We have dedicated a larger section to House plants, as there are distinct
techniques and differences between indoor plants and outdoor plants. When
choosing a house plant, it is important to know
what light conditions it will be
in at your house. How to water it and
What you will need
to look after it.
We have prepared the chart below to give you an idea of what
will grow well in given light conditions.
Suitable house plants
Well away from a window, but enough light to allow you to
read a newspaper.
|Aglaonema, Aspidistra, Asplenium, Fittonia, Helxine,
Philodendron scandens, Sansevieria.
Close to a window that does not get any sun or set back
from a bright window.
|Aglaonema, Aspidistra, Dracaena fragrans, Dracaena marginata,
Fatshedera, Fatsia, Ferns, Ficus pumila, Fittonia, Hedera Helix, Helxine,
Howea, Maranta, Neanthe, Philodendron scandens, Sansevieria, Scindapsus,
BRIGHT BUT SUNLESS.
In a sunless window or close to a window that gets some
|Anthurium, Asparagus, Azalea, Begonia rex, Bromeliads,
Chlorophytum, Coleus, Columnea, Cyclamen, Dieffenbachia, Dizygotheca, Fuchsia,
Garden bulbs, Hedera, Impatiens, Monstera, Peperomia, Philodendron, Pilea, Saintpaulia, Schefflera,
Scindapsus, Spathiphyllum, Vines, Zygocactus
SOME DIRECT SUNLIGHT.
In or very close to an east or west facing window.
|Beloperone, Capsicum, Chlorophytum, Chrysanthemum, Codiaeum,
Cordyline terminalis, Cuphea, Ficus elastica decora, Gynura, Hoya, Nertera, Plumbago, Poinsettia, Sansevieria, solanum,
Sparmannia, Tradescantia, Zebrina
In or very close to a south-facing window.
|Agapanthus, Bougainvillea, Bouvardia, Cacti and
Succulents, Celosia, Citrus, Heliotropium, Hibiscus,
Hippeastrum, Iresine, Jasminum, Lantana, Nerine, Oxalis, Passiflora,
Pelargonium, Rosa, Zebrina
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Watering is by far the most important thing with
houseplants. Don't drown them, but don't keep them begging for water. All roots
need air as well as water. Do not get into the routine of watering every house
plant on a schedule, such as every Saturday morning. The correct watering
interval for each plant will vary, some may need no water in the winter, others
may need watering daily in the summer. The soil should be moist but not
saturated. Some plants need a partial drying-out period between watering, others
When you water, you should fill
up the space between the top of the soil and the top of the pot and let that
water soak into the soil. You should stop watering as soon as the
water starts to come out of the bottom of the pot. Whatever species of house
plant you have, you should remove and empty the saucer following watering. Very
few house plants enjoy sitting in water. The requirements for your particular
houseplant will vary according to the species. A nursery professional can assist
you with the care of your specific plant.
Two common problems with watering houseplants are if the
water does not appear to be soaking into the soil or the water appears to be
flowing through the pot but not wetting the soil. If water appears to just
sit on top of the soil. This is usually caused by soil that has hardened. You
should break up the soil with a fork or small trowel and then immerse the pot in
a bath of water and saturate the soil. Let the plant drain and then return it to
it's growing position. This breaking up of the soil and soaking should mean that
next time you water, the water will pass through into the soil. If water just
seems to flow through the pot without touching the soil, then this is probably
caused by a gap between the soil and the side of the pot. This can also be cured
by soaking the house plant.
||Type of house plant
|Moist in summer and dry in winter
||Water these plants thoroughly and frequently between Spring
and Fall, but water sparingly in winter. Always let the top 1/2" of soil dry
out between watering.
||Most foliage house plants
|Moist at all times
||Moist, but not wet. Water carefully each time the surface of
the soil becomes dry. Do not water often enough to keep the surface wet.
||Most flowering house plants
|Wet at all times
||Water thoroughly and frequently enough to keep the compost
||Very few house plants
|Dry in winter
||Allow the soil to dry out almost completely in the winter.
||Desert cacti and Succulents
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House Plants need the correct humidity. The atmosphere in a
heated room in winter can be as dry as the desert air. Signs of too little
humidity include, leaf edges turning yellow, leaf tips turning brown and
shriveling, buds and flowers shriveling then falling.
