Proper Care of House Plants


Potted plants are kept for their easy care and decorative qualities, but houseplants can't merely be eye candy that is taken for granted. Potted plants, especially those brought in from an outdoor garden, may experience shock when not watered properly, placed in disease or non-porous soil or when exposed to house pests. Although not all plants require the same care, there are some general guidelines to follow when keeping a house plant.

Step 1

Pot the plant in a commercial soil mixture to maintain the plant's health.

Step 2

Place the plant into a well-lit area of the home. Check the plant's variety for specific light requirements to ensure the proper balance.

Step 3

Plant in pots that have bottom drainage holes to prevent flooding and root rot. Check the holes regularly by pressing a finger through to ensure the plant roots are not covering the hole.

Step 4

Give the plant water until it leaks from the drainage holes. Remove the drainage plate from the bottom of the pot when the plant has had a few minutes to absorb the water.

Step 5

Rinse the soil of the potted plant every three to six months to remove salt from the top of the potting soil and to prevent salt damage to the plant.

Step 6

Fertilize the houseplant once a month using a complete, water-soluble fertilizer with a 20-20-20 composition. Feed most houseplants from a solution of 1-1/2 teaspoon of fertilizer mixed with 1 gallon of water.

Tips and Warnings

  • North Dakota State University warns against using outdoor garden soil, as it may have bad aeration and compaction.

Things You'll Need

  • Soil
  • Water-soluble fertilizer


  • University of Missouri Extension: Caring for Houseplants
  • North Dakota State University Extension Service: Houseplants Proper Care and Management of Pest Problems
  • Texas A&M University: House plants
Keywords: house plants, house plant management, house plant care

About this Author

Cleveland Van Cecil is a freelancer writer specializing in technology. He has been a freelance writer for three years and has published extensively on, writing articles on subjects as diverse as boat motors and hydroponic gardening. Van Cecil has a Bachelor of Arts in liberal arts from Baldwin-Wallace College.