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Plant Care

Understanding the basic care needs of the plant will help it survive in an unnatural environment. Factors to consider include light, water, temperature, humidity and fertilizing.

Choosing Green Plants
When choosing the right plant for your home, the most important factor is matching the plant to your available light. Here are definitions for the three common light levels and a list of plants that like to thrive in each one.

Light Requirements Example Plants

Low Light: North Exposure

Plants that require low light can survive in an area away from windows in rooms that are brightly lit. They perform best with north exposure.

 
  • Aglaonema
 
  • Cast Iron Plant
 
  • Calathea
 
  • Philodendron
 
  • Pothos
 
  • Spathiphyllum

 

 

Medium Light: East Exposure 

Plants that require medium light prefer light throughout the day. They perform best with east exposure or indirect light.

 
  • Dieffenbachia
 
  • Most Dracaenas
 
  • Most Ferns
 
  • Ivies
 
  • Scheffleras

 

 

 

High Light: West/South Exposure


Plants that require medium light need several hours of direct sunlight. They perform best with west or south exposure.

 
  • Cactus and Succulents
 
  • Citrus
 
  • Croton
 
  • Ficus Trees
 
  • Most Palms
 
  • Norfolk Island Pine

 

Once you have a handle on the lighting requirements, make sure the plant you choose has:

 
  • A full, even shape
 
  • Healthy, green foliage
 
  • Visible new growth
 
  • No signs of wilting

 

Basic Care of Indoor Plants

 

Watering

   
 
  • Do not use softened water.
 
  • Water thoroughly until water drips from the bottom of the container.
 
  • Discard any excess water sitting in the saucer or container.
 
  • Plants that require water when topsoil approaches dryness: Citrus, Ferns, Ficus Trees, Palms and Spathiphylum.
 
  • All remaining plants require water when the top 1" of the soil feels dried to touch.

Temperature requirements

 
  • Prefers average indoor temperatures.

Humidity

 
  • Most indoor plants grow naturally in humid environments.
 
  • Cactus and succulents require dry environments.
 
  • Kitchens, bathrooms and sunrooms generally offer appropriate humidity levels for indoor plants.
 
  • Grouping plants together increases the humidity in other rooms.
 
  • Placing the plants on top of gravel in moisture-filled trays helps increase humidity, but do not allow pots to sit in water.
 
  • Do not mist plants.

Fertilizer

 
  • Fertilize monthly with a balanced water soluble fertilizer.
 
  • Fertilize only once in the winter, from October-February.

Grooming

 
  • Prune any dead branches or yellowing leaves.

Repotting

 
  • Water runs immediately through the container when watering.
 
  • Roots are circling around the top of the soil.
 
  • A large mass of roots begin to circle around the drainage holes at the bottom of the container.
Tips:
 
  • Repot in a 1" or 2" larger container