Figure out what you want to bring inside. Do a little research on houseplants for size they will reach vs the area/spot you planned on keeping them. Look the houseplants over and check for any signs of disease or distress and or insect infestation. Make a list of all items you will need for your new houseplant, new decorative pot, or basket to display it in, potting soil to transplant to the new pot, watering can and mister to help care for the plant, as well as fertilizer to feed and maintain its health. Best investment is a moisture meter to assist in watering needs.
Do you want an upright plant or hanging for the area you plan on housing your plant? Knowing how big a plant will reach in mature size will help determine placement in your home. Knowing the amount of light requirements, a plant needs will also determine the best spot in your home. Most plants will need bright light but not direct light. Too much direct light from a window could cause too much heat and burn the plant. Too little light and your plant will struggle to grow and thrive. When shopping for a houseplant look for signs of a healthy plant that includes full, bushy growth habit. Choose compact sturdy plants. Avoid plants with yellowing or brown leaves, or if the leaves look brown and dry along the edges. Avoid any plants that may have an insect infestation.
Have your selected pot for replanting your houseplant ready, choose a pot that is one size larger than the one that currently holds the plant. Don’t go too big and don’t pick too small of a pot!
Remove the plant from the current pot. Turn the plant sideways, hold it gently by the stems or leaves, and tap the bottom of its current pot until the plant slides out. Having already added potting soil to the new pot about 1/3 to ½ full check and make sure your plant will not sit too low or too high in the new pot. Too low and the plant will not get proper light and ventilation, too high and the roots could be exposed drying out the plant.
Loosen the roots gently with your hands this will help them to spread out in the new home and take hold. Remove some of the old potting soil then place in new pot that is filled halfway with new potting soil. Add potting soil around the plant and soil to the level to that of previous soil level prior to planting. This should be just at the crown where the leaves emerge from the roots, be careful not to plant too deeply. You should have at least 2” of space from the soil line to the top of the pot to act as a reservoir for water. This way you will avoid water spills from the top.
Tap the pot and shake it to make sure the dirt has settled completely around the plant and add more soil if needed. Once your plant is in its new home, water well a little at a time until water runs out the bottom.
Watering your houseplant - all houseplants have slightly different watering requirements, depending on how they are grown and changes in the plant growth through the season. It is best to water on an as needed basis rather than a set calendar schedule. In general plants should be watered when the top ½” to inch of soil feels dry. This is where a moisture meter can come in handy! If you do not have one it is best to err on the dry side rather than give them too much moisture.
Fertilize your houseplants periodically. So much depends on the growth rate and age and the time of year. Most do better with fertilizer in spiring and summer when they put on growth spurts. During the shorter days of fall and winter they don’t require much at all. Too much fertilizer will result in burning of roots and stunting their growth. Best is to use a liquid fertilizer with a gentle balance of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium (these are the 3 numbers you will see on the fertilizer).
Repot your houseplant if the roots are starting to circle the inside of the pot. If you want to keep it in the same size pot, trim off some of the roots with a sharp knife and replant in the container using fresh potting soil. If you are ok with moving it to a bigger container do so again using fresh potting soil and the steps in planting! Best time to replant is spring and summer, time when plants are most likely to have the growth spurts.
Remove dust from leaves. Like everything else in our homes plants too like to be kept clean. Dust will collect on the leaves so wash then with a gentle shower of room-temperature water or dust them with a soft cloth. This will help improve the amount light they will soak up!
Prune and Pinch back houseplants. The main reason for pruning houseplants is to make them look better and keep them from getting too big. You can cut plants back to 4-6 inches tall to help rejuvenate them. This is great for Swedish Ivy and Pothos plants that can grow to great lengths. Cut just above where a new growth will start, usually a bud or side shoot.
Deadhead flowers and remove dying leaves is important for the health of your plant. Trimming flowering houseplants will help encourage more blooms and prevent disease problems. Removing brown or yellow leaves will also help and keep the plant healthy. To be sure you’re not spreading any disease or insects, wipe the blades of your pruners with rubbing alcohol before moving on to a different plant.
Control insects and pests that can affect the health and vigor of your houseplant. Most common insects on houseplants are aphids, scale, and mealy bugs. Fungal gnats are tiny black flies that buzz around the soil usually indicating overwatering! There are many household insect controls that can help keep those pests down, check with your local Friedman's garden center for easy-to-use controls.
Watch for houseplant diseases. Remove and destroy houseplants or the affected leaves or stems as they develop to prevent the spread of the disease. Some to watch for are powdery mildew, fungal leaf spots and root rot.