How To Grow Houseplants

You can literally bring your house to life with indoor plants. They are easy to grow and are a perfect way to bring the outdoors in and over the past few years there has been a huge resurgence in popularity of growing house plants. 

They add texture and personality to a room and add life to “dead” spaces. Group different varieties together in planters and pots or add a pop of colour with a large, statement plant and pot. Houseplants also provide health benefits through improving indoor air quality

There are an enormous variety of plants that can be grown indoors. What remains critical to growing them successfully is choosing the right house plant for the particular area of the house you want to grow it.


Products to try:


Indoor environments 

Growing plants indoors is different from outdoor gardening. An inside environment varies considerably in temperature, humidity, and light. 

Temperature
In many homes, the temperature not only varies during the seasons but also varies considerably during the day and night.

Windowsills can become very cold overnight, particularly in winter so move plants away, especially if you live in colder climates. Also avoid placing plants near cold drafts or heat sources such as heat pumps.

Warmer house temperatures are required for the more tropical house plants, like Monstera deliciosa that may need to be moved to warmer parts of the house over the colder months.

Humidity
Although modern heating provides greater scope for growing many indoor plants, it does dry the atmosphere. This is most noticeable near heating sources like heat pumps etc. Indoor plants should be positioned away from such areas.

All houseplants prefer to grow in relatively high humidity (amount of water vapour in the air) so it is important to mist the foliage (leaves) regularly with lukewarm water.

Light
This is a critical factor for growing indoor plants successfully. Many interesting houseplants are actually from the forest floor of tropical forests and prefer a semi-shaded position in the home. Green leaved foliage plants generally prefer shade, while plants with coloured leaves generally prefer full light. Flowering houseplants such as chrysanthemums thrive with exposure to sunlight. No plants should be placed up against windows facing the sun as the foliage will burn very quickly.

 

Other important factors 

Some other factors that are critical to successfully growing houseplants are:

Pots and planters
There are many different types of pots and planters to suit your style, metal, potter, ceramic or plastic. Always ensure the planter is big enough for the plant to grow in to before it needs repotting - but not too large. A rule of thumb is to repot into a pot one-to-two sizes larger than the existing container. This avoids "overpotting" which runs the risk of overwatering due to the increased water-holding capacity of the larger pot. 

Drainage
Poor drainage kills a fair percentage of houseplants. Modern potting mixes like Daltons Premium Houseplant Mix provide well-drained growing medium. However, drainage holes in pots/planters are often very small and quickly become blocked. Be sure to check the size of the holes in the container before purchasing a houseplant.

Watering indoor plants

 

Watering & feeding

Indoor plants are often overwatered, underwatered or irregularly watered! The amount of water a houseplant requires varies according to the species, time of year and conditions inside of the home. 

Always water with tepid water (lukewarm), especially over winter and observe the plants response to the amount of water that is applied. A simple guide is to never water plants when the soil is still wet.  Always water early in the day so the plant can absorb the moisture throughout the day before the temperature drops in the evening.

Fertiliser should only be applied during the growing season, i.e. in summer, with Daltons Premium Houseplant Tabs. It is important to assess if the plant requires fertiliser, unhealthy symptoms can be attributed to other factors, as well as the plant requiring additional nutrients. With long-term houseplants e.g. large, leafy, green plants, the application of fertiliser in spring should be part of the normal plant management programme. As a general rule, pale green leaves are indicative of the need for fertiliser.
 

General maintenance

Leaf care
With large “glossy” green-leaved houseplants such as Fiddle Leaf Fig, clean the leaves regularly with a soft sponge. This removes dust and can dislodge young insects that may be attracted to various houseplants.

Repotting
This does not have to be carried out too frequently - only when roots appear through the draining holes in the pot, and/or older plants leaves take on a yellowing colour. Late spring/early summer is the best time to repot as there is optimum new root growth at this time. Most modern potting mixes contain slow-release fertilisers so repotting often reinvigorates growth in older houseplants. 

