Though many plants fare best when grown outdoors, many people want to bring their love of plants inside the home or office as well.
Well, there's no need to leave your love of plants outside the front door when they are so easy to grow in pots indoors.
From cascading ferns in the bathroom to flowering plants in the den, and long living succulents and cacti in the office to herbs growing in the kitchen, there's such a wide variety of plants available that if you want to grow a pot plant, there's no reason whatsoever you can't do it.
Some people have been intimidated by the idea of growing plants indoors because they don't feel like they have the skills to do it, but with the help of the internet and websites like this one, there's no cause for concern. The knowledge you need to grow plants in your home is very easily found if you know where to look.
Today, we're here to encourage you in your endeavor to grow a pot plant in your home or office, and we've got some tips and tricks for you as well.
Read on to find out how to grow a pot plant indoors the easy way…
1. Things you should know
While it isn't too difficult to grow plants indoors, there are still a few things you should be mindful of before embarking on this adventure. The more you know, the better your chances at keeping your plants alive and thriving.
Get to know the plants
You really shouldn't just randomly purchase a plant from the nursery or garden center without knowing more about it. Doing so could result in a lot of extra unexpected work from you, or in a plant that quickly dies because you can't meet its needs.
Before you plunk down some cash on any sort of indoor plant, you should get to know it a bit. That might seem like a silly notion, but it is an important one.
What we mean is that you should try to get a better understanding of your plant's native environment and try to recreate it as best as you can. Now you surely won't be able to recreate a tropical South American rainforest in your midwestern living room, but hope is not lost.
There are things you can indeed do to mimic a plant's native habitat. Some of these things are simple, while others will take a bit of work. Your first step must be research. Your research can help you to determine several things such as:
- What sort of container should you use for your plants?
- How often do your plants need to be watered?
- What lighting is best for your plants, and where can they be exposed to this lighting?
- At what temperature will your plants thrive?
- Does your plant need extra help when it comes to humidity?
As you can see, there is much important information to be learned about whatever plants you choose, but you can only find this information by getting to know as much as possible about the plants you wish to have in your home or office.
2. Growing your pot plant
Let's look now at some of these deciding factors, so that you can know how to care for your pot plant.
Soil is crucial when it comes to pot plants. Since they aren't outside and are unable to draw in nutrients they need naturally from their surroundings, these plants rely on you for their care. One of the most important things involved in their care is the soil they are grown in.
- General Purpose Potting Mix: For many types of plants, a general purpose potting mix will suffice. These mixes are sterile and are usually comprised of a mixture of vermiculite, perlite and peat moss. While there is no organic material in this type of mix, it is still a good choice for indoor plants as it is great at absorbing moisture and it won't become compacted in the pot. Unfortunately, you will need to water your plants more often as this type of mix does dry out quickly. Additionally, you will need to fertilize your plant more often because there are no organic nutrients in the potting mix.
- Specialized Potting Soils: If you are growing specialized plants, you will likely want a soil mix that has been tailored to their specific needs. Orchids for example grow well in bark and moss, or in a soil mix that is high in humus. Cacti and succulents do best when the are planted in a soil that is made for them. These are generally coarse mixes comprised in large part of sand, and they are well draining soils.
Whatever type soil you choose to use for your pot plants, you will need to make sure that it is lightweight so that the roots of the plants don't get bogged down and fall prey to root rot.
Like many people, you might be under the presumption that pot plants tend to die from not getting enough water. This is not often the case. Surprisingly, the most common cause of disease and death to houseplants is actually getting too much water. Over watering leads to fungus as well as root rot which slowly kills the plants from the bottom to the top.
Most houseplants do not need to be watered on a set schedule, nor do they need to be watered daily. During different parts of the year your plants will have different requirements for water, too. Even different plants will have different needs when it comes to how much water is necessary for them to thrive.
Throughout the growing season of spring, summer and fall, your pot plant will need to be watered more often than not. Through the winter months when your plants are less active, they will not need to be watered as much.
To see if your plant is in need of a drink, check the first inch of soil in the pot plant container. If the soil feels moist to the touch, then your plant still has enough water in the soil. However, if the soil feels dry to the touch it likely needs to be watered.