The best humidity range for house plants is 40% to 60%
relative humidity. There are several techniques to ensure you keep the correct
humidity level for your house plants.
Group plants together. This will create a
micro-climate around the group of plants. Each plant will benefit from the it's
own damp compost and the moisture emitted from it's neighbors damp compost.
Groups of foliage are also more likely to trap moisture. A group of plants can
be placed on a tray containing gravel and water to increase humidity. Select a
2" high waterproof tray and place 1" of gravel in the base of the tray. Fill the
tray with water until the water is just below the gravel. Place your plants on
top of the gravel. This method will increase the humidity for the house plants.
Mist plants. Use a mister and spray water on the
plants. It is best to spray in the morning and to use room temperature water.
Besides raising humidity, misting can discourage spider mite and can reduce the
dust on leaves. As a general rule, many plants with fuzzy leaves (African
violets, Gloxinia, etc) do no like water on their leaves. These plants will
benefit more from one of the other methods of increasing humidity.
Double pot. Place your potted house plant in a second
larger pot and fill the gap between the pots with moist peat. Keep the peat
moist at all times and this will increase the relative humidity around the
plant. This double pot method allows you to have a specimen plant away from a
group of plants, whilst providing the plant with the humidity it needs.
Finally, keep the balance. Signs of too much humidity
are: patches of grey mould on the leaves, flowers covered with a grey mould,
patches of rot on leaves or stems. If your plant develops any of these symptoms,
you should decrease humidity and increase air movement.
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Tools for house plants?
Tools may seem like something the outdoor gardener needs, but the house plant
expert needs a good selection of tools. We have compiled the list below to get
Watering can. Purchase a good watering can with a long narrow spout
that you will be able to work under the leaves of the plant. With a lot of
house plants, it is essential for the water to get to the soil and not touch
the leaves. A good long thin spout on your watering can will enable you to get
water to the exact point that needs it.
Mister. A spray mister is essential for misting water around a
plant to increase the humidity. It can also be used to reduce dust and control
pests on house plants. Misters are relatively cheap, so it is a good idea to
have a number of them. However, be sure you label the contents of each one.
Another good tip is to cover the bottom of the inlet tube with a fine mesh, to
filter any debris that may be in the mister.
Secateurs / pruners. Investing in a good quality pair of pruners
will pay you back with a lifetime of good service. Don't be fooled by the
bargain basement prices of lower quality pruners. See the selection at the
Nursery and get advice from our professional Gardeners. Make sure the pruners
fit you. Not too heavy with a comfortable grip, they should feel like an
extension to your arm, not like a cumbersome pair of scissors that seem to
have a life of their own.
Potting soil. You will at sometime need to re-pot your house
plants. When the time comes, you should ensure you have access to a good
supply of potting soil. Visit the Nursery, to see the soils we have available.
Pots. Get a good supply of pots, both the plain terracotta ones and
some of the more decorated ones. The Nursery always has a good selection of
pots for you to choose from and will help you to determine the best size and
shape of pot for the house plant that you choose.
Drip trays. Clear plastic drip trays are available for underneath
your pots to ensure that the water does not stain furniture.
Stakes. As your house plants grow, you may need to stake them. So
invest in some garden stakes. Good garden stakes are inexpensive, but they can
make a difference to your display of house plants.
Plant ties. To tie your plants to the stakes for added support.
Liquid fertilizer. A nursery professional can help you select the
correct liquid fertilizer for your specific houseplant.
Small garden fork of old kitchen fork to break up the soil
Beyond these essentials, you may want to consider sponges for cleaning the
plants, leaf shine for glossing up the leaves, pot sealant for sealing the pots
and water holding polymers for the soil. Come to the nursery and see what we
have to give your house plants the best possible start and to keep them looking
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