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You can have a lot of fun growing indoor plants such as this Aloe Vera plant.
You can have a lot of fun growing indoor plants such as this Aloe Vera plant.
House plants do more than just make a space look and feel better. Studies indicate that they’re natural air cleansers, removing many particles that otherwise irritate people with allergies and asthma.

The question becomes, however, how to bring the right plants into the living space to achieve the best balance of beauty, functionality and personal pleasure?

One of the biggest keys to success is using the right and style and sized pot. You need a drainage whole, but you also need a water tray so that surfaces don’t get damaged by excess liquid. Read over the instructional material that comes with any plant you’ve purchased and follow the transplanting guidelines to make sure your pant doesn’t become root bound.

Additionally, use a nice potting mix for soil since you won’t be getting natural nutrients from outside.

Now consider where to put the plant to keep it healthy. Check the light requirements for the plant. Many indoor plants don’t need direct sunlight, or only partially direct sunlight. Note that you can achieve this in part by moving a plant for several hours during the week to another location where better lighting exists if you’re really invested in a spot where the right amount of light is lacking.

The reason most houseplants die is because they receive too much water. To know for certain if your plant needs water, check the soil with your finger. If the soil’s dry down over about 1.5 inches, then it needs water unless it’s something like a cactus. Another reason they die is from intrusion by pets.

This latter situation could be as dangerous for the animal too. Certain plants can make dogs and cats very ill. For example, cactus, English Ivy, laurel, marigolds, and poinsettia are all very hard on cats.

Meanwhile, Hydrangea, Mistletoe, Sago Palm, etc. are very harmful to dogs. Now, obviously one solution here is to keep plants out of range of the animals (like in hanging fixtures), but if that’s not an option please do your research. Your indoor garden needs to be healthy for all the members of your family, including four-footed ones.

Despite the numerous variations of houseplants available, most can be cared for in the same way. By following the tips below you will be able to succeed in keeping a plant alive!

Tip 1 – Start Off Simple And Work Your Way Up!

If this is the first houseplant you will be growing it’s a good idea to choose a simple plant such as the Aloe Vera plant as they do not need as much caring for. If you are often away from home for periods of time then the pony tail palm plant, or a plant with similar characteristics, is ideal for you. Finally, if this is your first time for owning a houseplant then it is best to buy a cheaper plant (so if it dies you’re not too much out of pocket.)

Tip 2 – Treat Your Plant As If It Were A Human: We All Need Room To Grow!

Just like humans, plants need room to grow. Their roots need enough space to expand to great lengths as these are the key features of a plant because they collect the nutrients it needs to develop. Ensure that the container or pot you are using is large enough for the roots to grow as much as they need to. By doing so it gives the roots enough room to expand and therefore, allowing them to absorb all of the nutrients and water they need from the soil/compost.

If you are unsure about what size container you need then there are many Web sites that can help, or you can ask at your local garden centre and they will point you in the right direction.

Tip 3 – Substitute with a Fertilizer!

The ideal substitution for all of the nutrients a plant would gain from outdoor soil is fertilizer. Also known as plant food, there are several different types of fertilizer that are designed for certain plants; for example, liquid fertilizers, slow-release fertilizer and special purpose fertilizers.

It is vital that you use the appropriate fertilizer for your houseplant, if you are unsure of which fertilizer to use then various websites can help or your local garden centre can assist you in making the correct choice. However, don’t overdo the use of the fertilizer as this can poison your plant or possibly poison it.

Most houseplants need food once every month or two. Again, if you are unsure of how often to feed your plant you can use the web or garden centers to help.

Tip 4 – A Little Light Goes A Long Way!

Most common houseplants need sunlight. This is especially necessary for flowering plants. The chloroplasts (located in the leaves) absorb the sunlight and this promote healthy growth. Giving your plant sunlight is simply a case of seating it on a windowsill where it can gain the light it needs.

Plants such as the Pony Tail Palm and the Anthodium (Oilcloth Flower) need a lot of sunlight whereas, plants such as the Sweetheart plant, a foliage plant, needs very little. If unsure of what type of sunlight your plant needs then be sure to look it up.

Tip 5 – If you’re Cold, So Is Your Plant!

Unlike humans, plants cannot tell you when they are cold nor can they get up and put on a jacket, so it is vital that you keep the room at a steady temperature. If you feel too hot or too cold, then so does your plant.

Some plants need really warm temperatures, such as the Aloe Vera plant that should stay at approximately 16 degrees Celsius. The advantage of keeping your plant at the correct temperature is that it enhances faster growth.

Tip 6 – Don’t Drown It!

The main cause for a houseplants death is over watering. There is such a thing as over-watering! Although you don’t want to under-water your plant, you don’t want to over-water it as this may drown and, potentially, even kill it. More often than not, plants do not need watering everyday! The best way to discover if your plant needs watering is by pushing your finger approximately an inch into the soil. If it feels slightly dry then a little watering is needed.

To make sure you don’t drown your plants slowly pour in the water until the water begins to seep through the holes in the bottom of the container you are using.

Don’t think that leaving excess water in the base of the plant will mean it won’t need watering for a while because plants are greedy and will use all of this water up at once, therefore, drowning itself. There should not be too much water sitting at the base of the plant because it will drown the roots!

By following these guidelines you should be able to succeed in growing a healthy houseplant. If after following these guidelines you’re plant still dies then throw in the towel and buy a plastic one!!!


  1. Jack
    August 12, 2008

    A houseplant should be chosen that is suited to the conditions provided in the location where you place the plant. It is then important to allow the plant to become accustomed to its new location. Light will usually come primarily from one direction, so rotating the plant about 60 degrees each week will result in more even growth on all sides of the plant.

    Leave a reply
  2. vera blum
    November 25, 2008

    Enter Your Comment: I need to know how to start a pony tail cactus. Do you root it in water or just put it in dirt and it will make it’s own roots?
    Please reply.

    Leave a reply
  3. Dawn Thompson
    January 23, 2009

    Could you please tell me if Im suppose to plant the bulb of my indoor saga palm plant. I have looked in many sites and have not found my answer yet.
    thank You, Dawn

    Leave a reply
  4. How Did I Do It Staff
    January 23, 2009

    Hi, if you have a sago palm (Cycas revoluta), re-potting is best done in spring or summer. Cycads prefer to be root bound and should be re-potted into a container only slightly larger than the root system. Hope that helps. Do a search on Google and you can find a lot of great tips out there on caring for Cycads.

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  5. Dawn Thompson
    January 26, 2009

    I was wondering if I am suppose to plant the bulb part of my sago palm plant Thank you for your input

    Leave a reply
  6. Pam Borgos
    June 25, 2009

    I need help LOL my son bought a palm plant (not sure what kind) and it was dying on him so he gave it too me. Thing is it isn’t getting any better. I know it needs to be repotted but I am wondering if it needs a pot with a drainage perhaps? The plant is part of the palm plants around but this one has thin leaves and there is a few stems on each branch which is thin also. Any help??? Thanks

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  7. Amy( not really)
    May 31, 2011

    Can you put an article on Zinna plants because I am only 11 and i am growing them in doors. I followed the instructions but I dont know if i am doing a good job. Please reply.

    Leave a reply
  8. Martha
    April 30, 2014

    I love my Pet TickleMe Plant!

    Leave a reply
  9. Martha
    April 30, 2014

    The TickleMe Plant is easy to grow and will close its leaves when you Tickle it!
    See video…it is so much more fun and growing a lima bean

    Leave a reply

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