How to Grow a Potted Plant Indoors


Potted plants make a house feel like a home, but they're useful for more than decoration. In fact, according to a NASA study, houseplants improve indoor air quality by reducing levels of carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide and air pollutants while at the same time, increasing oxygen. Potted plants aren't difficult to grow indoors, but each type of plant has its own specific light, soil and water needs, so you'll need to take a few minutes to acquaint yourself with your plant to ensure it thrives in your care.

Step 1

Research the plant's optimal growing conditions. While many plants will do fine in standard home improvement store potting mix, other plants require a lighter or sandier soil in order to thrive. Make your own soil mix as necessary. Do not assume the soil that came with your plant at purchase is the optimal mix. Some soils are more suited for fast seedling development, but not designed to sustain a mature plant.

Step 2

Find a location in your home that meets your plant's light requirements. If you plant calls for direct sunlight, place it in a sunny window, preferably south-facing, so it can soak up as much sunlight as possible. Place plants that require indirect sunlight on a table or desk near a window or in a partially shaded but still sunny window. One of the most common reasons for sickly looking plants is improper lighting conditions.

Step 3

Add a saucer of water under your plant's pot if it requires a humid environment. Water you plant only when the top inch of soil has dried out, but the remainder of the soil is moist. Daily watering isn't necessary for most plants and is more likely to cause root rot and mold growth. Over-watered plants also attract certain types of common house plant insects.

Step 4

Fertilize your plant. Differing opinions exist on a proper fertilization regimen for houseplants. The North Dakota State University Extension recommends only feeding your plants when you notice new growth, as regular feedings can actually kill your plant rather than help it. Each type of plant food is different, so follow the package instructions carefully.

Step 5

Check your plant regularly for pests. Spiders, mites and several types of flies find potted plants to be great places to build homes and reproduce. If you notice insects on your plants, treat them with mild insecticides. These are available from your local home and garden center. Make sure you're not over-watering.

Things You'll Need

  • Soil
  • Fertilizer


  • University of Illinois Extention: Houseplants
  • North Dakota State University Agriculture and University Extension: Houseplants Proper Care and Management of Pest Problems
  • NASA: Plants Clean Air and Water for Indoor Environments

Who Can Help

  • Plant Care: Plant Encyclopedia
Keywords: grow house plants, potted plant care, potted plant tips

About this Author

Lillian Downey has a diverse background, including studies in English, social work, women's studies, nonprofit management, political science and nursing. She's worked as an intern sex-educator, clinic manager and mental health professional. She is currently studying to be a birth doula and childbirth educator. She served as editor-in-chief of "Nexus Journal of Literature and Art" and an assistant fiction editor at the "Antioch Review."