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A Comprehensive Care Guide for your Indoor Plants

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Potted plant on top of a chair

Light

Let’s start with placing your plant in the right place: somewhere with some direct, but mostly indirect sunlight. Most houseplants prefer indirect sunlight where as succulents and cacti can handle brighter, more direct sunlight. Be sure to read the care instructions that come with your particular plant to make sure they get the right kind and amount of light they need to thrive.

So why do plants need light, anyway? You’ve probably heard the term photosynthesis before. It’s the process by which plants use the energy of sunlight to convert carbon dioxide and water into glucose and oxygen. Simply put, it’s how plants eat.

Some plants require more sunlight than others to accomplish this. Symptoms of poor light conditions include yellowing of new foliage; pale or smaller than usual leaves; weak growth; poor flowering; and burnt or brown leaves.

Water

Plants are like us humans, they get thirsty. To quench that thirst, they drink water. Also like humans, too much water can be harmful to some plants.

When watering your plants, keep the soil moist and avoid making it soggy. Allow the soil to dry out between waterings. Often times you can simply pick up the plant and see if it feels light. If it does, it needs some water.

Generally speaking, watering once per week will do. That said, plants will need less water during the cooler months of the year as their growth slows. Plants that are in dry climates or exposed to direct sunlight may need extra water as evaporation may occur more rapidly. å

Symptoms of thirsty plants include wilting or sad looking leaves, and soil that looks pulled away from the sides of the planter.

Be sure to use containers and pots with bottom drip holes. These will prevent over-watering and root rot. It’s also good to flush your plants with water 2 to 3 times per year.

Time

Schedules can be tough, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have plants. If your schedule is such that you travel a lot or you’re gone for extended periods of time, choose plants that enjoy some independence. Our Snake Plants, ZZ plant or succulent collection may offer you the plant companion you need. They require little maintenance and make great friends!

Humidity

Plants LOVE humidity (cacti and succulents being notable exceptions). Most of the plants we grow indoors come from very tropical environments. They are most at home in warm, humid climates. Even when the plants are grown at our local nursery, we match the plant’s native habitat as best we can in our temperature and humidity controlled green houses.

Introducing some humidity into your indoor green space is quite easy. One thing you can do is spritz your plants with a mister or squirt bottle, covering both sides of a plant’s leaves. Another is to just keep the plants near your kitchen or bathroom. These spaces are naturally more humid than most other indoor spaces due to the use of warm water and steam.

If your green space includes groupings of plants with space between them to breath, the process of transpiration creates a wonderfully comfortable and humid environment.

Fertilizer

Plants naturally process the sugars they need to survive through a process called photosynthesis. When plants are unable to photosynthesize rapidly enough, say to a lack of sunlight, plants can get their nutrients via fertilizer. Providing fertilizer to your house plants helps ensure they stay healthy and happy. For most plants we recommend fertilizing once per month during the warmer parts of the year. During the cooler months plants will not require fertilizing.

Air

Stuffy and still air can cause a host of issues for your plant. Strive to keep it in a comfortable setting with some air circulation. Most house-plants enjoy a minimum temperature of 55 degrees fahrenheit. Avoid areas with cold drafts in the winter months and remember, the warmer it gets for house-plants, the happier they will be!

Lastly, any buildup of dust on plants’ leaves can be bad for their health. Wipe down or gently hose off a plant’s leaves occasionally.

Rotate

Plants like light from every direction. To avoid craning and lopsided growth, simply rotate your plant a quarter (1/4) turn every other time you water.

Friendship

Consider this: if your new plant was a human, it just came from what is the equivalent of a 5-star health spa. The greenhouse where your plant grew up has optimal humidity levels, temperature and perfect air circulation. Spend the first few days getting to know your plant. Watch it adapt to your green space and emerge from the long journey it has just completed. Pay attention to what the leaves are telling you. If they’re sad (sagging), give the plant some water. If the leaves are yellow, ensure the plant has enough indirect light. As your plant gets settled into your green space, it will adapt and thrive. Enjoy it! You and your plant will become the best of friends.

Pots

Treat your plant to a new decorative pot! This will brighten up your green space and give your plant something to grow into. Aside from their good looks, your plant will outgrow its current pot. We recommend a pot that is 1 to 2 inches wider than the current container. You don’t want your plant to be surrounded by too much soil as that makes it more susceptible to over-watering and root rot. Use good quality potting soil and remember that your plant will grow!

There are some things to consider when re-potting your plants. Make sure you have a new bag of potting mix and a container that is 1 to 2 inches wider than what’s current. Be sure to keep the root ball near the top of the new pot and then fill in soil underneath and around the sides. Most plants prefer not having the root ball completely buried so just barely cover it with soil (don’t cover the stem at all). Water the plant and allow the water to drain completely through the new pot.

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