If you’re new to indoor plants caring for them can feel a little intimidating, but as long as you know the basics, you can find success in growing indoor plants.
We all know that we need to water plants for them to thrive, but did you know that watering incorrectly is one of the most common mistakes beginners to indoor plants make? Overwatering is actually the most common mistake beginners to indoor plant make. We get it, you’re excited about your new plant and people tend to over care for their new plants.
Here are some simple tips to make sure you’re watering properly:
Make sure containers have at least one drainage hole so water can drain away from your plant.
When watering, apply enough water to run out the drainage hole. This usually assures that you have replenished the plant’s water supply and reduces any salt buildup.
Avoid letting pots sit in excess water. Pour it away or raise pots so they always are above the level of drained-out water in the saucer.
Avoid watering on a time schedule. The best practice is to allow the soil to become dry on the surface (about 1”) before you water again. This method maintains a good balance of air and water in the soil.
Light is one of the major environmental factors that will affect your plants growth. The easiest method of adjusting light intensity is simply moving the plant closer or farther from a light source. Some easy ways to manipulate the light for your plants would be:
· Moving the plant to a lighter room (southern versus northern exposure)
· Providing separate artificial light for the plant such as a grow light or other artificial light.
· Place a sheer or lace curtain between the plant and window to reduce direct light.
· Reduce reflected light with a dark backdrop.
· Shade the plant with another plant.
· Move the plant back from a strong light source (for example, a south-facing window)
Always check on your plants, the more you care for them the more you will notice instinctively, and you will be able to tell if it may need to be moved to more or less light. If your plant seems like its thriving in one area, its best just to leave it!
Temperature and Humidity
Temperature and Humidity also play a part in where you should place your plants in your home. The temperature in your home is adjusted to keep us comfortable, realize that some rooms like bedrooms or basements will naturally be cooler and kitchens and bathrooms may be warmer. Most house plants thrive at normal home temperatures, but it’s always good to realize that if you have a plant that loves hot humid conditions it may not be best to place in a cooler location. As mentioned, some plants like more humidity than others. Those plants that may thrive in a high humidity environment may do better in a bathroom or mudroom where humidity is typically a little higher in our home.
Nutrients and Repotting
Besides the environmental factors that we’ve already discussed, other factors like knowing when to fertilize and when it’s time to repot your plant is just as important. Our plant’s soil is where they get all of their nutrients, so when a plant is actively growing with a limited amount of soil it is important that we replenish the soil with those nutrients. The easiest way to do this is through watering them through a soluble fertilizer. You can find these at any garden store (including our shop!), just be sure to follow the manufactures directions. During the long days of the year when plants are actively growing (Easter to Thanksgiving), fertilize about every other week. During the short days of the year (Thanksgiving to Easter), fertilize only every 4 to 6 weeks. If plants are totally dormant, it’s best not to fertilize until new growth starts.
Besides adding fertilizer, as our plants are growing, we also need to give them more space to grow at times. When your plant may not be doing well and no obvious reason is noticeable or if you begin to see roots out of drainage holes, it may be time to repot. When transplanting, consider such factors as size and condition of the plant, size and type of container (don’t forget the drainage holes!), type and amount of soil mixture, and prevention of damage to the plant.