How to Keep Indoor Plants Healthy

Houseplant in a red bucket container image by G & A Scholiers: Sxc.hu

Overview

Houseplants add a natural element to a room. Many houseplants are prized for their foliage, though some are also chosen for their flowers. Keeping houseplants healthy so they survive and add to a living space for many years requires regular maintenance. Some plants are more finicky than others, which is something to keep in mind if you only have minimal time to spend caring for your houseplants. While specific care instructions differ by variety, there are some things that are beneficial to all plants.

Step 1

Place the plants in locations where they receive the specific light recommendations for their variety. Use a sunny window or indoor lights to provide enough light for the plant to thrive. Move the plant as needed as days shorten in winter. As a general rule, plants need twice as much time under artificial lights as what is recommended for natural light.

Step 2

Choose containers with proper drainage. Use containers with plenty of drainage holes in the bottom, and place each container on a tray to catch water. Check plants regularly for soil or roots plugging the holes and clear away as needed to avoid waterlogging your plants.

Step 3

Keep soil moist at all times. Houseplants dry out faster than bedding plants. Choose to water deeply once a week as opposed to daily light watering. Dump out the tray under the pot once it collects excess water.

Step 4

Fertilize with a complete liquid fertilizer every one to two months---depending on the exact recommendations for the plant variety. Mix fertilizer at half the recommended strength unless it is specifically formulated for indoor houseplants.

Step 5

Keep the temperature in your rooms consistent at all times. Most plants prefer temperatures of between 60 and 70 degrees. Place them in locations where they will not be exposed to drafts from heaters, air vents or the warm air from radiators. Use a humidifier in winter to keep the plants' leaves healthy.

Step 6

Transplant into larger pots once the roots begin poking through the drainage holes or when plants begin lifting out of the soil. Choose a container 4 inches larger in diameter than the existing pot. Use well-aerated, nutrient-balanced potting soil to fill the container.

Tips and Warnings

  • Keep an eye out for white powder on foliage---this is powdery mildew. Remove infected leaves and dispose of immediately. Treat insect problems immediately with insecticides to avoid any damage spreading to your other plants.

Things You'll Need

  • Pots
  • Drip trays
  • Fertilizer

References

  • Ohio State University Extension
  • Garden Central
Keywords: houseplant care, indoor plants, plant maintenance

About this Author

Jenny Harrington has been a freelance writer since 2006. Her published articles have appeared in various print and online publications. 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.

Photo by: G & A Scholiers: Sxc.hu