How to Care for Plants


Whether you grow vegetables, flowers or houseplants, inside or out, you need to know how to care for your plants. Providing the best growing conditions ensures healthy and flourishing plants for a season or seasons to come. Plants purify and improve their surroundings and produce foods or blossoms in endless varieties. Understand the needs of each plant you grow and care for it properly, and you will benefit from it with the satisfaction of knowing you had a hand in its development.

Step 1

Provide the best location for your plant. Place plants in areas according to how much sun is needed. Put shade-loving ones in shady spots and plants that require full sun in sunny sites. This even includes indoor plants; place them in direct or indirect sunlight, according to their needs. Check the marker on the plants for this information or consult a gardener center or Extension office (see Resources).

Step 2

Know when to plant your plants. Some plants, such as spring or fall bulbs, require plantings at certain times of the year. Read all you can about the variety of plant(s) you grow.

Step 3

Identify plants that require transplanting to a larger container. Watch for signs of the roots at the drain holes and transplant soon after.

Step 4

Give your plants adequate water, especially during long dry spells. Provide at least 1 inch of water weekly if rainfall fails to. Wait until the top 2 inches of soil dries before watering, in most cases.

Step 5

Do not over-water your plants. Plants in containers (inside or out) will likely require less water. Keep an eye out for wilting, mold, weak stems or leaves yellowing--all signs of over watering.

Step 6

Keep weeds away from plants. Use a shovel to add several inches of mulch around your plants. Other methods include pulling weeds or using a hoe to cultivate around plants, although this can damage some roots close to the surface.

Step 7

Add fertilizer only when necessary, and use the correct type. This varies depending on your location, plant and soil conditions. Contact your Extension office (see Resources) or garden center for precise information on soil testing, fertilizers and other matters specific to your location.

Step 8

Research the types of pests, diseases or other problems associated with your plants. Check plants often all over for color changes, spots appearing or weak areas and treat as soon as possible.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel
  • Mulch
  • Hoe
  • Fertilizer


  • National Gardening Association: Plant Care Guides
  • Purdue University Cooperative Extension: Indoor Plant Care
  • Plant Care: Plant Care for Indoor House Plants

Who Can Help

  • USDA Cooperative Extension Offices
Keywords: care for plants, flowers, vegetables, water, fertilizer