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House plants are a fabulous addition to any home; not only do they look good and bring a bit of the outdoors into the house, but they are also good for the wellbeing and health of everyone who lives there. Indoor plant health is so important because healthy plants can improve the air quality of the space. Whether you have a collection of house plants and would like to know more about how to care for them, or you are thinking of getting a plant and would like to learn a little about indoor plant health before you choose a specimen, then this handy guide should give you some insight into caring for your houseplants.

Indoor Plant Health – What You Need to Know

Choose the Right Plants

Indoor plants on sale on the plants market on the city street

Choosing the right plant is the first step; speak to a grower or responsible salesperson, and they will be able to help you choose an indoor plant that suits your needs. The type of plant that you choose will, of course, depend on the type you think looks best. Still, you should also consider the size of the plant (and how large it is expected to grow), how easy or difficult it will be to care for (if you are busy or inexperienced, it may be best to go for a plant that is easy to care for) and what type of environment the plant thrives in (hot, cold, damp, dry, etc.) It will always be easy to maintain indoor plant health if the plant itself is well-suited to its home.

Choose the Right Pot

Six jute twine macrame plant hangers are hanging from a driftwood branch.

Indoor plants don’t usually need to be repotted; the pot they come in is usually fine for the plant’s lifespan. However, it is important that you make sure that this is the case. If the pot your plant is in, is not big enough, the plant will not thrive. The reason why there is often an ‘inner’ and ‘outer’ pot is for drainage. It is essential for indoor plant health that water is allowed to drain away and that the soil does not become waterlogged.

Choose the Right Spot

Choosing the right spot for your indoor plant health based on their needs

Where you place your plant will depend on the individual needs that are unique to the specific variety you have chosen. Some plants prefer lots of light, while others will be just as happy in a darker space. Some can survive with barely any water, while others are much thirstier. Make sure that you know the type of plant you have bought so you can check out this information online and choose the right place for good indoor plant health.

Watering and Feeding

Woman is spraying Liquid fertilizer the foliar feeding on the golden pothos on the wooden table in the living room

 As we have discussed, all plants have different needs when it comes to watering. Making sure you know how often to water your plant is key to keeping it healthy and remember to check if you should be simply adding water to the pot or if the plant prefers to have water sprayed onto the leaves too. Some plants may also benefit from feeding with some indoor plant food from time to time. Others never need this at all. As a general guide, it is important never to let the soil of your house plant dry out completely. Good drainage should prevent overwatering. If a plant is allowed to get too dry and looks dead, fill a sink with water, a few inches deep and place the plant in it overnight to allow the roots to soak up some much-needed hydration; this could rescue an at-risk plant.

Signs of Disease

Photo shows a close up of some leaves of roses infected by blackspot fungus due to bad indoor plant health

Curling leaves, patches of discoloration, mold, damage to leaves and stems, and bad smells are all signs that there is something wrong with the plant. The best way to identify the problem is to read up about the variety of plants and any disease it might be susceptible to. Indoor plant health is often most influenced by where the plant is located. So, make sure you haven’t been keeping the plant in a place that is too hot, too cold, too damp, or too dry. Check that the soil hasn’t become waterlogged, as this can cause damage and mold.

Pests

Transplant and spraying for insects for indoor plant health

Indoor plants don’t usually suffer from pests, but it is not impossible that your house plant might suffer from the effects of uninvited creatures. You can remove any visible bugs with a damp paper towel or by spraying with a solution of soapy water or insect spray designed for house plants (take care as some of these sprays may be irritants). You may possibly have to repeat the treatment if the pests have laid eggs.

Pruning

Side view of male gardener pruning potted indoor plants

Very few houseplants will ever require any serious cutting back or pruning. If the plant seems to have suddenly become very tall, the foliage is thin, or it looks spindly, then you can trim it; always check for guidance on the specific variety of house plant that you have before doing this as it could be that the plant will benefit from repotting rather than pruning back.

Repotting

Aloe vera with roots in ground repot to bigger clay pot indoors.

House plants typically grow slowly or maintain their compact size throughout their lifespan. This is what makes them easy to manage inside the home compared to plant varieties that are better suited to the outdoors. Otherwise, we would soon find our homes overgrown! If your house plant has grown much bigger than when you first got it, then you might want to consider repotting it. Having the right sized pot is important for optimum indoor plant health. Be warned, though, a larger pot may mean the plant grows even larger, and you might soon find yourself having to find a new location for it.

Indoor plant health mainly comes down to knowing your plant. If you know the variety, you can always find out what you can do to keep the plant happy and healthy. Keeping indoor plants is extremely rewarding, and they can bring better air, better aesthetics, and even noise reduction in the home or workplace. If you haven’t already, why not start with a small, easy-to-care-for variety and see what benefits embracing nature in your indoor space can bring to your life?

Natural Foods Program for Plants

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