Field Notes: Indoor Plant Care Tips

Growing plants indoors requires a different approach than your average lawn or back-yard garden.

There are unique challenges that come with houseplant care – but they can be easily overcome for a prepared indoor gardener.

The following is a list of a few of the most useful things I’ve learned about keeping plants inside – hopefully it is helpful!

  1. It’s okay to keep dirt inside.
    You’re going to need dirt to re-pot your plants if you take care of them correctly. Eventually they’ll outgrow their original pots, which is fine – but they’ll need new ones in order to stay healthy and continue growing. Luckily, living at the bottom of your closet or in a large container stowed under your couch or bed won’t hurt the dirt in between seasons.
  2. Make the most of your outside space.
    Sidewalks, cul-de-sacs, and fire escapes make fantastic spots to pot your plants in warmer weather. Stepping out to your front step will save you from having to sweep and mop your floor inside. However, in colder weather or where outside space isn’t available, you can use a tarp to keep your floors clean.
  3. Hold on to your old pots and trays.
    Whenever I move a plant into a larger pot, I save the one I was growing it in. I usually wind up using it later on for an even smaller plant to take root in, or to propagate a baby plant. Pots, especially ceramic ones, can wind up being rather costly, and so I stack them inside each-other and stash them in a safe place in my apartment – I always end up re-using them, as my collection grows.
  4. Start with plants that are easy to care for.
    Not all plants are created equal – some plants are much lower maintenance than others. If you’re starting an indoor garden, I recommend picking up a few succulents or even cacti. Then, read about these plants – what kind of soil they need, what conditions they thrive in. Once you are done you can begin to move on to other species of house plants – one by one – always researching them beforehand, and monitoring their condition for the first few weeks you have them. I’m busy, so generally I stick to species that do well with a weekly watering at the most.
  5. Stash appropriate equipment as you go.
    Indoor plants come with their sets of special needs – be willing to improvise with lamps in dark rooms as your plants tell you what you need. You are responsible for replicating their natural optimal environment, as best you can, to help them thrive. Fertilizers are often important, as there isn’t much of a natural nutrient cycle for your soil to rely on. I also, personally, keep a fungicide on hand in case of emergency.Growing plants inside requires a different set of tools and information that a traditional garden, but the atmosphere they add to your home is well worth it.

    Hopefully this list has given you an idea of what you’ll need to maintain your own indoor plants!

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