It’s hardly a secret for most of us that a room looks and feels better with plants than without them. Put some green, living things in your room and the place suddenly springs to life – and whether you realize that or not, so do you! Numerous studies have proven that plants help us breathe by removing toxins in the air, they improve our concentration by up to 15 percent and they boost our mood.
So plants are good for you – but are you good for them? Keeping plants indoors certainly presents a range of challenges as your bookshelf or your windowsill isn’t any plant’s natural habitat. So why don’t you actually return the favor and help your plants prosper? Here are the basics of growing plants indoors to make sure that your green roommates stay lush, bright and healthy for a long time.
Choose plants that thrive indoors
If you’re about to buy a plant that you intend to keep indoors, do a bit of research for plants that enjoy a reputation for good indoor performance – especially if low or dim light is something your plants will need to endure on a daily basis. Tolerant indoor plants include the philodendron, pothos, dracaena, sansevieria, and most succulents.
When buying a plant, take a critical look at the plant’s overall condition, and stay away from it if you find any tell-tale signs such as sticky substance on its leaves or white dots. Another thing to inspect is whether the plant seems to have healthy roots – they ought to be light-colored and thick, so by all means pull the plant out of the planter a bit if you can and check this.
Provide adequate light for your plants
One of the most common reasons for premature death in plants, inadequate light levels include both not enough light and too much of it (make sure you know what species of plant you own and read up on it a bit). In either event, place your plants near a natural or artificial light source – but bear in mind that merely keeping your plants next to a window during short days in the winter months will not be sufficient for most plant species.
And don’t expect your regular light bulbs to solve the problem either. Photoreceptors in plants only absorb specific wavelengths of light, so buying grow lights may be the only real solution in many cases. Whether its genuine sunlight or simulated light, most plants will flourish if you feed them with 15-16 hours of light every day. Do your plants only produce light-colored, small leaves and thin stems? Insufficient light is probably the reason.
Master the art of watering your plants
Just like with light, striking the right balance is the main challenge when you pick up your watering can. Inadequate watering is often to blame when plants suddenly start to fade away – but contrary to popular belief, oftentimes it’s not for the want of trying on the owner’s part; many plants literally drown to their deaths in their planters!
If your plants are discolored, they wilt from the stem toward leaves or their lower leaves drop, they may be suffering from overwatering. Other than take it easy with that watering can for some time, make sure your planter has drainage holes at the bottom so that excess water can leak out without harming your plant. On the other hand, if the leaves in your plants start wilting from their outer tips, they’re brown along the edges or they drop altogether too soon, underwatering is the probable culprit here.
Fix your room’s temperature and humidity levels
Another two areas to look at if your plants aren’t doing so well are the humidity and temperature in the room. As a rule of the thumb, most plants are most comfortable within the range of 65–75°F, so expect your plants to produce feeble yellow leaves if you save on your central heating; conversely, your plants likely won’t grow very big or strong if you like it hot.
An issue often related to temperature and the heating system in your house, a lack of sufficient humidity in the air will lead to withered-looking plants with brown tips – or no leaves at all. Counter the problem by putting a tray of water next to your plants and by misting them frequently.
Stick to your plant care routine
OK, so let’s address the elephant in the room here – plants will only thrive if you keep looking after them on a daily basis! They are at your mercy and as soon as you start neglecting them, they will start suffering.
If you’re on the other side of the spectrum and you’re looking for some additional ways to pamper your plants, then there’s a range of organic fertilizers and nutrients available in the market. Your plants will certainly appreciate the extra care; the soil in your planters will eventually become devoid of nutrients, and they will need to be replaced for your plants to stay healthy.
Inspired and ready to have a hand at growing plants indoors yourself? Take a look at our extensive collection of fiberglass planters and give your home garden a sound foundation!