Caring for your houseplants will vary by geographic location, humidity, the amount of light that they receive during the day, as well as several other factors.

For example a tropical Dracaena marginata candelabra (Dragon Tree)plant such as a Dracaena marginata (Dragon Tree) that receives identical lighting conditions in humid Florida will not need to be watered as much as the same plant living in arid Colorado.

With this in mind there is no standard watering schedule that can be applied on a national level.

Water Quality…

Some plants can be finicky on water quality. Calathea and Alocasia are a couple that come to mind. They hate tap water! It will take a couple of months for damage in the form of leaf spotting to appear because of the chemicals added to our drinking water. It is best to fill your watering containers with tap water and let the water evaporate off chlorine for several days before watering.

If you have aquariums save the water from water changes for your plants. Houseplants love nutrient rich aquarium water.

Other than Cactus and Succulents most potted house plants will do best if the soils surface is allowed to dry to the touch. If the plant is new to your home or office check the soil two or three times a week until you become familiar with the plants schedule.

Another sign that the new plant needs water is a loss of color in the foliage or a droopy appearance.

When it is time to hydrate the plant apply water all the way around the container until a little water comes out of the drain holes in the bottom of the pot. With a few exceptions most plants do not like to sit in a saucer of water. Plants left in a saucer of water will eventually develop root-rot and may begin to smell like a “swamp”.

When I water my plants I’ll leave any water that has drained into the saucer for a couple of hours and allow the potting soil and roots adsorb the water in the saucer. If there is any water left after two hours I’ll empty the saucer.

Feeding your House Plants…

Most houseplants do not require as frequent of feedings as the fertilizer package says. They want to sell fertilizer, and we are not production growers who need to keep the plant “pumped up” so that it grows fast and gets to market quicker! Again there are exceptions to this rule. Some flowering plants like Hibiscus spend a lot of energy producing flowers and need a constant supply of feed.

Most of the time your new house plant will not need any feed for a few months, remember the plant has been “pumped up” by the grower.

When it is time to feed we like Peter’s or Miracle Grow plant food. I use Peter’s on my plants at home. I only feed my plants a couple times a year using the higher dose listed on the package and they seem to do just fine. Really I should feed my plants at least quarterly, but they also get nutrient rich aquarium water when I water.

Fertilizer can burn the sensitive nutrient gathering root hairs of house plants, so never feed a dry or wilting plant!

 
 
 
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