Houseplants are attractive, useful to brighten up a home or office and help remove impurities from indoor air. Choosing a houseplant that will thrive in the environment it will grow in simplifies care, however keep in mind that most houseplants are tropical plants.
Selecting Healthy Plants
Look tropical plants over carefully before you buy them. A healthy plant will have a good shape, be lush but not top heavy. Look for signs of pests or disease. Avoid buying plants with discolored or misshapen leaves, brown edges or blemishes, according to the University of Illinois Extension.
Improper watering is the number one killer of tropical houseplants, according to the University of Missouri Extension. Water the plant when the soil begins to feel dry and the color begins to lighten until the water begins to run out of the bottom of the pot. Rainwater is best for tropical plants. Pour off any remaining water in the saucer after 15 minutes.
Check tropical houseplant leaves frequently to avoid pests. Put the plant foliage under running water or submerge it in water for five minutes if you see signs of insect infestation. Sticky traps, chemical or organic sprays and removal of the pest by hand are other control options. Some types of chemical or organic sprays will damage or kill tropical plants.
- University of Missouri Extension: Caring for Houseplants
- Colorado State University Extension: Managing Houseplant Pests
- University of Illinois Extension: Houseplants
- University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension: Houseplants For Beginners: Philodendron & Pothos
- University of Connecticut Cooperative Extension: Safe and Poisonous Houseplants
- "Spectacular Container Plants"; Byron E. Martin and Laurelynn G. Martin; 2005
- "Tempting Tropicals"; Ellen Zachos; 2005
- "The Houseplant Encyclopedia"; Ingrid Jantra and Ursula Kruger; 2006
- "Complete Houseplants"; Jack Kramer; 2008
- "Paradise Under Glass"; Ruth Kassinger; 2010
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About this Author
Sheri Ann Richerson has been writing professionally since 1981. She is the author of 20 books, including "The Complete Idiot's Guide To Year-Round Gardening," "101 English Garden Tips" and "101 Organic Gardening Tips." Her articles have been published in hundreds of magazines and newspapers internationally. Richerson attended Ball State University and Huntington University, where she majored in communications and minored in theatrical arts.