black leaves, and develop fungal diseases like root rot.
If the top inch or two of soil is dry, water houseplants with lukewarm water. Before you water, check the moisture level with a moisture meter or stick a finger in the soil.
Several factors determine how often you need to water, such as the amount of heat in your home, the type of plant and the type of pot. Plastic pots, for instance, retain moisture longer than porous terra cotta containers, which let air pass through them.
If you grow blooming plants, they will reward you with healthy growth and plenty of flowers. High quality fertilizers feed the plants and the soil, creating an environment for sustained, vibrant growth. Start out your new houseplant right by feeding it a complete fertilizer such as Pennington UltraGreen All-Purpose Plant Food 10-10-10 or Pennington UltraGreen ColorBlooms and Bulbs 15-10-10.
Many houseplants benefit from regular application of mild fertilizers, such as Alaska Fish Fertilizer 5-1-1, which contains organic matter that breaks down slowly while providing plants with essential nutrients over time. African violets require a fertilizer specifically formulated to promote flowering. For lemon trees or other indoor citrus, crafted fertilizers, such as Pennington UltraGreen Citrus and Avocado Plant Food 10-5-5 provide specially formulated blends to meet a variety of plant needs.
CONTROL HOUSEPLANT PESTS
Indoor pests such as mealybugs and scale insects can wreck havoc on your flowers and plants. Although you check carefully for pests when purchasing plants, some insects lie dormant and emerge later — when you least expect them.
In that case, it’s important that you check your plants weekly for signs of pests. Look for insects, holes in leaves, and sticky substances left behind by pests when they feed. If you find any pests, isolate the plant immediately to protect the rest of your plant family.
The sooner you treat an infestation, the better off you will be. Make sure to follow label instructions closely when using insecticides, especially if plants that are edible. If possible, move plants outside during treatment. Avoid spraying insecticides indoors or in confined spaces.
PROVIDE ADEQUATE HUMIDITY
Most houseplants originate from tropical climates. Although they tolerate the dry air typical of U.S. homes, they perform better with higher humidity. Leaf curling and yellowing, bud drop, brown leaf tips, and susceptibility to pests are signs that your houseplants suffer from low humidity.
Several ways can help you maintain a healthy environment for your plants:
Mist your houseplants
you can spray it with water several times a day.
Create a humidity tray
Fill a saucer half full of small stones or pebbles. Put the plant on top of the pebbles and water just below the pebbles’ surface. The moisture evaporates, resulting in warm humid air around your plant.
Group plants together
In a process called transpiration, water evaporates from plant leaves. This results in the plants humidifying each other.
GROOM, PRUNE AND REPOT AS NEEDED
By grooming and pruning your houseplants, you can keep them looking neat. Regularly remove dead foliage and spent flowers with herb scissors or pruning shears. When trimming leaf tips, always follow the leaf shape as you trim.
Cleaning leaves often will remove dust, build-up, and other contaminants from the air, resulting in healthier indoor air. Do not use leaf shine products. They may look good, but they clog leaves’ pores.
Houseplants need repotting every year or two. The signs include slowed growth and roots growing out of drainage holes or above the soil line. Don’t go too big too fast. Increase the pot size one at a time. Oversized pots mean extra soil and excess water which can lead to fungal diseases and root rot. Plant starters with Vitamin B1, such as Pennington UltraGreen Plant Starter, can greatly reduce the risk of transplant shock.
You can impress your family and friends and beautify your home by following these tips on how to grow indoor plants. Pennington is committed to helping you succeed with indoor plants and everything else you aspire to grow, with premium products and advice.
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