While you're probably giving your houseplants all the care and attention you can, you could be doing more than necessary or less than required for your plants. So if you've been killing your houseplants lately, don't give up on indoor gardening already!
Try putting these tips into practice and you're sure to breathe new life into your houseplants.
Give Your Plants Adequate Light
All plants need varying amounts of sunlight, so if your houseplants are growing lanky with wide spaces between leaves, or if you notice unusually thin or small leaves, or a lighter leaf color, it could mean that they aren’t getting enough light. Note that variegated leaves will lose their markings if they receive less sunlight.
Conversely, if you see leaves wilting or browning at the edges, it is possible that the plant is receiving too much sun.
To ensure that your plants receive adequate sunlight, remember to check care labels when buying new plants. If you’ve done away with old care labels without glancing at them, find out how much sun your houseplants need by researching online or asking at your local nursery.
Water Plants According to Their Needs
Just like sunlight, all plants need varying amounts of water to grow well. So if you water all your houseplants daily or water them whenever you remember to, don’t be surprised if a couple of them have already died.
Most plants grow well in a medium that stays moist, not wet. Water such plants consistently as alternating periods of flood and drought can stress plants. Wait for the soil to turn dry when watering plants that prefer the soil to dry out a little between waterings.
As a general rule, if the soil looks wet, don’t water the plant. If you’re unsure, stick your index finger knuckle-deep into the soil- if it feels dry, water the plant and if it feels damp, wait for a couple of days and check again.
Keep in mind that the water you use should be at room temperature. Tap water is fine, but you might want to fill an open container with tap water and let it rest for at least 24 hours before using it to water your houseplants. Doing so will help chemicals dissipate and make the water safe for your plants. Never use distilled water for your houseplants.
Use the Right Pots
You can use just about any container as a plant pot depending on your preference. Terracotta pots are popular, as are glass and resin ones. Before choosing pots, keep in mind that unglazed wood and clay pots will absorb moisture while glass, resin, and plastic won’t. As such, if you want to buy a pot for a plant that needs more water, go for non-porous materials.
Irrespective of the material of the pot, make sure it has drainage holes to let excess water through. You can also build a layer of gravel at the bottom and then layer soil on top to protect the plant roots from rotting. Use glazed saucers to keep furniture, and tiled or fake grass flooring from getting wet.
Take Care of the Humidity
If you notice brown leaf tips, wilted edges, shriveled flowers, or leaf drop, chances are that the indoor humidity is wreaking havoc on your houseplants. Increasing humidity levels will help, but certain plants like ficus, Sansevieria, and most palms prefer a dry environment.
To increase humidity, move plants away from areas where they get hit by cold or hot drafts. Grouping plants together can also increase humidity levels as can regular misting. Using a pebble tray will also be helpful.
Protect from Pests
Most importantly, inspect new plants before bringing them home- you don’t want your healthy plants to get infected. Even if the new plant doesn’t have any visible signs of pests or diseases, keep it separate from your other plants for a fortnight. If you don’t notice anything after 15 days, you can place the new plant wherever you prefer.
Check all your plants for pests and diseases regularly. If you happen to spot a problem on a plant, isolate it from the others so that you can deal with it effectively.
Additionally, wash the leaves of all your plants once in two months or so. Doing so will eliminate dust and grime, and also keep away spider mites and other insects. If washing leaves is not possible, clean them with a soft cloth and insecticidal soap. Refrain from using a feather duster to clean houseplants as it can transfer insects and eggs from one plant to another.
Now that you’ve read these basic tips on keeping your houseplants healthy, you needn’t worry about killing any of your indoor plants. Start following the tips given here as soon as you can, and your houseplants are sure to grow well!