Growing beautiful house plants can be addictive or at least habit forming. There is something that feels good about walking into a house full of beautiful tropicals. It smells nice and they not only filter the air but they also humidify the indoor environment. In dry climates this is a nice advantage. I find the look of lush tropicals adds to the decor of a room as well and makes a room feel more relaxing. But what is the secret to growing indoor plants? There are a few rules to understand and follow that make all the difference. The farther north you live the more chance that light will be an issue through the winter months. In your house you will have everything a tropical plant needs like warmth, Water, nutrients and often protection from pests. The only limiting factor is light. So as the seasons change and the days grow short move your plants closer to the windows in a bright location. You could also add some artificial light source like grow lights of some sort. The other important note that we need to be aware of when the days shorten is that plants indoors need less nutrients and less water through these winter months. Some types of succulent plants will actually go through the majority of the winter without water at all! So identify your plants so you can learn more about the specifics of your plants.
So if you asked me what would be the number one thing I could do with my house plants to make them healthier? I would say set a timer on your phone or watch or clock to go off twice per week at a convenient time you will be home to remind you to check your house plants. In most instances you will do very little to these plants you will be literally just paying attention to them. When you observe your plants carefully twice per week you will start to recognize some individual changes to each plant each week. You will spot issues as they start not after they have already gone bad and gone too far. You will start to recognize the rate at which each plants uses water and you will notice thigs happen when they are happening like leaves turning yellow. This heightened awareness is the key to success. If you go several weeks without checking your plants you will find a problem that is way too late to do anything about or the plant is okay but it has lost its quality due to neglect. With todays technology it is easier to set reminders to just have a quick look, this can be the game changer when it comes to heading off a problem before it gets bad. Most plants like to go slightly dry between waterings so by checking you will develop the rhythm of each plants and hit the water requirements perfectly to maintain a close to optimum condition.
Lastly with indoor plants in pots we should give the plants a long slow soak every spring and allow the water to run through the soil to dissolve unwanted salts and wash them away from the roots improving the soils viability. This ‘leaching’ is a must and should also be put on your calendar to be sure it’s done at least once per year.
Plants make our indoor environments better for sure. They are however completely reliant on you to provide them this their needs without miss every week. Small pots need more attention that big pots plants may need more water and nutrients in the summer that winter, some species have adapted to specific conditions, we need to learn about to get the most out of them.
Enjoy your indoor garden and don’t give up just put it into your schedule they can be the healthiest addiction.
Picture by Cottonbro