It seems like more and more people are relishing in the delight of indoor plants and the joy they bring to a space, and for good reason. Not only do indoor plants look beautiful and instantly give your home a facelift, but they also clean the air and have a positive impact on your mood and wellbeing, too.
Unfortunately, there are lots of people who love the look of indoor plants but who struggle to keep them alive, falling victim to plant myths and misconceptions. If you’re the type of person who struggles to keep plants alive, or if you’re looking to invest in your first set of indoor plants and want to make a success of it first time round, here are 10 tips for successfully growing plants indoors.
The first thing you need to consider is lighting. Whilst there are lots of plants that thrive on masses of direct sunlight, a lot of indoor plants actually don’t need a lot of natural sunlight – at least not in a direct form. This is because most common indoor plants are of a tropical variety and can usually be found on forest floors, meaning they grow best when exposed to indirect sunlight or filtered sunlight. This means west or east facing windows are ideal for most indoor plants.
If you do find that your property doesn’t quite have enough sunlight, consider grow lights to aid growth. A few hours under grow lights should see them right!
One of the most common reasons people find their plants die is because they overwater them, usually in an effort to avoid underwatering them. Plants don’t need to be watered every day or even every week – most will do just fine if they’re watered every other week. A good rule of thumb is to put your finger approximately two inches into the soil. If it is damp, you needn’t water the plant. If it’s dry, you should water the plant. Make sure to only water the equivalent of a third of the plant pot depth.
One of the key deciding factors as to whether your plant growing endeavors will be successful is the plant. If your plant is potted in a pot that’s too small and that doesn’t have adequate drainage, it could experience stunted growth or root rot because of sitting water. This makes choosing a pot for your plant one of the most important decisions you make.
You should generally choose a plant pot that is three inches wider and three inches deeper than the width of the plant and the length of the roots. You should also repot your indoor plants at least once a year for maximum growth and root health. If your plant is fully grown, you should still re-pot it every year in fresh soil.
When you place your plants in front of the window or a light source, the front will naturally receive the most light, but you might find that the plant begins to lean to one side as parts of it that don’t reach the sun attempt to. This results in a wonky plant. You can help avoid this by regularly rotating your plant so that every part of it gets equal sunlight.
A key part of keeping indoor plants in good condition is pruning them. This will stop them from overgrowing or outgrowing their space. Typically, pruning in early spring is best to promote good growth.
In addition to water and sunlight, the next very basic need for house plants is temperature. If it’s too cold then they could die. This is because as mentioned, most indoor plants are of a tropical variety and so aren’t adjusted to cooler temperatures. You can combat this with heaters or heat lamps.
Like humans and pets, plants need food – especially if you notice your house plants aren’t doing too well. There are typically specialized varieties of food for each type of plant, so it’s best to head to a plant nursery or a garden center to find the right of food for your plant. They can come in the form of soil supplements or in a ‘drip’ form which releases a certain amount of liquid food into the plant pot every day.
In the same way there is specialized food, there is also specialized soil that usually mimics the natural environment your plant is found in. The soil is also usually packed full of nutrients for the plant, so it’s well worth finding a soil that is specifically for your plant rather than sticking with a general compost.
In many respects, your house plants are no different to other stationary items in your house, such as your bookshelf or your TV. With this in mind, it’s important that you remember to gently dust your plants to keep a sheet of dust from blocking the light.
The final tip you need to bear in mind when growing indoor plants is to mist them. This is because indoor plants usually originate from tropical climates where the air is moist, and so almost all varieties of plants can benefit from misting. To do this, simply fill a trigger spray bottle with cool water and spray the leaves generously.
With these 10 tips in mind, you stand a good chance of successfully growing indoor plants. Good luck!