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A guide to keeping your houseplants happy and healthy

How to care for your houseplants

Keeping your houseplants healthy and happy is important not only for their looks but also to help keep your home clean. Here are 9 tips on how to do it:

1. Start with the Soil

Make sure soil is loose and well-drained

There aren’t as many “one size fits all” options for houseplant soils, but a general compost with good drainage and plenty of room for the roots to breathe is a good place to start. Make sure that your soil is moist and loose before repotting your houseplant.

2. Watering Your Houseplants

Water your houseplants to keep the soil moist

One of the most common causes of houseplant death is overwatering. It’s better to keep your plants a little dry than to give them too much water if you don’t know how much to water them. We recommend creating a watering schedule that calls for lightly watering your plant once or twice a week. This works well for most plants if you give them regular but thorough watering. While watering your houseplants, we recommend that you pour water onto the dirt at a sluggish, purposeful speed, until the water begins getting away from the waste openings of the compartment. Alternately, water the plant for ten to fifteen minutes in a shallow bowl until the soil’s surface is slightly damp. However, keep in mind that cacti and succulents require less water than the majority of other houseplants.

3. The Right Growing Conditions

Keep houseplants in bright, indirect light

Keep your houseplant away from areas that receive cold air and direct sunlight. Turn the plant one quarter turn each week to help ensure even growth if you imagine its “face” facing the primary light source. Each plant has different light requirements so it is best to do some research for that specific houseplant before purchasing. Plants won’t necessarily die if they don’t get enough light, but they will stop growing new leaves.

4. Fertilise Houseplants Periodically

Like with watering, determining how much fertiliser to use is difficult: It depends on the season, the plant’s age, and its growth rate. The best time to fertilize houseplants is during the spring and summer growth spurts. Most houseplants don’t need much fertiliser in the short days of autumn and winter. A 20-20-20 all-purpose fertiliser should be sufficient, but you can purchase fertilisers specifically designed for houseplants if you so choose.

5. Repot Overgrown Houseplants

Carefully repot houseplants when they become overgrown

It may be time to repot the plant if the roots are circling the container’s interior. It can be moved into a container that is slightly larger or left in the same pot by replanting it in the container with new potting soil and cutting off some of the roots with a sharp knife.

6. Remove Dust From Plants

Dust houseplant to help them soak up more light

If the plants have hairy leaves (which can hold onto moisture and encourage disease), clean them with a soft brush or with a gentle shower of water at room temperature to remove dust. You can also gently remove dust from plants with smooth leaves by wiping them down with a cloth. This not only makes your plant look better, but it will also help it absorb more light.

7. Prune and Pinch Back Houseplants

To encourage the development of side buds, pinch out the topmost leaves and the stem’s tip. When kept compact and fuller by frequent pinching, plants that grow quickly often look their best.

8. Deadhead Flowers and Remove Dying Leaves

Snip off dead flowers and leaves on houseplants

There may be times when you need to give your houseplant a little extra attention to keep it looking its best. Simply snip off any dead flowers or leaves with a pair of sharp pruners. To prevent the spread of diseases and pests, you should use rubbing alcohol to clean the blades of your pruners before switching to another plant.

9. Watch for Houseplant Diseases

Powdery mildew, which appears as powdery white spots on leaves, fungal leaf spots, which can appear as yellow, brown, or black spots on leaves, and root rot, which results in mushy, dark-colored roots when overwatered, are a few common houseplant diseases to keep an eye out for.

10. Winter Houseplant Care Essentials:

  1. Adjust Watering: Less is more; water when the soil is dry to the touch.
  2. Optimal Placement: Move closer to light sources, avoiding drafts and radiators.
  3. Skip Feeding: Houseplants are in dormancy; they don’t need extra nutrients.
  4. Temperature Balance: Protect from extreme cold and heat.
  5. Leaf Shedding: Expect some leaf drop as plants conserve energy.
  6. Pest Vigilance: Check for pests; treat with insecticidal soap if needed.
  7. Humidity Boost: Increase humidity with clustering or trays of water and pebbles.
  8. Foliage TLC: Keep leaves clean for better sunlight absorption.
  9. Avoid Repotting: Save repotting for active growth seasons.
  10. Special Christmas Plant Care: Unique care for festive plants like poinsettias and amaryllis.

With these tips, your houseplants will thrive through the winter months, bringing greenery and joy to your indoor space. For more information on Winter Houseplant Care, click here.

Shop Houseplants

We have a wide range of houseplants to choose from

For more care instructions on orchids, poinsettias and amaryllis, find more here.

Updated on December 7, 2023

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