How to Care for House Plants


House plants bring nature indoors, adding greenery and in some cases blooms as a living part of your décor. Whether you have flowering house plants for gracing tables and mantle pieces or you prefer lush foliage spilling out of hanging planters and pots, proper care will keep them healthy. House plants require the same things outdoor plants do to thrive: proper water, temperature, sunlight and soil nutrition. It can be more of a challenge providing these indoors. With care, the plants will flourish and continue to provide lush growth for many seasons.

Step 1

Place the plant where it will receive the proper light requirements for its variety. Place most foliage plants where they receive diffused light from a south or east facing window. Place flowering plants out in bright light that isn't direct, such as through a translucent window shade on a south-facing window.

Step 2

Check the pots are draining properly. Remove foil covers from pots if they are present as these hold water and may drown the roots. Place the pots in drainage trays. Elevate the pots ½ inch from the tray bottom by placing rocks in the tray.

Step 3

Water house plants when the top of the soil begins to dry. Water from the top until water begins to come out the drainage holes in the bottom. Empty the drip tray once all the water has accumulated. Avoid getting water on the foliage or stem of the plant.

Step 4

Place plants in a room that is neither too hot nor too cold. Keep flowering plants at a temperature between 65 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit and foliage plants at temperatures between 60 to 80 degrees. Place them where they aren't subject to either hot or cold drafts from windows or air vents.

Step 5

Fertilize plants once a month with a liquid balanced fertilizer for houseplants. Dilute the fertilizer in water or water after fertilizing so the plants do not burn and can quickly absorb the new nutrients. Avoid fertilizing in winter when plants are not growing.

Step 6

Repot the plants once they become root bound. Plants are root bound when the roots begin growing out of the drainage holes and the plant is no longer flowering or producing new foliage at its former rate. Place in a new pot that is one size larger than the current pot and use the same kind of potting soil it was originally in.

Tips and Warnings

  • Only repot otherwise healthy plants and avoid fertilizing them for one week after repotting. House plants aren't safe from pests and disease. Treat with the proper organic or chemical control if disease or pests are present.

Things You'll Need

  • Drainage trays
  • Rocks
  • Fertilizer
  • Pots
  • Potting soil


  • University of Missouri Extension
Keywords: house plant care, growing plants indoors, 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.