Most houseplants require bright filtered light. Light levels decrease rapidly as plants are placed further back from the window. It is important to avoid sun through glass as this can scorch the leaves of tropical plants.
As light levels fall in the winter some plants may benefit from being moved to a lighter position such as nearer a window as long as the minimum required temperatures can be maintained.
Most houseplants thrive in warm rooms and even temperatures all year round.
During winter, move plants to rooms which are not overheated during the day, but maintain the required minimum temperatures. Avoid placing plants near open fires, radiators, in draughts, or on windowsills on frosty nights.
Tropical plants require a humid atmosphere. Mist plants daily, or, better, place on a tray of damp gravel, expanded clay granules (Hydroleca) or recycled lightweight aggregate (Hortag). Plants grouped together will create a humid micro-climate around their leaves.
- Avoid overwatering as this can lead to root death and collapse of the plant
- Let the surface of the compost dry a little before applying more water at room temperature. Allow the plant to take up water as it is needed or allow excess to drain away. Do not let the plant sit in water
- Use rain water for acid lowing plants such as gardenia
- In winter, gradually reduce watering until the compost is almost dry between watering and stop feeding, except where plants are growing vigorously or flowering
- Liquid feeds are generally the best. Choose one high in potassium for flowering plants
- For foliage plants a more balanced feed is suitable. Controlled release fertilisers will last the growing season
- Specialist feeds are available for certain groups of plants such as orchids
- Most plants should only be fed when actively growing in March to September
- Reduce feeding in winter and do not feed plants that are resting
After a year or two plants may need repotting to maintain healthy growth. Choose a clean pot, one or two sizes larger than the original pot. Make sure that existing compost is moist before repotting into a similar medium. Never repot unless the plant actually needs it. The best time is spring.
A multipurpose compost, houseplant compost or loam-based compost will be suitable for most indoor plants.