How to Take Care of Bigger Houseplants


Large houseplants add striking color to your home. Whether the plant is tall and tree-like or just features big leaves and bushy foliage, a large plant provides the impact of several smaller plants in an interior space. Big houseplants have many of the same care requirements of smaller houseplants, but they also provide some challenges. While specific cultural requirements depend on the plant variety, general guidelines apply to most bigger houseplant types.

Step 1

Set the houseplant in an area that receives the proper amount of sunlight for the plant variety. Large, broad-leafed plants may be prone to sunburn from too much direct sunlight, so choose an area with bright, indirect light.

Step 2

Water big plants when the top 1 to 2 inches of soil just begins to feel dry. The plant roots are in the bottom third of the pot, so watering too soon can cause soggy soil conditions. Water from the top until the water begins draining from the bottom of the pot and into the drip tray.

Step 3

Empty the drip tray after watering; otherwise, the moisture in the tray seeps back into the pot and causes soggy soil. For large, difficult-to-lift pots, set three or more large river stones on top of the tray, then set the plant on top the stones. This setup allows water to drain freely from the pot but prevents the pot from absorbing the standing water in the drip tray.

Step 4

Fertilize large plants with a soluble, balanced houseplant fertilizer when they are actively growing. This is from spring to fall for most but not all plants. Apply at the lowest rate recommended on the fertilizer label, as higher fertility levels may cause the plant to grow too big to quickly.

Step 5

Top dress large plants once a year in spring to replenish the nutrients in the soil and to prevent soil compaction. Remove the top 1 to 2 inches of soil from the pot and replace it with fresh potting soil or compost. Water thoroughly after top dressing.

Step 6

Wipe the leaves of smooth-leafed houseplants with a damp cloth once a month to remove any dust or dirt buildup. Dust those with fuzzy leaves with a feather duster.

Things You'll Need

  • River rocks
  • Fertilizer
  • Compost or potting soil
  • Cloth
  • Feather duster


  • Washington State University Extension: Houseplants
  • University of Missouri: Caring For Houseplants
Keywords: big houseplants, large houseplant care, big potted plants

About this Author

Jenny Harrington has been a freelance writer since 2006. Her published articles have appeared in various print and online publications, including the "Dollar Stretcher." Previously, she owned her own business, selling handmade items online, wholesale and at crafts fairs. Harrington's specialties include small business information, crafting, decorating and gardening.