7 Basic Rules for Successful Indoor Plants

  1. Let them rest during the winter (October-February)
  2. Accept the loss of “temporary” plants
  3. Give them extra humidity (group them together)
  4. Treat problems promptly
  5. Learn to re-pot when needed
  6. Don’t drown them; water on a schedule with seasonal variation
  7. Choose wisely!

General Care & Requirements

Light:

  • Shade: Well away from windows, but enough light to read a newspaper
  • Semi-shade: Near a sunless window or some distance from a bright window
  • Bright, indirect light: On a sunless windowsill or near a bright window
  • Some direct sunlight: On or close to an east-or west-facing windowsill (may need protection from hot summer sun)
  • Sunny window: On or close to a south-facing windowsill (may need protection from hot summer sun)

Water: Factors include type of plant, soil condition, light exposure, time of year, size of pot, drainage

Temperature & Humidity: Misting, humidifiers, and pebble trays

Soils & Fertilizer: Most soils are peat-based; we use G&B and Malibu brands; fertilize about every 4-6 weeks (or a less concentrated amount every time you water)

Repotting: Best done when plant is actively growing, rather than during dormant season

Other Tips: Rotate plant for balanced growth, remove spent blooms, dust off foliage

Type of Container: Ideally, your container should have drainage holes. If not, have a plan to remove excess water at the bottom of the pot and to keep the plant out of it, or use the pot-in-pot method with a plastic insert pot!

Troubleshooting

  • Overwatering or other cultural problems
  • Establish a watering schedule; adjust it seasonally
  • Want a plant in a spot that plants won’t grow well? Buy 2 and rotate them out every 2 weeks!
  • Grow lights? YES!
  • Common pests include aphids, mealy bugs, scale, thrips, fungus gnats, whitefly, and spider mites. Neem oil and other oil-based sprays have excellent success rates on most common pests; spray target plant when inside a large plastic garbage bag, then seal bag with twist-tie and let stand overnight.

Choosing a Plant

  1. Style & Design Considerations
  2. Blooming vs. Foliage: Most flowering plants have a short bloom cycle and will not be constantly flowering
  3. Formal or Informal: Upright parlor palms or wispy spider plants
  4. Color & Form: Green, variegated, chartreuse
  5. Growing Conditions: Light, temperature, humidity

Plants for Low Light:

  • Zamioculcas (ZZ plant)
  • Aglaonema (Chinese Evergreen)
  • Sansevieria (Snake Plant)
  • Spathiphyllum (Peace Lily)

Plants for Bright Light:

  • Cacti and succulents
  • Hoya*
  • Most flowering plants (kalanchoe)
  • Citrus*

Hard-to-Kill Plants: Tolerant of adapting to various light conditions and temperature/humidity levels

  • ZZ plant
  • Cast Iron plant*
  • Snake plant
  • Heart-leaf philodendron
  • Pothos
  • Dracaena
  • Spider plant*

More “Advanced” Plants:

  • China Doll
  • Croton
  • Calathea*
  • Most Ficus, especially F. benjamina, F. lyrata (Fiddleleaf Fig)

Easy Plants for Cleaner Air: One plant per 100 square feet of your home or office is all it takes to breathe healthier air. Pollutants are absorbed by plant leaves, their roots, and the bacteria that feed on them. As biology would have it, the pollutants are converted into nutrients the plant can use, resulting in a big, happy “sigh” of oxygen released from the foliage. The following are examples of easy-care, air-purifying plants:

  • Bamboo or Reed Palm/Chamaedorea sefritzii*
  • Chinese Evergreen/Aglaonema modestum
  • Cornstalk Dracaena/Dracaena fragrans
  • Golden Pothos/Epipiremnum aureum
  • Peace Lily/Spathiphyllum
  • Rubber Plant/Ficus elastic
  • Snake Plant or Mother-In-Law’s Tongue/Sansevieria trifasciata
  • Spider Plant/Chlorophytum comosum*
  • Weeping Fig/Ficus benjamina

*indicates non-toxic plants

Great resource: www.houseplant411.com