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Indoor Plant Care Tips You Wish You Knew Sooner

Incorporating plants into your home decor can be one of the easiest and most rewarding ways to bring life to your space. Not only that but they have also been found to provide a variety of mood-boosting qualities and health benefits that are too good to ignore. That’s why we reached out to the experts from Vancouver to New York to provide you with the know-how you need to grow happy and healthy plants in your home.

Houseplants styled on a shelf

Bringing plants home

If you're bringing plants home from a nursery, quarantine them. Don't place them with your other plants just yet. Check your new plants for any signs of pests or plant diseases. Treat whatever you find, then you're free to introduce them to your plant family. - The Houseplant Diaries

Start small

The best advice we can give new homeowners is to start adding plants slowly to their new homes. Learn first which varieties will adapt better to their new lighting/humidity conditions, and then go on from there. It is best to get to know your plants' needs one or two at a time then become overwhelmed and lose many in the process. Unless your new home is filled with bright indirect sunlight, then, by all means, it is indoor jungle ready! - Clorofila

Plant parenthood is something that you learn more about every single day. Once you figure out lighting and watering, you can tackle almost any plant. Focus on one plant at first, and then you can branch out and start building your collection as your knowledge grows. Monstera Plant Co. was founded on the idea of helping plant parents become better each day. - Monstera Plant Co.

I have been a plant owner for some years now and have done so seldomly. But that is what I love about indoor plants. Starting with an easy plant to manage is prominent. Money trees are great starter plants, which I have and care for with regular water and window light. I also have mint vines growing from the same soil, which I use for tea. All you need is a piece of the vine and a cup of water to get started there. Now and then, I plant an apple seed to practice my green thumb. Involvements like these are therapeutic for me, and the success rate makes you want to do more. - PAGE Magazine

Trellis if meant to climb, prune if supposed to hang

Growing plants at home is fun but can be tricky at times. For tropical plants like Hoyas; good lighting, humidity, and warm temperatures are necessary to help them thrive. What many people don’t realize is that if their plants are supposed to climb up, trellising them is just as important to promote new growth and help with the aesthetic side of growing houseplants. If the plant is supposed to hang, pruning is also (not necessary) but healthy for the plant and will encourage more vines and will help create a much fuller and bushier pot. - Unsolicited Plant Talks

Monstera Deliciosa houseplant

Proper watering techniques are key

Watering is essentially a relationship that you build with your plants in the beginning. You want to watch how you are watering. We suggest giving their first watering a full soaking allowing the water to drain thoroughly. From there you want to allow a drying period, in this time watch how the topsoil dries out and pick up your plant to feel how light it is the lighter the less water it is holding. This is building a relationship with your plant introducing confidence with your plant care. - Bleu Lotus Gardens

We’ve had our shop for nearly a year now and the collective humidity produced by all the plants together benefits them so much. Visitors always comment on how healthy all of our plants look. I find I have to water them a lot less than my plants at home and they’re healthier for it. We water the soil liberally every week or so, but spray almost every day and they love it.  Even famously tricky plants like Alocasia and strings of pearls are thriving. A bit of careful neglect goes a long way with houseplants! - Earth & Air Displays

Prioritize drainage

When in doubt, get a pot with a drainage hole! Decorative pots are fun and have unique accents, but there are plenty of beautiful ceramic pots with drainage that you can incorporate into your decor that will better serve your plant long-term! Drainage holes prevent root rot, mineral build-up, and pests. - Rewild

Wimp ‘em down

Wipe down your plant leaves on top and underneath. Removing dust helps remove the barrier to absorb sunlight that will help plants' photosynthesis. Plus it's an added way to spot pests that may be attached to your plants. - Maddi and Joan

Make sure you dust your houseplants! Removing dust from the leaves not only improves their appearance, but it also helps them absorb more sunlight. - Bubblegum Stuff

Don’t underestimate the importance of placement

Indoor plants clean the air inside your home better than any mechanical filter can. One plant per 100 square feet can effectively clean the air inside your home. Plants absorb carbon dioxide, remove toxic, harmful contaminants such as formaldehyde, ammonia, benzene, and xylene, and they give us pure oxygen to inhale into our lungs and blood.

