Houseplants not only add color and ambience to your house, but they can help purify your home's air because they breathe in carbon dioxide and release oxygen. Most plants sold as houseplants are tropical and evergreen, especially in indoor growing conditions where the temperature remains constant. Houseplants require the right amounts of sunlight, water, humidity and nutrients in order to thrive indoors.
Light is essential for plants to grow. It is only the amount of light that differs between species of houseplants. According to the University of Illinois, low light would be considered a few feet away from a north window, or up to 20 feet away from a south-facing window. At the other end of the spectrum, direct light is found directly in front of the south-facing window. Most evergreen plants' leaves burn in direct light. The majority of evergreen houseplants require bright, indirect light.
Water needs vary greatly from plant to plant. The amount of water that might cause one houseplant to thrive may kill another plant. It is important to determine the individual needs of a plant before you bring it into your home. The vast majority of evergreen plants prefer slightly moist, but well-drained soil. Few plants will survive in wet or overly damp soil. Plants with brown leaf tips can indicate the plant has been over-watered. Wilted leaves indicate too little water.
As most evergreen houseplants are native to the tropics, they enjoy a higher percentage of moisture in the air than is commonly found in the house. Frequent misting provides some humidity. Place plants that need higher levels of humidity next to a humidifier.
Over-fertilizing is as big of a danger as under-fertilizing your evergreen houseplants. Over-fertilizing can lead to a buildup of salts in the soil, which may damage your plant, burn the roots or cause the plant to grow too quickly and become weak. According to the University of Illinois, most houseplants do not need to be fertilized more than once every three months throughout the spring and summer months. Always water well after fertilizing. Usually, a fertilizer with a 5-10-5 ratio is a good choice.
Like their cousins in the garden, evergreen houseplants are not immune to insect invasion. According to the University of Minnesota, prevention is the best defense against insects. Keep the plant healthy by providing it with the light, humidity and water it requires. Wash the leaves of houseplants regularly, as dust may draw insects and spider mites. If your plant becomes infected, separate it from the rest of your plants to avoid contamination. Nonchemical solutions to many insect problems include washing the plant with a mild liquid detergent and setting sticky traps to catch flying insects. Chemical control, such as insecticides containing bifenthrin or pyrethrins, is available at most local gardening stores.