More on Houseplants for Indoor Gardening
More houseplants die from too much watering than they do from not enough watering. When selecting a container for your houseplant make sure there are drainage holes and try to find a container with a separate saucer included. The pots with attached saucers often don’t hold enough water when the pot overflows leaving water spots on furniture. Ideally you might want to place your plant in a sink for watering, letting it drain in the sink for a while. A few plants thrive on humidity though and will appreciate sitting on a saucer full of pebbles with water just barely covering the pebbles.
Local nurseries, grocery stores and home centers often carry houseplants on a regular basis, especially this time of year. Try to select a plant with a care tag included. Hopefully the care tag will also list the name of the plant and you can do some research about its growing conditions. Check to make sure the plant’s soil has not dried out too much. If the soil is very dry (except cacti), consider the plant dead because it may be soon. Stressed plants often die off.
Jiggle the pot or tap it firmly to see if any critters fly away. If that happens, find a bugless plant instead. Check stems for scales (little hard bumps). Look for tiny red spider mites and webbing. If you see white powder spots or what looks like small white blobs this is usually whitefly, so avoid that plant too. You want to avoid purchasing plants with these conditions, especially if you have houseplants already. It’s a good idea to isolate your new houseplant for a few weeks until you know it is disease and bug free.
Some houseplants get dusty after a while. If the leaves are smooth you can take the plants into a bathroom for a shower (literally) using tepid water. Let excess water drain out before returning them to their usual resting place. African violets and fuzzy leaved plants do not appreciate this hygiene though. You won’t want to use waxes or milk washes on leaves although some gardening lore suggests these tips.
Many people receive a grouping of plants as a gift. Usually these groupings combine light-loving and dry seeking plants with shade-loving and moisture seeking plants. You can enjoy the plants as they are for a few weeks or months, but eventually you’ll want to find out their individual growing conditions and repot them separately moving each plant to the light and soil it prefers.
Keep on reading our gardening tips section for a wide variety of information about all things gardening. And when your plants need a boost, try our product line in the “Store” tab above!