Where do our indoor plants come from?Keeping plants in the house started in the 15th century when sea-farers began to bring plants home from their voyages to Asia. As they would generally die if left outside, they were kept indoors. Most house plants do indeed originate in tropical climes, like a palm tree or a fern. Cacti and succulents come from savannahs in the deserts. Today, there is a wide selection of house plants available.
We divide house plants into three different groups. 1) Flowering plants, 2) Foliage plants 3) Cacti/succulents.
Position in the homeThe best position for an indoor plant to thrive, varies per plant. Most house plants will thrive with sufficient light and sufficient moisture. House plants are therefore usually best near the window or where there is most light. Most should be kept out of full sunlight – not all indoor plants like to be in the sun.
Indoor plants will not tolerate dry and hot air (above the central heating for instance). You can improve humidity by spraying your plant(s) with water every now and then. A bathroom is often a nice (temporary) spot for a house plant, given its relatively favourable humidity levels which many house plants will appreciate.
House plants can usually go outdoors onto the patio in a sheltered spot out of full sun from the end of May onwards. Most house plants will really appreciate being outdoors for a while. Give the plant(s) a chance to acclimatise before leaving them outdoors until late autumn. Start them off on a cloudy day to avoid sun burn. One hour longer every day for 5 days should be fine, then they can stay out all night too.
Potting up house plantsAll our house plants can be potted up upon receipt, or shortly after, in their nursery pot. Do ensure good drainage – always add a layer of potsherds or hydro-pellets before adding (fresh) potting compost. Pot your house plant up at the correct depth and fill the pot with more potting compost. Press carefully in and ensure you have enough space for watering between the top of the soil and the edge of the pot approx. 1.5 cm). Most house plants can be potted up at any time of the year although for flowering plants, it’s best to do this just after flowering if you are planning to do so at all.
Caring for house plantsIt really isn’t hard to look after your house plant(s). It's important to keep them moist (don’t forget to water). Your plant(s) will thank you for lime free (rain) water, not too cold. The amount you give them and how often, rather depends on the plant, and the pot. Once a week is a general rule of thumb.
House plants don’t need watering as much in the winter. Once a week is still good, just not so much water. House plants like a good drenching every so often. Stand the whole pot in a bucket of water until all air bubbles stop – usually about half an hour. Allow to drain and stand the pot back in its planter, or on its saucer.
Most fresh potting compost has enough nutrients to keep your plant(s) going for about 6 months. Thereafter, we advise feeding your plant(s) regularly. Consider using plant food like phostrogen. This should only be used in the growing/flowering period, until about September, after which plants generally enter their dormant period (during the winter) and will not require feeding. Check the pack label for more advice. Careful dead-heading by hand encourages new flowers to form.
Do check out the following interesting products:
gardening advice online for more information on houseplants.