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Indoor Plants Healthy Living

Indoor Plants Healthy Living

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Having a basic understanding of photosynthesis will lead to an appreciation of what plants need to grow and thrive. Having healthy indoor plants leads to a healthy living lifestyle.

Photosynthesis

In case school biology classes seem an awfully long time ago, these are the essential facts. Plants make their own food through a process called photosynthesis. To do this, they need light, water and carbon dioxide.

Limiting any one of these factors can lead to the plant struggling or even dying.

 

Indoor Plants Healthy Living

Plants photosynthesise using a chemical called chlorophyll, which is what makes plants look green, absorbs sunlight and turns the carbon dioxide and water into glucose (sugar) and oxygen. Some of the glucose is stored as starch, while the rest gets used up as energy for the plant to grow. A plant requires a range of nutrients to create chlorophyll for photosynthesis and other processes within it for healthy growth. Outside, there is plenty of sunlight, carbon dioxide and (with adequate rainfall) water, and the soil can provide the necessary nutrients. Indoors, gardeners need to provide water and nutrients and to position the plant for sufficient light.

Applying the Science

Rule one when caring for any house plant is to put it in the environment in which it has evolved and to which it has adapted. In other words, a cactus that has grown in the arid, sunny climate of a desert will not do well if it is kept in a shady, humid bathroom. Likewise, a Swiss cheese plant adapted to the lower levels of the tropical rainforest will not do well on a bright, and drafty window sill.

Rule two is to try and make sure that the plant is never stressed by lack of water, light or nutrients, as this will weaken it and make it more susceptible to disease and pest infestation. Checking plants daily will take just a few moments, but is far better for the plant than having to take remedial measures every now and then.

Keeping Plants Tidy

When a house plant becomes a little too happy in its situation, some action may be required to keep it from taking over the house. To an extent, not being in its ideal outdoor environment (for example, a dry, cold living room rather than a tropical jungle) will keep a house plant’s size under control. Restricting the roots in a pot and not over-feeding will also help. However, to further control a plant’s size, it can be pruned, either above or below ground.

Root Pruning

Root pruning is simple and best done in spring when the plant is growing well. Remove the plant from the pot. Use a sharp kitchen knife to shave off a couple of centimetres of roots and compost all the way around the root ball, then put it back into the pot with some fresh compost to fill the gaps.

 

Indoor Plants Healthy Living

Promoting Flowers and a Better Shape

Pruning is also done to make plants more attractive; to encourage a better shape or more flowering. Plants that would naturally grow leggy, single stems, such as geraniums or chrysanthemums, can be pinched out as they grow. This will encourage a bushier shape that bears more flowers. Regularly snip or pinch out the tips of new growth. This method also works well for herbs.

Climbing and Larger Plants

Climbers and trailing plants can have their shoots cut back when they reach the extent of their supports, or start getting in the way. Trimming little and often is better than an infrequent drastic cut back. Likewise, pruning the woody stems of larger plants is better done by cutting back no more than a third at a time.

 

Indoor Plants Healthy Living

Indoor Plants Healthy Living

The guiding principles should be:

  • Always cut back to just above a bud
  • Refer to the individual plant’s requirements in the Plant Files of this website
  • Learn how to best care for plants through observation of their growing habits in their unique situation
  • Think twice and cut once

General Housekeeping

All house plants will shed old leaves at some point. Remove these and any other detritus, and promptly cut back dead stems to avoid rot setting in, which can spread to the plant, and to retain a healthy, green appearance. Having healthy indoor plants leads to a healthy living lifestyle.

 

Indoor Plants Healthy Living

Orchids

Different species will suit varied room conditions. They are grown not for their foliage but for their long-lasting displays of beautiful, delicate and intricate flowers. Orchids like high humidity around their leaves, and do not like to sit in wet compost. The best compost option is a free-draining potting mix consisting mainly of bark chips (buy a proprietary orchid compost). Keep the plant in a pot with drainage holes. Its roots will also protrude above the pot but don’t be tempted to tidy them inside because if you do they will rot.

