Indoor Plant Care Basics
Just like any living being, plants have some basic needs. Indoor plants specifically rely on the caretaker to help them thrive and survive. The essentials for indoor plant success are light, water, food, and temperature. How much of each, depends on the plant you are considering.
Generally, most plants prefer a location with bright, indirect sunlight, once a week watering, good draining soil and occasional bit of attention to check for any issues. Once you start to bring home a plant or two, you may decide to add a few more and then paying attention to each plant’s requirement becomes a little more important.
Pay particular attention to preferred light levels and if that matches what you can provide it at home. There are plants that prefer a brighter location (flowering and colourful foliaged plants), medium light or partial shade plants, and plants that tolerate low to no natural light. Many plants can adapt to low light situations, but colour loss or decreased leaf/flower production may occur.
Watering is one of the most important factors to helping your plant thrive or dive. Overwatering and underwatering are a fine balance that may take some trial and error to master, but usually it is better to err on the side of keeping your plant’s soil on the dry side. Plant moisture preferences will be instructed as only water when soil is dry, keep soil evenly moist, or prefers boggy situations (not often with house plants). Plants that come from arid regions, such as cactus and succulents may only need to be watered once a month, and those that are from the tropics will need water at least once a week.
*In winter, generally plants require less water due to shorter day lengths, but winter heating and vents can dry out soil quicker than expected.
Why do many plants prefer well-drained soil? Most plants dislike having roots in soggy cold soil, this often leads to root rot, yellow leaves, and plant demise. We recommend making sure that you water in well and allow soil to drain freely away from the roots. Use drainage trays, or water your plants in the sink; always make sure drainage trays are emptied of any excess water.
Feed your plant with appropriate indoor plant fertilizer at recommended strength (check instructions on labels) from spring to fall unless flowering or fruiting (more specific fertilizer available for these plants). Generally, room temperature is appropriate for your house plants, noting that most of them dislike cold drafts (open door or windows) or hot air from vents or other heat sources.