A Complete Guide to Houseplants: Why You Should Consider Houseplants and How to Take Care of Them
Welcome a little Mother Nature into your home or office with a colorful assortment of greenery and flowering houseplants. Not only do houseplants add natural color to your interior design and complement the look of your décor, but they also have an abundance of healing powers and air quality improving capabilities.
Why Should I Have Houseplants?
Your mind, body, and soul instinctively crave being out in nature. Think back to the ancient hunter and gatherer ages when humans spent all of their time outside. There is an entire interior design concept surrounding one’s need to connect with the outdoors, called biophilic design. Biophilic design is a decorating concept that incorporates the outdoors inside with the use of plants, water, rock, and wood to make interior spaces balance out with nature. Biophilic design triggers positive energy and adds a calming serenity to a space. Not only can biophilic design principles be incorporated into your home, but many professional office settings are starting to jump aboard the train to implement this design concept as well – so go ahead, embrace your inner primitive self!
Houseplants also have the magical ability to clean pollutants from the air so that the air inside your home is fresh and clean. The more houseplants you can incorporate into your interior space the better.
In hospital settings, researchers have found that patients heal faster and have a better overall positive attitude about recovering and healing if they have access to windows where they can look outside and enjoy the sights and sounds of nature. When patients are located in rooms where there are no windows, houseplants are often implemented to liven up the space and bring elements of nature inside to the patients.
So, let’s dig in and explore the wonderful world of houseplants and how to best take care of them.
Types of Houseplants to Consider
Here is a quick look at some houseplants you should consider keeping in your home:
Succulents are the ideal type of plant for busy people or if you struggle to keep plants alive in your home. Succulents encompass a broad range of plants in the botanical family, which also includes cacti. These plants are identified by their ability to retain water in their thick fleshy leaves. They can go long periods of time without being watered and are able to survive both indoors and outdoors in the right climate conditions. Within the succulent family, you will find over 1000 varieties of plants, all with their own art deco shapes and colors. Some plants within this category even have medicinal properties – enter the dynamic Aloe Vera plant!
When it comes to selecting greenery for your home, the sky is the limit. Whether it be a tall and whimsical ficus tree, a tabletop fern, low-light loving pothos, a polka dot plant, or some decorative English ivy decorating your home with some greenery just feels good.
Looking to add a splash of seasonal color to your home? Flowering plants allow elements of the outdoors into your home and can tie the look of a space together while providing color and fragrance. Here are some of our favorites: African violets, peace lilies, anthuriums, and orchids.
Indoor Herb Garden
Not only does an indoor herb garden provide you with fresh and fragrant herbs to add flavor and garnish to your favorite dishes, but it looks beautiful sitting on your windowsill. With an indoor herb garden, you can enjoy fresh herbs all year long. Gather a collection of small pots for growing parsley, thyme, rosemary, cilantro, chives, and basil, or purchase a ready-to-plant kit.
Taking Care of Houseplants
Most houseplants are easy to take care of so long as they have adequate light, nutrient-rich soil, and regular watering. Different plant species require different amounts of light and water, so be sure to do your research to learn more about what each of your houseplants needs to thrive.
Watering and Fertilizing Your Houseplants
The easiest way to test whether you need to water your plants or not is to stick your finger deep into the soil and feel if the soil is damp. If it is damp to the touch, you usually do not need to add more water at that time. If the soil feels dry, give your plant a good watering. Watering should be done weekly or as often as twice a week, for most plants, unless you own plants that prefer dry soil.
The most common mistake made with houseplants is overwatering. Plants do not like soggy soil which starves them for oxygen. They often will develop limp discolored leaves if you over-water them. Soggy plants can become susceptible to disease or root rot, and your soil can actually start growing mold, yuck! It is better to err on the side of too dry than too wet. If you allow your plant to dry out too long the soil can become hydrophobic which keeps the soil particles resistant to absorbing water. So be sure in this case you water thoroughly enough and check the soil with your finger again to be sure the center is moist.
For optimal growth and nutrient uptake, put your plants on a plan for regular fertilizing. Since you do not know what fertilizer or how much is in the soil when you purchase the plant, let it adjust to its new environment and observe its health to determine when to start fertilizing. That might be right away, or it may be after the first few weeks.
If you are transplanting your houseplants into a different pot, go ahead and mix some fertilizer in with the fresh soil to start your plants out in a nutrient-rich environment. Houseplants depend on you to provide them with the nutrition that they need since they can’t spread their roots out in search of food like they do in the wild.
Give Them the Right Size Pot Home
Just like your family needs the right size home to live comfortably, your houseplants need the right size pot in order to stretch out their roots, or else they will get cramped and become root-bound. The general rule of transplanting is to find a pot that is 2” to 3” larger than the pot your plants are in before the transplant. You can always upgrade to a larger pot later if you expect that your houseplant will experience substantial growth.
Other Considerations For Caring For Your Houseplants
Determine the lighting needs for your houseplants and place them in the appropriate areas of your home. If getting sufficient light in your home is difficult, consider purchasing a grow light. There are several excellent choices available and they come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Keep an eye out for bugs like aphids, mealybugs, whiteflies, and spider mites. Houseplants can become infested with bugs just like your outdoor plants, and who wants to share an indoor space with creepy crawlers? If you see bugs, spray your houseplant with an organic all-natural plant soap.
Give your houseplants a spin so that they grow evenly, more important if you place your plants near a windowsill. Plants reach toward the sun and can start to grow at an angle if you don’t keep rotating them. If you notice that your plants are getting leggy and are leaning too much, this could mean they are not getting adequate sunlight and you may need to supplement your natural light source with a grow light. Also, be sure to remove dead leaves as you see them. Not only does removing dead leaves and branches make your plant look clean and healthy, but it also helps your plant to focus its energy on growing the leaves and roots that are alive and healthy.
Introduce a little natural ambiance in your home or office by incorporating live plants into your interior décor. Not only do they beautify a space, but they also keep the air clean and healthy so you can breathe easier.