A Beginner’s Guide to Houseplants

A Beginner’s Guide to Houseplants


If you are thinking about growing a houseplant or caring for one, then there are some considerations you must take into account. This guide will take you through each critical point, one by one, to ensure you have the best chances for success.

1. Light

Your houseplants need light. Where your light originates should dictate the type of plants you grow in your home. Plants like ivy thrive in sunlight, whereas certain plants, like calathea, are low-light tolerant and work better in partial conditions.

2. Water

Most houseplants die because of overwatering. All plants need water to survive, but you can give them too much. If the soil feels damp, then the plant probably doesn’t need to be water. You may need to mist plants in the winter as the air dries out.

3. Ventilation

Plants like to have fresh air, even though they convert carbon dioxide into oxygen. It is the flow of air that the plants love, giving them the chance to exhale. We must remember that plants breathe just as we do. For some plants, the air movement prevents moisture buildup that could lead to rot.

4. Humidity

Dryness is not the only concern we must have for houseplants. Homes that are too humid may cause problems also. Environments which are moist and warm encourage mold and mildew growth that would need to be cleaned away. Dry homes require additional watering or misting for success. Dust mites come out to play in damp environments too.

5. Temperature

Have you heard the advice that turning your thermostat down 1 degree in winter will save you 1% on your utility bills? That may be the case, but it may also cause problems with your houseplants. Some require a specific amount of darkness and cold to trigger their growing mechanisms. Others will die if the temperature gets too low.

6. Soil

Most people don’t think about the soil for the houseplant as they begin their journey to ownership. They grab a bag of potting soil from the store, then call it good. The bagged soil is usually sterilized, which means adding a little compost to the mix can be a good thing. If you don’t have compost, purchase food “sticks” for plants that are based on the type you own. Keep in mind that having too much food is just as bad for a houseplant as not having enough to eat. 

7. Potting

Your houseplant will want to grow if it is happy. Growing plants need larger pots to accommodate their change in root structure. The type of container you use matters too, as plastic keeps air in, while terracotta allows for some air to flow through the soil. If you are recycling an old pot, make sure to clean it thoroughly first to give your new plant a chance at life without a threat of disease looming.

Taking care of your houseplants can become a simple routine once you get used to the process. These tips will help you get there, one step at a time. 

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