Caring for Indoor Flowering Plants

Most indoor flowering plants require simple care.

Most indoor flowering plants require simple care.

When the weather outside gets colder, you can still enjoy the beauty of flowering plants by growing them indoors. Researching the particular kinds of plants you want to nurture will give you the information you need to keep your plants healthy. Even without knowing specifics, almost all plants need water, lighting, soil, nutrients, air and humidity to thrive.

Plant Environment

While you can’t completely replicate a plant’s natural environment indoors, you can accommodate its most basic needs. Avoid placing houseplants too near heating sources or electronics that give off heat. Keep plants that need to be warm behind a sheer curtain instead of placing them directly in the window. This is especially important if the nights where you live are cold. Locate indoor plants away from fruit. Many fruits, apples and bananas in particular, give off ethylene gas as they ripen that can shorten the bloom time of the flowers. Indoor plants also need air circulation to prevent fungal diseases and insect infestations. Place plants that need a high level of circulation near a large window, or run a fan in the room. Grouping plants together creates indoor humidity. A room humidifier is another option for preventing the surrounding air from getting too dry.

Watering Requirements

Depending on the indoor temperature and soil type, plants have different watering needs. Make sure your houseplants get enough water while they are in the active growth stage. If you aren’t sure how much water to give a plant, keep the soil slightly dry. You can kill a plant by over-watering it. If you use tap water to water your plants, keep the water in an open container and let it sit for at least 24 hours. Many of the chemicals that municipal water treatment facilities use are harmful to plants. Allowing the water to stand helps the added chlorine and fluoride evaporate.

Natural Lighting

The amount of light an indoor plant needs varies depending on the type of plant. Look for signs that your flowering plant is not getting adequate light. A plant’s foliage may look pale as a symptom of insufficient light. Failure to thrive is another sign that a plant is not getting enough light. Locate the plant near a window that allows a lot of light into the room or place it in another room in the house that gets more natural light. Gradually expose the plant to more light. A plant can sunburn if you move it from a room with low levels of light to a room with brighter intensity light too quickly.

Soil and Nutrients

Soil requirements vary depending on the type of indoor flowering plant. In general, a good potting mix for indoor plants contains 2 parts peat moss, 1 part sand and 1 part perlite, according to Purdue University Department of Horticulture. Adding organic matter such as composted peat or partially decomposed leaves to the potting mix will keep it from drying out quickly and provide additional nutrients. When you fertilize a plant, avoid feeding it too much. Water the plant before applying fertilizer. Soak the soil from time to time with clean water to wash away any buildup of fertilizer salts.

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