GUIDE TO GROWING HEALTHY AND THRIVING HOUSEPLANTS
Having houseplants has become an important part of modern living as they offer various health and emotional benefits. Live plants can enhance the aesthetic of our homes and have a positive impact on our overall well-being. If you are hesitant to bring plants into your home due to lack of experience or plant knowledge, don't worry. Taking care of plants is easier than you think, especially with these expert tips to help your plants thrive.
OPTIMUM PLACEMENT FOR YOUR HOUSEPLANT
Light is essential to plants as it triggers photosynthesis, providing the plant with energy to grow. Think of light as food for your plants, as they require adequate amounts of light to grow. Some plants can survive in low-light conditions, but they will not flourish like those receiving more light. However, it is not advisable to expose your plants to direct sunlight. Except for succulents that prefer direct sun, most plants thrive when they receive bright, indirect light for at least 4-6 hours a day.
UNDERSTANDING BRIGHT, INDIRECT LIGHT
Bright, indirect light is filtered sunlight. It is sunlight that is either filtered through outside trees/leaves or a sheer curtain. A plant receiving this type of light does not receive direct sunlight. The best time to determine the type of light your plant is getting is when the sun is at its highest point in the sky. Also, the sun's position changes throughout the day based on the time and season, and morning light is softer and gentler than afternoon light. Be mindful of the changing light throughout the year and move your plants accordingly.
INDICATORS OF TOO MUCH OR TOO LITTLE LIGHT
Refer to the instruction card that comes with your plant for guidance on the type of lighting condition it needs. Observe your plant's growth or lack thereof in the proper lighting condition. Signs that your plant is not receiving enough light include dropped leaves, yellowing leaves, or long spindly stems. On the other hand, leaves that have become brittle, dry, pale, or marked with brown spots indicate your plant is getting too much sun and needs to be moved further away from its light source. If your plant appears green, lush, healthy, and growing, then it's in ideal lighting conditions. Note that a plant's growth slows or stops completely during the winter months, and it will resume growing during the spring and summer.
WATERING YOUR PLANTS
Apart from light, your plants also require water to thrive. Water keeps plants cool and provides them with structural support. As a plant's cells absorb water, they become plump and firm, giving the plant a thick, sturdy shape. Water also moves the minerals in the soil closer to the roots for absorption. When a plant doesn't receive enough water, its cells deflate, resulting in droopiness and wilted stems. In most cases, a good watering will make the plant bounce back. However, overwatering the plant can lead to root rot, so ensure that the plant's container has adequate drainage to prevent it from sitting in standing water.
KNOWING WHEN AND HOW MUCH TO WATER YOUR PLANTS
Some plants, like ferns and peace lilies, prefer evenly moist soil at all times. However, the majority of plants do better when their topsoil dries down 2-3 inches below the surface before being watered. Succulents, plants with thick leaves, and cacti prefer the soil to dry out completely between waterings. You can use your finger or a wooden stick to determine the moisture content of your plant's soil and water accordingly.
A good rule of thumb to determine how much water to give your plant is to water the area around the plant, not directly over its crown, until water begins to drain from the drainage holes. Signs of overwatering include soft, dropping leaves, brown or yellow leaves, and mold on leaves, stems, or flowers. Signs of underwatering include dry, hard, compacted soil, yellow or brown leaves, and slower growth.
By following these tips, you can successfully grow healthy and thriving plants in your home.