Some have a green thumb and caring for plants comes as a natural thing for them. But not everyone is so lucky. Plus, it’s more to this than simply watering the plant when you need to. Caring for indoor plants is a complex process and we’re going to reveal the important aspects so you can make your plants happy.
Selecting the ring plants
It all starts with the selection process. You need to pick the plants that work best for you. Don’t just get what looks pretty. So do your homework and find out which species of plants do well in your climate and which one would best suit your lifestyle. For example, if you’re not around much, get plants that require little care. If you’re taking your indoor garden seriously, then you can opt for something more high-maintenance. You should also examine the environment you wish to place the plants in and see how much natural light they would get.
Then, when you finally made your choice, it’s time to go out and find your future indoor plants and take them home. Here are a few tips which will help you select the best specimens.
Only take home healthy-looking plants. If a plant looks sick or not in great shape, it might be too late to save it. Of course, if you have lots of experience you could be adventurous.
Start with easy plants which require little maintenance and see how things go. It’s important to take things gradually. If you start with something difficult, you’ll most likely encounter problems or fail altogether and then become discouraged.
Avoid the temptation to bring indoors plants that normally grow indoors. They won’t do that well inside and you’ll only be hurting them.
If you’re an avid collector and already have plenty of experience with plants, then you already know what to look for. But make sure you purchase greenhouse-grown plants and not wild-collected one so you can be sure of their authenticity. Also, stay away from endangered species.
Selecting the pots and the soil
Once you’ve decided what type of plants you want to grow in your home, it’s time to select the pots to put them in. You can basically use any type of container as a pot as long as it’s good for your plants. The container should have one or more holes in the bottom for proper drainage. If not, the roots may drown and this will cause the plant to die.
Select the pots according to the type of plants you have in mind and the space where you wish to keep them. Make sure they’re not too small for your plant. Also, if you plan on moving around your plants, you should get lightweight containers.
Buy the potting soil from your local garden center or other specialized shops. As tempting as it may be to simply get some from the garden or yard, avoid doing that because that soil can be filled with weed seed or could contain insects and fungal diseases. Some plants require certain types of potting soil , such as succulents for example.
Check the moisture content of the soil before using it. You may need to add water so read the directions first.
Potting the plants
Start by filling the container with soil. The base of the plant should be about 1” from the top of the pot. Before putting in the plant, pat down the soil lightly with your fingers to eliminate big air pockets. Then remove the plant from its nursery container. If the roots and tangled and circling around, gently tease the ends. Set the plant on top of the potting mix and carefully fill the container with soil. Water the plant so the roots can settle nicely.
When you pick the spot for your potted plant, make sure it gets the right amount of light, depending on the type of plant you’ve chosen. It’s good to rotate the pot regularly so all sides of the plant get to enjoy the light.
Watering your plants
It’s important to provide your plants with consistent watering so you don’t stress out their root systems. Different plants have slightly different watering requirements so make sure you know these details so you can properly care for each of them.
Larger plants placed in larger pots need less watering than those in small containers so take this in consideration as well. Also, when your plants produce flowers they’ll most likely need a bit more water than usually.
Water the plants until the water comes out of the drainage holes and only water the soil, not the leaves and flowers to prevent fungal diseases or scorch spots. Don’t be too eager to water the plants if they look wilted in the hottest time of the day. This is just their self-protecting mechanism that prevents moisture loss from the root area.
Feeding the plants
All plants need water, light and food to stay healthy. Those growing in containers need more fertilizing than the ones growing in the ground and the more you water your plants the faster you flush out the nutrients in the soil.
When feeding your plants, take into consideration their growth rate, age and the time of the year. Avoid fertilizing them when they’re not actively growing or when they are stressed. Most plants have a growth spurt in spring and summer and that’s the best time to fertilize them.
Fertilizers are of various different types. It’s usually good to use a time-released fertilizer when you’re first planting on when you’re moving your plant into a new pot.
There is such a thing as using too much fertilizer. That can burn the roots and stunt the growth of the plants so get informed before feeding your plants.
Dealing with pest problems
Obviously, you should check the plants for diseases or insects before buying them. Yet these problems can appear later on if you’re not careful. So prevent insects from entering your home and check both sides of the leaves of your plants each time you water them.
If you suspect a plant might be infested with a disease or a pest, immediate isolate it from the rest or the problem will spread to other plants as well. There are different ways to deal with different pests. If insects attack your plants, you can use insecticidal soap to get rid of the soft-bodied types or rubbing alcohol for the ones with waxy coatings.
If you notice diseases attacking your plants, immediately remove or destroy the diseased plant or the affected leaves or stems. Then try to identify the type of disease so you can properly deal with it.
Grooming your houseplants
Regular grooming helps a plant stay healthy and look better. Deadheading is an important habit you should form. It involves regularly trimming faded flowers and removing yellow, brown or withered leaves. Make sure you make a clean cut without tearing the stem.
Pruning is also important. If you notice an overgrown plant, cut it back to a proper size to encourage new growth and to make it look healthy and beautiful.
When pinching a plant you’re basically removing stem tips and the topmost leaves to promote the growth of the side buds. This technique is particularly useful in the case of fast-growing plants.
And, of course, it’s important to keep the plants clean. Wash the leaves of your plants regularly to get rid of dust and grime and to keep the healthy. Dust clogs the pores of the leaves and make it difficult for the plant to breath. It also prevents light to reach the plant.
So wash the leaves with a gentle shower of room-temperature water or use a soft brush is the leaves are hairy. Never use a feather duster to clean your plants because they can easily transfer tiny insects or eggs from one plant to another.