Bring the bright atmosphere of a tropical vacation into your home this winter with houseplants. An integral part of your home décor, houseplants not only artistically improve your home, they also cleanse and freshen your indoor air quality. Plants take in carbon dioxide and release clean, pure oxygen. Some plants even absorb certain air toxins, potentially harmful radiation or unpleasant smells. Houseplants also add welcome humidity to the air we breathe, and filter dust particles for a cleaner environment. While houseplants can improve your life in many ways, they must be selected to fit successfully into your lifestyle.
Don’t Consider Light Lightly
When selecting a foliage plant, first determine what type of light you have – this will be the best key to the plant’s health and survival. Look at the area where you would like to keep the plant through the entire day to determine if the light changes. You will also want to keep in mind the time of year – the light will change with different seasons as well as the angle of the sun.
- Low Light – 3-4 hours of indirect light. Don’t confuse this type of light with no light. If you can sit in the room and read comfortably without turning on a light, it is low light. If you must turn a light on, then it’s considered no light.
- Medium Light – 4-6 hours of indirect or direct morning sun.
- High Light – Direct or indirect sun for 6-8 hours a day. Direct afternoon sun in the winter can be too hot for many houseplants. Be careful this time of year because many plants can get sunscald.
No matter what the light levels in different rooms of your home, there are plants that can be comfortable there. If you aren’t sure what your light may be or which plants may thrive, we also recommend you talk to one of our experts about your particular situation for best results.
Low Light Plants
- Dracaena Warneckii
- Dracaena Janet Craig
- Philodendron Xanadu
Medium Light Plants
- Corn Plant
- Norfolk Island Pine
- Bamboo Palm
- Ming Aralia
- Schefflera Amate
- Spathiphyllum Domino
- Ficus Alii
High Light Plants
- Yucca Cane
- Sago Palm
- Fishtail Palm
A Word About Watering
The smaller the pot, the more frequently you will need to water your houseplant. Small pots (2-3 inches) might need water every day depending on the plant’s needs and the richness of the soil. A 4-6 inch pot may need water every 3-4 days, whereas a 10-inch pot (or larger) usually only requires water every 4-6 days. These guidelines can change depending upon the location of the plant, the type of pot, variety of plant, soil condition, general humidity, time of year and weather conditions. Plants don’t utilize as much moisture on gray days as they do on sunny days.
Because so many factors can impact houseplant watering, determining the watering schedule for large pots (over 10 inches) can be difficult. To help, take a natural wooden dowel and push it into the soil until it reaches the bottom of the pot. After you pull the dowel out, you will be able to see the wetness on the bottom of the stick (if there is any). Also, remember that the larger the pot, the more water will be held in the soil at the bottom – even if there are drainage holes.
Most foliage or non-flowering houseplants prefer 20-20-20 fertilizer once a month, year-round. You can increase the feeding to twice a month during the growing season. Flowering plants have different fertilizing needs depending on their bloom schedules and growth productivity. Investigate the needs of your individual plants and feed them appropriately.
Houseplants can add great beauty and many benefits to your home. Once you begin choosing houseplants, you’ll soon be enjoying them in every room and every season.