How to Keep Indoor Plants Alive

Overview

Keep your houseplants healthy, alive and free of common houseplant issues by providing them with the best care. Common houseplant trouble signs include wilting, losing leaves, yellowing leaves, specked leaves, brown leaf tips and white fungus or mold on the soil surface, according to the North Dakota State University Extension Service. You'll save yourself a lot of time in trying to rescue dying plants if you provide them with the right conditions from the beginning.

Step 1

Set the plants in a sunny spot that receives sunlight for at least six hours per day. Few plants, even indoor plants, don't benefit from a boost of sunlight. Plants, through the process of photosynthesis, produce their food from the sunlight.

Step 2

Water the plant well, but do not over-water. Monitor the soil's moisture level daily. Place your fingertip in the soil. If it feels dry, water the soil until moist, but not saturated. If it feels moist, skip watering and check it the next day.

Step 3

Fill or replace the plant's pot with a premium potting soil, which contain additives like fertilizer to keep the plant healthy. Purchase a premium potting soil from a garden store. Ask a sales associate for help with picking the highest quality potting soil.

Step 4

Apply a houseplant fertilizer, available from garden centers. Consult with staff from the garden center. Ask which fertilizer is best. Follow the directions provided with the fertilizer to mix and apply the solution properly. If using a potting soil with added slow-release fertilizers, wait to fertilize for six months when the fertilizers are no longer active.

Step 5

Repot the plant when roots begin to grow out of the bottom of the drainage holes or when the plant looks obviously large for the size of pot it's planted in. Choose a pot slightly larger than its original pot for repotting.

Step 6

Set the temperature of your home between 60 and 75 degrees F, advises the Purdue University Cooperative Extension Service. Place plants away from heat registers, warm appliances or areas of your home with hot or cold drafts.

Step 7

Inspect the plant leaves for insects, such as mites, gnats, flies and aphids, with a magnifying glass. Spray the plant leaves with an insecticide, available at garden centers and nurseries, if you identify insects. Follow the specific insecticide application and mixing instructions printed on the label.

Things You'll Need

  • Premium potting soil
  • Fertilizer
  • Magnifying glass
  • Insecticide

References

  • North Dakota State University Extension Service: Houseplants: Proper Care and Management of Pest Problems
  • Purdue University Cooperative Extension Service: Indoor Plant Care
  • Texas Agricultural Extension Service: House Plants
Keywords: indoor plants alive, indoor plant care, keeping plants alive

About this Author

Sommer Sharon has a bachelor's degree in IT/Web management from the University of Phoenix and owns a Web consulting business. With more than 12 years of experience in the publishing industry, her work has included "Better Homes and Gardens," "Ladies' Home Journal," "MORE," "Country Home," "Midwest Living," and "American Baby." Sharon now contributes her editorial background by writing for several Internet publications.