Instructions for the Care of Potted House Plants


Houseplants add life to your home and create an atmosphere of rest and relaxation. However, dead or dying houseplants send the message of neglect and reflect poorly on you. Learn techniques for caring for houseplants. Basic care for all plants is similar, but care for individual plants vary.

Step 1

Pot the plant in the appropriate-size container. Typically, plants require a pot that is 1/3 the height of the plant to create the best display.

Step 2

Check the pot for drainage holes. Even moisture-loving plants suffer when soil remains soggy. Healthy plants require proper drainage. Choose pots with drainage holes in the bottom.

Step 3

Fill the pot with the proper soil mix for the type of plant. Soil for cactus differs from soil for tropical plants. Browse the aisle at your local hardware or home improvement store and choose a mixture that is designed for your type of plant.

Step 4

Read the plant identification tag to determine the type of lighting the plant requires. Each type plant performs best in specific lighting. Place the plant in an area that receives the amount of light.

Step 5

Provide the amount of water the plant needs. Look on the plant identification tag or ask the nursery attendant about watering needs. Most plants prefer moist soil that dries slightly between waterings but some require more or less water.

Step 6

Apply water-soluble fertilizer designed for houseplants. As a rule, plants require fertilizer during periods of growth from March to September or October. Allow to rest during winter months and resume fertilizing in the spring.

Step 7

Maintain the proper humidity level. Tropical plants require misting or the use of pebble trays filled with water to increase humidity. Cacti suffer in humid weather. Check the needs of your plant and adjust care to maintain the desired humidity level.

Step 8

Place the plant in a draft free area to prevent chilling. Keep plants away from sources of direct heat like furnace ducts or heaters.


  • North Dakota State University Extension: Houseplants Proper Care and Management of Pest Problems

Who Can Help

  • Texas A&M University Extension: Light Requirements of Slected Houseplants
  • Texas A&M University Extension: Searchable Database for Houseplants
Keywords: houseplant care, care for houseplants, house plant care

About this Author

Nannette Richford is an avid gardener, teacher and nature enthusiast with 4 years experience in online writing and a lifetime of personal journals. She is published on various sites, including Associated Content. Richford holds a Bachelor of Science in secondary education from the University of Maine Orono and certifications in 7-12 English, K-8 General Elementary and Birth to age 5.