It can be slightly daunting when choosing houseplants to purchase, especially for the novice, questions you're bound to ask are: "where can I put it?", "is it easy to look after?" or "which room can I put it in?" ... among others.
Spider plants look good as they spill over the edge of their pots and can usually be seen on a high windowsill or on a high shelf where their "babies" hang down on pendulous stalks. Spider plants are also fantastic at cleaning the air in the room.
I would be remiss if I ended this article at this point without at least offering a few growing and care hints, so the following are some of my best practices when it comes to my houseplants. But first, repeat after me: “Everything in moderation.”
Ah, that felt good. It is a truism that applies to all aspects of life (except love, our world will always need more love!), and it most certainly applies to houseplant care. All plants require water, light, and food, but the trick to success is to practice moderation.
Additionally, think about the native climate for the majority of our houseplants. It is typically a tropical area. Our goal is to imitate that environment as closely as possible without going overboard.
First, soil. “Soil” is a bit of a misnomer when it comes to the growing media used for indoor plants. The best growing media is soil-less and is a combination of equal parts peat moss, vermiculite/perlite, and compost. Most stores sell a potting mix that will be fine.
Next, on Watering. Most of the time, people are concerned they aren’t watering enough, when in fact they are watering far too much! Most houseplants would prefer being slightly dry than soaking wet. I water once a week on “watering Wednesdays” or if I have forgotten then I water on “Thirsty Thursdays.”
Thirdly, understand that light is just as important as water. All plants need light to carry out their necessary biological processes. I’m looking at you, photosynthesis! Although all plants need some light to grow, some plants require a lot less than others. Think again of their native habitat and imagine the dark undergrowth where these plants thrive. They receive heavily filtered light but still keep on kicking. If plants don’t get the light they need, they won’t necessarily die, but they will stop producing new growth. If your plant is in a sunny location, it’s important to give it a small rotation regularly to ensure even growth. If you imagine the “face” of your plant is facing the main light source, turn the plant one-quarter turn each week to help guarantee even growth.
Fertilizing. Although plants carry out photosynthesis to process the sugars they need to survive, they also need a more direct form of food to carry out growing processes. Providing fertilizers to your houseplants helps ensure they will remain happy and healthy. Keep in mind: fertilizers should only be applied during the growing season.
And finally, keep the plant in a warm environment with some air circulation. Almost all houseplants need a minimum temperature of 55ºF to survive. Keep plants away from areas of cold drafts in the winter. The warmer it gets for houseplants, the happier they are!
Airflow is crucial to maintaining a healthy house plant. This can easily be achieved by running ceiling fans in your home to keep the air circulating. Still air, on the other hand, can cause a host of ailments in your houseplant. That’s why all greenhouses have those giant fans running. You will also want to use a cloth to wipe down the leaves of houseplants occasionally, to prevent the white buildup and coating of dust that can impact their health.