Water thoroughly about once a week, ensuring all excess has drained away, and mist to supplement humidity when required. Feed using a specialist orchid fertiliser once a month, spring and summer. Keep the leaves clean. Prune only to remove dead leaves, flower spikes and roots.

Click here to buy your very own Orchid Apollon! 

 

Indoor Plants Healthy Living

Moth Orchid (Phalaenopsis)

Give this plant bright but not direct light. Avoid fluctuating temperatures, although flowering can be induced by moving to a cooler room for a month. Produces tall spikes of flowers from flat, almost rectangular rosettes of dark-green waxy leaves. Flowers can last for months, and colours vary between varieties. Prune the spike back to its second joint below the flowers once they’ve finished, and it may produce a secondary spike.

Cymbidium

Similar flowers to the moth orchid but its leaves are tall and strappy. Give this plant bright but not direct light. As flower spikes develop, keep the temperature below 15 degrees centigrade; otherwise, the buds can drop off prematurely.

Vanda

Best grown in an open-weave or slatted basket, out of which their roots can hang, species of Vanda have a flat, fan-shaped rosette of leaves. The flower spike is produced from the top of this rosette. Allow bright but not direct light and relatively humid conditions; supplement by misting the roots daily, more often if very dry, but always allowing to dry them out between watering. Feed by misting with a diluted fertiliser or plunging in a diluted solution for 10 minutes once a week. Having healthy indoor plants leads to a healthy living lifestyle.

 

 

Six Easy Tips on How to Care for Your Plants

Many people worry a lot when it comes to caring for their plants. When talking about house plants, there is no need to panic. There are just a few things you need to consider.

Watering

A watering can is a must-have in every home. It is recommended that you purchase one with a narrow spout to ensure adequate watering. However, that does not always apply, so the finger test may come in handy. Insert your index finger up to the first joint into the soil. If you feel that the earth is damp, don’t water it. Otherwise, do.

 

Indoor Plants Healthy Living

Feeding

With foliage plants, they always need to be high in nitrogen. For flowering plants, on the other hand, K2O is needed. Fertilisers such as the slow release ones can be mixed with the compost. However, some plants such as cacti and orchids need special feeds. Feed plants based on the height of their active growth.

Lighting

Plants such as Sanseveria and Aspidistra require no shade. They can be placed away from a window. Spider plants need semi-shade. You can put plants like these near a window that does or does not get sunlight. Others need the sun or perhaps no sun at all, such as cheese plants.

Temperature, Humidity and Repotting

Temperature

With houseplants, they can survive in temperatures a little bit higher than 15 to 25 degrees centigrade or 55 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit. However, drastic fluctuations in temperature may not be suitable for them.

Humidity

Some houseplants require a humid environment. One tip to maximise humidity is to put the pot inside a larger container and fill in the gaps with stones or compost to keep in the moisture. The compost will not dry out. Plants are capable of creating their own climate if grouped together. This tip can also be used for keeping the soil moist. If you want, you can spray them with water once or twice a day, depending on the temperature.

 

Indoor Plants Healthy Living

Repotting

Other plants require repotting for optimum growth, but some may not be suitable for this treatment. They would not want their roots to be disturbed, or other plants’ root systems may be too small. One way to check if your plant needs repotting is to turn it upside down. Tap the pot to release the plant and check its roots. If the roots are all you see, then repot.

You just need to have a little care for your plants, and in turn, you’ll reap their benefits. Don’t only have plants that can add to your house’s beauty; you can also learn how to respect and nurture life in its varied forms. Having healthy indoor plants leads to a healthy living lifestyle.

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15 thoughts on “Indoor Plants Healthy Living”

  1. I always knew that indoor plants worked wonders for your health but your blog post reminded me of it. Your article gives me a whole bunch of ideas on how to better take care of my plants and I have to thank you for that. Which of these is most important and why did you decide to grow plants indoors?

    Reply
    • Hi – thank you for reading my article and leaving a comment. I have always been interested in gardening, but here in the UK, with the long winter months, there is often little to do outdoors. Having indoor plants gives me a year-round hobby. All the best, Diane  

      Reply
  2. I came across your article in perfect timing! I was just thinking about how I would go about starting to incorporate some indoor plants. I have always heard about the health benefits in it, but honestly am terrified as I do not have a green thumb at all! Which indoor plants do you think are the easiest to care for in a home without a lot of natural light? It looks like spider plants might be an option for me, as you say they don’t need direct sunlight and it looks like they are relatively easy to care for.

