Anyone can grow healthy houseplants by knowing the basics of plant care. It is important to know what type of houseplant you have as they all have different growth requirements. All plants require light, water, humidity, fertilizer, repotting, and basic cleaning. The level at which these requirements are needed varies based on the plant. For light, most plants will have tags or some label that says either “direct sunlight,” “indirect light,” “moderate light,” or “low light.” As a general rule, green foliage plants don’t need as much light as flowering plants or plants with bright colored variegated leaves.
Direct light or bright light is the sun coming in through a window (typically south facing) directly onto the plant. Indirect light is light that comes from a light bulb or is sunlight that has been filtered through something, like a curtain. Indirect light is the most common light choice for most plants. Moderate light is receiving around 6 hours of indirect light. Low light is anything less than 4 hours typically using an indirect source of light. If the room where you want to grow house plants doesn’t have enough light, you can supplement with artificial light. You can use fluorescent lights even if you don’t have any windows nearby.
Overwatering tends to be the biggest threat to houseplants. For houseplants, do not stick to a set watering schedule, but water when the soil feels like it needs watering. It is always best to err on the side of too dry than it is too wet. When watering, avoid splashing onto leaves and stems, which can encourage diseases and leaf spotting. Watering the soil directly is best. Water your plants when the top 1 inch of soil feels dry. Houseplants need watered less frequently in the winter months and more frequently in the summer. Plants that are actively flowering are using more energy and need watered more frequently as well.
You should use pots that have good drainage holes for your plant to avoid root rot, mold, and other issues. Always water until the excess water drains out of the holes. Even plants that prefer dry soil should be watered this way (just not as frequently).Another method of watering is through the bottom. Place the pot onto a tray and add 1 inch of water to the tray. The roots will slowly absorb the water through the drainage holes. Leave the pot on the tray until you can feel the surface of the soil is moist. If the soil is really dry, water might run straight through the plant and not get absorbed. If this happens, submerge the whole pot in a sink/tub or bucket full of water until air bubbles stop being released. Remove the plant from the water and set it aside to let excess moisture run out. The plant may need repotted into a different type of growing mix.