How to Grow House Plants Successfully: Your Indoor Plant Care Guide
As homeowners, we are always seeking ways to create color, texture and perhaps bring a sense of warmth into our homes. We may attempt to hang some pictures on the walls or repaint the living room — but nothing compares to the simplicity of indoor plants.
Whether you have a green thumb and knack for gardening, or no plant-caring skills whatsoever, the easiest indoor plants can liven up any home with simple upkeep.
Indoor plants require much of the same conditions as outdoor plants, but with much less maintenance. As a quick decorating tool for homes, indoor plants need sunlight, water and the right temperature. Simple, right?
Each plant has its own particular growing requirements, and you must note the different environments throughout your home. It’s smart to mimic the climate conditions of where each plant was purchased.
While some plants may require direct sunlight, others may settle for an array of sunlight and shade. While certain plants can live in a large vase of water, others may require weekly watering. It all depends on the type of plant and the different environments within your home.
While low-maintenance houseplants require the simple three elements of sunlight, water and the right temperature, each indoor plant’s needs vary within these essentials.
Different plants require different amounts of sunlight. Placing a cactus on a sunny windowsill is appropriate, while growing a peace lily in a cooler area is suitable for its needs. But no matter a plant’s location, the sun can still wilt leaves. This is a sign of dehydration where roots may be damaged. You must be careful of these indications and tailor each environment to each plant.
It the soil of a plant is too wet or too dry, the roots will begin to die from dryness or drowning and rot, which will eventually lead to the death of the plant. Again, you should be aware of each plant’s specific watering needs to determine when to rehydrate.
There are several methods you can use to tell when a plant needs water:
- Light or cracked potting soil
- Placing finger in soil
- Weight of plant
- Hand-held moisture meter
Too much watering is just as detrimental as leaving a plant dehydrated. Frequent watering encourages the growth of bacteria and fungi. Signs of overwatering include:
- Fungus or mold on soil surface
- Stagnant water at bottom of pot/container
- Mushy brown or smelly roots
- Brown patches on leaves
Good drainage is also vital to growing healthy houseplants because they are contained in pots with limited room. Always make sure the bottom of your pot contains a hole or a layer of rocks/pebbles if a hole is nonexistent. The idea is to not let your plants sit in a puddle of water — drainage allows for air to exist in the soil so your plants can “breathe.”
When watering, you want 10-20% extra runoff to spill to the bottom of the container. This process rids the soil of the plant’s waste products and flushes out any build-up of salt.
Most indoor plants thrive in temperatures between 58-86 degrees Fahrenheit. Most plants also thrive in high humidity around 80%. But of course, there are several exceptions. If you find your home becoming drier as the winter months approach, using a dehumidifier can increase moisture in the air. Daily misting can help as well for dry days.
Preventing Pests and Diseases
Keeping your houseplants clean and healthy is the #1 way to keep insects and diseases far away. By dusting plant leaves, it not only prevents dust build-up, but it also helps rid the plants of insects and spider webs. You can use a damp cloth or organic solution to eliminate any pests.
An indoor plant becomes vulnerable to diseases when it’s overwatered, under watered or placed in an unsuitable environment. If fungus or mildew become a problem, act quickly to treat it and to prevent more diseases from occurring. Remove dead flowers and leaf stems. If not removed, these conditions can become a breeding ground for even more bacteria.
What Are the Benefits of Indoor Plants?
Indoor plants generate ambiance in your home, and they also help purify the air. They can reduce stress and offer a tranquil feeling. Two aspects they influence the most:
- Air Quality: While indoor plants uphold the characteristic of converting carbon dioxide into oxygen, their benefits don’t stop there. Studies show the average house plant can absorb pollutants such as formaldehyde, benzene and other toxins. As such, plant-filled rooms contain up to 60% fewer airborne molds and bacteria compared to rooms with no plants. In a test performed by NASA, results conclude that in an 1,800-square-foot house, you should incorporate 15 to 18 houseplants to improve air quality. The research also shows how philodendron, spider plants and pothos are effective in removing formaldehyde molecules.
- Reduced Stress: The functionality of indoor plants is often overlooked. Because time spent in nature is linked to reduced stress, the same qualities can be linked to indoor plants such as the dracaena and peace lily. Another example includes the spider plant which can effectively reduce anxiety, respiratory problems and headaches. The most recognizable healing plant is the aloe vera which can topically reduce pain from cuts and burns.
Not Sure Which Plants to Get? Try These 10 Best Indoor Plants
While there’s a long list of house plants you can choose to welcome into your home, this is a round of the ten easiest plants you can grow inside your home.
1. Aloe Vera
Aloe Vera is a small indoor plant that has plump leaves fanning from the center of its base. It is most widely known for its medical properties where the gel can be used for burns, cuts and most popularly, sunburn. This succulent is a simple indoor plant that even produces offsets, or “babies.” By severing one of the offsets from the base, it can be replanted in a separate pot to start anew.
Tips: You should avoid frequent watering when caring for an aloe plant and water it less during the winter months. Let the soil completely dry between watering as well. An aloe vera plant can be kept at room temperatures around 70 degrees, surrounded by lots of sunlight.