Don't water pot plants with cold water as it can shock the roots of the plant. Also, be careful using water that has been chemically treated as some plants are quite sensitive to the chemicals.
Make sure that water isn't allowed to collect on the leaves of your pot plants, or it can result in powdery mildew and other fungal diseases.
If your container sits in a dish to collect excess water, be sure to empty this dish so that your plant's roots don't become waterlogged resulting in root rot and untimely death.
Not all pot plants are equal when it comes to their need for lighting. Some do well in bright light while others do fine in low-lighted areas. This is one reason it is best to know what your specific plants need before you bring them home.
Plants that love sunlight and a lot of flowering plants like to be near windows that face the south. In this spot they will receive plenty of bright sunlight.
If your plant prefers low light, you can place it near a window that faces north. The plant will still get exposure to sunlight, but it will be the low light it prefers.
An east or west-facing window is the best spot for plants that like bright but indirect sunlight.
If you have plants that thrive on full sun exposure, you might need to invest in some artificial lighting to get them through cloudy days and the dreary winter months.
Be careful though. Just as too much water can kill a plant, too much sunlight can result in death as well.
Lighting is vital to all plants, especially pot plants that aren't continuously exposed to the sun. Lighting is how plants create food for themselves, and they cannot live without some exposure to sunlight. Give your pot plant what it needs for lighting, and you are likely to have a happy plant.
Temperature and humidity
There is no way to mimic the dry plains of Africa in a suburban office, so you cannot recreate the native habitat of your plants there. However, you can do certain things to help your pot plant think that they are still somewhere near their native environment, and this will help the plants to grow well.
Keeping your plants within their preferred temperature and humidity range will go a long way in helping them adapt to their new surroundings.
Most plants are perfectly happy at normal room temperatures from a range of 65°F/18°C to 75°F/24°C. You should never let your plants be exposed to temperatures below 50°F/10°C as it can result in fatal damage.
You can also simulate the changing if the seasons by altering the temperature in the room where your plant is kept. This can help your plant to bring forth fresh new growth in the spring, and naturally go into a dormant state through the winter.
The heater in your home will mention increase the temperature, not to mention dry out the air. Make sure your plant is not placed near heating vents or registers, or the vents for the air conditioner. Either extreme in temperature can result in an unhappy plant.
As for humidity, the majority of plants are happiest around 50% or more. When plants are kept at humidity lower than 30 or 40% they are not able to draw water up through their roots and will dry out. In most homes, the humidity can drop below 20% in the winter, so your plant will need help from you.
You can mist your plant, but that is a temporary fix. Another thing you can do is bring a humidifier into the room to give more moisture to the air. You can also use a pebble and water tray to help the plant draw more moisture through its roots. Additionally, placing several pot plants close together can help increase the humidity, as they will give moisture to each other.
Indoor pot plants generally don't need too much in the way of nutrition or fertilizer, but they will need to be helped along on occasion. Many plants will only need to be fertilized once or twice a year, but it is really dependent upon the type of plant you have and what sort of soil you have potted it in.
Before fertilizing any plant in your home or office, make sure you have thoroughly watered it first. Fertilizing on dry soil can easily kill the plant, so moist soil is best.
Dilute the fertilizer and it is almost always better for it to be a bit weaker than you think it should be, lest it burn the plant.
In addition to chemical fertilizers, there are organic methods you can use like adding compost or casings from worms to the soil to add in nutrients naturally.
3. Maintaining your pot plants
As long as you give your indoor pot plants the proper care, they should last a long time.
Look out for pests and diseases and treat them as necessary.
One of the most common pests on indoor pot plants is mealybugs. They will often be found on the undersides of the plant's leaves and stems. To remove the mealybugs from your plant, you can dip a cotton swab in rubbing alcohol and then rub it on the bug to remove it from the plant.
If the leaves of your plant begin to droop or turn brown, do some troubleshooting to determine if the plant is getting enough water, or maybe too much water.
If your plant begins to grow too big for its container, you will need to repot it into another larger container so that it may continue to grow and thrive. This is an easy task, and we have information to help you along.
There are many things that go into the care and maintenance of houseplants.
Arming yourself with knowledge can help you to grow a pot plant with no worries.
Come back soon for more foliage frenzy!