Caring for Houseplants
Caring for houseplants is something it seems like some people were born to do, while others bring the kiss of death. But fear not! With the right tools and a bit of knowledge, even the novice gardener can make indoor houseplants thrive. Houseplants provide many daily benefits. They increase and clean the oxygen we breathe and increase the humidity in the air which decreases the frequency of dry skin, colds, sore throats and dry coughs. Houseplants also improve your work environment by increasing concentration, memory and productivity. Sometimes it takes a little work, but there is a houseplant out there that will flourish in your environment and under your care. Visit SummerWinds Nursery and see our wide variety of house plants for sale.
When looking at house plants for your home or office, there are four things you want to consider before selecting your plant.
Houseplant Light Requirements Defined
Read the label on your plant to determine how much sunlight your houseplants need.
1. Bright Light - usually means a sunny, southern or western facing window that receives direct light. Plants that require bright light need a minimum of five to six hours of sunlight every day. During the winter months, this can be a challenge which often leads one to moving a plant closer to the sunny window. However, with the sun often comes a cold draft from the window which the plant cannot tolerate.
2. Indirect or Filtered Light – is much easier to come by as indirect light can be found in areas of the home with east-facing windows or places within rooms that receive filtered full light from a south or west facing window.
3. Low Light – so what’s left? North facing windows, or rooms that have windows that let very little light in would qualify as low light. We most likely have many rooms in our home, especially in winter that meet the low light standards for houseplants.
To find the ideal growing location, your may have to move your houseplants a few times. If you pay attention to your plant, it will tell you if it needs to be moved.
- Signs your plant isn’t getting enough light:
- Spindly growth and large spaces between leaves
- New leaves are smaller than existing ones
- leaves turn yellow and fall off
- Slow growth or none at all
- Flowering plants aren’t blooming
- New growth is reaching out and growing towards the light
- Signs your plant is getting too much light:
- Leaves turn brown, or you see scorched patches on leaves
- Leaf color looks faded or washed out
- Plant begins to wilt in the afternoon
- Leaves dry out and fall off
One does not thrive on light alone… Of course, we know we have to water and feed our houseplant but like us, our houseplant is accustomed to certain environments as well.
- Temperature – Like us, our plants may be finicky to how much heat or chill they are getting. If you are watering your plant as recommended, and it’s not looking happy, pay attention to the temperature, it may be the culprit.
- Humidity – Some plants like a little more moisture in the air, whereas some plants can handle the dryness. If you know which of your plants need the extra humidity, you can mist the plant regularly or use a humidifier.
Watering your Houseplant
In most cases, the simplest way to check if your indoor houseplants need watering is to place the tip of your finger about 1 inch into the soil from the top. If it's still dry at the tip of the finger, then water.
- Water your houseplants from the top down. Gently push the leaves aside and add water for several seconds. Make sure you read the label to understand how best to care for your plant or ask one of SummerWinds’ Trusted Garden Advisors.
- Water plants that are in sunny windows more often than those in darker places
- Decrease watering during the winter months, and increase when they are blooming and growing
- Use tap water, but there are chemicals in it. Some plants will have reactions to these chemicals. To reduce these effects, let your tap water to sit out at room temperature overnight, before watering.
- Rain or distilled water is best for plants with a high sensitivity to chemicals in water.
- Don’t allow your houseplant to sit in water for more than 20 to 30 minutes. This can lead to rotting plans or salt burn.
When to water
- Your houseplants will tell you if they are not getting the correct amount of water. Signs to look for are:
- The soil is so hard that you can't feel moisture with your finger
- Brown, Crisp Leaves
- Plant is not blooming when it should
- Drooping or sagging leaves or stems
- Soggy Soil – Soil that is not able to dry out can lead to root rot and disease
Finding the right soil:
For most indoor houseplant species, we recommend SummerWinds Potting Soil. It’s a natural and organic soil that is ideal for
all types of indoor and outdoor container gardening. It is blended with sphagnum peat moss, perlite, pumice, bat guano, kelp meal and other
ingredients for long lasting results.
For those plants that need better drainage, consider using a cactus and succulent mix. We recommend E.B. Stone Organics Cactus Mix.
Fertilizing your houseplants
Eleanor's VF-11 Plant Food works best for most varieties of houseplants. Occasional fertilizing will give your houseplants the little extra boost when needed. In general, we recommend fertilizing every 2 weeks.
If you pay attention to what your plants are telling you, caring for houseplants becomes quite easy.
SummerWinds Potting Soil
A happy plant starts with begins with great soil - Our SummerWinds potting soil is Organic and registered with CDFA seal of approval. Ideal for indoor and outdoor container gardening.
Eleanor's VF-11 Plant Food
All-purpose plant food feeds indoor and outdoor plants. Is great when used during transplanting or cutting to help stimulate plant growth. This non-burning formula feeds safely through the leaves or roots. One of our favorites and highly recommended by many of our knowledgeable associates.
Soil Moisture Sensor Meter - Soil Water Monitor
Indoor or outdoor use. Take the guess work out of the watering needs of your plants with this handy little tool. Insert the probe int the soil approximately 3 to 4 inches to receive your reading.
Systemic Houseplant Insect Control
Bonide's Houseplant Insect Control protects plants from damage by aphids, whiteflies and other insects. Even new growth is protected against insects for up to 8 weeks. Long lasting, effective protection for use in potted plants. Promotes strong roots and beautiful blooms. No spraying - No mess.
Crescent Garden TruDrop Planters
These beautiful and modern planters take the guesswork out of watering. Available now at SummerWinds in these colors: Bark, Slate and Alpine White. Learn More
Schultz Cactus Liquid Plant Food
For all Cacti and other Succulents, Jade and Aloe Vera. Schultz includes Micronutrients that feeds every time you water.
For a listing of Houseplants Varieties based on their love of light, Learn More
Check out our blog: We've Selected "The Best" In Houseplants - Read Blog
Stop in today and let one of our Trusted Garden Advisors help you select the perfect indoor houseplants for your home.