Indoor Growing Guide

Overview

Plants provide soothing focal points inside homes, making rooms more inviting. There are special considerations to take into to account to have healthy plants that thrive, such as light conditions, warmth and humidity levels. Grow your plants indoors to have houseplants you will enjoy year-round.

Proper Lighting

Houseplants add color and life to living spaces and offices. If you have more than one plant, group them together and they will offset each other attractively. Rooms that are well lit and sunny are best for houseplants. However, keep them out of the way of direct cold or warm air from heating sources, as they will soon suffer from the changes in temperature and humidity. During the fall and winter, your plants will be able to tolerate being in the sun well, but the summer sun will probably be too strong for them. Some homes and offices receive little natural light. You may have to install a special fluorescent plant light that will provide the necessary light spectrum they need. If the indoor space is very dark or you are trying to grow seedlings, program the light to be on for 12 to 14 hours a day. Otherwise, a few hours a day will be sufficient to keep your plants healthy.

Watering Correctly

Houseplants have small growing areas and do better with one or two generous waterings a week rather than a little every day. Although plants usually require more water during their growth period in spring and summer, your indoor plants will also need good weekly or twice weekly watering in winter. In winter, the central heating will dry out rooms and this will quickly affect your plants. Too much water is worse for your plants than too little, and may kill them. Check the dampness of the soil by touching the soil. If it is muddy and thick, allow it to dry a little before watering again. If the soil is moist and not too compact, you are watering enough. A good way to water your plants is to place the pot inside a large bowl and fill the bowl with water until it reaches the soil level of the houseplant. Leave your houseplant in the water until it has become saturated, and repeat the process once a week, or every four to five days, if the soil dries out faster. Give your plants some extra humidity by placing pots in trays lined with small stones or pebbles in shallow water. Another method is to place your houseplant in a larger pot lined with damp peat moss. Mist your plants with a spray bottle if the walls and floors around them will not be damaged.

Healthy Soil

Soil quality is more important to indoor plants than to outdoor ones. Buy or prepare sterilized planting soil to ensure that your plants stay in optimum condition. Ideally, the soil you want for your houseplants will contain at least garden soil, peat moss, some sand or gravel and bone meal or fertilizer. This will help keep your plant healthy for at least two years, at which point you will probably have to move your plant to a larger pot. If you have many young plants, repot them as they grow larger, about once a year.

About this Author

Ruth Taylor is a teacher and a freelance writer. She has been writing for years, but only recently started freelancing. Her articles have appeared in Livestrong, eHow and other websites. In college she majored in Spanish and graduated summa cum laude with a M.A.T. in teaching a second language. She has taught both in high school and elementary school.

Article provided by eHow Home & Garden | Indoor Growing Guide