It isn’t necessary to turn your house or place of work into a tropical jungle to get the most from houseplants. In fact, just a few well-placed, well-grown houseplants can contribute a lived-in coziness to any room, whether it’s filled with Victorian clutter or spare, streamlined furnishings.

The trick is, of course, to make sure the houseplants are “well grown.” It helps to realize that most of what we call “house” plants originate from humid, tropical climates, and that the climate inside most houses, particularly during the winter months, is more like that of an arid desert. But give the plants what they want in terms of light, water, humidity, fertilizer and a good soil mix, and they’ll perform like they were back in their native environment.

Once you select a houseplant you like, find out what its likes and dislikes are. Houseplants grown by large commercial growers are usually sold with fairly informative tags attached. The tag should provide such basic information as the amount of light the plant needs, how much water it requires, etc. If an informational tag is not included, ask a knowledgeable clerk or look up the plant’s requirements in a book specifically about houseplants. Once you’re armed with the information, finding just the place to make your houseplant thrive may still be a matter of trial-and-error. A few basic rules, however, apply.

Here are some quick tips when it comes to houseplants. When you’re told that a houseplant needs “plenty of light,” that doesn’t mean direct
sunlight. Very few are the houseplants that can tolerate direct sunlight (especially when intensified by a glass window). Shear curtains are excellent at diffusing direct sunlight, creating an excellent environment for houseplants that need “plenty of light.”

Each houseplant has its own requirements for water but, again, a few basics apply across the board. When you water, do so thoroughly until water drains out of the bottom of the pot. If the water doesn’t drain all the way through, you haven’t watered enough.

Always test the soil before watering: More houseplants die from overwatering than any other reason. Press your finger into the soil to the depth of an inch or so. If the soil is damp at that level, there’s no need to water. Check the plant again in another few days. It’s okay for a houseplant to dry out slightly between waterings, particularly during winter when growth has slowed. If the foliage of any houseplants begins to droop even slightly, water immediately and completely.

Most indoor plants should to be pruned periodically for a variety of reasons. Some vines tend to get leggy. An occasional hair cut will promote new growth and generally thickens up the plant. The rubber tree for example will grow bushier if pruned. Dead foliage should always be removed to allow the nutrients to travel to the healthy foliage.

Pests like spider mites, mealy bugs, and aphids are a few of the insects that could be a problem for your house plant. Talk to your nursery expert on house plants to determine what chemical you should use for plant pests.
There are many non-toxic organic solutions available.

Finally with roots restricted to a pot, houseplants are totally reliant on you to provide them with the nutrients they need for healthy growth. There are a number of excellent, all-purpose houseplant fertilizers on the market. Instead of a once-a-month full-strength feeding, houseplants benefit from the consistency of an every-two-week feeding with fertilizer mixed at one-half the recommended rate.

Houseplants are not only fun to grow and great interior decor, but they also help clean the air we breathe. If you would like help with you houseplant or have any questions please feel free to come in and visit us.

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How to choose an Indoor Plant