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While there are many types of houseplants, most of the most popular varieties require the same general care. Some exceptions that need special care include Orchids, African Violets, Air Plants, and Venus Flytraps. For most houseplants, bright, indirect light is best. An east or west window is usually just right for your plant. South windows work as well if they aren’t so large that your plants are in direct sunlight all day. Many houseplants actually enjoy being outside during the summer as well. After the nights are above 50 degrees, placing them in a full shade location will allow them to store energy and fill out. They will need to be watered more frequently when outside. Inside, most houseplants only need to be watered once a week or when the top of the soil feels dry. Some plants, such as succulents, zz plants, and sansevieria, will only need to be watered every two to three weeks. Again, checking the soil moisture first is important. It’s best to water plants until water begins to run through on the bottom. At that point stop and dump out any excess water since your houseplant can drown and die if it’s left sitting in water.
Houseplants aren’t generally heavy feeders. Feeding them once a month during spring, summer, and fall is plenty. There are specific fertilizers formulated for houseplants that work well. 10-10-10 fertilizer will also work. For approximately four months in the winter, no feeding is necessary. At this point, plants slow down from the lack of light and fertilizing them will cause them to get spindly. Houseplants don’t need to be repotted often either. If you want your plants to grow larger or the pot is starting to crack from the pressure of the roots, potting into a container around 1 inch larger in diameter is plenty. Putting a plant into a much larger container can actually cause root rot since the roots can’t dry the soil out fast enough.
A few more care tips include putting your plants in the shower to wash the dust off or using leaf shine and a rag if they get too dirty indoors. Outside the rain can easily wash them off. If your houseplants get insects, small plants can be cleaned off with rubbing alcohol and a cloth or Q-tip. For large plants or heavy infestations, use an insecticide formulated for houseplants since they are safe for indoor air.
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