Indoor plants: the basics of house plant care

Keeping plants alive indoors can prove next to impossible to some, but it really isn’t all that hard to do. Plants need light, water, support, nutrients, and an adequate air supply. Like anything in this world, excessive amounts of any one thing is often a bad thing, even if that substance is necessary for survival. Just because you think your plant might want more of something, doesn’t mean you are doing your plant any good. The fact of the matter is, unless you know what you are doing, you may very well be killing it. Here are some of the basics of house plant care:

Water Wise

A good way to accurately and efficiently find out when your plant needs more water is to keep an eye on the soil. When the soil looks dry, just stick you finger in it. If the soil is dry in the first couple centimeters, is it probably time to give the plant more water. If your finger comes up with a little water on it, your plant is probably fine

Feed Me

Slow release fertilizers are generally coated in a material of varying thickness that breaks down over time to release the tiny fertilizer pellets inside over a period of a few months. They can be mixed into the potting soil/medium at planting time, but they can also be spread onto the top of the soil at any time. Slow release fertilizers take the guess work out of fertilizing- just follow the directions, and your plant will be fed worry-free for a while.

Keep It clean

Clean your indoor house plants every couple months or so. If you live in a dusty area, do it more often. Clean and firm with a soft sponge or cloth. A word about sponges here. Look for soft, pliable, and gentle ones. Avoid coarse, rough sponges like loofas and some commercial varieties–even if you have to test squeeze them in the store! The best sponges are natural cellulose types and the big, light brown, round-cornered ones (not loofas) that are used at car washes. 

Drainage

Saturate the soil. Pour water into the soil slowly, so that water is moved throughout the soil before exiting the bottom of the pot. If you do this correctly, the soil will be thoroughly and adequately watered by the time water comes out the bottom of the pot. Keep watering (slowly) until a little water comes out the bottom of the pot. A good rule of thumb is about 1/10 of the water you put in should flow out the bottom of the pot. A little plant tray that will keep the access water under control is a very good investment. But any waterproof surface will do.

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Image Via Inside Out

Contact: The Garden Shop

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