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A Houseplant Primer

Updated on January 24, 2012


When the year’s gardening season ends there is no need to stop gardening; you simply move your attention indoors. Houseplants add beauty to any room and, for the most part are not too difficult to take care of, as long as you follow a few basic guidelines.

Basic Steps to Houseplantsuccess:

1- Assess the space you plan to place your houseplants; you need to know how much light the spot gets so that you can purchase a plant that will thrive in that spot. Plants can get too much sun as well as too little.

2- What is the plant’s need for water? The main cause of houseplant failure is either too much or too little water. Indoors you cannot rely on the weather to provide the plant’s needs, it is your task.

3- A rule for watering, until you know the houseplants’ water routine, check them once a day to see if they need water. Use your digit finger and put it into the soil. If the soil is dry up to the first knuckle then water; if it is damp wait and test again the following day. In time you will develop an awareness of how the changing conditions indoors affect the plant’s use for water.

4- Buy a mister and mist the leaves weekly. Humidity plays an important role in plant growth. Many of the plants sold as houseplants are tropical plants and need conditions that make them feel at home.

5- Keep the plants away from cold drafts and do not allow the plant leaves to touch windows.

6- Before buying give though to the size the plant will be when as it grows. You may need to repot and/or move it, if it becomes larger than the place you first set it.

7- If design is an important feature then select plants that complement the design of the room you are putting them in.

Houseplants add warmth, colour and activity to any room they are placed. If you take the time and that brings us to another vital point, how much time do you have to look after them? They do need care, even cacti and succulents which can endure neglect, will require a bit of your time. Take stock of your schedule and habits before adding plants to your daily life.

When you invest the time the plants will repay that investment many times over. Houseplants bring warmth, colour and beauty to a living room, dining area or anywhere people gather.

low light


Submit a Comment

  • Bob Ewing profile imageAUTHOR

    Bob Ewing 

    9 years ago from New Brunswick

    You are welcome, thanks for dropping by.

  • RGraf profile image

    Rebecca Graf 

    9 years ago from Wisconsin

    This is perfect timing. We just had some plants donated to the church and they are beautiful. I do not know what most of them are and am hoping not to kill them. I've got to move three away from the window because the leaves might be touching.

    Thank you for the timely advice.

  • Bob Ewing profile imageAUTHOR

    Bob Ewing 

    9 years ago from New Brunswick

    Thanks for dropping by.

  • neysajasper profile image


    9 years ago

    It is my experience that houseplants play a major roll for happy and healthy environment of house. We should be very careful for the plants health. Following the direction quoted in your hub page it is very easy to maintain houseplants.

  • Bob Ewing profile imageAUTHOR

    Bob Ewing 

    9 years ago from New Brunswick

    I agree, they are essential, thanks for dropping by.

  • Jerilee Wei profile image

    Jerilee Wei 

    9 years ago from United States

    Great hub! Houseplants lift the spirit and provide a certain about of comfort, can't imagine a house being a home without them.

  • Bob Ewing profile imageAUTHOR

    Bob Ewing 

    9 years ago from New Brunswick

    Thanks and thanks for dropping by.

  • LifesStudent profile image


    9 years ago

    Moving your attention indoors can also include planning for the next gardening season. Learning more about plants from books and video, browsing through seed catalogues, working on improving your garden design, planning new plantings....

    Right now I have an orchid in flower on the kitchen table and it brings so much joy every time I look at it. Love your work Bob.

  • Bob Ewing profile imageAUTHOR

    Bob Ewing 

    9 years ago from New Brunswick

    good point about photosynthesis, you are welcome, and thanks for dropping by.

  • Storytellersrus profile image


    9 years ago from Stepping past clutter

    I like how you said houseplants add activity. That is so true, not only from the perspective of movement to the spot in order to water the plant, but also all that photosynthesis occurring in the plant's location. I never thought of it this way, but I like it!

    I really need to get a mister. My indoor plants survive despite me. Thanks for another great hub, Mr. Green Thumb!


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