Many homeowners who decide to keep houseplants usually have high hopes. They imagine the young plant, finally grown and blossoming, giving the home a fresher look and feel. However, most homeowners do several things wrong and as much as their intentions are good, they end up killing the healthy houseplants.
It is important for homeowners to do some research and learn about the growing conditions of the plant and then work towards offering similar conditions in their home environment. It is normal for houseplants to lose a few leaves before adjusting to the artificial home climate. However, it gets worrying when the houseplant, loses all leaves then begins drooping, then wilting and finally dies.
You don’t have to wait for this to happen because there are a few practical tips to help you grow healthy and thriving houseplants. Some of them are as follows:-
Look For A Spot In The Right Light
Before you bring that houseplant home, look for the right spot. Take note that south-facing windows will get more light compared to north-facing ones. If your windows are located east or west, you will have to monitor the amount of morning and afternoon sun before you place your plants near them. Also, remember that plants with brightly colored leaves will require more light than others. You will need to do a half-turn of your pot every day or two in order to maintain an even growth because plants naturally bend towards the light. Since summer is the time when there is more sunlight, consider moving your plants indoors if they are sun-sensitive. The key here is understanding the kind of houseplant you have and you will control the amount of sunlight it gets.
Keep The Water In The Pots Longer
If you happen to have houseplants that dry out too quickly after you water them, consider keeping the soil moist for longer. You can do this by simply tucking a wet sponge into the pot before you put soil in during repotting. The sponge will be like a water reservoir and will help prevent a gusher in the event that you happen to overwater your plant.
Keep in mind that the pot should always stay moist and not wet. However, if your houseplant is a succulent or any other thick-leafed plant, then consider letting the soil dry out before your next watering. Just be careful that you don’t let the soil become too dry or too damp lest the plant begins to die or inadequate growth occurs.
You can determine when your plant needs watering if you see the potting soil is looking lighter in color or cracked. After watering you can always stick your finger in the soil in order to tell how moist the soil is.
Use the Right Water
When it comes to watering, room temperature tap water is okay for most houseplants even if your city’s water comes with chlorine or fluoride. You can always use rainwater or melted snow but don’t if your region is known for acid rain. Don’t use softened water too much because it may contain sodium.
Every time you water a plant, the nutrients leach out of the soil and often times, the nutrients will just naturally deplete. Since houseplants lack that regular natural source of plant nutrient replenishment unlike their outdoor counterparts, you will have to fertilize them regularly. If you have purchased a new plant, wait a few weeks before fertilizing it because it was no doubt heavily fertilized at the greenhouse where you bought it from. From then on, you can fertilize once every month when they are flowering or growing, but during winter, when they are dormant and not growing a lot, you can hold your fertilizing and resume it after winter.
You will know a plant needs fertilizer if it’s dropping its lower leaves and showing weak growth or yellow-green leaves. However, the plant might also need more light and less water which is why you should first take time and carefully study the conditions before fertilizing. Remember over-fertilizing can also harm the plant. If your plant is already wilted, water it properly first then add your fertilizer later after it has recovered.
Repot At The Right Time
Repotting houseplants should be done just before growth begins and that is spring for a majority of houseplants. When you see new leaves appearing slowly and looking very small compared to the older leaves, then it could be time. If you also notice the soil drying out very quickly or that the water is running down the inside of the pot without soaking in then this means the roots are too grown. If you also notice the roots appearing above the soil’s surface then it’s definitely time to repot.
Remember to choose a pot that is bigger than the current pot but it shouldn't be too big. A pot that is too big can cause root rot and other problems because the soil will remain wet for many days or weeks before the plant uses it.
Take great care when handling the root system during repotting to avoid causing damage. You could firm the soil around the root ball without pressing it too much. Ensure that you leave enough space at the top of your new container for water and then water the plant thoroughly.
The Right Temperature
Most houseplants will do well in temperatures between 65-75 degrees at daytime and 55-60 degrees at nighttime. However, temperature preferences may vary from plant to plant with the tropical plants preferring temperatures that are higher than 90 degrees while others preferring cooler temperatures. Again knowing the kind of plant you have will help you set the right temperature conditions for it to thrive. Make sure to complete your Spring cleaning while you are planting to maintain a healthy home.
Work On The Right Drainage
A great drainage system is important for achieving healthy houseplants. Begin your journey with great organic potting soil and not the regular soil. The organic potting soil has been expertly mixed specially for indoor gardening which is why it is ideal. Find a container with drainage holes for the ideal drainage. However, you can still put pebbles at the bottom of the container with no holes. The point here is not letting the plant retain the stand in water. Always check that the drainage holes haven’t been clogged and always empty any standing water instead of running it back through the soil.
The Right Humidity
Most plants thrive in the high humidity of around 80%. However, most homes are a lot drier, especially during winter times. This is when most homes heat up and this further drops the humidity. You can use a humidifier to help retain the right humidity for your plant or consider other ways of boosting humidity such as daily misting of the plant’s leaves. For plants like gardenias or orchids, keep them in a bathroom or in the kitchen during winter because they are the areas in your home with a higher humidity compared to the rest of the house.
Growing healthy houseplants is possible if you are committed to providing your plant the required essentials for it to thrive. The above tips should steer you in the right direction.