Five Lessons About Indoor Houseplant I wish I'd known earlier
The more time I have spent with houseplants, the more I have grown to love them. Sounds crazy I know. What's made me love having tropical plants in my home is the intricate little signs that they provide. These signs teach you what you need to know about taking good care of them. Every day, your house plant will either improve and grow, or it will decline and head closer towards, you know...death.
Knowing what to look out for will help you become a better observer of your plant. By reading the signs, you can figure out what it needs more of, or what it needs less of.
Here are 5 lessons that I have learnt about reading house plants, that I wish I had taken more notice of when I first started caring for them. If I had, maybe I wouldn't have lost the house plants I did early on.
1. All house plants are different
This is definitely true for different varieties of house plant, but it's also true for individual plants of the same species. I have had the same plants species in the same room, and some do really well, others don't. It's important to check in on each plant, to make sure it is getting what it needs to remain healthy and happy.
You will need to get to know each of your plants and what they need to do well. I think this is part of the appeal of houseplants. You are rewarded for your caring efforts with a beautiful plant that you can be proud of.
2. Experiment with your plant positioning until you find what is right
Move your plants around until you find a spot in your house where it does well. Start by learning about the preferred conditions of your plant species, either through our blog, product pages, or through other sources, so you know where to start. Then keep an eye on your plant to see how it's doing. If you need to, move your plant to adjust the amount of light, the temperature or the humidity that it's being exposed to. You might be surprised at the places in which your plant does best. For example, I have my Calathea Medallion in a dark corner of the room, but raised up using a plant stand that is about half a meter high. It is doing extraordinarily well in this spot. I think it likes being a little higher off the ground, and it's also a great way to show off the beautiful purple underside of its leaves.
3. Your plants needs will change with seasons
Houseplants are designed for tropical conditions, where the length of day and precipitation levels are relatively consistent. You can read more about this in our blog 'Best Indoor Plants NZ - Which Plants Grow Well in New Zealand?'.
Indoor plants have leaves all year around for this reason, and do not self adjust well with seasonal changes. This means that you need to adjust your care routine. For example, you will likely need to water them in winter and fertilise much less (or possibly not at all). You may also need to change where your plant is positioned so it gets enough indirect (not direct!) sunlight, depending on the season. You do not want to leave your plant where it can be exposed to direct sunlight in summer for example, because you may quickly scorch the leaves.
To manage these changes, keep an eye on your plant and check the soil moisture levels until you have a good idea of its care needs.
4. Take note of the condition and movement of their leaves
The secret to taking care of a house plant is by watching it for subtle indications of distress. Each plant species has slightly different high risks or sensitivities which you can pick up on from the leaf movements or colour.
For example, Peace Lillies will droop if they need to be watered. The tips of their leaves will turn brown if they really need water. Their leaves may also start to turn brown for other reasons, such as too much watering, or too much fertiliser.
5. If your plant is sick or not doing well, consult Dr Google or Youtube
There is so much great houseplant care information available online that with a few clicks you should be able to find some great solutions to help solve any problem you're having with your house plant.
Give your house plant the attention it deserves. Observe it and get to know it's signs of distress. There are lots of variables that you can alter, including the amount of water, quality of water, amount of light, humidity, the soil and repotting.
You'll be rewarded for your efforts with healthy & happy plants.