Caring for indoor plants might initially feel intimidating, but don't worry it's more manageable than it looks! This indoor plant care for beginners guide will give you all the information about plant care and where to buy indoor plants. From watering schedules to choosing the right container, find out everything you need to know about plant care for beginners.
Choose the Right Plants for Your Home and Lifestyle
Choosing plants that work with your lifestyle and living space is essential as not all plants are created the same. Consider the light available in your home, as some require full sun while others can thrive in lower light conditions. Do you want a plant that requires frequent watering or is drought tolerant?
Most indoor plants come in standard plastic potting containers that have drainage holes on the bottom so that excess water can escape and prevent root rot. Then here at Simple Succers we match plants to the perfect decorative pot, which allows any excess water to stay save inside the pot and not ruining your tabletop surface.
Below are some great plant categories and examples to think of when selecting your new plant baby:
- Low Light Plants, e.g., ZZ Plant, Snake Plant, Dragon’s Tail
- Drought Tolerant Plants, e.g., Aloe Vera, Cactus
- Pet Friendly Plants, e.g., Spider Plant, Rubber Plant, Peperomia
- Foliage plants, e.g., Monstera, Pothos
- Succulents e.g., Echeveria, Crassula Tropical Plants, e.g., Peace Lily, Calathea
Choosing the correct plants for your home and lifestyle can ensure that you have beautiful indoor plants that not only look great but also thrive and last for a long time.
Watering Your Plants
Water is essential for all plants, but each type of plant has different needs regarding how often and how much should be given. The most common reasons plants die is due to over watering, killing our plants with kindness without even knowing!
To ensure your plants are getting the right amount of moisture, dip your finger in the top layer of the soil and if the soil feels moist, wait a few days before watering again. If the top layer of soil is dry, then giver your plant a top up.
Keys Tips to Watering Your Plants
- Water your plants early in the morning or evening to reduce evaporation.
- Avoid over-watering; water only when the soil is dry.
- Use lukewarm tap water to avoid shocking the plant's roots.
- Drain excess water from the saucer after watering so that the roots aren't sitting in water.
- Water your container plants with a gentle, steady stream rather than pouring it directly onto the soil.
- Monitor your plant's leaves for signs of drought stress; if they appear wilted or dry, it's time to give them some water.
Light Requirements for Indoor Plants
Light is essential for healthy happy plants, but too much direct sunlight can be damaging.
Low Light plants like snake plants and ZZ plants do well in shaded areas and require only indirect or filtered light. They will thrive in your bathroom, hallway, or bedroom.
Medium light plants like Monsteras, Fiddle Leaf Figs, need bright locations and will tolerate a few hours of direct sun each day. Good rooms for these guys are your lounge-rooms or anywhere near a widow.
High-light plants like succulents enjoy lots of bright light and will thrive in full sun near windows or outside on your balcony.
Pruning Your Plants
Pruning your helps to maintain the shape and size of your plants, make sure you remove dead or damaged branches, and encourage new growth.
When pruning, use a sharp pair of scissors or clippers and cut at a 45-degree angle just above a leaf node. Avoid cutting too close to the base of the stem, as this could damage the plant's structure.
When Should You Prune?
Prune in the spring or summer when your plants are actively growing. Pruning should be done after winter and before new growth begins.
Fertilising Your Plants
Fertiliser helps to supplement the nutrients in your soil and can be beneficial if you have nutrient-deficient ground. Most plants will benefit from an occasional feeding of a balanced fertilizer. Over-fertilising can damage your plants, so caution is best when fertilising.
When applying fertiliser to your plants, avoid getting it on the leaves, as it can cause burning or discoloration. It's best to sprinkle it around the base of your plant and then gently water it in. Fertilise your plants during the active growing season and avoid doing so during the winter months.
We recommend using a slow-release fertiliser, as this will allow the release of nutrients over time and provide your plants with sustained nutrition. A liquid fertiliser is also an option, but it may need frequent application. Bunnings have lots of great fertilisers to choose from and a bonus you can pick up sausage sandwich on the weekend and support your local community!
Common Problems Associated with Indoor Plants
Indoor plants are susceptible to a variety of pests and diseases, so make sure you’re checking in with your plant friends weekly to look out for the following, mealybugs, spider mites, fungus gnats, leaf spot disease and root rot.
Mealybugs feed on plant sap and create a white waxy coating over the leave surface. Spider mites also feed on plants by piercing their cells with mouthparts as they suck out their contents. Fungus gnats feed on rotting material and organic matter in the soil. Thrips attack flowers, foliage, and buds, causing discoloration and distortion of plant parts.
An imbalance of nutrients or over-watering causes leaf spot disease. The leaves will develop spots, become limp, and eventually die off. Root rot is caused by too much water, making the roots soggy and black.
Seven Sins of Pest and Disease Infestation
Your indoor plants will show all or some of these signs once infected with pests or diseases. They include:
- Discoloured leaves
- Wilting or yellowing foliage
- Leaf spots and blotches
- Sticky residue on the leaves
- Visible insects on the plant
- Stunted growth or abnormal leaf shapes
- Foul odours
If you observe any of these signs, remove the affected leaves or parts and discard them to the garbage. Treat affected plants with an appropriate pesticide or fungicide according to the label instructions. If needed, repot your plant into fresh soil and prune away any diseased branches.
Five Simple Ways to Repot Your Indoor Plant
Repotting your indoor plants keeps them healthy and well-nourished. Here are five simple steps you can follow:
- Prepare the new pot – Choose a container that's 1-2 inches larger than the existing one, with plenty of drainage holes and aeration slots at the bottom.
- Remove your plant from its current pot – Gently loosen the soil around it, then turn the pot upside down and carefully remove the root ball.
- Add fresh soil to your new pot - Fill in about two-thirds of your chosen container with quality houseplant soil mix.
- Place your plant in its new home - Position it gently into the centre of its new container, then fill in the gaps around the root ball with more soil.
- Water your plant and place it in its ideal spot - Once you've given it a good soak, place it back into its happy place in your home.
When Do You Repot?
- When a plant's roots have outgrown its container
- If your soil is too compacted to provide adequate drainage and aeration
- When you want to bring a neglected houseplant back to life, been there before!
- To replace nutrient-deficient soil with fresh, nutrient-rich soil
- If the pot is too large for the plant
- When there are pests or diseases infestation, yuk!
Understanding indoor plants care allows you to keep them healthy, happy, and thriving. You now have the essential information for proper pruning, diagnosing, and treating pest and disease infestations, and repotting your plants. Well done! Here at Simple Succers we refresh our range of indoor plants online and offer a simple shopping experience. Where to buy indoor plants? Simple Succers of course! A sustainable alternative to flowers!
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Danielle and Lyndal