Green Fingers

A Newbie’s Guide to Indoor Plant Care

Houseplants are all the rage in home decor lately. The ‘urban jungle’ style features lush potted plants of varying sizes and foliage arranged attractively in rooms. Besides offering visual delight, plants also purify the air at home – making the case for the more the merrier!

Keen to hop onto the trend of decorating with plants but new to gardening? Avoid making rookie mistakes – read on for a list of things to note with your houseplants.

1. Water only when necessary

Overwatering is one of the most common causes of plant death. Keep your plant healthy by watering it correctly and according to its needs.

Rather than watering your houseplant regularly, a good rule of thumb is to check the soil first so that you only water when necessary. If the soil feels dry up to the first knuckle of your finger, it is time to water!

Watering should be done deeply and slowly to moisten the entire root area. Ensure your plant pots allow proper drainage, as most houseplants do not like sitting in water. Always look out for signs of water stress – wilting can be due to overwatering too. 🙂

2. Ensure adequate lighting

Deciding where to place your new indoor plant? Consider the lighting conditions your plant requires.

Many houseplants thrive in bright indirect light, so it is a good idea to place them beside an eastern facing window. Refrain from exposing the foliage of these plants to direct sunlight as it may scorch their leaves. If your plant enjoys direct sunlight however, it could be placed near a sunny western or southern facing window where the light is typically more intense.

It may take some experimentation to figure out if your houseplant is receiving the right amount of light. Dull, dry or brown foliage may suggest excessive light, while insufficient light often leads to uneven growth. Tell-tale signs include the plant growing visibly towards the light source, spindly new stems and smaller leaves.

3. Feed your plants sparingly

Occasional fertilisation helps with healthy growth by introducing new nutrients into the soil. You may use an all-purpose fertiliser containing nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. Indoor plants do well with liquid and slow-release fertilisers in general, as they distribute the nutrients evenly throughout the soil and allow the gardener greater control.

Different plants have different feeding needs, and it is important not to overdo it! Over-fertilisation can lead to salt build-up in the soil, and ultimately plant death.

4. Keep the pests away

Houseplants are sometimes affected by pests. Common bugs include aphids and red spider mites. Check your plants regularly for symptoms to control and treat any pest infestation in time.

Treatment of infected plants can be done using non-chemical methods. In fact, water is often the recommended solution – simply spray or shower your plant to wash off the insects! Repeat the process until the pests are completely gone.

Remember to keep your home mosquito-free as well, by removing stagnant water from your houseplant pot plates. 🙂

Do you enjoy decorating with houseplants at home? Send us photos of your indoor garden via mynicehome@mailbox.hdb.gov.sg and follow us on Facebook for more useful tips!

By K
April 27, 2017


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