Indoor plants bring a part of Mother Nature into your home, which enhances the surroundings and adds a natural beauty. Growing certain indoor plants or houseplants can also remove harmful toxins and purify the air inside your home. Proper care is vital to ensure your indoor plants flourish, and several environmental factors affect plant growth as well.
Houseplants require light to grow, and it is important that you know how much each of your indoor plants needs. Ask about this when obtaining houseplants or learn this from the markers provided with most plants. Light can be provided through either natural sunlight or artificial means. According to Texas A&M University, southern windows provide the most intensity of natural sunlight, western and eastern windows provide 60 percent (of the intensity of a southern exposure), and northern exposures provide 20 percent. Place your houseplants in the best location inside your home, depending on the light requirements. Use artificial lighting from incandescent or fluorescent lights for growing plants inside away from natural lighting. Turn your indoor plants weekly to provide equal lighting to all sides.
Temperature, Ventilation and Humidity Control
When selecting areas to place your growing indoor plants, remember these three important factors: temperature, ventilation and humidity. Purdue University states, "Most indoor plants grow well between 60 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit." Provide good ventilation through keeping the houseplants away from areas with drafts, gas fumes or sudden temperature changes, which could occur from registers, appliances or gas furnaces (stoves). Increase the humidity for your plants by placing several houseplants close together, using a humidifier or placing a tray with rocks (sand or pebbles) covered with water nearby.
Indoor plants require water to grow, but over- or under-watering are both common and damaging to growing houseplants. Many factors will affect the amount of water needed for each plant including container size, soil used, plant grown plus the temperature, light and humidity conditions. Check the soil's dryness daily to a depth of 1 inch in small containers or to a depth of 2 inches in containers 6 inches in diameter or more, and only water when it is dry. Supply enough water to each plant until water comes out of the drainage holes, and remove any water remaining after an hour.
Indoor plants require fertilizers to get proper nutrients for growth. However, according to the University of Georgia, "many indoor gardeners have the same problem with fertilizer they have with water--they want to give their plants too much." Use a fertilizer specific for houseplants as directed on the label and only apply it during the growing season from spring to fall. Over-fertilizing will cause salt to form in the water that can burn the root system of houseplants.
Remember to always use a high quality growing medium whenever repotting or planting new indoor plants. The soil mixture needs to supply good drainage and root aeration, as well as retaining enough moisture and nutrients for proper plant development. Purchase soil or soil-less mixes designed especially for houseplants, soil mixes for specific species of plants you are growing inside, or you can mix up your own growing medium to use. If the growing medium used includes a slow-release fertilizer, do not add any additional fertilizer until needed.