Learning how to grow indoor houseplants is easy and your success depends on a few things. The light conditions are important and different plants will need more or less light to thrive. Heat conditions should also be considered to help you locate certain plants in certain rooms or areas. Lastly, humidity requirements should be taken into account to help with placement and plant selection. Master these three aspects and you’ll be an expert on indoor planting.
Interest in growing houseplants is increasing tremendously. Why? Nowadays, homes have better heating, cooling, and lighting conditions than in years past. The assortment of available plants and containers are greater than ever and the concern for our environment has grown.
Many homes, apartments, and offices have large windows that provide the light necessary for plant growth. If natural sun light is not abundant, artificial light can be used as a substitute. Some indoor houseplants are easy to grow such as philodendron, whereas other varieties like Peperomia can be a challenge. Something a little more challenging would include Ferns and Anthurium.
Selecting the Right Plant: Your odds of success will be most affected by the conditions you provide them. Also helpful will be an understanding of environmental factors regarding plant growth such as light, humidity, and temperature needs.
Lighting Requirements: Well-lighted rooms suit most houseplants. South and west facing windows provide the best light if they are not blocked by buildings, trees or curtains. Windows on the east side of a house are better for plants like aglaonemas and rubber plants. Direct sun is usually not too strong for most plants in the winter, but as the sun’s intensity increases toward summer, the plants should be moved away from the glass or shaded by a curtain. Although sunlight is very important, excessive sun can cause leaves to turn pale green or yellow and can also cause them to burn. Where natural light is totally inadequate, artificial light can be added to make growing most plants a possibility.
Heat and Humidity Requirements: Most heated homes and offices have very dry air, which is harmful to indoor plants, especially those with high humidity requirements. Plants like African violets, ferns, and orchids which require high humidity do well if placed in a bathroom if the temperature and light requirements are also met.
Most homes are kept at a temperature range from 65 – 70 degrees throughout the day. This suits a wide variety of plants. Some plants; however, prefer cooler temperatures. Cyclamen will thrive in chilly conditions with a daytime temperature around 60 degrees. Night temperatures are important also. Most plants grow best when there is a 10 to 15 degree drop in room temperature between daytime and nighttime. Yet, be careful not to allow a greater drop as it will be harmful to your houseplants.
On extremely cold winter nights, it would be a good idea to move your houseplants away from windows. Temperatures on a windowsill can be 20 degrees lower than anywhere else in the house. In fact, you can also use cardboard or newspaper between the windows and the plants for temporary protection from the cold.
Watering Requirements: The number one cause of death in indoor houseplants is over watering. The amount of water a plant needs will depend on the type of plant, room temperature, and the time of year. Generally, houseplants need more water during the flowering or growing season (spring and summer) than during the resting season (fall and winter). The dry, warm atmosphere of certain heated dwellings may make it necessary to water more frequently during the resting months. Remember, all plants are different and will need to be watered according to it’s individual needs.
Fertilizer Requirements: Fertilizer should be applied during the growing season (spring and summer) after the plant has been watered. A liquid or powder fertilizer, which is specifically designed for houseplants is the best choice. Over use of fertilization can build up soluble salts and this can damage the roots for plants confined to containers. To remedy this, reduce the frequency of feeding and periodically flush the soil by adding a large amount of water and letting it run out the drainage holes. Discard water as it pools into your saucers and never let a plant sit in standing water for very long.
Following these tips on how to grow indoor houseplants will help you be successful in the long run.