How to Take Care of Potted Plants

Potted plants require specialized care. image by G & A Scholiers/


Whether you have outdoor containers of flowers adorning your patio, or deck or indoor potted plants adding a natural touch to your living area, proper plant care is a necessary factor for them to flourish. While some aspects depend on the particular variety of plant in your containers, certain issues with potted plants exist regardless of the plant type. Encouraging lush foliage and prolific flowering, when applicable, requires proper care.

Step 1

Choose plants in containers or replant into pots with good drainage. Look for holes in the bottom of the pot or drill holes into pots that have inadequate drainage.

Step 2

Place the plants where they meet the light requirements as detailed on their care tags. Indoors, choose a sunny windowsill. If depending on artificial light, place the plant where it will receive double the light recommendation---a plant requiring 5 hours of sunlight a day requires 10 hours of artificial light.

Step 3

Water regularly, as potted plants dry out quicker than bedded plants. Keep the soil moist but not soggy. Follow care instructions for watering, most plants do best when watered from the top until the water runs into the drip tray beneath the pot. Empty the drip tray as it fills.

Step 4

Move outdoor plants inside when nighttime temperatures begin dropping below 55 degrees Fahrenheit. Keep indoor plants in a room that maintains a temperature between 70 and 80 degrees during the daytime.

Step 5

Avoid placing plants where they receive drafts from windows, air conditioner vents or heaters. Drafts dry out the soil and the foliage quicker and may damage the plant.

Step 6

Fertilize with a liquid fertilizer every 3 to 4 weeks or as recommended on the care label. Apply the fertilizer at half strength to avoid over-fertilizing potted plants.

Tips and Warnings

  • Apply an insecticide or fungicide to afflicted plants and move the pot away from nearby plants to keep the infection from spreading. Avoid getting water on foliage, as this may lead to mildew and other fungal infections.

Things You'll Need

  • Drill
  • Fertilizer


  • Texas A&M Extension
Keywords: houseplant care, potted plant maintenance, growing container plants

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/