With the onset of the COVID pandemic, many cities in India saw a sudden spike in hobbyists taking up gardening, thanks to the back to back lockdowns. People are all too aware of the need for plants in their homes. With most urban homes being flats and apartments, indoor gardens and plants make more sense. Some of the top reasons why indoor plants have gained popularity during recent times are:
They are virtually maintenance-free; house plants need less watering.
They beautify indoor spaces and add colour.
They purify air, breathe out oxygen, and help you breathe better indoors.
They make for low-maintenance pets!
Some indoor plants like mint and basil have proven to repel pests for their medicinal properties.
They help manage stress caused by work and everyday monotony brought on lockdowns.
They give people a sense of purpose and offer a distraction from the news.
There is no denying that indoor house plants bring a much-needed vigour and colour through tough times, and they are needed now more than ever.
That said, though taking care of indoor plants is easy and they require less maintenance, there are certain do’s and don’ts to raising them; let us discuss them in detail.
The do’s of indoor plants
Understand the watering needs of your house plant.
First, read up on the plant's nutritional needs like water and manure. Every plant is unique and the needs of your various house plants may vary from one another. This is especially important when it comes to watering indoor plants. Most indoor plants don’t need constant watering. However, look out for not-so-direct signs of underwatering like dry tips. One of the easiest ways to recognize if the houseplant needs water is by sticking your finger one to two inches into the soil. If the soil feels dry, then your plant may need water.
Know the ideal conditions for your houseplant
including temperature, humidity, and ventilation. Most house plants thrive in temperatures ranging from 65 to 75 deg F and need less watering. However, good airflow is important for indoor plants to grow well as they cannot withstand condensation. Dust buildup is also a well-known enemy to houseplants. Check the leaves of indoor plants frequently to know their health status.
Does your indoor plant get enough light?
The light required by houseplants to thrive changes from one variety to another. So it is important to know beforehand what would be ideal for your plant. Most houseplants except for cacti and succulents grow well in indirect light conditions. For instance, a houseplant placed near a west-facing window grows better than when placed near east-facing walls or windows. Some signs of over or under lit plants are blackening or yellowing of leaves.
Use the right soil type and container for your houseplant.
When you buy a houseplant, they probably arrive in small containers. It is important to change the container on time to allow for roots to develop properly. One would also need to take the time to research the right soil mix for houseplants. Most succulents need loose soil to grow well. Many houseplants are capable of thriving in just water. In such cases, change water frequently to avoid odours or mosquito breeding. If you want to make use of fancy plant holders, then make sure there is a proper drainage system to get rid of excess water from the container. It would be best to invest in self-watering containers. There are many DIY tutorials available to make self-watering containers from waste that you can get a look at.
Reward your plants from time to time with fertilizers.
Most indoor flowering plants may need manure, fertilizers and added nutrition for better yield. Even the non-flowering plants look prettier and produce more attractive leaves when you feed them with fertilizers, enzymes, and other nutrients. This is especially important because houseplants are severely restricted from getting nutrients, unlike outdoor plants. Rains, bio-waste, and better-rooting systems allow outdoor plants to source their nutritional needs. But houseplants are disadvantaged in this case, which is why it is important to feed your plant pets healthily now and then.
The don’ts of indoor plants
Don’t over-water or under-water your houseplant.
If you cannot keep up with watering plants regularly, go for drought-resistant plants like cacti and succulents that can withstand low-water conditions.
Don’t leave a plant at the same place for a long time.
House plants need to be moved around the house time and again for better light and air. If not, you may need to move your plant at least for cleaning the spot better.
Don’t overwhelm yourself by buying a lot of houseplants at the same time.
Start small and spread out slowly only after you make sure you are ready for the commitment.
Don’t go for plants that may need extensive care initially.
Indoor flowering plants need more care than their outdoor counterparts. So learn the ropes before taking big steps.
Taking care of indoor plants is an art and a healthy mental exercise that needs dedication, patience and care, but one with beautiful returns. Indoor plants are a welcome distraction in these difficult times, and there is nothing quite like waking up to your colourful little paradise in the comfort of your home.
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