How to take care of your indoor plants
If you are a beginner in indoor gardening, caring for indoor plants may seem daunting at first. However, with our guide, you can easily learn how to nourish, compost, water, and select the best indoor plants for your home, so you can enjoy the full benefits of houseplants such as improving air quality, reducing blood pressure, and enhancing mood, attention span, and productivity.
Choosing a pot for your indoor plant
When selecting a pot for your plant, it's important to consider the size of the grower's pot it came in. If the grower's pot is less than 15cm in diameter, choose an indoor pot that is at least 1cm larger in diameter to allow your plant to grow and prevent it from becoming root-bound too quickly. If the grower's pot is over 16cm in diameter, choose an indoor pot that is at least 2cm larger in diameter. Good drainage is crucial for healthy plants. Some indoor pots come with drainage holes, while others do not. If your pot doesn't have drainage, add crocks, pebbles, or stones to the bottom of the pot before adding compost to create drainage. At British Garden Centres we have a large range of indoor pots available in-store at your local British Garden Centres and also a selection available on our online store.
If you notice your plant has outgrown its pot with roots creeping out the bottom and leaves turning yellow, it's time to repot. Here are some tips to make it a success. Select a pot that is 2 inches larger in size. Carefully lift your plant from its old pot, taking care not to damage any stems. Loosen and separate the roots before placing the plant in the centre of the new pot and filling it in with compost around the edges. With these steps, your plant will thrive in its new home.
Which potting soil is best?
People often wonder if indoor plants require special compost. The compost must provide water, nutrients, and oxygen to your plant's root system, but it should also allow for drainage, making texture an important factor. Most house plants will be content with a multipurpose compost or indoor potting mix. These mixes absorb moisture well and resist compaction, and regular fertilization will aid in your plants' growth. If you're growing cacti or succulents, they thrive in coarse soil, so we suggest using a specialized compost that contains a high proportion of sand and grit. Orchids or Phalaenopsis require free-draining compost, which is typically composed of bark chips, peat moss, and perlite.
The most common mistake with indoor plants is excessive watering. To ensure your plant's longevity, it's paramount to check the moisture level in their pots. Simply insert your finger into the compost to feel if it's damp below the surface. Keeping the compost moist is crucial for optimal growth. Watering your plants once or twice a week is best, but make sure to water them thoroughly and infrequently. Overwatering can cause droopy leaves and yellowing which you don’t want for your plant babies. Succulents and cacti, on the other hand, can withstand desert-like conditions since they retain their water. As such, you only need to top them up with water once a month.
How much heat and light?
Different plants have varying needs when it comes to sunlight, but generally, they require at least 8 hours of sun exposure daily. For indoor plants like succulents, yuccas, aloe vera, and others, thrive best on a sunny windowsill. On the other hand, tropical plants like palms, dracaena, peace lilies, and philodendrons can tolerate dappled shade.
As the days become shorter towards winter, it is recommended to move your plants closer to a window to ensure they get as much sunlight as possible. Most houseplants need a temperature of 12-18°C to survive, so it is best to avoid placing them near radiators. Additionally, they may not handle temperature changes too well, so keep them away from cold drafts coming from windows or doorways.
How to Choose the Right Plant for Your Home
Selecting the right indoor plants can make a significant difference in the way a room looks and feels. It is crucial to understand the specific sunlight exposure and humidity needs of plants before choosing them for a particular room in your home. Our houseplant team has together a list of top plant picks for each room that will help you create a tranquil indoor oasis to escape the chaos of the outside world.
Kitchen and Bathroom
For those in search of plants that can thrive in humid and steamy environments, ferns, clusia, tradescantia, palms, snake plants, devil's ivy, and bamboo are the ultimate choices. These plants can handle extreme temperatures and subpar air quality without any trouble.
Living room and Bedroom
Indoor plants such as Zamioculca, Calathea, Monstera, Aloe Vera, Lavender, Peace Lily, Money Plants, and Spider Plants are essential for enhancing your mood, injecting vibrant greenery into your home interior, and developing your gardening skills.
Follow our guide and adorn your house with lovely and healthy indoor plants.