Houseplant Care

Just because these plants are low-maintenance doesn’t mean that you can ignore them. Like any plant, they need:

•Sufficient water and humidity
•Reasonable temperatures
•Occasional feeding and grooming
•Adequate light
The plant tag will have the details, but here’s some general information:


Plants need thorough watering, even if it’s delivered irregularly. Use tepid (room-temperature) water until it flows out of the drainage hole in the bottom of the container.


Many indoor plants have tropical origins. They’re raised in greenhouses where the air is moist. After they’re purchased, they move to the relative desert-like atmosphere of the home or office. Some can adapt to the drier climate, but most would benefit from some extra humidity.

At home, place plants in the kitchen or bathroom where the humidity is normally higher. Grouping plants is also a way to grab extra humidity from the air.

Another method is to get a saucer, put a layer of marbles in the bottom and partially fill the saucer with water. Place the container on top of the marbles. Don’t let the pot sit in the water. The idea is to capture evaporating moisture, not wick it into the root system and cause root rot.


Like people, plants have their comfort levels. They also have critical temperature minimums and maximums. In general, temperatures between 65°F and 75°F during the daytime are best.

Temperatures about 10 degrees cooler at night are best. Heating and air conditioning systems can wreak havoc on houseplants. Try not to place houseplant near ventilation outlets or in drafty areas. Use blinds or curtains to regulate direct light from windows.


Don’t overdo it. Remember these are the plants for nonplant people. A little bit of feeding goes a long way. Use a diluted houseplant fertilizer.


Wipe the leaves if they’re dusty to keep them clean and able to breathe. Another purpose of regular grooming is to keep an eye open for pests and diseases.


Unless you plan to use artificial lighting, your existing light conditions may be the biggest factor in what houseplant you choose. Each window in your home provides different light levels, whether facing north, south, east or west. Curtains and blinds alter incoming light. Flowering plants and those with colored leaves usually need higher light levels than plants with green leaves.


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