Indoor Plant Care 101: Tips for Keeping Your Houseplants Healthy and Happy

Green is in (inside, that is). We’re ready to pack our rooms with plenty of plants to add some green aesthetic to our decor. But before you head to the plant store, brush up on these tips to keep your houseplants happy and healthy. 

Check your light

There are a number of factors that go into choosing the right plant for your home, but the first step – and most important – is to assess your light. Different plants are suited for different lighting conditions, and it can make or break your experience. If your home is drenched in light all day, try a plant that’s accustomed to desert-like conditions, like a cacti. If you don’t get a lot of light, try a snake plant. When in doubt, ask your local plant shop. 

Choose the right container 

Sure, we all want those cool Instagram-worthy potters and Pinterest-perfect hanging containers, but your perfect pot might not be perfect for your plant. Size matters, and a good place to start is with the pot your plant came in. If the pot has a 10 in. diameter or lower, move the plant to a pot with a diameter 1 to 2 in. larger. If the diameter is more than 10 in., transfer the plant to a pot with a diameter 2 or 3 in. larger. And most importantly, make sure your pot has drainage holes in the bottom so your plant’s roots don’t get too soaked. 

Don’t drown your plant 

Speaking of over-soaking a plant, that’s a big no-no. Yes, our plants love a good drink, but too much of a good thing can be disastrous. Research your particular plant and make sure you’re giving them just the right amount of water. 

Calm down with the fertilizer 

When it comes to fertilizing your plants, it’s all about timing. You’re going to want to fertilize from early spring to late summer. Once fall hits, put that fertilizer away (your plants will thank you). Make sure you read the label of your fertilizer to get the right schedule, too. You’ll either be fertilizing bi-weekly or once a month. 

Two exceptions: recently potted or re-potted plants and plants in low-light environments. That healthy, nutrient-packed soil you just rehomed your plant in? That’s going to do the job of your fertilizer, so you can wait 2 or 3 months before adding. And plants in low-light environments don’t need as much fertilizer as your typical house plant. 

Get dusting 

No, your friend who dusts their plants isn’t just a neat freak. They’re actually helping it stay healthy. Dust can block sunlight from reaching the plant, which can interfere with photosynthesis (you know, how plants make their food). So every once in a while, grab a microfiber cloth and use some lukewarm water to give those leaves a quick refresh.

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