Indoor houseplants serve a three-fold function in the home. Plants clean the indoor air as they consume carbon dioxide and produce oxygen. The second function involves adding beauty to the environment as a decorative accent around the home. Indoor house plants also serve the vital role of occupying the time and brains of avid gardeners who pine away for warmer weather and outdoor gardening. Houseplants fill many needs in the home and require proper care to thrive indoors.
The success of indoor houseplants can be directly tied to light availability. Just as outdoor plants must have sunlight needs met, indoor plants have light requirements that dictate growing success. Homeowners often place plants that require indirect, bright light in an area of the home that simply doesn't suit the plant. The result is a dead or dying plant with withering leaves. The plant should always be chosen based on the planned location in the home, with light requirements being the primary consideration.
Uniform temperature in the home dictates the success of houseplants. Temperatures should range from 60 to 70 degrees F in the home during the day. Avoid placing any houseplants in drafty areas near windows and doors. Houseplants can tolerate some swing in temperature but won't thrive in areas below 45 degrees F. Direct sunlight will burn plant leaves just as much as cooler temperatures.
Indoor garden enthusiasts need to choose homes for their indoor plants carefully. Drainage becomes a major concern, especially to avoid damaging floors and carpets. Purchase plant pots with prepunched drainage holes and attached drainage trays. Place smaller pots inside ceramic planters or containers that cannot be drilled to add holes.
Use potting soil for indoor plants based on the type of plant. Specialty plants like African violets require enhanced potting soil to aid blooming. Choose pots at least 1 1/2 times the size of the temporary planting container or pot. Repotting involves moving a plant exhibiting signs of crowding such as roots extending at the soil level or through the drainage holes. Repot houseplants into new containers at the same depth to simulate growing conditions and limit shock to the plant.
Watering properly involves monitoring the needs of each plant every few days until you develop a good understanding of how the plant uses available water. Temperature fluctuations and changes in humidity cause water to evaporate more quickly from houseplants. Check the soil every few days to make sure it hasn't become dry and powdery.