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Indoor plants can turn a dreary spot into someplace cheery. But keep that area looking cheerful by keeping your houseplants healthy and clean.
Maintaining houseplants isn’t difficult and doesn’t take much time. So whether you believe it or not, it’s fairly simple to not kill houseplants.
When selecting houseplants at the nursery, or grocery store, it's best to compare like plants together.
While those plastic pots are fine as a temporary home for your plant, once you get the houseplant home, it’s best to transplant it into a more permanent pot.
Houseplants need adequate drainage. Without drainage, your plant will likely develop root rot and die. Although most pots have drainage holes, ensure that your desired pot does before transplanting it. If needed, place the plant in a plastic pot with drainage holes before setting it into an ornamental pot (without holes).
Houseplants die from improper watering practices more than anything else. Even if you are unsure of the type (or name) of plant you have, there are some basic watering tips everyone should abide by.
Inspect your plants regularly to see if your plant needs more than just sunlight and water.
Clean large, waxy leaves with a damp, clean washcloth to remove dust. Use a paintbrush to remove dust from fuzzy leaves. Leaves with excess dust can’t receive all the sunlight they need to grow.
Remove old, brown leaves and deadhead spent blooms with sterilized clippers. Eliminating damaged or unhealthy portions of the plant allows the plant to send energy to other blooms and leaves.
Indoor plants aren’t normally susceptible to pests, but they may succumb to disease, most of which is due to improper watering practices.
Gray mold can be found all over a plant and most commonly occurs when plants are located in cool, damp, or overcrowded conditions.
Remove affected areas of the plant with sterilized clippers. Scoop out moldy soil. Treat the plant with a fungicide and water it less frequently.
Rot can occur in any part of the plant, including root, stem, and crown. Plants may look wilted and yellow or brown.
Root rot occurs when plants are over-watered, and roots are left in standing water. Remove the plant from the pot and inspect the roots. Snip mushy roots with sterilized clippers or knife. Replant in a sterilized pot with fresh potting soil.
Stem and crown rot most commonly occur when water splashes leaves and plants are left in colder locations. Remove affected areas with sterilized clippers, and treat with a fungicide, making sure to follow package instructions. Avoid over-watering the plant, and ensure the plant is properly ventilated and not overcrowded.
The tips in this article focused on general houseplants. Some houseplants, such are orchids or succulents, require much different specific care, such as significantly less frequent watering, and specific light requirements. Always follow specific instructions that come with your plant.
Liz Westwood from UK on June 18, 2019:
You give some great advice, which I could really do with, as my success rate with houseplants is not great.
Jennifer Jorgenson on June 17, 2019:
Great article. I love my outdoor plants but for whatever reason I've felt intimidated by houseplants lol. This definitely has me reconsidering. Thank you!
Louise Powles from Norfolk, England on June 17, 2019:
This article has been very useful, thankyou. I've not had much luck with house plants so far.