Decorating your home with houseplants is a great way to bring the outdoors into your home. Plants help to clean the air, bring in color, and add some character in any room. Taking care of them, however, is essential. Try these tips to keep your plants healthy and looking great.
1. Keep them watered.
The most important thing about taking care of houseplants is that they have to be watered. If you find yourself forgetting this chore, there are plenty of easy tricks to help you out. There are automatic watering systems for sale, of course, but here are two suggestions that you can put together yourself.
A small, empty bottle can be used as an automatic waterer. Fill the bottle with water, then screw the lid on very loosely so that the bottle will leak when flipped over. Bury the neck of the bottle next to the houseplant. Water will only leak from the bottle when the soil is dry, ensuring that your plant will never be over or under watered. Another option is to place a sponge in the bottom of your pot. The sponge will absorb excess water, then release it into the soil when the soil gets dry. No one will see the sponge, but you will need to remember to put one in when you repot all of your plants.
2. When you travel, consolidate your plants.
When you leave on a trip, you won't need to hire someone to water your plants if you try this tip: place all of your pots in a bathtub that receives natural light. Fill the tub with a few inches of water. The water will soak into the soil through the holes in the bottom of the pot as the soil dries out. When you get back from your trip, just put the plants back where they belong. Prevent soil leaks.
When filling a new pot with soil, start by lining the bottom with a coffee filter or paper towel. The paper will prevent dirt from falling out of the holes in the bottom of the pot, but it will allow water in. This will keep the saucers under your plants neat and tidy.
4. Don’t forget nutrients.
All plants need some kind of fertilizer in order to help them grow, but some of them bring their own odors along. Instead of using compost inside your house, you can mix your potting soil with used coffee grounds. The coffee has many of the nutrients that your houseplants need, and it will help to neutralize any unpleasant odors. Liquid fertilizers are easy to use and will keep your plants healthy, too.
5. Control your pot’s weight.
If you need to make a large pot lighter and easier to move, fill the bottom of the pot with pinecones. They will help to absorb water and provide nutrients, but they are a lot lighter than potting soil. You might also want to consider using a light material such as sponges or crumpled paper. To make a pot heavier to prevent it from tipping over, fill the bottom with a heavy material such as small rocks or pieces of brick before adding soil. These materials won’t affect the root system, and they will still allow the plant to get the water it needs.