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Essential guide to keeping indoor plants alive

Indoor plants are a great way to introduce a touch of nature into your home and create an attractive and soothing atmosphere. As well as looking lovely, indoor plants can have a number of benefits according to the Royal Horticultural Society, including improved air quality, lower stress levels, and even reduced blood pressure and fatigue.

While there are plenty of reasons to bring the great outdoors inside, becoming a new plant parent may feel daunting, especially if you’re not green-fingered. Luckily, taking care of them doesn’t have to be hard. Here are our top tips for keeping your indoor plants alive and thriving.

1. Choose easy-to-grow indoor plants

Selecting indoor plants that are easy to take care of will help you build your confidence before you progress to more challenging types. We’d recommend that beginners choose from the following indoor plants:

Aloe

Aloe is a sturdy houseplant that doesn’t need to be watered too often—once a fortnight is sufficient. As this is a desert plant, too much moisture will cause the roots to rot so you should only water it when the soil has completely dried out. Aloes grow well in snug conditions so it will be a while until repotting is required—you’ll know it’s time when the roots start to emerge from the pot’s drainage hole. Make sure your aloe is kept in a location that’s warm, with plenty of sunlight.

Cactus

As another plant that comes from the desert, cacti can also survive being watered just once a week. Heat and light are still required, but avoid putting a cactus in direct sunlight as it could get ‘sunburnt’ and turn yellow.

Herbs

Growing delicious herbs, such as parsley, basil, and thyme, is incredibly easy to do indoors. You simply need to pop them on a sunny windowsill and water every other day. We sell plenty of grow-your-own herb packets in our range of beginner growing kits, which are also suitable for children.

Lavender

Lavender is a straightforward indoor plant that is easy to care for. While it still needs sunlight and good ventilation, it can tolerate drought and heat and also tends to be ignored by pests. Its eye-catching, purple buds evoke a gorgeous, long-lasting fragrance, perfect for your home.

Peace lily

Often referred to as ‘the perfect houseplant’, peace lilies are spectacular looking and come in a variety of sizes and colours. They grow well in low light and moderate temperatures with moist, well-drained soil.

Spider plant

With their striking, jungle-like leaves, spider plants can make a statement in hanging baskets or in pots dotted around the room. They’re hardy, and cope well with harsh conditions, so all you need to do is provide light and ensure the soil is drained. Unlike other houseplants that can be toxic to animals, such as lilies and rhododendrons, spider plants are perfectly safe for pets.

2. Pot your indoor plants

From herb pots to hanging wall planters, we sell a wide selection of pots and planters that will look divine in your home.

Before buying your pot, check that there is a hole in the bottom that allows water to drain out of the soil. This is crucial in preventing root rot and ensuring your plant doesn’t ‘drown’ after absorbing too much liquid, which could lead to wilting and ruin the appearance. You also need to consider the size of the pot as your plant must have enough room to grow. If the roots are unable to stretch out adequately, they won’t be able to support the foliage, which will cause withering.

When potting your plant, make sure you invest in a good-quality potting soil to give it the best chance of growing to its full potential—your garden soil just won’t cut it. A mix made especially for indoor plants contains the nutrients and fertilisers needed for optimum green health, which is lacking in general garden soil. Alternatively, you could use potting mix. This isn’t as long-lasting because it features organic elements that break down over time and render the whole mix unusable, so you’ll have to continuously replace it. However, the fluffy texture means it is considered the best environment for roots to grow in. The blend is also particularly good at retaining water while allowing drainage and air-flow. You’ll often be able to find potting soils and mixes that have been designed to meet the needs of your specific houseplants.

3. Maintain optimum growing conditions

Provide enough water

Every plant is different, which means some need to be watered more than others. You need to find the right balance between keeping your indoor plants hydrated but not waterlogged. It should be easy to tell whether you’re over or underwatering based on physical signs. Dry, brown leaves are a sign of thirst while droopy plants show that too much water has been absorbed. Checking the soil is a good way to work out what your plant needs. If it’s dry and crumbly, then you should probably water it, but damp soil means it’s not time just yet.

Check there’s adequate light

Not all plants will need bright, direct sunlight in order to grow—in fact, sometimes that can be more damaging. However, as light is a core part of the photosynthesis process that enables plants to generate their own food, you need to ensure that you’re not completely shrouding it in darkness. This is why windowsills make good houseplant homes, as it guarantees they’ll catch some sunlight.

Tackle pests

Pests like aphids and whiteflies may be detrimental to your indoor plants as they can infest and kill them in no time at all. This is most likely to happen during the winter months when houseplants lay dormant and become weaker. You can prevent annoying pests from striking by using a toxic-free insect repellant, deterring them from damaging your plants.

4. Properly dispose of plant waste

These tips will help your houseplants live for as long as possible, but once they finally run their course, it’s important you dispose of them in a sustainable way. Composting is one option, which transforms your green waste into a natural fertiliser you can use to nourish your other plants. If you aren’t already composting, shop our product range to get started. Alternatively, you could arrange for your indoor plant matter to be taken away in a home collection green waste service, if offered by your council.