First Steps in Indoor Flower Gardening: Basic Tips for Taking Care of Plants (Part 2)

A person who is just discovering the world of houseplants, the variety of species can both amaze and frighten at the same time: each of them has different needs. What is recommended in the care of the chlorophytum will have a detrimental effect on the opuntia. After reading the first part of the article, you have probably already decided which plants will suit you in the first place. Now it is important not to make typical mistakes in the care of flowers and learn to understand their condition. There are no universal rules, but there are a few tips that will simplify this task at first.

How to water indoor plants

We all know from childhood that flowers need to be watered regularly. And many beginners sincerely believe that the result directly depends on the amount of water. What is their disappointment when, instead of a lush crown, the work turns out to be a rotten root system.

Even tropical species need an occasional “rest” from water procedures, so that the voids in the ground coma fill with air again and allow the roots to breathe a little. And it’s not a question of completely drying out the substrate – just a sense of proportion: Learn to see the difference between wet and damp earth. In both cases it can get water from it, but only in the second case can the roots breathe.

There are some plants, on the other hand, that crave drier content. Slow metabolism affects not only the growth rate, but also the productivity of the roots, and therefore it is not so easy for them to cope with excessive water in the soil. Therefore, both the substrate should be lighter and watering should be more careful and dosed.

Find out what climatic conditions your flowers grow in nature and, if possible, try to replicate them at home. Flora of tropical forests prefer humid content without a pronounced dormancy period, those growing in temperate climates – the “golden mean” with seasonal changes in the intensity of watering, and desert inhabitants – an ideal option for those who even with notes on the fridge door forget to water flowers in time.

Don’t forget about the phases of plant life. During flowering and fruiting, they need more water than usual. In winter, many species hibernate and stunt their development. For advice on how to take good care of your plants at this time of year, see our article “6 Tips for Overwintering Indoor Flowers”.

Light for indoor plants

Although the first part of this article dealt with this issue, it makes sense to dwell on it again. Do not indulge in the hope that the flower will eventually adapt to low light levels or become more tolerant of direct sunlight. The plant is certainly capable of adapting to a life it cannot change, but the range of these possibilities is very limited, and nature will still take its course.

If there is a lack of light, the plant becomes pale, more unshapely, refuses to flower, and the internodes become longer. An excess of light causes burns and also an unhealthy appearance. A separate group of varieties and species are variegated – cordilina, croton, ficus bendjamina, violets and others: with a lack of light the intensity of “interesting” coloration weakens or is lost altogether.

Fertilizing

Substrate is the only source of nutrition and over time it is depleted. For a while the plant will continue to grow as before, from its internal reserves, but soon you will notice that something is wrong: the color has faded, growth has slowed, and the leaves are falling off.

There are two ways to remedy the situation: transplant the plant, replacing the old soil with new soil, or start fertilizing. The first option is fine for young specimens in the first or second year of life, when the growth rate is particularly high and you have to change to a larger pot more often. For adult plants, transplanting can be stressful, so if they do not need to expand their living space, it is better to provide as much help as possible without interfering with the root system.

Be careful with the dosage and strictly follow the fertilizer manufacturer’s instructions: it is better to underfeed than to burn the roots with a concentrated solution. It is for this reason that it is not recommended to apply fertilizer the first few months after transplanting in fresh soil, which is already full of essential micronutrients.