Through the years many plants were considered to be only greenhouse subjects rather then house plants. That, thankfully, has changed and many species can be considered as house plants to decorate your home. Here is a house plant guide to the basics of caring for your plants also known as container gardens. It is best to choose plants that have thick leathery foliage. The reason they can withstand heated rooms is that they have tough leaves and can withstand adverse conditions. This also cuts down on house plant care. It is wise however, to keep the foliage free of dust so as not to interfere with the plants pores.
It pays to get your house plants ready for indoor life. If it is possible buy your plants when you no longer need to heat your home. This way they will get plenty of fresh air to harden the developing foliage, giving it strength against a hot dry atmosphere of heated rooms. This is especially important for tropical house plants. If you buy a tropical plant, such as a begonia, keep it in a room that is warm and moist, like a bathroom. They thrive on moisture and because of the steam from showers tropical house plants will get the necessary humidity.
To keep house plants species hardy they must be in a cool a place as possible. An unheated room that does not fall below 45 degrees is ideal. If you have a very cold spell, bring the plants into a heated room but be sure to get them back to the cool atmosphere as soon as possible. If you have a very large house plant that is not easily moved cover it with material, like several layers of burlap, to shield it from the elements.
When it comes to house plant care, watering is usually the trickiest. The amount of water will depend on how fast the plant absorbs the moisture. Obviously, a house plant that is in active growth requires more water than a dormant one. A good rule of thumb for house plant care is that they will require more water during the growing months, April through October. All container gardens should be watered when relatively dry. Sufficient water should be given to the house plant to reach to the drainage hole. This is important because the feeding roots closest to the bottom need water to continue growth.
A good trick for house plant care is to tap the pots half way down with your knuckles. If there is a hollow sound the plant needs water. But, if you hear a dull sound there is still plenty of water. The exception here is if the soil has been compacted firmly into the pots, then you will always here a hollow sound. If possible use rain water for house plant care. If you cannot use rain water on your container gardens, you can use tap water. Be sure to inspect your house plants daily to see if they need moisture.
If the tips of your foliage turn a sickly yellow you are over watering the plant. Do not water it again until the soil is quite dry. Over watering will also cause a moss or algae to grow on the soil. This must be removed, then use a sharp stick to aerate the house plant.
Another task of house plant care is feeding the plant. Plants that have rooted well and are growing freely need the most feeding. This extra nourishment is especially needed from May to August. Flowering house plants benefit by feeding them as soon as there flower buds appear. There are many types of fertilizers, speak to the people at your garden center to find the right one for your house plants.
These are some tips on caring for house plants. Keep your house plants feed, watered and clean so that you will have years of enjoyment and beauty.
By Mary Hanna