Houseplants always make wonderful gifts. Whether for birthday or anniversary, as a house warming gift or as a way to say thank you to a loved one or friend, houseplants add a touch of beauty and elegance to any home. Some of them are quite delicate and will last just a few months, while others are much hardier and will last for years with very little care. Caring for them can be tricky sometimes, but here are a few tips to help you keep your new plant alive and thriving.
To give your plant the best chance for a long and healthy life, the first step is to choose a quality plant from a florist you trust. Ask questions regarding sunlight, watering and any special feed or care that it might require. For your first plant, we suggest that you choose flowering house plants that will require minimum watering and can survive room temperature climates. Your florist should be able to help you make the proper selection and guarantee that you purchase the best quality plant for your needs.
All houseplants will require adequate sunlight for the process known as photosynthesis. The best way to keep any indoor plant healthy is to place them in an area of the home where they will get the right amount of sunlight they need. Some plants need longer periods of sunlight while others do better with a limited amount. Many tropical plants like crotons and palms can tolerate bright sun, while other plants like orchids and dragon trees prefer bright light but not sunlight. Most houseplants fall in the middle, with many being able to tolerate both bright light and partial light.
Take a day to observe how the sunlight comes through the windows in your home. At some hours of the day it will be a bright beam, while at other times there will only be a partial beam. Choose your plants’ location accordingly.
Watering your houseplants is a relaxing and simple task that can easily be worked into a daily routine. Depending on the plants you have decided to add to your home, you may not have to water them every day, but it is always a good idea to check the soil. If the soil is dry to the touch, even after pressing your finger into the surface, the plant will probably need a little water.
You do not want to put any more water into the pot than the soil can absorb easily. If the roots take on too much water, it can lead to decay, and the plant will begin to die. The same is true for most plants if they do not receive enough water every day. An easy tip to tell if you are over-watering or under-watering your plants is to check the leaves; an over-watered plant will have yellowing leaves that fall off easily, and new leaves may even fall off as well, whereas an under-watered plant will have dry and browning leaves.
It is a good idea to regulate the temperature in any room that you will have your new plant in as best you can. Something as simple as an open window can mean the difference between a happy plant and an unhappy plant, so make sure you are aware of any drafts or seasonal changes that may affect the temperature of the room. Some plants do well in humid environments, such as orchids and other tropical plants, and an easy way to achieve this is to mist the leaves of your plant daily. Most houseplants are just fine in a regular room with no special requirements.
Potting soil is available from any home improvement store, greenhouse, or even some department stores. Your plant will arrive in a pot or basket with soil (or moss/bark if it is an orchid), but as the plant thrives and grows, it may eventually need to be repotted. Choosing the right soil is only half of it, and if you do your research, you should be able to find the right balanced type.
Most plants will require a nutrient-rich blend of soil. The label on the soil should have any special information about its use, and whether it will need to be supplemented by plant food. For more tips on purchasing and using the right soil for your houseplant, you can get planting guides from your local greenhouse, bookstore, library, or call our customer service line for more information.