There's no better way of bringing the wonders of nature into your home than with house plants. Their benefits are numerous. Along with adding life and color to a room, they've been found to reduce stress, boost productivity, and improve indoor air quality.
Keeping house plants isn't as easy as other household items like say, a painting or a sculpture; however, the fact remains that plants are living things and you'll have to pay special attention to keep them that way.
Many make the mistake of thinking that regular watering is all there is to it. If only. Plants require correct lighting conditions, specific watering regimen, correct food. They also need to be repotted from time to time.
Where do you begin? Well, that's easy. Begin with our short guide just ahead.
It's all about lighting
First things first. Positioning. Where you put your plant depends a lot on its light requirements. Plants need light to process food through photosynthesis, which occurs in sunlight. You'll have to research how much light your particular species of plant needs. The amount of light a plant needs falls into three groups:
- Direct sunlight: the light hits the plant directly.
- Indirect sunlight: the light hits the plant through reflection off other objects. In a bright room a little away from the window is perfect.
- Diffused light: Light reaches the plant after being filtered through a screen or sheer curtain.
Water is key
The most common mistake people new to gardening make is to kill plants through overwatering. We've all been there. This is because different plants require different levels of soil moisture. Some thrive if their soil is kept constantly moist while others prefer their soil to dry out between waterings. Here are some important watering tips:
- Use your fingers to feel the soil and work out how moist it is.
- Invest in a watering can so you can get right in there, past the leaves.
- When watering, water thoroughly, so that water drains through the hole in the bottom of the pot.
- Use lukewarm or warm water as cold can shock the roots.
- Use water in a spray bottle to spritz the leaves and up the humidity.
- If your pot has no holes in the bottom, you need to pot your plant in a smaller pot with holes in the bottom to allow drainage. You can still put your new pot within the old pot.
Food, glorious food
Be careful with plant food, as a one-size-fits-all approach is not advised. Plants have individual nutrition needs and new gardeners should be careful not to overfeed.
- Water-soluble: a liquid mixed with water and poured on the plant.
- Spikes: a solid food pushed directly into the soil that releases nutrients slowly.
- Granular: sprinkled around the base of the plant and watered in.
When to repot?
Beginners often overlook this, but your plant will eventually outgrow its pot! You'll know it's time when it's top-heavy or its roots are growing out of the drainage hole. Here are some tips:
- Use a pot with drainage holes.
- A small net over the drainage hole can help prevent dirt from leaking out between waterings.
- Always use potting soil rather than soil from your garden.
- Dampen the potting soil before placing it around your plant.
- Add some soil to the bottom of the pot and pat it down. Remove the plant from its old container carefully, shaking soil loose from around the roots so they will spread out easily in the new soil. Place the plant in the container and fill to the top with potting soil, tamping down firmly around the edges; water thoroughly.
- If you see brown leaves at the bottom of the plant after transplanting, just pinch them off.
There you have it. We hope this guide helps you and your indoor garden thrive. Long live your plants!