5 Basic Tips for a Healthy, Happy Indoor Plant
One of the things we learned while living in China was how important it is to have plenty of plants in the house to filter and clean the air. As we mentioned in a previous post, the air pollution in China had adverse effect on our breathing and well-being, so we had to make some changes. We began by filling our apartment with plants found by NASA to be effective at filtering the air. Some local friends came to visit our place and immediately exclaimed, “your house smells like the forest!” which was true! Unfortunately, since we were novice plant lovers, we found it difficult to make the plants last throughout the different seasons. When Suzhou's damp winter came around, we were blasting the heater all the time, which dried out the plants within a few weeks. During the summer the terrace got too hot and burnt the plants there. Some plants that prefer shady spots developed mold. There was definitely a learning curve, since the plants couldn't walk around and choose a comfy spot for themselves .
Now we are back in the US and we still use air filtering plants to decorate our place.
Here are 5 basic tips I learned along the way for a healthy, happy indoor plant.
- Most types of plants need water once each week. To make sure the soil doesn’t sit in water, which can harm the plant, I have each plant “take a bath” once a week. I let the plant sit in shallow water to absorb all the water it needs. Next, I shake excess water off, and put them back in a dry pot.
- Avoid direct heat. During the winter when the radiator is turned on, I make sure the plants are at least a few feet away from the source of heat, and that none are sitting on top of our cast iron radiator. I increase the frequency of watering the plants during winter, since the air gets very dry.
- Pick a location that gets plenty of indirect sunlight. Whatever direction your window faces, the windowsill is a very good place for plants to sit on. Just be careful with south or west facing windows as the sun and heat could get very strong at times during the summer, and kill the plants.
- Once a week pick and clean dead leaves. Even if a plant is going through a temporary weak moment, if you pick off the dying leaves, the plant will look much better and can restore its dignity. It prevents the rotting leaves from affecting the soil too.
- As many plant experts will agree, “benign neglect” helps indoor plants to survive and thrive throughout the different seasons. Not too much care, but don’t forget about them!
So far, these basic rules have helped me to care for the plants, and help them thrive and grow.
Photo Credit: Yumi Zaic