Caring for Indoor Plants – Simple Tips

Indoor Plants
Indoor Plants

Indoor Plants

It's not unusual for people to worry about how to care for their indoor plants. These seven simple tips should help you stop worrying and let you enjoy your indoor plants they way you're meant to enjoy them.
  • Watering - Did you know that most indoor plants are killed by over-watering? While looking at the soil is one method for checking soil moisture you need to remember that looks can be deceiving. To see if your plants need watering try the finger test. Just insert your index finger into the soil up to the first joint. If the soil feels damp don't water! You should also pay attention to any directions that came with your plant such as "keep moist" or  “let dry between watering”.
  • Feeding - When it comes to feeding your indoor plants the most important thing to remember is "don't over-fertilize" and "don't under-fertilize". Remember that different plants have different feeding requirements. Foliage plants usually have high nitrogen needs whereas flowering plants require potassium. During a plants most active growth period, spring and summer,  your indoor plants should be fed three times with a soluble fertilizer. Also keep in mind that some plants e.g., cacti and orchids need special fertilizer. Before you feed make sure your plant is getting the right fertilizer by reading any instructions that came with the plant.
    door Cactus Require Special Fertlizers

    Indoor Cactus Require Special Fertlizers

  • Lighting - Different types of plants have different light requirements. While some plants will do very well without direct sunlight whereas other prefer direct or partial sunlight. Thus the placement of your plants is something that must be considered. A simple way to tell if your plants are receiving too much or too little light is looking at them. Plants that require high light levels may not die but they may begin to look ragged, the stems my become longer and leaf growth will slow down. Plants requiring lower light levels can end up with brown spots or burnt leaves if they receive too much light. Plants also tend to grow in the direction of a light source. If you notice your plants are developing a decided lean simply turn them 180 degrees. As always the best way to ensure your plants are getting the right amount of light is to read any labels that came with the plant.
  • Temperature - While indoor plants can survive in either cool or warm temperatures, drastic fluctuations are generally a bad thing. Plants producing flowers tend to have strict day and night temperature tolerances if they are going to produce flowers. On the other hand, foliage producing plants are less sensitive to temperature. Ideally, temperature fluctuations between 55 degrees and 75 degrees Fahrenheit are considered  pretty standard. Temperatures should always be cooler during the night. The best way of finding out what temperatures your plants require for optimum growing conditions is to read any labels carefully. If the label states temperatures should be cool, average or high then the 55 to 75 degree range will suffice.
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    Bathrooms are excellent for High Humidity

    Bathrooms are excellent for High Humidity

  • Humidity - Some indoor plants do require a humid environment and this can be as equally important as water. In some instances simply spraying the plants with a mister will to the trick. However, there are plants that require a constantly humid atmosphere and your bathroom is an ideal location for this type of plant. You can also group plants together to create a micro-climate with a higher humidity than the surrounding area. You can place your plant's pot inside a larger pot and fill the gap between the pots with gravel to help retain water. Similarly, fill the bottom of the container with gravel and fill the dish the container sits in with water to help maintain moisture levels. Also remember that humidity levels drop during winter so you need to keep an eye on your plants and maintain their moisture levels.
  • Re-potting - Some plants require re-potting for optimum growth, others resent having their roots disturbed while some have small roots system that don't require re-potting.  One way to check if your plant needs re-potting is to turn it upside down.  Tap the pot to release the plant and check its roots.  If roots are all you see, then re-pot. Sometimes the roots will come out of the pot. You should either cut them off or re-pot the plant.
  • Read the Instructions - The most important thing you can do to give your plants a healthy life and to ensure that you reap the benefits they bring is to read any instructions, labels etc. that come with your plants or seeds. If you're in doubt or have questions contact your local nursery, consult a book or search the Internet.

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