Thursday, July 5, 2012

Raising Happy And Healthy Houseplants

Raising houseplants is a great way to bring the beauty of nature into your home, and a great way to enjoy your gardening hobby even when the snow is falling.  Raising healthy houseplants can be a challenge for the inexperienced gardener, but following these simple tips can help you get off on the right foot.
Let’s start out with what you should do to keep those houseplants happy and healthy.  Then we’ll move on to a list of things to avoid.

Keep the labels that came with the plants you purchased.  Those plant labels provide a wealth of information, including proper humidity and pH levels, watering advice and more.  Unfortunately many gardeners toss that valuable information right into the trash once the are home from the nursery.

  • Use distilled water whenever possible.  Tap water can contain pollutants and other impurities that could damage your houseplants.  When watering plants with distilled water make sure the water is room temperature.  Watering plants with cold water can shock them and cause them to wilt.
  • Stick with natural pesticides.  This is particularly important if you have kids and pets in the household – many chemical pesticides can leave harmful residues that children or pets could ingest.  There are plenty of natural solutions to pest problems, including ordinary dishwashing liquid, hot peppers and alcohol.
  • Make sure your houseplants are pet friendly.  Many plants can be harmful, or even fatal, to cats and dogs.  If you are unsure if your houseplants are safe be sure to consult your veterinarian.

Now let’s take a look at some of the most common mistakes houseplant owners make.  If you want to enjoy a house full of healthy houseplants, don’t:
  • Do not over water your plants. This is perhaps the most common mistake beginning gardeners make.  Most plants can withstand a lack of moisture much better than too much water.  Instead of watering the plants on a set schedule, give them water only when the soil is no longer moist.
  • Don’t turn off the lights.  Unlike outdoor plants, houseplants cannot rely on abundant sunshine for the light they need.  Be sure to leave some lights on or place the plants near a sunny window.
  • Don’t expose your plants to heat sources.  Pay attention to where you put those plants.  Placing houseplants near heat sources can damage them and cause them to dry out.
  • Don’t forget about pest control.  Plant pests can and do come indoors, so be sure to use proper pest control.  Neglecting the possibility of pests can leave your houseplants struggling to survive.
  •  Don’t allow your plants to outgrow their pots.  Many houseplants can grow quite quickly, and that high growth rate can cause them to get too big for their current home.  Allowing your plants to outgrow their containers could cause root damage and other serious issues.
  Paying attention to these tips can help your houseplants grow healthy and strong and help you become a highly successful indoor gardener.  Bringing those beautiful plants into the home is a great way to enjoy the beauty of nature year round.  The key is to pay attention to the needs of those plants and give them what they need to grow healthy and strong.

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