Adding indoor plants to your home makes it feel more welcoming and inviting, in addition to improving indoor air quality. Plants with lush foliage bring a feeling of life to your home, and flowering ones add color and a delicate edge. However, for people who are not experienced with growing indoor plants, choosing the right ones and keeping them alive can be a challenge. Follow these tips to select the right plants for your home and give them the care they need to look great.
1. Consider lighting before anything else. Plants need sunlight to thrive, and they are generally categorized as low light, medium light, and high light. If you can place them near a south-facing window, you should be able to get away with growing high-light plants, which often have gorgeous flowers. However, if you will be growing in a dark corner, you need plants that can thrive in low-light conditions. Identify where you will place your plants before you buy them so you can select each plant for the location.
2. Determine how much effort you want to put into caring for your plants and home. For example, although having an indoor potted tree makes your home look beautiful, it will drop a lot of leaves, which can force you to vacuum your carpet or sweep your hardwood flooring on a regular basis to clean up. Consider how much of a mess each type of plant makes, how regularly it needs to be watered, and how resilient it is if you mess up on its regular care. Waterproof flooring may be a strong option to prevent water damage from any leaky plants or pots.
3. Water your plants as they need it, but be careful to avoid over watering, which is the main cause of unhealthy indoor plants. When you buy a plant, look up its specific water needs and whether it grows best in moist, average, or dry soil. For example, many types of cactus prefer dry soil that gets a good soak on a periodic basis. For most plants, poking your finger into the first inch of soil to check for moisture is a good method. If it is dry at that depth, you can water the plant. However, you should water less frequently during the plant’s dormant season, which is usually the fall and winter.
4. Fertilize your plants once each year, right before the main growing season, which is usually in the spring and summer, to ensure that they have the nutrients they need in the soil. You can use any type of commercial fertilizer advertised as being appropriate for potted plants, and you should follow the directions on the packaging to learn how much to use and how to apply it. Because plants can’t get everything they need from water and air, you need to use fertilizer to provide the nutrients they can use as building blocks to keep growing and looking healthy.
5. Re-pot your plant in a larger pot if you notice that the roots have grown out to the edge of the pot and are starting to grow along the sides of the pot. This will stunt the overall growth of the plant and cause it to not look its best. To re-pot a plant, choose a pot with a volume that’s about 30 percent larger, fill it with soil on the bottom so the plant will sit at the same level as before, and gently transfer the whole root ball to the new pot. Fill in with soil around the edges and water it thoroughly to complete the process.
6. Prune your plants to remove dead areas and encourage healthy growth. If you have a flowering plant, cut off dead flowers so the plant focuses its energy on the budding ones or back on the foliage after the flowering season is over. If the tips of leaves have browned, trim them off to keep your plant looking healthy. Leaves that have yellowed will also die, so prune them off as well.
7. If you know that you won’t be able to care for your plants well, you have a bad history with keeping plants alive, or you want plants in a room that gets absolutely no natural sunlight, artificial plants can be the best way to go. One of the major benefits is that you can choose whatever type of plant you want, and you will be sure that it will always look great, won’t make a mess, and won’t be any bother for you.
Don’t let your lack of experience stop you from getting indoor plants. They really brighten up your home, and you will soon learn how to recognize what they need so you can care for them effectively. Try starting with several plants so even if one doesn’t do well, you still have the others.