Plant Care

Indoor Plant Care 101

We talk to our plants to cheer them up and encourage them to grow, but did you know houseplants communicate back? You can even figure out how to save a dying plant.

Whether you already have a houseplant or two, or you are starting from scratch, below are some practical tips on indoor plant care.

First, think about your lifestyle and what chores you want your houseplants to do. Do you want them to clean the air, just sit around and look pretty or both? Think about how much light your space gets, as some houseplants love bright light while others thrive in little to low light. (check out our signature low light plants colletion)

Let’s look at a few general guidelines for how to take care of houseplants and how to save a dying plant.

1. Check the plant tag to find out how much light your plant needs. Place your plant away from heat vents and cold drafts.

2. Water with room-temperature water when the top one inch of soil is dry. Keep soil consistently moist, but not wet or soggy. Not all plants have the same watering needs, so check the plant tag for watering requirements. Don’t allow your plants to sit in standing water or overwater them. It’s the number one reason houseplants die. (If you’re going on vacation, check out our plant care tips before you leave!)

3. Feed with a fertilizer made for houseplants monthly from spring until early fall or according to package directions.

There’s a lot to know about houseplants for beginners, but there are a few tricks to learning the language of plants. And we’re here to help. Here are the tell-tale signs you’ve got a dying plant on your hands.

Make sure your plant has room to grow. If the pot it's sold in is too small, re-potting is key to good indoor plant care and can even help save a dying plant.
Make sure your plant has room to grow. If the pot it’s sold in is too small, re-potting is key to good indoor plant care and can even help save a dying plant.

Leaf and Flower Drop

No one likes stress, especially plants. A sign your plant is stressed is dropped leaves and flowers. Stressors include lack of water, overwatering, temperature change, not enough light –you name it. Yellow leaves say “Hold off the water. You’re killing me with kindness.” If the problem isn’t water or something else easy to identify, have patience. Plants take time to adapt to new situations.

Wilting

If your plants’ leaves are wilting, they’re saying “Please water me.” Some plants, like peace lilies, wilt so terribly you’d think it was dead. But don’t worry, it’s just being dramatic and will perk up after a good watering.

Stretching

We’re not talking about yoga here. In the plant world, that means long and spindly stems. The plants are literally stretching themselves toward the light. Some older leaves may fall off. Check on your plant’s light requirements – chances are it just needs more light. It could also mean your plant needs pinching – or pruning. Pinching the top inch of your plant’s stem will encourage it to grow fuller and more beautiful.

Salt Build Up

Have you noticed white stuff on the side of your pots? As you water and fertilize, salts and other minerals can build up. It may cause foliage tips to turn yellow or brown. Watering your plants in the sink and allowing the water to run through a few times helps flush them out. You can use a scrubbing pad on the outside of the pot. And most houseplants like to be repotted once per year.

Brown Leaf Tips

Leaves get brown tips because water isn’t reaching that far. Too little water or too much fertilizer is usually to blame. Make sure you’re watering consistently. Use a slow-release houseplant fertilizer to ensure your plant isn’t being overfed. Follow directions, as more is not better.

What are you waiting for? Go get your houseplant family started with these hard-to-kill plants.

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9 COMMENTS

  • Gabby

    This article was really helpful for me just starting my plant parent journey! I didn’t know i am supposed to water my plant with room temperature water.

  • Katharine

    I am not a new plant parent but it’s always good to have a reminder!

  • Gina Sorensen

    I received a clear ornament with a succulent inside. I did NOT receive care instructions. I did receive the a card telling meekest who sent the gift, but not how to take card of it.

    • Benjamin

      Hi Gina, thank you for your inquiry. We hope you’re enjoying your new plant! Our vendor may have forgotten to include our care instructions when packaging your order, we apologize for the inconvenience. Taking care of your succulent will require very little effort! Make sure it receives a minimum of 6 hours of (preferably) indirect or direct sunlight per day. Make sure to also keep it in a warmer setting, where the temperature is anywhere above 50 degrees (Fahrenheit). Water as needed but make sure the soil remains dry between watering. Please feel free to comment with any more questions!

  • Belinda Taylor

    New plant owner here… it’s a succulent… not sure if the problem is to much or to little water, light or no light… what to do… when it arrived it was green (small but looked good) now is getting a pinkish edge to some of the parts…

    • Connor B
      AUTHOR

      Hi Belinda, so happy to hear you’re a new plant owner! If you’d like to reach out to our care team we’d be happy to help just email greenteam@plants.com including a couple photos. Have a great day 🌱

  • Michelle

    I just received my mass cane and I love it! Should I change the soil it was delivered in or repot it? Can I leave it in the nursery pot in came in and just stick the nursery pot in something more decorative?

    Thanks!

    • Connor B
      AUTHOR

      Hey Michelle,

      We’re so happy to hear that! The soil your plant came in does not have to be changed for a while. It is full of nutrients and arrives well watered to keep your plant in peak condition! Do keep the black plastic inner pot if you’re swapping the outer decorative pot. This helps with drainage so as not to sit in excess water.

      If you ever have any other questions reach out to use any time at greenteam@plants.com

      Thanks!
      Connor

      • Michelle

        Great, thanks so much for the tips!

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