Houseplant Basics

If you grow plants indoors, they're called "houseplants," even if they're the type of plant that spends the summer outside. Whatever you call them, growing them well will keep you and the plants much happier. Here are just a few basics that will serve you well when growing just about anything indoors in a pot.

1. Turn towards the light. It's what plants do, especially if that light isn't directly overhead. I have too many plants to keep them all right under the lights, so I have to turn them. It might sound anal, but it's good to turn them in a clockwise direction. Always. The reason is simple: who can remember which way you turned them last time? 

2.  There is no such thing as a dormant leaf. It's either bringing home the nutrients or it's not. A browned or yellowed leaf isn't doing anyone any good, so it's best to remove it. 

3.  When potting up plants in the fall or winter for growth indoors, use potting soil with gritty amendments. Unless you keep your house in the 80-degree range, your plants' soil will stay moist for a long time--especially if they don't get the light they're used to. I buy a good potting soil and add vermiculite and medium chicken grit, which you can buy from your local feed store. 

4.  Use a heat mat. Although some plants prefer it on the cool side, many seem to like it hot. I keep the heat-lovers on a heat mat, which can raise the soil temperature 10 to 20 degrees F above the air temperature.

5.  Learn everything you can about the plant you're growing, even if you only know its common name. Google its name and gravitate toward university extension services for the most accurate information, including the plant's botanical name. Then Google the botanical name.

1 comment:

  1. Funny that you posted this. I just went to a seminar about growing plants indoors. Great advise here. You do have a lot of indoor plants. I have a few compared to yours. I find them very satisfying during winter. About this time of year I start getting itchy about putting them back out. I know I have to wait but the more intense caring of these plants starts to wear on me.