Houseplants Care Guide: All You Need To Know About Growing An Indoor Jungle
Houseplants are both a rewarding hobby and the perfect way to transform your space into a lush, green jungle that will improve your mood while making your home look like a beautiful garden. If you want to start caring for your own houseplants, consider the following essential guide to help you with everything you need to know about growing an indoor jungle.
Choose The Right Plant For You
Before you learn more about caring for plants indoors, it's important to take a moment to think about the types of plants you want in your home. Are you looking for flowering plants that will bloom seasonally or year-round? Are you more interested in succulents? Cacti? Or would you prefer a mixture of different types of plants?
You will have to tailor a specific care routine to each plant, so keep this in mind when choosing more than one type of plant – you'll need to do your research in order to keep all your plants in top shape.
Always Buy Healthy Plants
Examine every inch of the plant you are about to buy. If there is any sign of insects, stress, disease, fungus, or anything suspicious, do not bring them home. Not only they might die, but they could infect your other plants along the way.
In any case, remember to always keep new plants in an isolated location for at least a few weeks.
Remember That Every Plant Is Different
There is no way to prescribe a fixed care routine for your plant. Forget about it, or you will end up ignoring the plant's needs. With time, you will learn to know your plant, and much of it will become intuitive.
Every single plant has different needs and preferences, depending on its age and condition, light, temperature, humidity, soil, and container (each material retains moisture differently).
Also, plants go through different cycles throughout the seasons. For example, during some cycles, plants are thirstier; during other periods, they may need less water.
Plant behavior can vary even between two seemingly identical plants! Think of a plant as an individual, just like your children or your pet. Each will have its own unique personality and benefit from individual care.
Choose The Right Light Source
Light is extremely important when it comes to caring for indoor plants. Different plants will have different lighting needs, which you need to keep in mind in order to help them thrive. Certain houseplants will need lots of direct light, while others need indirect light or relatively low levels of sunlight.
If your houseplants need full sun, place them in windows facing West and South.
If your plants need partial shade, put them in an East facing window, while if they require lower levels of light, place them in front of a North facing window.
In terms of placement, you want to put your plant within about 3 feet of the window. You will need to consider the amount of time that the sun shines through the window as well.
You will need to rotate your plants often so that they grow more evenly – it will prevent any heavy leaning or stretching toward the light.
Know The Watering Requirements
Watering is crucial for the health of your indoor plants. It's important to know the water requirements of each plant you have, as over or under watering can drastically impact their health.
Some plants may require only sparse watering, while others need a higher level of moisture. In either case, make sure that you are using room temperature water rather than cold water directly from the sink – cold water can shock plant roots.
If you live in an area with high levels of chemicals or minerals in the tap water, get a water filter so that these chemicals do not impact your houseplants. For instance, fluoride can make the tips of the leaves turn brown.
It's just as important not to overwater as it is to avoid underwatering. Overwatering can increase the chances of mold and fungi, as well as other plant diseases. If you find that your houseplants begin "drooping," this is a sign that they have excess water.
Provide Enough Humidity
One of the most misunderstood elements of houseplants care is the role that humidity plays in their growth and health. Depending on the type of plant you're growing, high humidity can help growth – or cause problems.
If your houseplant is from a tropical region, then humidity of at least 50% is best to help them thrive. Plants from dryer regions, such as succulents and cacti, prefer lower levels of moisture.
If you need to artificially raise the humidity, set your houseplants on a shallow tray with a layer of moistened gravel. You can also have a humidifier in the room and turn it on occasionally to fight against low humidity levels.
Fertilizer can help your indoor plants thrive. It's important not to use too much fertilizer, as this can cause health and growth problems.
For most houseplants, you will want to start using fertilizer in the springtime. The fertilizer combined with the increasing amount of sunlight in the spring will help boost growth throughout the summer.
When the fall season hits, however, start reducing fertilizer to help prepare plants for the winter. In the winter, depending on the plant, you can cut doses in half or avoid fertilizer entirely; plants are particularly reactive to over-fertilization in the winter, so it's best to be careful during this season.
Most houseplants will do well with a balanced fertilizer that has a 20-20-20 ration.
If the houseplant is designed to grow lots of foliage, consider a fertilizer with a higher level of nitrogen. If the houseplant is a flowering plant, fertilizer with a higher level of phosphorus will work best.
Visit Your Plant Regularly
Take the time to know your plant and understand its behavior by observing it every day. With time, you'll become aware of how it's growing, how healthy it is, and what it likes. You will start to notice how your plant responds to its environment, and how you can make adjustments to help it grow at its best.
Watch for any signs of trouble, including insects, wilt, spots, fungus, and symptoms of over or underwatering. If it helps, you can start a journal where you write down everything happening to your plants. As time goes on, you will become more tuned into the life of your plants.
Group Plants by Needs
If you have many different plants, placing like-plants together and organize them into groups will make your care routine simpler to manage, especially if you are a beginner just getting familiar with everything.
Check For Pests Regularly
Pests are a frustration for any plant lover. Pests are common in new plants that have been brought home from an outside source and in plants brought inside from outdoors.
For spider mites, mist underneath the leaves regularly to discourage them. For best results, use a mixture created with 1 gallon of cold water, 1 cup flour and 1/4 cup buttermilk – a plant-safe organic deterrent that will keep spider mites at bay.
If you spot fungus gnats, starting leaving more time in between watering. The dryer soil will discourage fungus gnats from laying their eggs in the soil.
Aphids scale and mealybugs are three of the most common types of pests found in houseplants. To get rid of them, create a mixture with equal parts of water and rubbing alcohol with just a drop of dishing detergent. Use a soft brush to apply the solution to your plant.
Fall In Love With Your Plant
Indoor gardening is all about falling in love with the wonder and the magic of learning about your plant.
It's fascinating, and it's a great opportunity to learn about patience and devotion.
The more time you will dedicate to plant care, the more intriguing and enjoyable it will become.