How to Care for Indoor Plants
So, you have a few plants that you want to grow indoors.
Maybe you want them to add a certain je ne sais quoi to your living space, or you want them to help clean the air, or you have decided to improve your mental health by picking up gardening as a hobby or you just want to enjoy being surrounded by plants living their best life, or ALL of the above. To achieve any of these, you need to take the time to understand your plants needs and how best to tend to them.
The simple truth is, plants naturally thrive outdoors and they thrive with minimal effort from human interaction except when you want to make them grow and look a certain way. So bringing a plant indoors means we have to replicate the conditions the plants normally enjoy outdoors. Not all plants can tolerate this replication but those that can are what we know as Indoor Plants.
Here are 4 things you need to consider for your plants to grow and flourish in an indoor setting.
Plants need energy to feed themselves and grow. This energy comes from the sun or other light sources, which helps plants conduct photosynthesis. So if a plant is not getting the light it needs, it starves and dies.
Plants have varying light requirements. Determine the type of light conditions available in areas of your home and match each area with your plants. Alternatively you can install artificial plant lighting to give you more location options.
All plants need varying amounts of water to survive. Too little or too much and they perish.
So where is the sweet spot?
The easiest and most accurate way to monitor the level of moisture around your plant roots is by using a moisture meter. The meter tells you how much moisture is in the growing medium of your plant so you can act accordingly. The other method most people use is the finger method. Stick your finger into the growing medium as far as the second knuckle if possible and you can tell when the plant needs some water.
To eliminate the chances of your plant getting too much water, ensure that the container your plant is in has adequate drainage holes where excess water can drain out and the growing medium is a well draining mix as described in the next topic.
GROWING MEDIUM AND NUTRIENTS
Most indoor plants grow best in a well draining potting mix that creates a comfortable environment for roots to grow and access nutrients for the plants needs. Potting mixes can be soil based or soil-less. Whichever you go with, it is important that you continually supply all nutrients needed as the plant roots will be restricted by the container it is in and fully dependent on you to give it what it needs. Know the fertilizer requirements of the plants you have and feed as the fertilizer label directs on a schedule. Make sure not to over do it though, over-fertilization can easily kill a plant.
TEMPERATURE AND VENTILATION
In our tropical weather, we open our windows to encourage cross-ventilation, we use air conditioners and fans to cool and ventilate our indoor spaces. The more ventilation and cooler tropical temperatures (16 – 25 degrees celsius) you can provide your indoor plants, the happier they will be. Higher temperatures cause most indoor plants to lose their water content and rigidity especially when the environment has low humidity, which can lead to stunted growth and a generally unhappy plant.
So remember, give each plant these 4 things and you will have a strong, happy plant that can defend itself from many pests and diseases and leave you with that amazing sense of wellbeing.