Directions on How to Take Care of Different House Plants

Overview

House plants dress up an indoor space with natural color, scent and form. Depending on the types grown, some produce flowers while other bear fruit. These plants thrive in the warm temperature and low lighting found indoors. Proper care increases health and appearance of the plants, and the satisfaction they bring a homeowner. Although intricate details vary, basic care methods such as watering, feeding, fertilizing and pruning are the same.

Step 1

Position the plants where they receive the required amount of sunlight. Flowering house plants need moderate light, such as a western, southern or eastern exposure. Place cacti and similar plants with high light requirements near a southern facing window. Low light African violets or other foliage plants grow near a window with northern exposure. Supplement lack of sufficient natural light with artificial grow lights suspended 8 inches above the tips.

Step 2

Insert your index finger into the container soil to a 2-inch depth and determine whether it feels moist or dry. If it feels dry, it is time to water. Water deeply so excess runs out of the drainage holes, and discard it after an hour. Water the plant again when the soil at the 2-inch depth feels dry.

Step 3

Feed flowering house plants a well-balanced (20-20-20), water-soluble fertilizer once a month. Follow label directions for appropriate dosage. Substitute with a slow-release fertilizer every few months, or an organic fertilizer such as well-rotted manure or compost.

Step 4

Inspect house plants for signs of damage or disease that indicate an underlying cause. Over-watering or over fertilizing cause leaves to turn yellow. Lack of water causes foliage to wilt, turn brown and dry up. Spray plants with an antibacterial soapy solution to deter pests such as spider mites, mealy bugs and scales.

Step 5

Prune indoor house plants to invigorate growth and maintain shape and appearance. Remove dry or diseased branches, leaves or spent blooms. Clean foliage with a moist, soft towel to remove accumulated dust.

Tips and Warnings

  • Never over water your house plant. Causing the roots to stand in water encourages root rot. Avoid fertilizing hourse plants in winter when they are dormant and growth slows down.

Things You'll Need

  • Containers
  • Watering can
  • Well-balanced fertilizer
  • Antibacterial soapy solution
  • Spray bottle
  • Pruning scissors

References

  • Texas A&M: House Plants
  • University of Missouri Extension: Caring for Houseplants
  • University of Minnesota Extension: Caring for Houseplants in Northern Climates
Keywords: house plant care, caring for houseplants, indoor plants

About this Author

Tanya Khan is a freelance author and consultant, having written hundreds of thousands of words for various online and print sources. She has an MBA in Marketing but her passion lies in giving her words wings.