How to Care for an Indoor Potted Tropical Plant


Tropical plants provide large, deep green foliage and sometimes even bright, exotic flowers. These plants usually aren't frost tolerant, so they are most often grown as indoor houseplants. Providing a climate within the home that is similar to the plant's native tropical climate helps the plant remain healthy. Tropical plants usually share similar care requirements, but it is best to always verify the requirements for a particular plant to prevent permanent damage.

Step 1

Remove any decorative covering from the plant pot so that water can drain freely from the bottom of the planter. Trapped, standing water can lead to root rot or disease.

Step 2

Set the plant in an area that receives the amount of recommended light. Many tropicals grow best in bright, indirect sunlight. Other plants thrive in low-light or bright-light conditions, so check the plant tag to find the exact needs of the plant.

Step 3

Stick your finger in the soil and check soil moisture every three to five days. Water the plants when the top 1 to 2 inches of soil just begins to feel dry. Water from the top until it begins to drain from the bottom of the pot, then empty the excess water from the drip tray.

Step 4

Fill a tray with pebbles then add water until the water level is just below the top of the pebbles. Set plants on top of these trays and replenish the water as needed. Tropical plants require higher levels of humidity in order to thrive, particularly in the winter months when the air is drier in the home.

Step 5

Dissolve 1 tsp. of 20-20-20 analysis fertilizer in 1 gallon of water. Water the tropical plants once monthly from spring until fall with this solution to help replenish the nutrients in the soil.

Step 6

Dust the tropical plant once monthly to keep it looking good and to prevent dust buildup that can inhibit leaf respiration. Wipe smooth leaves with a barely dampened cloth and dust hairy-leaved plants with a soft-bristled brush.

Things You'll Need

  • Pebbles
  • Fertilizer
  • Cloth
  • Soft-bristled brush


  • Smithsonian Institution: Indoor Tropicals Fact Sheet
  • Purdue University Extension: Indoor Plant Care
Keywords: potted tropical plants, indoor plant care, caring for tropicals

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.