Plants are so good for us! Just the thought of an indoor garden makes me happy. Plants help people relax and feel good. While horticulture is predominately an outdoor hobby, it’s not difficult to grow plants inside the home throughout colder, winter months. Consider bringing air-freshening, natural life to interiors with healthy houseplants. Not everyone is born with a green thumb, so use these tips to help keeping house plants healthy.
How To Keep Indoor Plants Healthy
Don’t Over Water House Plants
Amateur gardeners tend to get overzealous with watering, assuming more is better. However, the No. 1 killer of houseplants is root rot due to over saturation. Rather than adhering to a watering schedule, observe plant behavior to determine the best time to irrigate. Plant type and size largely indicates how often water is needed. For instance, succulents require less frequent watering than ferns. Another good way to decide when to water is by testing the soil. Dip a finger into the dirt; if it comes out dry, move forward with watering. Make sure to empty the drainage from the basin after each watering; water that accumulates there can cause root rot.
Eliminate House Plant Pests
Indoor critters reproduce rapidly with a lack of larger pests around to eradicate them. Therefore, it’s up to plant owners to rid homes of garden pests. Aphids, spider mites and scale insects are the most common culprits and feed on plant sap. Check for indicators regularly with a magnifying glass. Aphids tend to migrate along stems and molt, leaving an exoskeleton behind. Watch for spider mites which habituate underneath leaves. When weather permits, move plants outdoors for other bugs to naturally kill off pests. During winter months, spray insecticidal soap to successfully eliminate destructive insects. However, if plants are severely damaged, consider discarding and starting over.
Expose House Plants to Natural Light
While some plants can thrive in artificial light, most require some amount of natural light to grow healthily. To learn how much exposure is necessary, research requirements for each strain. Plants are usually classified as needing “full sun,” “partial sun” or “shade.” Plants that require full sun do best right next to a window with excellent sun exposure; partial-sun plants can survive further from a window. Shade plants should thrive out of direct sunlight or with artificial light only. If plants turn pale, they are not being exposed to enough light. Leaves often cup upward and detach while new stems grow toward the light to compensate.
Avid indoor gardeners may search for homes with ample sunlight to ensure growth of interior vegetation. With the proper lighting, full indoor vegetable gardens are possible.
Keep House Plants Away from Artificial Heat
Most plants require warmth to survive, but direct heat causes dehydration. Avoid keeping an indoor garden next to a radiator or space heater as plants can literally “cook” and die. Move plants away from drafts and open windows. Extreme cold can damage plant life the same way an outdoor garden dies off in winter months.
Purchase a Fitting Planter
As plants flourish and mature, they require larger accommodations. When plants outgrow their pots, the roots circle and cut off air supply to the surrounding stems. If there is not enough soil for the number of roots growing inside the pot, the plant dries out more quickly. Avoid parching plants by replanting indoor gardens in appropriately-sized planters so they can continue to cultivate over time.
Start with the Right Soil
Garden soil placed indoors eventually hardens due to poor drainage and a lack of aeration. To keep indoor plants healthy, invest in potting soils equipped with sand, perlite, clay or organic matter. These can be purchased at a local nursery or gardening store.
These six tips should help rookie horticulturalists set up their indoor gardens and help with keeping house plants healthy. Before purchasing any plants or pots, make sure to research. Much like human beings, different plants require different environments and foods to thrive.
What is your favorite type of house plant?