The most important thing to remember is that the plants you select must be
compatible with the environment you provide. Choose plants whose foliage is
rich green and uniform in color. Inspect the plant for pests, such as mealy
bugs, spider mites and worms. Check the label for the mature height of the
plant. Make sure that it is not too tall for the location in your home. Look
for signs of plant damage, such as broken stems or torn leaves. Look for
healthy new growth. For greater success make sure that the suggested light
conditions of the plant match those found in your home.
Maintaining Your Plants
Light, temperature, water, and nutrition are the main factors affecting
plant growth. When possible, select plants that are known to be successful
for interior use. Make sure your plants have sufficient light. Growing
plants indoors can be a challenge, since light intensity is often very low.
If using artificial light, plan to provide light for 12 - 16 hours. This
number is likely to be higher for flowering plants. A sunny southern
exposure will provide extra light for plants that need high levels of light.
Be on the lookout for phototropism (the tendency for plants to grow in the
direction of the highest light) rotate your plants periodically to avoid a
Most indoor plants grow well under typical conditions in the office and
home. The ideal temperature is about an average of 70F /
Avoid drafty areas such as doorways and air conditioner vents.
Temperatures that are too high can cause plants to wilt quickly.
Water and fertilizer
Over watering is a common problem with interior plants - when in doubt do
not water! It is easier for a plant to recover from under watering than it
is for it to recover from over watering. Use your finger or a soil probe to
check your plants' need for water. Probe into the soil as far as possible.
A good rule-of-thumb is to water until the water comes out the bottom of the
container. A balanced slow release fertilizer (14-14-14) works best for your
interior plants. Look for one that lasts three or four months. For a quick
green up try a 20-20-20 analysis liquid fertilizer mixed at half strength.
Caring for your plants
Keeping your plants free of pests and keeping the plants in good condition
are important factors in interior plant care. The most common insects that
attack plants indoors are mealybugs, scale, and mites. Inspect the your
plant's leaves regularly for these pests. Don't forget to check the
underside of the leaves, as this is a favorite spot for insects to hide.
Using a soapy solution to clean the plant leaves regularly is beneficial. A
spray of soap and water about three-tbsp. soap to one gallon of water can
control many insects. Root rots and other soil diseases are caused by
overwatering. Periodically check the plants' roots to ensure that they are a
healthy white color, not brown and mushy. Removing yellow leaves improves
the appearance of your plants greatly. An occasional trim will cause the
plant to fill in and remain uniform in shape. Cleaning the leaves with soapy
water will remove the dust buildup and give the leaves a shiny, healthy
Placing your plants
Where you place your plant in a room creates an impact upon the atmosphere
and ambience of the area. Tall, potted plants can create a quiet reading
corner or add privacy to an office space. Hanging plants can provide a
screen for a bathroom or bedroom window. An orchid may add tropical appeal
to a patio or other living space. Avoid placing plants in heavy traffic
areas or small spaces - they may just add clutter to these spaces. Make sure
that plants placed on tables or in other conversation spots are not too
large, hindering the conversation.
Containers for Plants
A decorative pot will increase the beauty of any plant that you add to your
interior space. Regardless of the decorative appeal, a container with good
drainage is a must for an interior plant. Place a saucer underneath the
container to catch the run off water before it reaches your floor.
Polystyrene peanuts will keep the container light in weight, increase your
drainage, and decrease the soil needed to fill the pot. When stepping up
plants to the next size do not increase size of the container more than 2
sizes greater than the current one. Baskets and other decorator pots are
readily available at home improvement and home decorating stores and are
easy to change with the seasons and your moods.