Top 10 Plant Care Tips for Houseplants and Indoor Plants - Toronto Flower Story

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Top 10 Plant Care Tips for Houseplants and Indoor Plants

July 24, 2023

Top 10 Plant Care Tips for Houseplants and Indoor Plants

Plants are a great addition to your home if you’re looking to liven up your indoor space. However, keeping them flourishing requires some knowledge and lots of tender loving care. If you've ever found yourself with a sickly or dying plant, fear not! We're here to share essential indoor plant care tips to keep your plants healthy and looking fabulous.

Whatever experience you have with indoor gardening, there are a few fundamental rules to remember. We'll walk you through things that matter so the next time you bring home a new plant; it will blossom under your care.

  • Choose plants based on the natural light your home gets

    Find out which windows offer the best amount of light

    As a general rule of thumb: south-facing windows provide bright light, east and west-facing windows offer moderate light, and north-facing windows give low light. Also, consider any external factors, such as nearby trees or buildings, that could block sunlight. While most houseplants prefer bright, indirect sunlight, many can tolerate lower light levels.

    If the sun shines intensely through your windows, you might want to add a sheer curtain to diffuse the light. Remember that cacti and certain succulents can handle brighter, direct sunlight. It's crucial not to overexpose or underexpose any plant, so keep a close eye on them if they're in very bright or extremely low light conditions.

  • Pick plants that you can maintain with your schedule
  • If you lead a busy lifestyle with limited time for plant care, consider low-maintenance and drought-tolerant options like succulents, ZZ (Zamioculcas zamiifolia) plants, or snake plants. These resilient beauties can tolerate a bit of neglect as long as they receive the right amount of light. So even if you're away on a business trip, these plants will continue to look their best.

    If you have more time and attention to offer, you might enjoy caring for air plants, orchids, and ferns. These delicate plants appreciate an extra spritz of filtered water daily to maintain balanced humidity levels between waterings.

  • Know the right amount of water your plant needs
  • Generally, plants grown in well-drained potting mix and appropriately sized containers should be watered when the top 1/2 to 1 inch of soil feels dry. Remember that cacti and succulents require less water, while flowering plants may need slightly more.

    Overwatering is a common cause of houseplant demise. If you're uncertain about the right amount of water to give, it's safer to lean towards slightly dry soil rather than overwatering.

  • Keep a stable level of humidity and temperature
  • Tropical plants, for one, prefer high humidity and thrive in bright to moderate indirect light. During dry winter, you can enhance humidity levels by grouping similar plants, creating a more humid microclimate. Another helpful tool is a humidifier, which benefits your plants and provides a pleasant environment. Desert plants, like cacti and succulents, hate high humidity and will flourish in direct sunlight with no shade. 

  • Know the right time to use fertilizer
  • Determining the appropriate amount of fertilizer for your houseplants is not a one-size-fits-all rule. Typically, most houseplants experience a growth spurt during spring and summer, making it the ideal time to fertilize them. In contrast, most houseplants require minimal or no fertilizer during the fall and winter months with shorter days. 

    Always refer to the instructions on the fertilizer label to determine the recommended dosage to avoid overfertilizing your plants. Excessive fertilizer can damage their roots and hinder their growth. Additionally, using fertilizer with micronutrients can prevent nutrient deficiencies.

  • Prune when needed

    Pruning promotes better growth and health for indoor plants

    Regular pruning is essential for the proper growth of indoor plants. Neglecting to prune can result in uncontrollable growth or accelerated root development. Make it a habit to prune your plants regularly to maintain their health and manageable size. Remove dead branches and stems, and perform pruning at the leaf node, cutting at a 45° angle. This technique encourages fuller growth and ensures the plant remains robust and in good condition.

  • Don’t be afraid to repot
  • Examining the root systems can provide valuable insights if you're unsure whether your houseplants require repotting. Look inside the container and check if the roots are circling its interior. If they are, it might be time to repot the plant. If the plant has outgrown its current pot, transplant it into a slightly larger container. Spring and summer are ideal for repotting your houseplants since these seasons align with the active growth period and provide the best conditions for successful transplantation.

  • Clean the leaves
  • It's important to gently clean their foliage to ensure they can breathe and function optimally. Regularly wiping off or lightly spraying the leaves should be done once or twice a year to remove accumulated dust and dirt. Cleaning your houseplants allows them to thrive and look their best. It's a simple yet effective way to promote their well-being and contribute to a healthier indoor environment.

  • Keep drainage in mind
  • When watering your plants, consider the drainage in each pot. Choosing a planter with a drainage hole and a saucer allows excess water to escape and prevents waterlogging. Another approach is to keep your plant in a grow pot that fits inside a decorative planter. Any excess water can be easily removed, keeping the plant's roots healthy.

    If you have a planter without a drainage hole, you can add a layer of lava rocks at the bottom. This creates crevices for water to collect, preventing it from sitting directly on the roots, which could cause it to rot.

  • Keep an eye out for pests and diseases
  • While indoor plants may be safe from outdoor elements, pests can still find their way inside and harm them. Using insecticidal soap is an effective solution to eliminate plant pests. Spray the entire plant thoroughly, covering the leaves and the upper and lower stem. Allow the insecticidal soap about 2 weeks to work its magic. After this period, it's recommended to repeat the treatment once more to ensure complete eradication of any lingering pests and their eggs. 

    You can also manually remove visible pests by gently wiping them away with a damp paper towel. Another method is to dip a cotton swab in rubbing alcohol and delicately remove the pests from the plant.

    Follow these tips to help you create a thriving indoor garden. Enjoy the beauty and benefits of their presence while nurturing a rewarding connection with nature in your home.

    If you’re looking for some great indoor plants, contact Flower Story! Our knowledgeable team of florists is here to help you choose the most suitable indoor plant varieties. Visit our store today and explore our wide selection of vibrant orchids and succulents, exquisite floral arrangements, and flower deliveries. Give us a call today at 416-797-9774 to place an order.