Personal pictures and plants inexpensively transform even the smallest living space into a home with little effort. Keeping the plants alive takes a bit of gardening know-how. Vine house plants have temperature, light, water, and fertilizer requirements that must be met so the plant flourishes. Not all vining plants have the same needs, so it is important to know how to care for vine house plants accordingly.
Most vining houseplants do well with average household temperatures. When placing the potted vines, choose areas that are away from heat vents or cold air registers. Avoid drafty regions, like areas by outside doors or windows.
While certain rooms of the house are more humid than others, such as the bathroom, the air is generally too dry for house plants. Add moisture to the air by setting potted plants on a tray of pebbles resting in distilled water. Refill the tray as the water evaporates. For vine house plants that are potted in hanging baskets, spritz the foliage in the morning with distilled water.
A soilless planting medium made up of four parts peat moss, one part perlite and two parts mulch helps maintain moisture, reduces pest infestation and allows the roots to grow without restriction. Mix the planting medium so all the parts are evenly incorporated. Use distilled water to moisten the mixture before you fill the planters.
Shedding Some Light
For rooms that have few or no windows, like bathrooms or dens, choose plants that survive with a limited amount of sunlight. Vine house plants that can live under low-level lighting conditions include:
- Golden Pothos ( Epipremnum aureum )
- Heart-Leaf Philodendron (Philodendron scandens ): USDA hardiness zones 10B through 11
- Swedish Ivy (Plectranthus australis)
- Arrowhead Vine (Syngonium podophyllum)
These plants will also thrive in areas of bright, filtered sunlight. Direct sunlight will scorch the leaves of vining house plants. Another vining house plant that does well in filtered sunlight is wandering Jew (Tradescantia zebrina), that also grows outdoors in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 8 through 11.
The demise of many a house plant is overwatering. The best way to avoid this killer is to provide a planter that has proper drainage. The water should flow freely from the bottom of the pot into a catch basin.
Another way to avoid over-watering is with the bare knuckle test. Insert your index finger into the soil to the first knuckle. If your finger stays dry, the plant needs water. A moist finger means moist soil and no water is necessary.
Feeding the Foliage
Indoor vining plants gather food from the nutrients in the planting medium. These nutrients must be added on a regular basis to maintain a healthy plant. The most convenient way to feed the plants is to water them with distilled water that has been mixed, according to the package directions, with a water-soluble house plant food.
Aphids, spider mites, mealy bugs and fungus gnats are the most common pests that attack house plants. A shower of tepid water, either in the kitchen sink or the bathtub, works to remove many of the pests. For stubborn insects, an insecticidal soap may be necessary. Use a soap designed for house plants that is diluted at a one to three percent rate. Mix the insecticidal soap according to the package directions, paying close attention to ratios recommended for the type of pest infecting the plant.
Pinching and Pruning
One last thing to consider when caring for a vine house plant is the growth habit. Promote a bushy growth by pinching the vines back at a leaf node -- where the leaf connects to the vine. Use a sterile, sharp knife or pruning scissors to cut the vine at the node. Sterilize the pruning equipment with a 50-50 mixture of water and rubbing alcohol. The vine will branch, making the plant more full. The pruning process also promotes more vigorous growth. The result is a healthy, branching plant.