“How to care indoor plants—10 easy steps’’


Indoor plants can be a great way to add some brightness to your house space, especially if you live in a severely cold climate or have limited yard space for an outdoor garden. It is relatively easy to take care of and is known to have mood-boosting qualities.

Taking care of indoor plants requires paying attention to their specific requirements, which may differ based on your plant type. If you're a new plant parent, this article can provide general guidelines for most indoor plants.

1. Select healthy indoor plants

Before implanting indoor plants inside the house, you must check whether the plants are healthy or not. Avoid houseplants with brown, yellowing, or dropped leaves, or visible pests or insects as they may carry diseases.

If you're not sure of the best indoor plants for your home, ask your plant shop expert for advice and guidance. There are a variety of indoor plants that are low-maintenance and easy to grow, such as Chinese evergreens, ferns, English ivy, pothos, and snake plants. These types of plants can thrive in almost any home environment.

2. Watch the light

Plants require sunlight to undergo photosynthesis, and the duration and intensity of light both impact their growth and development. The amount of light required for optimal growth varies depending on the type of plant. Some plants thrive in direct sunlight, while others do better in low-light environments. To determine the best location for them, it is helpful to observe how they respond to light.

3. Find a suitable space

It's important to consider size when choosing plants to ensure they don't outgrow their designated space too quickly. Small indoor plants, such as baby cactus, mini succulents, or piles, relocate easily. The best hanging indoor plants are ivies, string-of-pearls, vining pothos, etc.

Avoid moving plants frequently as they can adjust to their surroundings over time. Moving a plant from a shady spot to a sunny area too quickly can harm the plant. To relocate the plant, gradually expose it to the new environment by spending one hour a day in the sun-rich area. Gradually extend the duration of time spent in the new area until complete adjustment is achieved.

4. Potting soil

Use well-draining potting soil to prevent waterlogged roots. To ensure the optimal growth of your indoor plants, it is important to use a high-quality potting soil mix that provides essential nutrients and prevents your plants from suffering due to excessive dryness or wetness.

Also, select a pot (drainage holes at the bottom of your pot) that has good drainage. Proper drainage in plant pots is essential to avoid over-watering, which can be harmful and even deadly.

5. Water properly

To ensure proper watering, it's important to check the moisture level of the soil. Simply stick your finger about an inch into the soil and water only when the top inch feels dry. Keep in mind that some plants prefer consistently moist soil, so be sure to adjust accordingly.

  • If you notice mold developing on the soil's surface or standing water in the container's bottom, it's a sign that you have overwatered your plant and can damage the plant’s roots and prevent the plant from growing.
  • Discolored leaves, lack of leaf growth, loss of leaves, and soft rotten patches indicate overhydration.
  • Slow leaf growth, brown and dried leaf edges, and lower leaves become yellow and curled means signs of dehydration.

6. Fertilize periodically

Indoor plants generally need fertilizing every 3-4 weeks during their growing season (usually spring and summer). To promote the healthy growth of your indoor plants, use a water-soluble fertilizer with a balanced 10-10-10 (N-P-K) ratio. This type of fertilizer is ideal for most houseplants. For houseplants to survive, they require nutrients from potting soils and fertilizers. If the plant is not repotted or provided with fresh nutrients, it will ultimately perish.

It's crucial to avoid over-fertilizing your indoor plants as it can harm their roots and hinder their growth, just like overwatering. Follow the label directions to know how much plant food to use.

7. Humidity and temperature

To keep your plants healthy and happy, you can increase humidity in these easy ways,

  • Use a cool mist humidifier near your plant to provide moisture without wetting the foliage or flowers.
  • To keep your houseplants healthy, mist your houseplants with a fine spray of water a few times per day.
  • Create a humidity tray by filling a dish with small pebbles or polished stones. Add water just below the surface of the pebbles, then place the plant on top. As water evaporates, it humidifies the air around your plant.
  • Also, grouping plants can help create a humid environment, making for healthier plants.

It’s essential to be mindful of the water temperature when caring for your plant.

  • To keep your indoor plant healthy and thriving, it's crucial to monitor the water temperature. If the water is too hot, it can cause damage to the delicate root system and shock the plant.
  • Water that is too cold causes dormancy in your plant, which will suppress any existing and future vegetation.

8. Repotting overgrown houseplant

Check your houseplants every 1-2 years for indications that they require repotting. Some common signs to watch out for include stunted growth, roots expanded out of drainage holes, or appearing above the soil line. Simply transfer them to new pots that are slightly bigger, using fresh soil.

It's best to avoid using oversized pots and instead move up to the next size gradually. Large pots can cause issues such as excess soil and water, which may cause fungal diseases and root rot.

9. Pruning

Keeping your houseplants well-groomed and pruned will help maintain their neat and attractive appearance. There are three primary reasons why we should prune our indoor plants,

  • To enhance their appearance
  • Prevent them from becoming too big
  • Prune dead branches, stems, or diseased leaves that can attract bugs

Plants that grow rapidly often look best with frequent pinching to keep them compact and fuller. Regularly prune your plant to keep it healthy, and to prevent yourself from having to replant.

10. Pest-control

Indoor plants are mostly affected by spider mites, scale insects, and mealy bugs. For that reason, it's important to check weekly for any signs of infestation. If you find an insect, isolate the affected houseplant immediately to defend the rest of your plant family.

Avoid using pesticide sprays indoors or in confined spaces because it could affect children or anyone. If your plant is in a dire situation, it might be beneficial to consider transplanting it into a new container with fresh soil.  Certain diseases are transmitted by insects, therefore controlling the insect population can aid in preventing these issues.

---- Many people are taken aback by the benefits of having indoor plants. Not only do plants purify the air, but they also enhance the aesthetic of your home by adding color, texture, and structure with popular indoor plants. Remember that each plant may have specific requirements, so it's a good idea to research the specific needs of the plants you have. The more you understand about your plants, the better you can care for them and create a thriving indoor garden.