Light, humidity, and temperature are all essential for growing houseplants successfully. This section will teach you about the right plants for the light in your home, as well as recommended temperatures and humidity levels.
Light affects plants in many ways. Light duration, quality and intensity all play a roll. Low light plants will be able to sustain themselves without supplemental lighting, and can usually be grown at higher light intensities. However, plants that require higher light levels may require supplemental light to prevent them from dropping leaves and becoming spindly. Be sure you know what type of light requirement is needed before you purchase a plant. Otherwise, you may be setting yourself up for disappointment.
Different kinds of light
Low- Low light is a poorly-lit room with windows facing north or east, and the plant is not in the window area.
Medium- Medium light is 1) a well lit room, but not in a south or west-facing window or 2) direct light from a north or east-facing window.
Bright- Bright light is anywhere in a room that receives lots of natural light from a west or south-facing window.
Very Bright- Very bright light is directly in the light from a west or south-facing window.
Here are just a few suggestions for plants that do well in different light conditions-
- Cast Iron Plant
- Chinese Evergreen
- Bamboo Palm
- African Violets
- Boston Fern
- Ficus Alii
- Dracaena Marginata
- Snake Plant
Temperature and Humidity
Despite the fact most of these plants are tropical; nearly all can survive quite happily in temperatures ranging between 18-23 degrees Celsius. They usually prefer more humidity than we generally have in our homes during the winter. If possible, set up a humidifier near them or mist them regularly with filtered or distilled water. This will eliminate unsightly water spots that occur from minerals and salts that are left behind when tap water evaporates. Another way to increase humidity is to place your plants in groups on saucers or trays filled with pebbles and water. As the water in the trays evaporates, it provides higher humidity in the area surrounding the plants. Keeping your thermostat at a lower temperature not only helps your heating bill but extends the bloom time on flowering plants.
The thing that creates more problems than anything else for houseplants is over-watering or inconsistent watering. Keeping the soil constantly moist will result in root rot, especially in low light conditions, for most plants. The water used should be at room temperature. The idea is to thoroughly water the plant- continue to water until it comes out the drainage hole at the bottom. After 20-30 minutes dump out any excess water that has accumulated in the saucer. It you notice a white crust developing on the pot edges or top of soil, this is from minerals and salts in the water. Some plants do not respond well to this. If this seems to be an issue, water with distilled or filtered water and re-pot using new soil. Once you develop a routine of watering, try to be consistent. The plants will adapt, and remember, it is better to water less than more. These are just guidelines- when purchasing a plant be sure to ask if it has any special watering needs.
Make sure your houseplants have enough nutrition to grow and look their best by using an all-purpose houseplant fertilizer available at our garden store. Follow the package directions from April to October. For the rest of the year fertilize half as often.
These tips should keep your houseplants looking their best year-round. Even healthy plants can get pests from time to time. If this happens, refer to the section on Insect Control for what to do.