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How to Help Your Houseplants Flourish

Updated on April 3, 2011


Right plant right place is a basic gardening rule whether you are growing indoors or out. What RPRP means is that when you place a plant where it gets the sun that it needs, receives the water that it requires and has its roots set in a soil that feeds it, that plant will thrive.

Indoors you control the soil and the watering. The amount of natural sunlight will tell you what you can grow so before you buy a houseplant determine where you are planning to place it and how much sunlight that plant needs.

A forthcoming hub will discuss potting soil; this one will look at watering.

The most common mistake that many houseplant owners make is related to watering. They either over or under water the plant.

This is more complicated as the season change as the indoor conditions can be more or less humid depending upon the outside weather and whether or not you are running the furnace or the air conditioner.

Now if you have 15 different houseplants spread around a room or several rooms, you are going to need to work out a watering routine. I prefer routine to schedule as indoor conditions change with the weather and often they can change very quickly, usually in early spring and fall so you need some flexibility when watering your plants.

If you have only one plant, try this rule; stick your forefinger into the soil in the pot, if it is dry up to the first knuckle it is time to water, if it is not then do not add water.

When you do water give your plant a good drink so that the roots grow.

The first knuckle rule works no matter how many plants you have.

I always recommend that outdoor gardeners spend time simply walking around their garden, taking a look to see what is happening, what has changed. This way you may spot a problem and act to stop it before it actually becomes a problem.

Do the same with your houseplants. Take a look under leaves you may spot an unwelcome visitor before the whole family moves in. We will discuss indoor garden pests in a future hub.

While you are taking this walk about, once or twice a week use the first knuckle rule to check if the plants need watering. You will gradually get to know their needs and be able to meet them.

Remember that plants are alive and respond to changes in their environment, an open window on a cool day may cause a problem and on a warm day may help them grow.

P.S. plants need to be dusted, well their leaves do so bear that in mind when planning your indoor garden.

Repotting Houseplants

Winter care


Submit a Comment

  • Bob Ewing profile image

    Bob Ewing 8 years ago from New Brunswick

    No such thing, information will help you grow what you want. Thanks for dropping by.

  • Uninvited Writer profile image

    Susan Keeping 8 years ago from Kitchener, Ontario

    Great hub, I need all the help I can get, I have a black thumb

  • trakker14 profile image

    trakker14 10 years ago from franklin

  • Bob Ewing profile image

    Bob Ewing 10 years ago from New Brunswick


  • Eileen Hughes profile image

    Eileen Hughes 10 years ago from Northam Western Australia

    Great helpful gardening tips. Especially with the water restrictions

  • Bob Ewing profile image

    Bob Ewing 10 years ago from New Brunswick

    Outdoor plants can be watered once a week and in the early morning. Once winter sets in stop watering.

  • cgull8m profile image

    cgull8m 10 years ago from North Carolina

    Thanks a lot, I always wondered how much water I should add for plants, the knuckle rule makes sense. Can I apply the same for the outdoor plants? In the winter I stop watering them, because when it gets cold the water turns to ice here, so I am worried that I may kill the plants.

  • Bob Ewing profile image

    Bob Ewing 10 years ago from New Brunswick

    Help you help your plants :-) thanks

  • Isabella Snow profile image

    Isabella Snow 10 years ago

    Hey, this is cool! I am so bad with plants.. maybe these tips will help me! (..and my plants, lol.)