How to Keep Your Exotics Thriving In an Indoor Environment

The orchid is an exotic plant with specific care requirements.

The orchid is an exotic plant with specific care requirements.

While growing exotic plants outdoors is challenging in many regions of the country, growing them indoors presents a different set of problems. Indoor air tends to be dry and, in the winter, overheated. Some exotics, such as certain orchid species, require not only humidity, but circulating air as well. It is important to get to know your exotic plant’s background. Determine what part of the world it is native to and its natural habitat within that region. With this information, you can mimic the plant’s natural environment while growing it indoors.

Step 1

Pot the exotic in the appropriate planting medium. Orchids don’t do well in potting soil and are best grown in bark mixes. When using potting soil for your exotic plants, choose a quality mixture that includes peat moss, sand or perlite and other ingredients. Inexpensive or bargain-brand potting soils tend to become hard, impeding drainage.

Step 2

Place exotic plants that naturally grow under the canopies of large trees in a part of the home where they will remain out of direct sun. Exotic plants that are more exposed in their natural habitats should be provided a sunny spot.

Step 3

Tropical exotics require more water than those from more arid regions. That said, it’s easy to overwater a houseplant, so keep tropicals slightly moist at all times, and allow other exotics to dry out between waterings. Watch the plants closely for signs of water stress. The most common symptom is wilting.

Step 4

Provide humidity for exotic tropical plants. The ideal way to do this is by placing a humidifier in the room, near the plant.

Step 5

Avoid sudden changes in temperature in the exotic plant’s environment. Blasts of air-conditioning or heat may harm the plant.

Step 6

Place a fan in the room for exotics that require air circulation, such as bromeliads.

Things Needed

  • Planting medium
  • Humidifier
  • Fan

References & Resources

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