Indoor Plants: Care and Management

Gardens & Landscapes May 20, 2008 Print Friendly and PDF

Indoor Plants | Selection | Care and Management | Problems


Links to external web pages are followed by the source's name in parentheses.

Contents

Care and Management

A selection of glazed ceramic containers. (Photo credit: Karen Jeannette)
A selection of glazed ceramic containers. (Photo credit: Karen Jeannette)

To achieve great looking, healthful indoor plants, proper care and management is essential. The following information will equip you with the knowledge to adequately care for your plants.

See:

  • Indoor Plants (University of Minnesota Extension Master Gardener training slide series) is a quick slide show providing an overview of care and management of indoor plants.
-User hint: A flash plug-in is required for viewing.

For more information:

  • Houseplants (Colorado State University Extension) provides links that give you a quick overview of many houseplant selections.

Containers and Growing Media

The type of container chosen for growing indoor plants makes a difference in how you care for the plant.

See:

Soil Mixes

Growing medium. (Photo credit: Karen Jeannette)
Growing medium. (Photo credit: Karen Jeannette)

Starting with a good potting mix helps eliminate many potential problems when growing indoor plants. Learn more about purchasing and making potting mixes.

See:

  • Soil Mixes (Clemson Home Garden and Information Center, Clemson Extension) offers details about choosing the right kind of mix for indoor plants. Several soil mix recipes are also provided.


  • Soil/Growing Medium (University of Georgia Cooperative Extension) provides many soil mix "recipes," including recipes for: flowering houseplants, foliage, bromeliads, orchids, succulents and cacti, ferns, and African violets.

Repotting

These plants are outgrowing their pots, and soluble salts are becoming a problem. It's time to repot.  (Photo credit: University of Minnesota Extension Service)
These plants are outgrowing their pots, and soluble salts are becoming a problem. It's time to repot. (Photo credit: University of Minnesota Extension Service)

There are a number of reasons for repotting indoor plants. Following good potting procedures can help prolong the interval before you need to do it again.

See:

Watering

Too much or not enough water can be detrimental to the life of a plant. Indoor plants are dependent on humans for their watering needs. Knowing how much and when to water helps reduce the risk of over- or underwatering.

See:

  • Watering Guidelines for Indoor Plants (Colorado State University Extension, Denver County) provides tips and essential information for knowing how and when to water your plants and offers clever strategies for watering plants while on vacation.

It's not always the roots that need moisture. Adequate humidity leads to healthy indoor plants, too!

See:

Indoor Light and Temperature

Light and temperature are two factors that play a role in the quality of indoor plants. Light is involved in the process of generating food for the plant through the process known as photosynthesis. Temperature plays a role in how the plant spends energy through the process known as respiration. To nurture healthy plants, knowledge of optimum light levels and temperatures are helpful to ensure plants are not expending more energy than they are making.

You can also review other considerations of light and temperature that influence plant growth in the following resources.

Light

See:

  • Lighting Indoor Houseplants (University of Missouri Extension) explains that color, types of lights, light quantity, distance of plants from light sources, and duration are just a few considerations when using supplemental lighting.

Some indoor plant owners move their plants outdoors during the growing season to expose plants to good quality light. This can be quite beneficial for some indoor plants as long as they are acclimatized and placed outdoors properly.

See:

Indoor plants brought outside. (Photo credit:Deb Brown)
Indoor plants brought outside. (Photo credit:Deb Brown)
  • Houseplants On the Move

Temperature

See:

The following links provide lists of indoor plants for different temperature ranges.



Fertilizing

When is the best time to fertilize? How much fertilizer should I apply? How do fertilizers lead to soluble salt problems?

See:

  • Fertilizing Houseplants (North Carolina Cooperative Extension) discusses fertilizing based on plant light levels and management of soluble salts.

Propagation

For many home gardeners, propagation of indoor plants is a fun and exciting way to gain new plants to add to a home collection or to share with friends. The following resources are helpful in understanding what you need and how to create more plants.

See:

Care of Specific Indoor Plants

While indoor plants have basic needs of soil, water, light, temperature, and humidity, plants individually differ in the ways we care for them. The following references are care and management guides for specific plants.

Care of Specialty or Unique Indoor Plants

Amaryllis in bloom. (Photo credit: Deb Brown)
Amaryllis in bloom. (Photo credit: Deb Brown)


Specialty indoor plants are those that are usually purchased or considered for special occasions or those that make heads turn twice because of their uniqueness. The following resources provide care and management for growing these plants successfully at home.

  • Bonsai (Virginia Cooperative Extension).
  • Terrariums (Clemson Home Garden and Information Center, Clemson Extension).

Connect with us

  • Facebook

Welcome

This is where you can find research-based information from America's land-grant universities enabled by eXtension.org

LOCATE

USDA / NIFA

This work is supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, New Technologies for Ag Extension project.