House plants – A how-to guide

15 April 2015

At best4hedging we provide a lot of information about how to care for the hedging and shrubs in your garden, but we know that sometimes you might need a helping hand with your smaller, indoor plants, so we’ve put together this easy-to-follow guide to make sure your houseplants are just as healthy as your hedging.

Light

As you know, all plants need light to survive, but it’s not as easy as just placing your houseplant in front of a window, there’s a little bit more to consider.

The majority of houseplants prefer bright but filtered light, as sunlight directly through glass can scorch the plants’ foliage. However, different species of plants all have different light requirements, so you need to take into account whether your plant will flower and what type of foliage it has. Both flowering plants and plants with variegated foliage require a lot of light, whereas plants such as ferns can tolerate a darker position.

The amount of light exposure your plant receives will significantly decrease the further you move your houseplants away from a window, so try to keep them as close to a window as possible, whilst avoiding positions where they may be scorched.

In winter when light levels are much lower, it’s a good idea to move your houseplants into a brighter position to ensure they are getting enough exposure to survive.

Temperature

It’s best to keep your houseplants in a warm room which has an even temperature all year, especially in winter. Avoid keeping indoor plants close to heat sources such as radiators and open fires as this can cause the soil to dry out, damaging the plant.

Some tropical houseplants may require slightly more humid conditions than other plants, and this can be achieved through misting the plant foliage, grouping the tropical plants together or using what is known as a pebble tray; a tray of damp gravel placed under the pots.

Watering

The main thing to remember when caring for houseplants is not to overwater; this is the number one cause of houseplant death. So, to avoid this, only water when the surface of the soil is fairly dry and always allow excess water to drain away – don’t leave your plant sitting in it.

As with most plants, your houseplants will need to be watered more frequently in spring and summer than in winter to accommodate for new growth.

Feeding

Feeding your houseplants in not a necessity but if you do wish to feed them, the best time of year to do this is during the growing season, which is normally between March and September. Outside of this period, it’s best to avoid feeding your plants as they are more than likely resting.

We normally recommend using a liquid feed, however, some of your houseplants may require a specific type of feed, for example, flowering plants need a feed high in potassium.

Always read the directions on the packet before feeding.

Pruning

Most houseplants are very low maintenance and the only form of pruning you may wish to carry out is to remove dying flowers or yellowing leaves – you can simply pinch these off between your thumb and forefinger. You can use secateurs to cut back unruly branches and, if needed, a renovation prune can be carried out, cutting any old or damaged foliage back to bud in spring.