    Reply
    • Hi – thank you for taking the time to read my article. Spider plants would definitely be a great way to start your adventure in indoor gardening! They are very adaptable and easy to grow. Other options include ferns, an aspidistra or saintpaulias. All the best, Diane

      Reply
  3. Hey thank you so much for putting this site together.

    When I was growing up, my Mother was a house plant fanatic and our house was festooned with plants everywhere.  I always remember here favourites were geraniums and rubber plants the latter of which I was often press ganged to do leaf shining on weekends!

    More recently just in the last 6 months or so my wife has developed a love for the same hobby (I was wondering if the spirit of my dear departed Mother had descended on her)

    The information that you have provided here and the one stop shop approach will be hugely valuable to her and I am going to point this in her direction as soon as I have finished penning this comment.

    Of particular use by the way were the post/pages on hanging plants (Mem Saheb loves them) and the micro climate article.  The latter is a big issue around controlling the indoor climate to allow plants to thrive.

    Thanks again I really enjoyed touring and reading your site we will be back (Mem Saheb and I!)

    Hamish

    Reply
    • Hi Hamish – thank you for visiting my website and leaving an entertaining comment! I remember being on leaf shining duties when I was a small child, that really brought back some memories. Please continue to visit for more advice. All the best, Diane

      Reply
  4. I really liked the article because of the level of details and explanations. What interested me most was knowing if root pruning was not a very stressful process for the plant. Do I need to do it with some special tools to “not damage” the plant?

    What happens when the plant is already large enough to remove it from the pot to prune its roots? Should I continue doing it after a lifetime of the plant?

    The other topic that interests me a lot is to keep the moisture in the plants since I live in a very dry ground, and it is always a problem when I want moisture plants. (The air conditioning doesn’t help much either, does it?)

    For now I will go with the advice you give: to spray it once or twice a day.

    Thank you very much for the article!
    regards
    Pablo

    Reply
    • Hi Pablo – thank you for visiting my website and leaving a comment. Proper root pruning will encourage further growth and it is best to use specialist tools. A pruning knife can be used for smaller plants or shears for anything larger. All the best, Diane

      Reply
  5. Without any reservation, effectively keeping an indoor plant would most definitely require a basic knowledge of photosynthesis. Like you mentioned, any factor missing from the process can inevitably lead to the plant’s demise.

    Now, from what I have been able to gather from this article, pruning also seems like a skill to master in other to keep these indoor plants under control and increase their attractiveness. 

    In all, I believe it is important to pay close attention to your indoor plants and also provide them with the basic nutrients to ensure they don’t just survive, but thrive.

    Great post.

    Reply
    • Hi – thank you for visiting my website and leaving a comment. I hope you learnt something new which will help keep your indoor plants healthy. All the best, Diane

      Reply
  6. Thank you very much for this information! I have what you would call a brown thumb.  My daughter wants to get some houseplants and I have been avoiding it.  However, as spring is a couple of months away I am looking into it.  I figure that I will be the main one caring for the plant.  So, I want to make sure that I am aware of what to do and how to do it.  I will probably order the orchid because it seems fairly straightforward with the care.  I will check out a few others.  Thanks for letting me know the correct way to care for things.  

    Reply
    • Hi – thank you for taking the time to comment on my article. I am sure you will find that caring for indoor plants is not as difficult as you may think, and can be very rewarding. The orchid is a great choice to start with. All the best, Diane

      Reply
  7. Hello there thank you for sharing this article on indoor plants healthy living. The positive effects of an indoor plant should not be taken for granted as they can make where they occupy beautiful, natural and also great source of ventilation. This article is more like a guide from planting to taking good care of the plants to maintaining them. I learnt so much from this.

    Regards!

    Reply
    • Hi – thank you for visiting my website. I am pleased you learnt something new from this article and I wish you every success with your house plants. All the best, Diane

      Reply

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