Basic Plant CareBasic Handling and Care
There are many types and varieties of plants that will thrive in your home with very little attention, however most of these plants are not suitable to be placed outdoors and will not survive winter climates in many parts of the world. We can usually divide indoor plants into two groups, Flowering/Seasonal and Tropical.
All reputable flower shops, greenhouses and flower markets will sell only healthy plants that are grown in controlled environments keeping them insect and blight free. They are also sold in the right size pot and re-potting should not be necessary for several months or even years depending on the plant type. (DO NOT re-pot your plant the moment you bring it home).
Many flowering plants that are purchased for special occasions or as holiday decorations are seasonal bloomers and grown specifically for that occasion. Often these plants are sold and delivered with a decorative container or pot cover (basket, foil wrap, ceramic or plastic). Decorative containers and wraps are great for avoiding water stains on furniture and usually add to the decor for the season as well as the attractiveness of the plant but can create an over-watering problem if you're not careful.
Flowering plants in general should be kept moist - NOT WET and most require a fairly bright exposure (east or west window or other bright location) but not in direct sunlight.
Reputable florist sold/delivered plants always include care instructions for specific plants that will tell you how much light and water your plant requires. A good rule of thumb if you're not sure is don't over-water, if the soil feels moist to the touch don't water until it feels dry, then give it a good watering making sure to dump any water left standing in the pot cover/saucer after one hour.
Several potted plants like Poinsettias, Easter Lilies, Oriental and Asiatic Lilies, Cyclamen, Gloxinias, Indoor Chrysanthemums, Spring Bulbs are grown like cut flowers, for you to enjoy during the season and then dispose of but some can be kept over or planted in the garden to bloom again with much love and care. If you intend to try this check with your local florist/greenhouse where you purchased the plant from and they'll gladly give you instructions based on your local climate and the type of plant you would like to keep over.
Tropical Plants (Green)
Many tropical plants are grown primarily for their foliage rather than their flowers and are often referred to as "green plants" several of these plants have unique shaped and often variegated leaves. These plants in general like a bright location but not direct sunlight, they also like lots of humidity so misting them on a regular basis (2 or 3 times a week) with a spray bottle is a great idea and will also help in deterring insects. Most green plants like humus soil which will stay moist for several days after watering, so it's best to give them a good watering and then check them every 3 or 4 days by putting your finger in the soil (about 1") and if it's dry water again but if it feels moist leave it for another day or 2. Always remember that plants do not like to have wet feet!! so empty any water that's left standing in the pot cover or saucer an hour after you water your plants.
Tropical Plants (Flowering)
Over the past several years many flowering tropical plants have become very popular as specimen house plants and do quit well when given the proper care. Some of these plants like Bromeliads only flower once but last for several months and will even propagate themselves by sending out new young plant shoots which can be re-potted and will flower in due time. Other plants like Orchids in several varieties, Antherium, Mini Calla's, Gardenia plants and others will flower over and over again with special care. These plants all require different amounts of care and lighting conditions so you should contact your delivering florist / greenhouse for detailed instructions (if they weren't included when you purchased / received your exotic plant).
General do's and don't's
- Never re-pot your plant too soon, and when transplanting only go up one pot size using sterilized potting soil.
- Misting plants with tepid water will help keep your plants healthy by adding humidity and deterring insects. (Don't mist furry leafed plants like African Violets)
- Keep your plants away from heat / air conditioning vents and radiators and drafty areas
- Fertilize your plants monthly during the growing season (summer) using a brand name fertilizer formulated for indoor plants making sure to follow the instructions on the container.
- If you notice any signs of insects, isolate your plant from others in your home and mist it with a mild solution of soapy water, making sure to spray the underside of the leaves as well as the tops. (use 1 tbsp. of liquid dishwashing detergent and 1/2 tsp. of vegetable oil to a quart of tepid water)
Enjoy your Plants
These instructions are some very basic guidelines and suggestions to help you enjoy your plants and keep them healthy. For more detailed and personal instructions on care for your particular plant contact please your local florist.