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Why grow houseplants?

Houseplants will not only add beauty and interest to your home décor, but they also help to keep the air in your home cleaner. Studies have shown that many common houseplants help reduce the air of many toxins inside your home. These plants absorb pollutants through their leaves, where naturally occurring microorganisms will break down the chemicals. Even NASA uses the ever popular Spider Plant on the space shuttle to absorb formaldehyde. During the winter months, when our homes are kept closed up to keep the warmth in, is a very beneficial time to have these plants around.

Watering Houseplants

Knowing when and how much to water your houseplants is one of the biggest concerns for many people. Learning what type of plant you have is the first step to understanding how much water it will require. The type of pot your plant is in also makes a difference on the water requirements. A plastic type pot holds more moisture into the soil while a clay type pot will breathe more causing the moisture to evaporate more rapidly from the soil.

It is very important to remember that roots need air as well as water. When watering, the compost should be moist but not saturated. Most plants need a partial drying out period between watering. This is when the air is absorbed up into the roots. Get to know your plants and what the soil is like when it’s moist and when it’s drying out. Don’t hesitate to stick your finger in the first few inches of soil to test for moisture. Don’t set your watering to a rigid schedule. Your plants use water at a varying rate depending upon light and temperature conditions. Most plants require increased watering during warmer summer months and decreased watering during cooler winter months.

Always apply enough water so the entire soil mass is thoroughly moistened. Never leave it standing in water. Even though it is beneficial to keep your plant leaves clean, it is best for the plant to water at the base of the pot and not to consistently wet the leaves.

Taking Houseplants Home

Flower Dot GreenProtect newly purchased plants from cold weather during transport. Even a few degrees drop in temperature will throw delicate tropicals into shock. If you live in a cold climate, wrap your new plant in a dry cleaner’s bag before leaving the nursery. Drive home with the car heater on high.

Flower Dot GreenPlace plants in areas free from drafts. Select a location away from opening doors or heater vents.

Flower Dot GreenAvoid placing plants on top of heat-generating appliances such as televisions or stereos.

Flower Dot GreenProvide the correct light conditions for your new plant. Plants have different requirements. Some prefer bright light, and some demand filtered sun. Do your homework before selecting the perfect site for your new plant.

Flower Dot GreenMist new plants daily. The added humidity will prevent leaf drop resulting from the change in environment from greenhouse to dry indoor air. Provide additional humidity by making a humidity tray. Fill the saucer under the plant with gravel. This way, when you water, the runoff will collect in the gravel but the plant will not sit in standing water – the most common cause of root rot. The water will evaporate from the gravel and provide additional humidity to the plant.