Tips to keep your indoor plants green and blooming
If you are among those like me who love plants and gardening, but the time and care requires stresses, you have come to the right place. People like us are usually envious of those whose plants seem to thrive and look lively every time you see them.
If you struggle to keep plants alive or blooming and green, the good news is that you can do it too. Gardening doesn’t come naturally to everyone and especially to city dwellers who have spaces to try home gardening pr terrace gardening. Home gardening or terrace gardening is a skill you can learn and get better at.
This article aims to help you become a good gardener and have your indoor plants in perfect health all the time. And in case you are just starting your gardening journey check out our guide to terrace-balcony-gardening.
Keeping Potted Houseplants healthy
Let’s start by understanding how to ensure your plants don’t wilt away or die. Plant care rules are almost the same for many plant varieties, but the temperature and the environment they are kept in are different, and hence these tips to keep your indoor plants healthy and alive will be useful for you.
1. Pots for Indoor Plants must have drainage holes
A good pot has a draining hole at the bottom. This is to ensure that excess water can drain away and not drown the roots leading to rotting. Keep a small water collection tray under the pot, so extra water does not spoil the areas around the pot. The best containers for indoor plants have drainage.
#Tip : If your plant looks wilted and droopy or has yellowed leaves, but the soil is still moist, you probably have a drainage problem, and the plant roots are wet for too long.
2. Changing Pots for indoor plants
Plants grow. They grow with nutrition and watering, which is supplied to the stem, branches, leaves, and flowers – all this nutrition is provided by the roots. They too, grow just as the plant blooms into a bigger one. When the plant becomes top-heavy, and its needs of space and nutrition are not met by the small bunch of roots restricted by the pot, the roots will not be able to support the growth of your plant, leading to the plant’s death.
3. Use Good Potting Soil
Potting soil has been a discussion among gardeners forever. The reason we use potting soil and not soil in general is because potting soil is a mix of soil, fertilisers, growth boosters that reduce the needs for care for your indoor plants. A Good Potting soil mix has fertilizers that provide the necessary nutrients for houseplant stay active and healthy.
A visit to your local nursery or to one of the online websites that sell good quality potting soil for indoor house plants will resolve this issue. And remember, there are various types of potting mix available or different plant types, so choose a potting mix that is neutral for a few plant species, and you will not have any trouble with your plants.
4. The Watering Dilemma
Watering your indoor house plants are for that matter, watering any plants in your garden is something you have to pay most attention to once you have your home garden ready. Remember, excess water can kill your plants, and they don’t have enough water to be able to absorb nutrients and moisture they can wilt and die. If you want to have those nice looking bushy green plants, you will need to spend some time to understand your plant’s watering needs. You will notice that most plants except succulents and rubber plants prefer to live in moist soil, while there are plants that live healthier longer lives if you allow the soil to dry out between watering cycles. When we wrote about decorative indoor plants to beautify your home you will notice we mentioned watering as well.
When you start your indoor garden or home gardening, feel the edges of the soil inside the pot for moisture. If it’s a little damp or moist, there is no need to water, but if the soil feels too dry and crumbles, go ahead and water the plant. This needs a few weeks of practice, and you will be able to know which of your indoor house plants need watering more frequently. Of course, you’ll also be able to tell if your plants are dying of thirst. If you notice the leaves are turning dry, brown and shriveled, your plant is in desperate need of water. Hopefully, however, you’ll water your plant long before it gets to this point.
How much water is enough for indoor plants? Two important signs here,
1. If the water begins to run out the hole at the bottom of the pot, stop watering .
2. If you notice water pooling up on the pot and the soil can longer absorb water stop.
And before we close on the subject of watering plants, make sure you are spraying the leaves weekly at least to get rid of the dust and insects. This will ensure the plant can absorb light and synthesize nutrients better.
While the above as a general rule is good to keep your plants alive, it would be better to read up on watering requirements of different plants to ensure they can stay healthy for longer. Just prepare a plant watering calendar on your mobile app or an excel sheet and stick it in the kitchen, or get hold of some so you don’t forget, and when you are out for a holiday, your family and plants should have no problems.
5. Light and Shade Requirements for Indoor House plants
Plants need some sunlight to survive. They don’t need to be out in the sun, and most indoor plants would die if they got direct sunlight, so a balance needs to be maintained. No, No, this doesn’t mean you need to keep moving your pots into sunny and shaded areas, just that you need to understand the placement of plants and light requirements. Every plant has different needs when it comes to shade versus sun, but if you put a plant in a dark shadowy corner, you are heading for disaster.
Over time you figure out the lighting areas your plant’s love, and then you can choose the best place in the house for its healthy and long-blooming life.
Windows, Grilles, Stairs are great places to put plants, and then rooms that get enough light for 4-6 hours a day would be ideal for most indoor plants to stay beautiful every day. There are many accessories that you can buy these days to add plants in places where you don’t have space to put a pot.
6. Fertilizers for houseplants
Most houseplants do not require frequent fertilization unless they are struggling to grow. If you’re unsure of how much or what type of fertilizers to use, it’s best to skip fertilizing and replace the potting soil mix every 6 months or so. You might want to store some general purpose fertilisers or manure for indoor plants just in case. Too much fertilization may harm your plants instead.
7. Don’t move your indoor house plants more often
Plants take a while to get accommodated in their surroundings and then start the process of self-growth. Once you have found the right spot, you will notice that a plant thrives with the right amount of temperature and light. Moving a plant around will always require it to re calibrate itself to adapt to the changes, and that may lead to stunted growth.
8. Pruning your house plants
As plants grow, some parts grow old, wilt, and dry away. Pruning old-growth on your plants will help your plants be healthy. Trimming dead ends or wilting leaves is a good practice now and then. This type of pruning habit not only helps the plant look better but provides an impetus for better growth. If you need that green bushy look prune more often but not like you chop away the plant :-).
9. Plants will have a health day if you Keep Your Pets Away
It should go without saying that pets can harm plants and some plants can be poisonous for your pets too. It’s something most home gardening newbies and enthusiasts do not think about when they start setting up their home garden. Some animals may love your plants, but unfortunately, this can lead to killing your plant. Some pets might eat your plant, or tear it up or, in some cases, decide to use it as a place to pee and poo.
10. A little study will ensure you have a lovely house full of lively plants
Just going to the nursery and buying a plant because you like its looks or ordering a houseplant from an online store will not make you a gardener. Combined with the 8 tips for indoor plant care listed above, this 9th tip is crucial to ensuring a long term healthy relationship with your plants. Whether it is indoor houseplants, hanging outdoor basket plants, terrace garden plants, or any plant under your care, learning about the plant and its needs is essential to becoming a successful home gardener. Learn how much sun a plant likes, the temperature it thrives in, nutrients that help it flower properly, interact with local gardening communities online, and enjoy having a home full of colour and health oxygen.