If you are like me, you often fall in love with a new plant before you consider if it will thrive in your home. Let's take some time to review four important factors that will help you make the best choices for plant parent success!
The correct strength of sunlight is the most important factor
when choosing the best plants for your home.
The three basic light levels are as follows:
In reality, most rooms are low light. Rooms with north-facing windows will check the low lightbox.
Almost all rooms in winter will get only low light.
Most row homes have mainly low-light rooms.
If you always turn the light on in a room, even in the middle of the day….you can bet
it is a low-light room. Don’t despair though, there are oodles of plants that thrive in low light.
If you have an east-facing window, these rooms will provide your plants indirect light. Also, rooms that
get light from a south or west-facing window have sections that get indirect light. This means
part of these rooms will have full sun and part will have indirect light.
These are the sunny plant-filled rooms we see all over Instagram :) Most of us will only have one of these rooms in our home if we are lucky. Bright light rooms have southern or western-facing windows and get direct light all day. We have windows that face this direction but they are obstructed by the houses across the street. This means we get bright light for only about 4 hours a day, and then it turns to indirect light. Make sure you consider not only the window placement but also the amount of unobstructed daylight
you get before buying a plant that needs all-day bright light.
I often rotate our plants as if we live in a gallery...choosing picture-perfect placement for ideal photographs and ultimate viewing pleasure. Thankfully, Daniel will quickly rearrange my curations, to ensure our plants don't die. While plants are often used for decoration, it is easy to forget that they have specific needs that are just non-negotiable.
To thrive all year long, most plants need a full 6-8 hours of their preferred type of daylight every day. After a re-arrange, check to see if the new placement meets the needs of the plant. Just because the light is perfect at noon, doesn't mean it will be ideal all day.
It can be hard to meet ideal conditions all year round. Luckily most plants go dormant in the winter and need less light than in their booming growth periods. but if you think they are barely hanging on, you may want to supplement by using a grow lamp.
Be mindful of placing plants too close to vents, both the heat and the A/C will damage your plant, and even kill it.
Avoid the urge to stick the plants right up to the window to offer more light in the winter, you may do more harm than good as a draft may damage them beyond repair.
Check for other drafts in the winter that were not issued in the warmer months. You may well have to rearrange each season…..take the challenge and have fun.
When considering the best spot for your plants, you also want to think about watering and feeding routines. If your spare room has the most bright light, your plants may still suffer if you never go in that room and forget to water them.
The best place for your plants is most likely to be the room closest to the sink, or the room you spend the most time in.
Try keeping a small watering can on the sink, as a daily reminder to tend to your plants.
Have Them in the Right Pot
Choosing the best type of pot for your plants can be as important as placement.
Terracotta clay allows water to evaporate through the walls helping the soil dry between watering. If you are an attentive plant parent who loves to water, porous clay pots with the proper drainage will ensure your green babies will not drown. The bonus with terracotta is that the color of the plant pot changes from light to dark letting you know if the pot is wet or dry. Terracotta plant pots can even add humidity to the air, which lots of houseplants love.
The optimum re-potting time is spring, right before your plants get that summer burst of growth energy. After a full two weeks of the warm spring sun, look underneath the pot—if green or white roots are peeking out of the drainage hole your plant needs a bigger home. If your plant pot doesn’t have a drainage hole, it is a miracle your plant has survived this long and it’s time to re-pot in a container with a hole.
If you are gearing up for a spring plant buying spree, take a minute to roam your house and make a list of the type of light each room gets and how many plants you can add to each room.
When you go shopping, check your list against the care advice for each plant you are considering. Resist the urge to buy a plant that you know doesn't fit the room. Also, be honest about your watering history—are you a drown-er or a drought-er? Buy plants that need the type of care you are best at giving!
Follow these tips and you will be all set up for successful indoor plant care.