5 Tips for Keeping Your Houseplants Alive
1. Underwatering is better than overwatering.
Watering your plants is the hardest thing to get right. Most issues with plants turns out to be a water problem. When your plant needs water it will show physical signs such as drooping, leaf curling, or wrinkling (in succulents and cacti). When you overwater, you might not know until it’s too late. Develop a routine, but learning to be observant is the best process, since environmental conditions often fluctuate even indoors. Watering in the morning is ideal, so the plant can use the water throughout the day.
For more, read our post: ‘Everything You Need to Know About Watering Your Plants’
2. Know how much sunlight you really have, before shopping for plants.
Most people don’t have as much natural light as they think. This is a big reason why growing plants indoors is much more difficult that outdoors. It’s also why tropical plants, or plants that thrive in lower light conditions are most popular.
Before you buy a plant, check how much light it needs. A simple search like “_____ plant light requirements” or “_____ plant care instructions” will give you terms like: “full sun”, “bright indirect light”, or “partial shade”. These are general descriptors because it’s difficult to define light for all situations. It’s important to note that indoor light is much less strong, and these descriptors are usually for outdoor growing. Southern facing windows have the strongest light, then western, then eastern, and northern facing windows have the least strong light.
For more, read our post ‘Everything You Need to Know About Light’
3. Make sure you’re using the right soil.
All plants cannot live in the same type of soil. This is obvious for a gardener with experience, but this may not even cross a new gardener’s mind. Soil mixes for different plants can be bought or you can buy the individual ingredients and mix your own.
For more, read our post ‘Everything You Need to Know About Soil’
4. Know your home’s humidity levels.
Most houseplants sold are from tropical parts of world where humidity levels are high. Most homes are drier than desired because of temperature regulating systems and a lack of constant airflow. The majority of these plants are resilient to low humidity, but a large chunk of these plants will struggle. Even succulents and cacti are used to higher humidity levels than usually available indoors. The humidity needs of a plant goes hand in hand with watering needs. Most new gardeners disregard humidity, but it’s actually quite important. There are many ways to increase humidity, all explained in our post ‘Everything You Need to Know About Watering Your Plants’.
5. Consider your pot.
You may like the look of a pot without a water tray, or find it convenient, but it’s really not the ideal home for your plant. Excess water needs to drain out. The chances of overwatering your plant, (which leads to root rot) are much higher without a drainage hole. Whatever you do, do not put rocks at the bottom of a pot without a drainage hole! This is a widely spread bad tip, that does not work. Water gets trapped at the rock layer and accumulates. With just soil, the excess water can at least wick back up and evaporate.
Read our post: ‘Our Favorite Planters on Amazon Right Now’