Keeping House Plants
For those of us that live in apartments, or condos, but like to have the lush green of plants around us, house plants can be a great additive to any environment. Studies have shown improvement in air quality in homes with plants, as well as healthier individuals.
General Care of House Plants
Where do I Begin? Even windows can filter out UV light so that plants still do not get all that they require to grow. That is why some plants have been established as house plants. They require a low level of light, and not as much UV as their outdoor counterparts. So, keep this in mind while choosing your plant. If it is a plant that requires a lot of light, then you can purchase full spectrum bulbs at your local home and garden store. You can even find full spectrum bulbs at pet shops (usually designed for reef tanks, but are excellent for house plants), or online. Don't be fooled by incandescent bulbs, they may say they are full spectrum, and while they have a wide range, they are incapable of providing proper UV lighting.
Now that you know your space, and lighting requirements, how much time are you going to be able to spend with your plant? Usually a question for someone considering a pet, and you probably are buying a plant because you don't have the time for a pet, but the truth is, some plants require more time than others. So, really think about how much time you will be spending with your plant. A good general rule is dedicating 10-20 minutes once a week to water, and prune your plant. If you plan on having more plants, then figure 10-20 minutes for each plant once a week. Some plants require more maintenance. First consider where your plant comes from. Most house plants are naturally from tropical regions. Some grow in rainforests, while some are in a less humid environment (such as a desert, or a less tropical region). If you consider the environment of a rainforest, for example, the high trees of the rainforest catch all of the rain, and the plants located on the floor bed of a rainforest never see a drop of rain. Rather they have adapted to having a damp (not moist) soil, and will rely on the moisture in the air to supply them with the adequate water they need. When you take that plant out of it's environment, and place it in a dry house, they need that extra moisture that they would normally pull out of the air. If you spray your plant 2-3 times a week with a fine mist sprayer, this should help duplicate the plants natural environment as closely as possible. Most plants come with care instructions. A little tab inserted in the plant's soil should have all the information needed to help you understand it's requirements.
Now that you have decided on your plant, have fun with it. Studies have shown that a home with greenery can have an effect on reduction of stress, as well as an effect on the home's air quality.
How Do I Care for My House Plant? Cacti need watering more frequently during the fall, and winter months, while tropical plants need watering all year round. When purchasing a plant, there should be a tab in the soil that explains that plants particular needs. It is always a good idea to keep the tab in the soil, even if replanting.
How and When do I Fertilize my House Plant? It is recommended to fertilize your plant with Perfect Blend's All Purpose Biotic Plant Food 4-4-2 once every 2-3 months, refraining from fertilization during the winter months. Due to the shorter days, and longer nights, your plant will begin to go into a dormant state. This slows the growth of the plant, requiring less.
When fertilizing with Perfect Blend's All Purpose Biotic Plant Food 4-4-2, poke a hole with a pencil (or similar small device) along the edges of the pot. Pour in Perfect Blend's 4-4-2 fertilizer into the hole you have just created until roughly 1/4 inch from the surface. Generally 1 Tbs for every 6 feet or 1/2 tsp for a 6 inch pot. Cover the hole, and water well. Be sure to water a few more times once a day for 2-3 days. This will encourage the mycorrhizae to begin forming, and start the slow release of the essential nutrients your plant requires.