Houseplants add greenery and interest to any indoor environment, whether they're in your home, an airport or a shopping mall. They also add oxygen to the environment where they grow, which helps the human inhabitants to concentrate and gives them energy, according to o3ozone.com. Many tropical plants are appropriate as houseplants because they are good-looking and thrive with the warmer temperatures that indoor locations provide. Common houseplants include African violets, orchids, philodendrons, coleus, some herbs, smaller varieties of palms and many more. The care instructions for most of them are the same.
Caring for Houseplants
Purchase healthy plants at a nursery or garden supply store. If you want to transplant your new plant into an attractive pot to enhance your décor, choose a pot with a drainage hole that is only one to two inches larger than the plant's nursery pot, according to the University of Illinois. This prevents the roots from staying too wet and rotting, which can kill your plant. You can transplant your plant again when it grows larger.
Fill your transplant pot about half full with a good quality potting soil. If you are growing an orchid, purchase special bark designed for these plants. Take your plant out of its nursery pot and gently loosen the roots. Then set your plant into the new pot, spread its roots over the soil surface and then hold it in place while you fill the pot with more soil, up to within about one inch of the lip. Gently firm down the soil with your hand.
Set your newly potted plant on a plant saucer and water it until the water comes out the drainage hole. You'll need to water most houseplants once each week--check for soil moisture down to about two inches with your finger and wait until the soil feels dry before you water again.
Fertilize your houseplants with a plant food designed for houseplants during their active growing period, from spring until fall. Apply fertilizer according to label instructions once every one to three months.
Leach your plant to wash out salts in the soil every four to six months. If your plant is small, you can place it in your kitchen sink or bathtub and then run water through the soil until it flows out the drainage hole. For larger plants, flush with clean water two or three times, making sure you empty the saucer after each addition.
Spray your plant with insecticidal soap if you notice any ants, flying insects, webs that look like spider webs (caused by spider mites), aphids or other insect. Insecticidal soap is available in pre-mixed spray form at your garden supply store or nursery.