Adding live plants to your home décor can improve your health by reducing stress, infusing beauty and helping to filter the air, but ensuring that your houseplants thrive can be daunting – here are five Golden Rules of Houseplant Care:
#1 DON’T DROWN THEM
The roots need air as much as they need water. Keeping the compost soaked at all times means certain death for most plants. Some varieties need very little water on a weekly (or even monthly) basis to live, so check with your local garden center or do a bit of research online before reaching for the watering can.
#2 GIVE THEM A REST
Just like outdoor plants, nearly all houseplants need a rest in winter. This means less water, feeding and heat. This seasonal respite will keep your plants coming back stronger year-over-year.
#3 ACCEPT THE LOSS OF ‘TEMPORARY’ PLANTS
Some popular gift plants like poinsettia will die down naturally in a matter of weeks. Be prepared to mourn and move on. If you are looking for a long-term companion, then consider plants like Ivy, Aloe, Peace Lilies and Jade – then spread the word among your friends and family!
#4 GIVE THEM EXTRA HUMIDITY
Many popular houseplants come from tropical or subtropical climates. While they will do very well during our warm, moist Pennsylvania summers, our dry winters can challenge them. You can help maintain their tropical origins by misting your plants or running a humidifier regularly. You can also place the plants on a watered pebble tray. As the water evaporates, it is absorbed by the plants. Be sure that the planter is sitting above the water so that the roots are not absorbing the water from the tray.
#5 BETTER TOGETHER
Like people, plants are largely social creatures. They look better and grow better together. Work with your local garden center to understand which plants can share pots based on soil conditions, feeding and watering needs.