Healthy Indoor Plants
Indoor plants are a great way to add a touch of nature to our homes. They can take a barren-looking corner and turn it into a mini oasis. Plants can take a dull, almost clinical looking room and transform it into a place that looks alive and warm.
The biggest enemy of the average indoor plant is their human caretaker. All too often, indoor plants are killed out of love. They get watered too much or they’re fed too many fertilizers. Sometimes we worry about them being too cold so place them in rooms that are too hot, or we worry that they’re not getting enough sunlight and put them on a window sill where the sun’s rays are magnified to the point of killing the poor plant.
There are some tips for keeping your plants nice and healthy and, best of all, they’re easy. Take a look at these 10 easy tips for keeping your indoor plants healthy so they can stay with you for several years.
1. Know Your Plants
Some plants need to be watered every day while others may only need a small amount once or twice a week. The key is to know your plants. Once you understand the conditions they like to live in you’ll also know which to keep on a sunny window sill and which might prefer a corner out of direct sunlight. Then, you also need to know how much to water each particular plant and, more importantly, how often. Before you fill your house with plants, look at where you want to place the plant stands. You will then need to look at things like humidity and temperature in these areas, as well as the amount of sunlight the plants will be exposed to. You will then have all the information you need to choose the right plants and care for them appropriately.
2. Ensure Your Plants Have Good Drainage
The only thing worse for a plant that not watering it is overwatering and this problem is often exacerbated when there is not enough drainage in the soil. When excess water can’t drain away properly, the water sits in the soil and begins to stagnate. This is a death sentence for an indoor plant and usually results in the plant rotting in the wet soil. One way to ensure your plant doesn’t become waterlogged is to provide it with a good drainage system. This is as simple as adding some stones to the bottom of the pot when you re-pot your plant. The water will pass through the soil and stones and away from the plant’s roots. Your plant will take all the water it needs and the surplus will drain away into the pot’s saucer where it can’t hurt your plant.
3. Place A Sponge In The Bottom Of Your Pots
If you’re forgetful when it comes to watering your plants, or if you find you’re not home enough to remember watering your plants, you need to find a way to keep your plants moist for extended periods. A simple solution to this dilemma is to place a piece of sponge in the bottom of the pot. When you water your plants, the plant will take the amount of water it needs and the rest will remain in the sponge. Your plant can then consume water as needed. This is also a useful tip for frequent travelers. Your plant will not dry up when you aren’t around to water it as often as you need to. Avoid synthetic sponges where possible and use natural ones.
4. Let There Be Light
Some plants thrive in direct sunlight while others only need a minimum amount of light. The thing to remember is that they all need some sunlight to grow strong and healthy. Place your plants in where they will get the right amount of light. You may have to ask your local botanist which plants benefit from being placed in full sunlight and which need to be moved away from the window. Similarly, you can do your own research online or get your information from books on plants. Just make sure you always open your blinds or curtains every morning so that all that precious sunlight can make its way to your plants. Once you place your plants in the correct sunlight, you may notice that the side facing the source of sunlight grows better and often slants towards the light. To keep the growth of your plants even, rotate your pots so that each side get equal exposure to the light.
5. Pull Out The Garden Shears
Every gardening enthusiast has at least a few gardening tools they use in the garden. Your indoor plants will thank you for trimming off overrun branches and leaves. Get your pruning shears out and examine your plants at least once a month. Trim off any branches and leaves that look unhealthy or as though they are overrunning the plant. What you are doing is removing unnecessary parts of the plant that consume a lot of water and nutrients. The rest of the plant will have more of its necessary food and water and will thrive without the burden of overbearing odds and ends. Don’t throw the offcuts away though. You can shred them and mix them into the soil as mulch which will retain water and feed your plants at the same time.
6. A New Use For Coffee Grounds And Tea Leaves
If you’re a regular coffee or tea drinker, share some of your favorite brews with your indoor plants. Most people throw their coffee grounds and tea leaves in the trash. What a waste! Both can be used as fertilizer for your indoor plants. Next time you make yourself a cup of coffee or tea, stop before you toss them out and sprinkle the coffee grounds or tea leaves on the soil around your plant. Both of these substances will enhance the pH levels of the soil and you will see a definite improvement and growth spurt from your plants. You don’t have to do this after every cup though. Once or twice a month is more than enough brew for your plants. Yes, they can get too much of a good thing so sprinkle coffee and tea sparingly.
7. Give Your Plants A Shower
Out in the wild plants get watered when it rains. Much of the rainwater ends up on the ground where the plant’s roots will take all the water they need, but the leaves also absorb a decent amount of water. Get yourself a spray bottle and spray a light mist of water on your plants leaves. This is something you can do on a regular basis during the warmer months, but if you heat your home during the colder months, your plants will dry out quickly without proper hydration. Maintain a good watering schedule but also give your plants a good misting every few days. Similarly, take your plants outside twice a year when it’s warm and give them good spraying with the mist on your garden hose. The extra water and sunlight will do wonders for health. Once you’ve misted your plants, leave them out for an hour or so before bringing them back in.
8. Keep Your Plants Clean
No matter how many times you dust around your home, more dust appears. It seems like a never-ending chore. Even so, it is one that needs to be done on a regular basis. While you’re doing the dusting, don’t neglect your plants. A thick layer of dust prevents sunlight from being absorbed by the plant’s leaf system. This limits the process of photosynthesis which is how plants feed themselves. They take in carbon dioxide, water, and sunlight. If they can’t absorb enough sunlight, this process is hindered. Regular spraying of water on your plants is a definite help, but you need to remove the dust from the leaves as well. Once the dust has been cleared, your plants can photosynthesize and stay healthy. Take a soft cloth and wipe off the dust. Not only will your plants be happy, but they will also look bright and shiny without that awful layer of dust.
9. Give Your Plants Some Soda
Plain water is a plant’s best friend, but once a week, water your plants with soda or mineral water. This does of carbonated water is full of minerals that your plants will absolutely love. They will thrive from this special treat and look bigger and brighter than you could imagine. You can also give them an occasional drink of flat beer for an added boost. If you’ve had a party or just had friends over the night before, you’ll probably have a few glasses of flat beer floating around your kitchen. Don’t pour them down the sink, give them to your plants instead. Don’t overdo the beer though. A little is great for your plants, but too much will kill them. If you have leftover sugary drinks don’t pour those into your indoor plants though. The sugar can ferment and promote the growth of fungus which will damage your plants.
10. Save The Water From Your Cooking
Some of the water you cook your food can be a great source of nutrients for your indoor plants. For example, when you boil eggs, don’t discard the water down the kitchen sink. Once you’ve boiled your eggs, remove them from the pot and let the “egg” water cool down. Once cooled you can water your plants with this water. The water will have trace elements of minerals from the eggshells making this water a natural and nutrient-rich fertilizer for your plants. You can also use this same principle when you boil vegetables. We are constantly being told by nutritionists that a lot of the vitamins and minerals in our vegetables end up in the water we boil them in, so once again we can use the water to fertilize our plants. Just don’t forget to let the water cool down first. You don’t want to cook your plants.
One important point about indoor plants is that they are a living thing and this means they do need a certain level of care. If you don’t consider yourself a gardening pro, start with low maintenance plants that won’t need a lot of your time. If you love using fresh herbs in your cooking, these are perfect for the green thumb novice and they will look amazing in your kitchen.
Put on your gardening gloves, grab your tools and start with a few indoor plants in your favorite part of your home. Before you know it you’ll have a great collection of plants to bring life and color to your home.