Your houseplant will add tropical elegance and excitement to your home, and allow you to enjoy the beauty of nature all year long, no matter the weather! Everyone can grow houseplants; they are among the most low maintenance plants you can grow. You should have success following these few simple tips.
Soil Requirements and Potting
Your houseplant is already potted in a quality potting mix designed to allow for good drainage. You should not need to repot for a few years, unless the plant grows too large for the pot. When repotting, be sure to use a good quality commercial potting mix. The pot should have drainage holes, and you will want to supply a tray or saucer to protect your floors or furniture. Please note that it is normal for plants to drop some of their leaves right after you receive them. They should grow new leaves once they are acclimated to your house.
Most houseplants prefer bright, indirect light. A sunny south facing window is usually ideal. Houseplants also grow well under plant lights. If you grow houseplants in your window, be sure to turn them when they start leaning toward the light so they get light on all sides.
Most homes, particularly when heated in winter, have very low humidity compared to outside, and especially compared to the native habitats of many houseplants (other than succulents). In order to keep humidity levels higher, keep your plants away from drafts, heating vents or wood stoves. Placing the pot on a tray filled with moist pebbles is ideal, as well as attractive.
Proper watering of your houseplants is key to their success. Be careful not to over water your plants, or allow them to stand in water, as this can cause the roots to rot. We do not recommend watering on a daily schedule, or necessarily watering all your plants at one time, but rather water each plant as needed. Do not allow your plants to wilt. To tell if your plant needs to be watered lift the pot and if it feels light, chances are your plant needs to be watered. Stick your finger in the soil and if it is dry more than an inch down, water thoroughly so that water comes out the drainage holes. Remove any excess water in the tray. Plants prefer room temperature water, so keep your watering can full and ready to use when needed. If the soil pulls away from the sides of the pot soak the pot in a tray of water until it expands, then gently push the soil to the sides. It is important that the soil be evenly moist so the water gets to the plant roots rather than running down the insides of the pot.
As long as your plants are actively growing, feed them with a balanced liquid fertilizer recommended for house plants at the recommended rate on the package.
Pests and Diseases
Most houseplants do not have serious pests or diseases but on occasion there may be an issue. Many problems will be avoided if you do not crowd houseplants. Check for insects and any sticky substances of the upper and lower foliage surfaces as this can indicate mealy bugs, whitefly or aphids. You can try washing these off the plant with warm water or use an insecticidal soap. Spider mites can be kept at bay with frequent showers. Remove any severely affected foliage.
Remove dead or dying foliage as needed. Some foliage may need to be gently washed if it gets dusty.
Most houseplants prefer to spend the warm days of summer outside in a protected location where they get indirect light. Be sure to bring them inside when night temperatures drop into the 50s.
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