The top 10 air-purifying indoor plants are spider plants, peace lilies, snake plants or mother-in-law's tongue, rubber plants, Boston ferns, bamboo palms, dragon trees, aloe vera, ficus trees, and English ivy. - The Green Maya Project

Watering a Sansevieria Cylandrica

When caring for plants indoors it’s important to remember how to meet their needs in this unique context.  That means compensating for low humidity and airflow alongside the typically important components of soil drainage and sunlight.  Consider placing plants near a window that can be opened and using a mister or humidifier. - Airplantman

People generally buy plants for a specific place in the home but don't check the plant's preferences beforehand. Then, if plants don't do well, individuals often blame themselves - 'I can't keep plants alive!' If plants don't like their spot, find out what it does like and move it. If you need a plant for a particular spot in the house, check what the lighting is like, whether it's a settled or high traffic area, and consider how good you are at remembering to water them! You can then find the right type of plant that will thrive in the conditions you have. - My Next Plant

Ensure they’re getting enough light

We wish we knew just how limited the amount of sunlight there is indoors, even in the brightest, sunniest homes. There is a fraction of the amount of light that there is outdoors, and each foot you move a plant away from a window, it receives even less light. Most tropical houseplants do well in low-light environments, but if you want to supercharge your plant’s growth, try moving it outside for the summer, or place it closer to a bright, south-facing window. - Actual Botanical

Indoor houseplants rely on us to survive. By providing their ideal light, water, temperature, growing medium (soil), and nutrients, your indoor plants will thrive. The most common issues for indoor plants are a lack of light and/or over or under-watering. Study their care card, research online articles, or ask plant groups to fully understand the care. From there, adjust care accordingly. - Plant Lady Co

Understand the individual needs of your plants

Here at Tropical Plants of Florida, we grow just that, tropical plants. To successfully house tropicals we offer this simple but effective advice: generally, if your plant has a flower, it will require a lot of light, versus a foliage plant that can tolerate lower light conditions. For example, hibiscus plants require 6 to 8 hours of direct sunlight, in comparison to ZZ plants which can survive under fluorescent lighting! (Bonus: Watering correlates here too as hibiscus plants need to be watered frequently, whereas ZZ plants can go weeks without.) - Tropical Plants of Florida

Use a clean potting mix

When growing anything indoors, it's important to remember that there are no Natural Predators or harsh Weather Conditions to counter the growth of any Pests, Parasites, or Fungi that may inhibit the growth of your Plant. So be sure to start with, clean planting Mix from your Local Nursery, making sure it's Parasite Free. One common mistake people make is using soil from the outdoors. This can be a recipe for disaster since you never know the organisms it contains, and which ones may thrive in an indoor environment. - Organical Botanicals

Fully harness the power of your plants

Houseplants are far more than just decorative items. While you should ensure you create a suitable environment for your houseplant, keep in mind that you can also harness them for other purposes. For example, popping an Aloe Vera in your kitchen to help soothe any burns, using English Ivy to help clear the air for those with Asthma. It’s just as important that you also check which plants can harm those in your home. For example, Sago Palms and dogs aren’t a great mix, neither are Lilies and cats. - Greenredeem

Plants need sitters too

Choose plants you think are beautiful, even when not in bloom. Be prepared to take responsibility for your plants. You may need to hire a plant sitter while on longer trips. Have more than one plant. In natural settings, plants don't grow alone. Happy plants beam more than lonely plants. - Lake Missoula Tea 

Tropical houseplants

Stay consistent

The best advice I can think of is to be consistent. Pick a day of the week to care for your plants and water accordingly. That way you won’t forget. Also, plants tend to need more water in the winter when the heat is on and less in the summer with the air conditioning on. They just don’t dry out as quickly. You’ll feel a sense of accomplishment watching your greenery thrive! - Hoffman Design Group

Don’t get down on yourself

If a plant dies it's not because you're a plant killer, it's because you are becoming better at keeping them alive. Owning plants is a scientific process of learning where you try something new, observe what happens, merge those observations with past observations, and modify your behavior to move closer to your desired result. You may not be able to articulate what you learned in the moment when a plant dies, but no doubt you did learn something and you will use that knowledge in the future. Making mistakes will make it easier to do it right and before too long your only mistake will be that you don't have enough shelves to put all your plants on. - Green Lady Gardens

Originally published on Redfin

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