29 Secrets Your Houseplants Would Tell You If They Could

Now you can best tend to your houseplants' needs.

Previous
1/29 View as List
Next

Read the newspaper to your plants

iStock/Savushkin

It may sound a little ridiculous, but this can benefit them in two ways. First, the carbon dioxide from your breath may energize their gas exchange cycles. Plus, if there’s enough natural light in their location for you to read by, you’ll know that the plants are getting the minimum amount of light needed for growth.

Don’t move plants around for short periods of time

iStock/Anchiy

Sudden changes can cause droopy leaves, increase susceptibility to pests and diseases, and cause flowering plants to drop healthy-looking buds.

Know your light

iStock/Robert-Ingelhart

When you’re deciding where to put a plant, keep in mind that south-facing windows receive much more light than north-facing ones. Because light is more intense in the summer than in the winter, you may need to move plants that are particularly sun-sensitive from a west-facing window to an east-facing window in the hotter months. Remember that brightly colored foliage need more light than others.

Keep the light even

iStock/byryo

Turn your potted plants a half-turn every day or two to keep the growth of your houseplant even. Foliage automatically bends toward the light.

Don’t overheat your house

iStock/Kerstin-Waurick

Your plants won’t like it! The idea temperature for houseplants is between 55˚ and 70˚F. Cooler temperatures are always better than hotter.

Going on vacation?

iStock/blackred

Water your houseplants thoroughly and arrange them (without saucers) on a damp, plush towel in your sink or tub. Make sure the drain holes are in contact with the towel. Then, turn on the cold tap until the water drips slowly onto the towel and leave the water on; the roots will draw up the moisture in the fabric. Here are more tips for keeping plants alive when you're away.

Use a humidifier instead of misting

iStock/yocamon

Misting foliage is actually not an efficient way to increase humidity for plants. A humidifier works much better! However, misting is a good way to keep leaves clean and fresh, and it’s a good way to provide moisture to cuttings that are slowly developing new roots. Use room-temperature water that is low in minerals. Mist in the morning and never mist plants that are exposed to full sun.

Feed your ferns

iStock/RyanJLane

Schedule an occasional teatime for your ferns, gardenias, and other acid-loving plants. Substitute brewed tea when watering, or work wet tea leaves into the soil to give the plants a lush, luxurious look.

Increase humidity for indoor ferns

iStock/Michal-Boubi

To increase humidity for ferns and other plants that can’t tolerate dry air, set the plant on a dish of pebbles and add just enough water to touch the bottom of the pot. These are the best plants for purifying your air.

Give plants a group shower

iStock/bluecinema

Group together plants that need high humidity and enjoy being spritzed with water. Keep them separate from cacti and fuzzy-leaved specimen like African violets, gloxinias, and gynuras, whose foliage will discolor if subjected to slow-drying droplets.

Previous
1/29 View as List
Next

Become more interesting every week!

how we use your e-mail
We will use your email address to send you this newsletter. For more information please read our privacy policy.