Indoor house plants can be a great addition to your home décor as well as improve the air quality in your home. Being surrounded by elements of nature can help you feel more calm and at ease. Caring for indoor plants properly takes dedication and you must educate yourself on how to keep them thriving. Here are some important things to know about taking good care of your house plants.
Keep Plants Away from Excess Water at the Bottom of the Pot
If you keep a saucer on the bottom of your house plants to trap water, make sure you get rid of any excess sitting there. You can also place some gravel or stones on the saucer to prevent the plant from making contact with the water. The plant will absorb all the water it needs within an hour of being watered.
Use Room Temperature Water
Room temperature water is best for indoor plants—68 degrees Fahrenheit or 20 degrees Celsius. Using water at other temperatures may cause problems such as unsightly spots on the leaves. Sticking to this temperature range is especially important for tropical plants.
Let Water Sit for 24 Hours before Watering
Some plants may be sensitive to fluoride and other chemicals in tap water. Set the water out in a dish for at least 24 hours before you plan to water your plants to allow for the dissipation and evaporation of these potentially harmful chemicals.
Plants that require low water levels may only need to be watered every one to two weeks; soil should be dried completely through and through before watering again. Plants that require moderate levels typically need watering every week; if the exposed soil feels dry, it is time to water it again. Plants that require large amounts of water typically need watering every five days or so; soil should be slightly moist at all times and never allowed to fully dry out.
Examples of Plants and Watering Needs
Here are some examples of plants from each category. Plants that require infrequent watering include aloe vera, bromeliads, cactus, cast iron plants, jade, majesty palms, orchids, poinsettia, ponytail palms, sago palms and spider plants. A partial list of plants requiring moderate levels are elephant’s ear, asparagus ferns, birds of paradise, Chinese evergreens, Christmas cactus, corn plants, any variety of dracaena, English ivy, fiddle leaf fig, flamingo flower, heart leaf philodendron, lady palms, polka dot plants, pothos and Swedish ivy. Some plants that need heavy watering include areca palms, arrowhead vine, Boston fern, Chinese fan palms, fishtail palms, croton, miniature rose, rubber plants, peace lily and staghorn ferns.
Clean Plants Regularly
Keeping plants clean not only helps them look better, it keeps insects at bay and makes them healthy overall. Use a damp cloth on each side of the leaf or rinse them in the shower. Use a soft cosmetic brush for plants with hairy leaves.
Lighting needs depend on the type of plant. Plants with high light needs should ideally be placed right near windows or glass doors with western or southern exposure. Plants with medium needs can do well placed at least a few feet away or near windows or doors with eastern exposure. Plants with low light needs can be placed near doors and windows with eastern or northern exposure.
Choosing the Right Fertilizer
Choosing the right fertilizer for indoor plants is crucial to proper growth. Ideally, there will be a balance 20-20-20 of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium for foliage. Flowering plants should have a balance of 15-30-15 respectively.
When to Use Fertilizer
Generally, plants should be fertilized in their active phases during the summer when there is a lot of sunlight. Winter is usually a rest phase, unless the plant happens to be getting a lot of artificial light, and you should not use fertilizer during this time.
Signs of Overfertilization
Overfertilizing plants can lead to root damage, which in turn, affects the plant negatively in many ways. Signs include a white film on the soil, the rim of the container or around the drainage holes.
Kelli Cooper is a freelance writer who enjoys writing about green living and gardening. Check out AdvancedLEDLights for quality grow lights for indoor plants.