Houseplants provide beauty, serenity, even oxygen as they go about their daily growth and flowering.
Can you keep house plants healthy and vigorous even if you can barely spare a minute to care for them?
Yes - if you choose the right plants for your home's available lighting and your schedule.
Here are 8 tips that can help you choose plants and keep them healthy in your home.
If your house is dark and shady, for example, stay away from all cacti and other sun loving inside plants - in low light they'll grow misshapen.
Stay away from potted plants - including ferns - that require frequent watering if you're often out of town. They'll die of thirst.
The tag in a potted indoor plant can help guide you as to how much light and water the plant needs.
If that scraggly cutting from Aunt Agatha's rose geranium refuses to prosper, add it to the compost; she'll forgive you. If the potted azalea that sat on your desk at your hated old job makes you miserable when you look at it, toss it.
Fewer larger inside plants will make a bolder statement than lots of small plants, and you won't need to spend as much time caring for them.
Gather those moisture-loving plants in your humid bathroom. Group your inside plants that prefer life on the dry side on the same sunny sill. That way you won't harm some as you try to keep others alive.
Most inside plants actually need to dry out a bit between waterings because their roots draw air from pockets in the soil. If the soil is constantly waterlogged, the plant will suffocate and rot.
To keep house plants healthy, wait to water until the top of the soil dries to the liking of each type of plant. Then water thoroughly and dump out any excess that drains into the saucer.
Instead of dusting leaves by hand, place plants in the sink and gently spray them with water. Or, briefly set them in the tub under a cool (not cold) shower until the leaves are fresh and clean.
Occasionally pinch off the last few leaves' worth of new stems. This will help your plants produce bushier, more luxuriant growth.