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How to Maintain House Plants

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How to Maintain House Plants

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Overview

House plants add a finishing touch to the interior home décor. Ivy, asparagus fern, spider plants or ficus can thrive in inside the home with proper care and attention. Learning how to maintain house plants involves monitoring the soil conditions in the pots, watering and fertilizing regularly. All potted plants need special attention because moisture and soil nutrients can be limited in the confined space of a plant pot. House plants need careful, constant monitoring as well a plenty of adequate light, transplanting when necessary and the addition of new potting soil to provide essential nutrients.

Watering

Step 1

Test the soil in each plant to gauge the level of dryness. Press your finger into the soil to a depth of 1 inch. If the soil feels dry, the plant requires water. Observing the top surface of the house plant can also indicate whether the plant requires water. Properly damp soil has a considerably darker hue than the light colored soil of a plant that needs watering.

Step 2

Make sure every house plant pot has drainage holes in the bottom. Place a drip tray under each plant and set the bottom of the pot on the tray. Water from the bottom of the plant by filling the drip tray to allow the plant to draw water up as needed.

Step 3

Add water occasionally to the top of the plant using a watering can with a spout. Water the soil around the base of the plant stems. Try not to get the leaves wet; this method of watering discourages the formation of molds and disease.

Step 4

Remove drip pans and scrub away any mineral buildup caused from hard water. This buildup may also attach to the drainage holes of the pot. Chip the scale away with a trowel.

Transplanting

Step 1

Observe house plants to check for overgrown or crowded conditions. In these instances, you'll need to repot the plant into a larger container.

Step 2

Rinse out the inside of a larger pot and check for drainage holes. Punch holes in the bottom of the pot if required.

Step 3

Fill the pot two-thirds full of house plant potting soil mixture.

Step 4

Slip the trowel into the existing plant pot and loosen the plant. Work your fingers into the soil to grasp each plant at the point where the stem joins the roots. Lift the plant carefully out of the pot and shake off any excess dirt.

Step 5

Place the plant into the new container to measure the distance from the pot rim. Position the plant so the top of the root ball is about 2 inches below the pot's rim. Add or remove potting soil from the pot to establish the correct position.

Step 6

Add soil to the pot and firm around the roots with each scoop of dirt. Bring the soil level to 1 inch below the pot rim.

Step 7

Water by placing the house plants in a drip tray or by slowly adding water to the dry potting soil. Continue adding water until it drains into the drip tray.

Things You'll Need

  • Trowel
  • Hammer
  • Screwdriver
  • Potting soil
  • Plant pots
  • Watering can
  • Drip trays

References

  • University of Missouri Extension
  • Ohio State University
Keywords: houseplants, house plant care, maintaing house plants

About this Author

Currently studying for her Maryland master gardener certification, Sharon Heron has written professionally since 2006. Her writing includes hundreds of articles on a wide range of topics including gardening, environment, golf, parenting, exercise, finances and consumer how-to articles.