10 Things to Know as a New Houseplant Owner
Are you the parent of a new houseplant? If you want to create an Instagram-worthy display of plants in your home, here are a quick 10 things you need to know.
All plants need light, but some need less than others. Your plant’s tag will indicate what kind of light your plant needs. Best high-light options: succulents and cacti. Best low-light options: ZZ plant and snake plant.
2. Artificial Light
Even if you don’t have a lot of windows in your house, there are some plants that grow just fine under artificial lights, such as those in an office. Best artificial light options: Nerve plant and peperomia.
Your houseplant comes planted in well-draining soil. If you need to repot into a larger container, use a specially formulated houseplant soil.
Most plants don’t like to sit in wet soil. That’s why drainage holes in the bottom of the pot are important. If you repot your new plant, make sure the new container has adequate drainage.
All plants need water. And each species has its own needs. Some plants that originally came from rainy spots, need more water. Likewise, those that came from the desert need less. A general rule is that when the top surface of the soil feels dry, it’s time to water.
Houseplants can’t take really cold temperatures. If they get too cold (such as being left outdoors after frost), they will die. Generally, they like temperatures that range from 60 to 85F (15 to 29C).
Leafy plants that originally hail from rain forests like humidity. You can increase humidity by grouping plants together (they look great in a cluster) or by setting them on a tray of pebbles sitting in water.
8. Yellow Leaves
Plant leaves turn yellow for a variety of reasons: too much water, not enough water, too much sun, not enough sun, too much fertilizer, not enough fertilizer. We know, it’s confusing. Here’s how to figure it out.
Plants, like all of us, like to eat. But most houseplants don’t need much feeding. A couple times a year with a houseplant fertilizer is enough. Don’t overfeed; follow the fertilizer instructions (see tip 8).
When your plant gets larger, you may need to repot in a larger container. Some people like to repot their new plant when they get it. See tip 3 about soil choices and tip 4 about drainage in containers).