Houseplants are where many of us get our first taste of gardening. Especially in colder climates, potted plants bring color, beauty and fresh air to the indoors when cold temperatures and wintry weather have us confined. No matter where you live, learn how to best make use of potted plants in your home with the tips below.
One of the first considerations for selecting and growing houseplants is how much light they'll receive where you want them to grow. Most houseplants need bright, but indirect light, like the kind found in an east-facing window. South and west windows work well, too, as long as the intense rays of the sun don't hit a plant's leaves directly, especially in the summer. Flowering plants, like the popular African violet, require slightly brighter light than ferns or ivy that are grown just for the leaves. Flowers require more energy, and light provides it.
Watering is the most important and often most challenging factor in growing healthy potted plants. Erring on the dry side is actually better than waterlogging them to the point that their roots can't breathe. Be more generous with water during the summer. When the top ½ to 1 inch of the pot is dry, it's time to water. Be sure to water thoroughly, until water runs out the drainage holes in the bottom of the container.
Plant food is another important step in growing superior houseplants. Your houseplants have their roots confined to a pot, so their roots can't go exploring in the surrounding soil for nutrients. That's up to you. Generally speaking, a weekly or bi-weekly dose of plant food designed just for houseplants, such as How to Select Indoor Houseplants" for guidance on what to buy.