Indoor Plants Information

Overview

Houseplants are indoor plants, usually from subtropic areas, that survive well in the conditions inside most homes. Although houseplants are hardy, there are several care practices required to keep houseplants thriving. Choosing the correct plant and ensuring the foliage is healthy, disease and insect free is the first step. Always choose the correct plant for the environment it is living in, and provide the correct after care.

Light

Houseplants usually require one of four light requirements, says the University of Illinois. Low light plants require placement a few feet away from a north facing window, 3 to 10 feet away from an east or westerly facing window, and 15 to 20 feet away from a southerly facing window. Medium light plants require placement directly in front of a north window, a few feet away from an east or west facing window and placement 3 to 10 feet away from a south facing window. High light plants require placement directly in front of an east or west window or 5 feet of distance before a south facing window. Direct sunlight plants need to sit directly in front of a south facing window. Proper ventilation such as an open window or a rotating fan will ensure the leaves do not burn and will avoid diseases.

Acclimatization

Tropical plants require a short period of acclimatization to reduce stress to their leaves. Full sun plants, when placed into the light conditions of an apartment or house, lose some of their leaves to adjust to the lower light. To reduce the shock, plants should be moved in and outdoors during the summer, leaving the plant indoor for longer periods until it is used to the environment, says the Virginia Cooperative Extension. This is best performed over a period of 4 to 8 weeks.

Soil and Containers

House plants require a container that is well draining and is of the appropriate size. Pots that are too big will cause fertilizer run off and will stay wet for too long, causing root rot. Commercial potting soil is the best option for house plants. A media home made mix using 1 bushel of shredded peat, 2 bushels perlite, 1/2 cup of 8-8-8 fertilizer or similar blend, and 1 tbsp. chelated iron, according to Texas A & M University, will provide the correct environment for your plant.

Water

Houseplant roots are usually at the bottom third of a pot, so water must penetrate to that level for healthy growth. Probing your finger into the soil to ensure it is wet to an appropriate depth is better than looking at the surface because plants drain the water at the roots. Some containers require watering on a daily basis. Check the water needs of the plant when purchasing to ensure you water it the correct amount. When watering, pour until water comes out the bottom of the pot. Drain excess water after the plant has drank for several minutes.

Fertilizer

A plant requires fertilizer according to its size and feeding needs. A water soluble indoor plant fertilizer applied at the recommended rate is usually the most effective manner of fertilizing indoor plants. Water soluble fertilizers are easily absorbed, and the nitrogen is absorbed efficiently. Virginia Cooperative Extension recommends using half the fertilizer rate recommended when applying it to slow growing plants.

Keywords: indoor plants, indoor plant care, indoor plant information

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 eHow.com, 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.