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How To Take Good Care Of Your Indoor Plants

Jessica Chua

26 May 2021

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How to take care indoor plants

Image via Sven Brandsma/Unsplash

In the past year or so, one of the latest new hobbies we’ve seen cropping up on social media is… plants. Everybody and their mothers/wives/girlfriends/boyfriends has gotten into a new wave of plant craze, gathering and decorating their homes with green everywhere. And we completely understand the attraction!

According to a study published by the Journal of Physiological Anthropology, indoor plants can help reduce stress levels because it makes people feel relaxed, comfortable, soothed, and natural. Taking care of plants can also increase productivity and improve behaviour towards work.

But indoor plants are more than just interior decorations. They need proper care, attention and maintenance. So here are some tips to keep in mind on how to take care of your new green friends:

Don’t underwater and overwater your plants

Don’t underwater overwater indoor plants

Image via Kaufmann Mercantile/Unsplash

Most house plants require watering at least once every 1 to 3 weeks, but each house plant may require individual attention. So it’s better to keep a close eye on your plants every few days, rather than stick to a stringent schedule. This may vary depending on the size and type of plant and pot, as well as humidity, temperature and growth rate.

However, you can still look out for signs of when your plant needs to drink more or less water. Signs of underwatering include soil that’s cracked or light in colour, translucent leaves, slow leaf growth, premature dropping of flowers and leaves, and brown, yellow or curled leaf edges.

Overwatering damages indoor plants

Image via Garden for Indoor

Overwatering can also be damaging for indoor plants. The signs include fungus or mould on the soil, mushy brown roots that smell bad, extra water in the bottom of the container, young and old leaves falling off, and brown rotten patches on leaves.

Water your plants the proper way

You can water indoor plants either from the top down or bottom up. Aim your watering stream at the base of the plant and do it slowly, bit by bit. Wait for the water to sink into the soil, then repeat slowly until you see water building up in the saucer. Don’t just shower your plant without second thought because when the soil is dry, it’ll repel the water instead and spread down the sides of the pot.

Water plant slowly sink into soil

Image via Jonathan Kemper/Unsplash

On the other hand, your plant can also “drink” on its own using a method known as bottom-watering. Place your plant in a dish or small pail of water and the roots will take in all they need. But remember to discard standing water in the saucer an hour after watering.

Ensure good drainage

Good drainage important for indoor plants

Image via Magnolia

On the topic of standing water, it’s important for your plants to have good drainage. Start off by using a container with drainage holes—make sure they don’t get clogged from time to time. Alternatively, you can put a layer of pebbles at the bottom of a container that doesn’t have holes. As long as your plant isn’t left standing in water after watering, you’re good to go.

Let there be light

Light is important for indoor plants

Image via Nish Anil/Unsplash

Similarly, different plants also have different requirements of sunlight. The most fool proof idea is that there is no plant that never needs the sun because it’s basically food for them. So if you don’t know where to place your new house plant, next to the window it is! Another way is to do some research on where your plant is from (hot or cool climate) so you’ll know how much light it needs.

Watch out for humidity

High humidity is good for most plants and the sweet spot is around 80%. Since we live in a tropical climate, we don’t really have to worry about humidity in our homes. But on days when the air is a little drier, try placing a tray with pebbles and water near your plants. You can also group plants closer together and mist the leaves every day to counter the lack of humidity.

Use the right fertiliser for your plant

Unlike outdoor plants, indoor plants can’t replenish their nutrients naturally on a regular basis. Plants usually deplete their nutrients in the soil whenever it’s watered. So the best way to replenish these nutrients is by fertilising! Think of it as health supplements for your plants.

Fertilise indoor plants with nutrients

Image via Fiona Campbell/The Spruce

Try to do this once a month when your house plant is growing or flowering. For starters, use about a quarter from the recommended amount. If the overall colour of your plant becomes lighter, you can start increasing the amount of fertiliser used. When you start noticing new leaves that are smaller and more spaced out in between, fertilise less.

But if you prefer to fertilise your house plants naturally, you can also use raw and organic material like coffee grounds, egg shells, banana peels, and green tea.

Think about repotting your plant

When you do everything right, your indoor plants will see a healthy growth and eventually, you’re going to need a bigger pot. You can start with an organic soilless medium that’s made specifically for potting houseplants.

Get a new pot that’s just slightly bigger because you don’t want your plant to stay in soil that’s too moist or wet. Be very careful not to damage the roots when you start repotting and leave enough space at the top for water.

Are you convinced to start growing green thumbs? If you want to start somewhere, try getting a common and low maintenance house plant such as snake plant, money plant, peace lily, or a fiddle leaf fig and enjoy populating your little indoor garden!

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