How to Keep a Living Houseplant

Maintaining a living houseplant means providing it with what it needs on a long-term basis. Maintaining a living houseplant means not forgetting its existence for months. Keeping a living houseplant is a sign that you have crossed the threshold into a capable adult life.

So how do you keep a living houseplant?

Sunlight, water and soil make plants happy

To keep your plant alive, you need to give it enough sunlight and water, as well as the right soil and nutrients. How much of each will depend on a particular plant, and too much or too little will lead to another death. The key to doing this is learning what your particular plant needs and figuring out how to provide it correctly and how to recognize the warning signs that something is wrong if you are doing it wrong. While it sounds simple, it takes a little practice to get it right (sorry, leavening).

How to tell if a plant is getting too much or too little sunlight

Plants need light for photosynthesis , through which they can generate energy. Each type of plant requires a different amount of light.

Too much light – and plants scorch, discolor and wither. Too little light, and they become pale and wilted, their leaves become long and thin to reach for the light source – or, conversely, they completely fall off.

Different plants require low, medium, or high light conditions, so it’s important to figure out what a particular plant needs and what space in your home can provide for it. Low-light plants should be placed out of direct sunlight, medium-light plants in a well-lit area of ​​your home, and high-light plants in the sunniest places in your home.

If you’re not sure what the sunlight requirements for your plant are, one useful metric is to look for a foot candle , which is a measure of the intensity or brightness of the light. A low-light plant requires 50 to 250 foot-candles, a medium-light plant requires 250 to 1,000 foot-candles, and a high-light plant requires over 1000 foot-candles.

How to tell if a plant is over-watered or not over-watered

Too much water is just as bad as not having enough water. If the plant is over-watered, the tips of its leaves turn brown, the base of the stem becomes soft and soft, and it develops yellow leaves that fall off. If the plant is not watered, the leaves begin to curl, turn brown and crunchy.

This is why it is so important to water the plant at the right intervals and in the right amount. Each plant has its own requirements, but a good indicator of whether a plant needs more water is to feel the soil. If the soil is wet or damp, you do not need to water it. If the soil is dry, depending on the plant, more water may be required.

When it comes to getting your plants to get the right amount of water, drainage is critical. For example, if the soil in the pot is constantly wet, this is a sign that the water is not draining, and this can lead to the roots slipping.

Two ways to ensure proper drainage is either by filling the bottom half of the pot with a pack of peanuts, or by lining the pot with coffee filters to aid in proper drainage. It is also important to drain off any water that accumulates in the drain pan , as leaving it there is also harmful to the roots.

The soil

Most indoor plants should be planted in regular potting soil . Exceptions are orchids, which require more drainage and for which special orchid mixes are available, as well as cacti and succulents that require more drainage, which can be helped by adding sand.


You will need to fertilize your plants periodically to ensure they are getting the nutrients they need. Usually, a conventional houseplant fertilizer is sufficient if it contains a mixture of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. These fertilizers can be purchased in liquid form, in sticks and tablets, and in granular or slower form. A good rule of thumb is to fertilize when the plant is actively growing – usually in the spring – and remember that, like water, too much fertilizer is just as bad as too little.

Easy Plants for Beginners

Some beginner-friendly indoor plants include aloe vera, Chinese evergreen, Christmas cactus, blunt cane, jade plant, lucky bamboo, snake plant, and peaceful lily. While these names may sound unfamiliar to new growers, you’ve probably seen them in the homes and apartments of people you know. These plant species can probably thrive in your home as well – if you do a little research to figure out what they need and how to give it to them. Once you do this, you can keep your plant friend alive. And just think how nice it will be.


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