If you’re just starting off with caring for indoor plants, a pothos is perfect for beginners. As a fast-growing plant, it is actually quite undemanding and easy to keep alive. The low-maintenance houseplant can grow up to 8 ft. long, but don’t worry, a simple trimming of the leaves will keep the plant plump and healthy. Because of its ability to reach long lengths, it lives well in a hanging basket.
Like many indoor plants, a pothos plant can absorb toxins in the air. Although it may prove to be beneficial in many ways, you should never ingest pothos as it’s extremely poisonous.
Tips: A pothos plant can adapt to an array of temperatures and light conditions, but direct sunlight should be avoided. This particular plant can also survive in water or soil environments: A pothos can thrive in a vase of water as long as the vase is consistently filled or grow in a pot of dry soil. Similar to an aloe vera plant, cuttings from a pothos plant can be re-rooted. However, a pothos plant that started in soil must remain in soil and as such for one in water.
Philodendron is often confused with pothos because of their similar heart-shaped leaves. It too is a fast-growing plant where the stems can trail over the edges of furniture. And like the pothos, the philodendron can be trimmed to keep it at a preferable length.
Tips: The durable foliage of the philodendron adapts to low light conditions and prefers room temperatures. For watering tips, make sure the soil surface is dry before each rehydration.
4. Snake Plant
As one of the best indoor plants, a snake plant, also known as mother-in-law’s tongue, tolerates neglects well and is essentially indestructible. With sword-shaped, thick and waxy leaves, a snake plant can have a variety of yellow to white leaf edges that grow upright.
Tips: A snake plant grows in a range of light conditions with dry air and soil. Because it thrives on being ignored, the Snake Plant is considered a low-maintenance houseplant.
Bromeliads are one of the best indoor plants to bring life to your home. The colorful foliage creates an exotic touch with bright colors. The wide leaves of the bromeliad plant are sword-shaped and grow around a central “cup.” The “cup” of the plant is essential for capturing water.
Tips: This vibrant and textured houseplant requires medium to bright light conditions. While it does well in shallow soil, you must be sure the roots are completely covered. To water the bromeliad plant, simply fill the “cup” at the base of the leaves.
If you often forget to water your indoor plants, consider caring for a cactus around your home. A cactus is one of the easiest indoor plants to grow because it has few demands of plant owners. Of course, there is not one specific species cactus, but you can do no wrong, no matter which you choose. A cactus can have spikey skin and twisty shapes or soft prickles and grow upright. No matter its shape or size, a cactus is sure to bring an element of art to your home.
Tips: A cactus requires full sunlight and occasional watering about every ten days. During the winter season, watering a cactus plant once a month is sufficient. It’s also suggested to “air out” your cactus during the growing seasons of spring and summer. Instead of using soil, a cactus plant prefers a sand or limestone mixture to represent qualities of a desert. Two common cactus plants are the flapjack and candelabra tree.
7. Jade Plant
The jade plant is one of the few houseplants that grow slowly. With its gnarly branches, the jade plant can survive for many decades. It is often paired with other small indoor plants and succulents to add an element of variety.
Tips: This voluptuous but small indoor plant needs dry soil conditions with little water. The jade plant lives well in bright sunlight and room temperatures.
8. Rubber Tree
Don’t be taken aback when reading the word “tree.” Although the rubber tree can reach a height of 8 ft., you can easily make it more manageable by pruning it down. The rubber plant gets its name from the sticky sap it oozes when injured. Its large green and shiny leaves create a pop of color in any room.
Tips: The rubber tree requires dry soil in between watering sessions. While it thrives in medium to bright sunlight, it can also thrive in dim lighting areas and cooler climates.
9. Peace Lily
The peace lily is one of the easiest plants to grow inside your home. Also known as the “closet plant,” the peace lily stays true to its name. With its white blooms and dark, contrasting leaves, the lily gives off a sense of relaxation and even reduces the number of toxins found in the air. While many people believe the white blooms are the flowers, they are actually specialized leaf bracts that enclose the actual flower. Because the peace lily grows broad leaves, dust can easily pile up. Dust the leaves with a damp cloth or run water over them.
Tips: As a low-maintenance houseplant, the peace lily thrives in the shade with cooler temperatures. Low humidity is essential for the plant while maintaining moist soil. A common mistake among plant owners is to overwater the plant. Be aware of this as it may cause root decay. While the peace lily can thrive in the shade, it can also tolerate large amounts of sunlight. The more sunlight, the more the white blooms will appear.
Described by many as decorative corn stalk, the dracaena has beautiful yellow and green striped leaves that grow upright. In many cases, several are planted in the same pot to form a fuller look. The stems of the dracaena plant, known as canes, can grow between 6 and 8 ft., but you can prune it 1-2 ft. above the soil for new shoots to grow.
Tips: Dracaena needs medium to bright light and dry/moist soil in between watering sessions.
Try Indoor Plants in Your Home
Now that you are fully knowledgeable about the best indoor plants and how to care for them, you will need the perfect home to have them thrive in, right? Triple Crown Corporation offers rental communities, including townhomes and apartments.
Find a new rental community today and get started on your houseplant endeavor.