Simple Things: The Care and Keeping of Houseplants

you can't buy happiness but
you can buy plants and
that's pretty much the same thing

caring for indoor houseplants

Houseplants are a great addition to the home. They help purify the air, reduce stress, add a lovely touch of green and they are easy to decorate with. I often hear, "I can't keep a plant alive" but I think that anyone can keep a plant thriving. It takes just a few simple acts of care and before you know it, you will have managed to keep a plant alive and thriving. Then, you may find yourself wanting just one more for another space in your home. I am not a plant expert but I will share the tips that have worked for me. 

where to purchase houseplants

I am quite sure that there are probably several places that you can find houseplants. However, I have usually just purchased mine from Lowes or Home Depot. There are several things that I check for when I go to purchase a plant, one of them is the leaves. Look at the leaves and feel them. Are there brown leaves? Do the green leave look dull and droopy? Do they feel dry or brittle? If so, this is not a plant that you want. I look for plants that have a lot of green leaves that look healthy, not broken off or drooping over. Next, feel the soil. Is the soil really saturated or really dry? If so, again, probably not a plant that you want. In general, no plant enjoys being really saturated by water nor do they like being really dry. Look for plants that have soil that is slightly damp. I have also read a lot of great reviews about purchasing live plants on Amazon, so I linked several easy to grow varieties at the bottom of this post. The first step in keeping a houseplant alive and thriving is to start with a healthy houseplant.

know your plants

Every plant needs light and water but your plants' needs will vary depending upon the variety that you choose. Before you purchase a plant, think about the area that you want to place it in your home. Does the room get a lot of natural light or is mostly dark? Look at the tag that comes with your plant to know what your plant will need. 

light

All plants need light. Some are going to require a lot of light while others will prefer just a little. Again, this is where you need to know the needs of your plant. In the warmer months, I will often take my indoor houseplants outside, they seem to thrive on getting a little fresh air. Most generally I will choose plants that need medium light. Our home gets quite a lot of natural light and these are the plants I have had the most success with. 

water

The most common cause of a plant failing to thrive is overwatering. Often times, the leaves will begin to turn yellow if you are overwatering your houseplants. Never allow houseplants to sit in water, they don't like having their roots saturated. Then, there is the situation of not watering enough. Often times, the leave will begin to turn brown and fall off. So, how do you know what to do? My general rule is to water when the soil begins to feel dry. I will poke my finger in the soil and if it is dry, then I water. I generally water my plants once or twice a week. When I water the plants I am careful to not get the foliage wet, yet I allow the water to begin to drain through the drainage holes. This ensures that all the roots have gotten wet. Again, this will depend on the plants' needs. Another tip is to use water that is at room temperature. Using water that is too hot or too cold, could cause a shock to your houseplants.  

Signs of underwatering your plants include slow leaf growth, leaves that drop off or are brown, yellow or curled leaf edges. 
Signs of overwatering your plants include fungus or mold on the surface, standing water in the bottom of the container, leaves with brown rotten patches and possibly even young and old leaves falling off at the same time. 

temperature

Almost all houseplants will thrive in conditions of 65-75 degrees. If you have drafty windows, you may need to move your plants in the cooler months. We have a wood burning stove in our home, and none of the houseplants will thrive if they are too close to the heat. Humidity can also play a factor in some plants. Almost all the tropical plants thrive in more humid conditions. You can provide humidity by purchasing a humidifier or you can also purchase a mister to occasionally mist the leaves on the plant. Plants. like the cacti will grow well in more dry conditions. 

transplanting

If your plants are thriving, there will come a time that you need to put them in new pots. You should replant them in the spring when they are really starting to grow again. Choose a pot that is a little bigger than your current one and take care to ensure that you avoid a lot of root damage. Use a potting soil made for houseplants, and carefully firm the soil around the root ball of the plant, then water your plant and watch it thrive in it's new bigger container. I love using a variety of containers to house my plants. If you can put some drainage holes into the bottom of the container, then chances are you can put a plant in it. Often times, when I water my plants, I will leave them sitting in the sink until the water is finished draining. Then, I wipe the bottom of the container off before I place the plant back in the original location.

What about you, do you have houseplants? If not, I hope this encourages you to try. There are several easy varieties that are really easy to grow. A few of those varieties include Aloe, Snake PlantPothosPhilodendron, and my favorite is the Ivy plants. Houseplants are a wonderful addition to the home and help to create a healthy environment. 

the care and keeping of houseplants www.flatcreekfarmhouse.com

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