Indoor Gardening

Nothing brightens up your spirit or home more than adding lush plants and colorful bloomers to your décor.  In addition to their beauty, NASA has found that many houseplants help improve indoor air quality by removing harmful compounds. 

Light Requirements

There are many houseplants that do very well with indirect, medium to bright light and do not require direct sun, so be sure to read the plant tag. 


Sun-loving houseplants:  Bromeliads, Citrus, Croton, Ficus, Geraniums, Herbs, Jade Plant, Snake Plant, Succulents 


Houseplants for Low to medium light:  Anthurium, Chinese Evergreen, Dieffenbachia, Fern, Ivy, Lucky Bamboo, Peace Lily, Philodendron, Pothos, Snake Plant, ZZ Plant


Houseplants That Improve Indoor Air Quality:  Aloe Vera, Boston Fern, Bamboo Palm, Chinese Evergreen, Chrysanthemum (floral), Dracaena, Ficus (benjamina), English Ivy, Peace Lily, Snake Plant (variegated), Pothos and Spider Plant


Orchids:  There are several orchids that are easier to grow in a home setting.  These include: Cattleya, Dendrobium, Phalaenopsis, Cymbidium, and Dendrobium.  The needs of the orchid will depend on the variety selected; however, in general orchids prefer to reside on a pebble tray, prefer bright light or filtered sun, prefer moderate temperatures — away from cold drafts, and prefer moist compost (some varieties do prefer to dry out between watering).   You should feed your orchid during the summer months, and only repot if the plant is suffering — orchids like to be pot-bound. Orchids “rest” between blooming.    

Watering

Proper watering is very important to overall houseplant health, as overwatering and underwatering can cause problems.  Again, check the plant variety for specific requirements.  Be sure to water the plant until it drains through to the bottom of the pot, and then discard the excess.  Never leave a houseplant sitting in water!  


Some plants benefit from additional humidity.  Ferns and ivy enjoy being misted.  African Violets are best watered from the bottom:  set the pot in a small tray of water and after the plant has wicked up the water remove the tray. African Violets do not like getting their leaves wet. You can also aim a cool air humidifier at your plants, but aim a warm air humidifier away from your plants. 

Grooming

Keep your plants well-groomed by removing dead leaves and spent flowers. Dust plants with fine hairs, such as African Violets, with a soft toothbrush.   

Fertilizer

Just like outdoor plants, houseplants need an adequate supply of Nitrogen, Phosphorous, and Potassium (NPK), and many nurseries offer these houseplant fertilizers often combined with trace elements. Many potting soils now contain fertilizer, so factor that in when deciding when and how frequently to feed your plants. Follow the feeding directions on the fertilizer container, but as a rule you want to feed regularly from spring through autumn and then let the plant “rest” over winter. 

Pests

Spider mites, aphids, scale, and mealy bugs are common houseplant pests.  Monitor your plants regularly to ensure these unwanted guests do not become a problem. 

Protection

Protect your furniture from water rings by waterproofing a clay saucer with a clear coat of polyurethane.  Various plastic lids also work well.  

Terrariums

Use an old fish tank to set up a terrarium. Put plant pots in the fish tank or plant directly in the tank using a layer of charcoal followed by 3-4 inches of potting soil. Humid loving plants like orchids will love it.