Deadheading flowering indoor plants
Regularly remove dead/finished flowers to encourage continuous succession flowering.

 

     


Pests and diseases

Common pests of houseplants are mealy-bugs, scale insects and red spider mite. 

Image
White Aphids (Mealybugs).jpg

Red spider mite is more difficult to control as it is only obvious when plants are heavily infested. It may be necessary to remove infested leaves as well as spraying water from a fine misting hose all over the plant.  
Red Spider Mite.jpg
Mealy-bug and scale are both quite visible on the plant and can be removed manually with a moist cloth. However, where there is a large infestation, in summer, take the plant outside and wash away the insects and clean the infested plant parts with a fine misting hose. 
Herb watering in pot iS508091006M.jpg
Most diseases that affect houseplants such as brown tips of leaves are the result of a watering problem, either too much, too little, or erratic watering! Observe your houseplants carefully to assess their water requirements and always reduce the amount of water applied over the winter months. Always use lukewarm water when watering your houseplants, especially in winter. 

 


Flowering varieties

 

Image
African Violets iS182693942L.jpg
African Violets
Image
Anthedesia Anthurium
Anthurium
Image
Begonia Reiger iS1068761702L.jpg
Begonia (Rieger)
Image
Begonia Rex iS182698786L.jpg
Begonias (Rex)

  

Image
Begonia Tuberous iS1223001876L.jpg
Begonias (Tuberous)
Image
Pink Chrysanthemum
Chrysanthemums
Image
Cyclamen iS668694484L.jpg
Cyclamen
Image
Purple Gloxinia iS90814706L.jpg
Gloxinias

  

Image
Hippeastrum Red Peakock
Hippeastrum Hybrids
Image
Hoya Carnosa iS97127288L.jpg
Hoya carnosa (and other species)
Image
White Orchid Peace Lily iS177320705L.jpg
Peace Lily

  


Bold foliage

 

Image
Aspidistra Cast Iron Plant
Cast Iron Plant (Aspidistra elatior) 
Image
Calathea iS495764206L.jpg
Calatheas
Image
Coffee Arabica Shrub iS1182655291L.jpg
Coffee shrub of Arabia (Coffea arabica)
Image
Dracaena
Dracaena – numerous forms to grow

  

Image
Japanese Fatsia Paper Plant
Paper Plant (Fatsia japonica)
Image
Ficus Lyrate Fiddle Leaf Fig
Fiddle Leaf Fig (Ficus lyrate)
Image
Ficus Elastica (Rubber Fig)
Rubber Fig (Ficus elastica) 
Image
Fiscus Benjamina Weeping Fig
Weeping Fig (Ficus benjamina)

  

Image
Monstera iS1221543453L.jpg
Swiss Cheese Plant (Monstera deliciosa)
Image
Kentia Palm Tree
Palms – numerous species such as Kentia palms
Image
Philodendron iS1216532560L.jpg
Philodendrons (A wide variety of shapes and sizes available)
Image
Schefflera Dwarf Umbrella Plant
Dwarf Umbrella Tree (Schefflera actinophylla) 

  

Image
Schefflera Umbrella Plant
Umbrella Tree (Schefflera actinophylla)
Image
Stromanthe Tricolor
Stromanthe sanguinea
Image
Zamioculcas zamiifolia
ZZ Plant (Zamioculcas Zanzibar)

  


Coloured foliage

 

Image
Aphelandra Squarrosa (Zebra Plant)
Zebra Plant (Aphelandra Squarrosa)
Image
Codiaeum Crotons iS521440401L.jpg
Crotons (Codiaeum spp) - A wide variety of leaf shapes and colors available
Image
Calathea insignis iS1181378741L.jpg
Calathea insignis
Image
Chlorophytum (spider plant)
Spider Plant (Chlorophytum)

  

Image
Coleus iS1169122829L.jpg
Coleus
Image
Dieffenbachia amoena (Dumbcane Plant)
Dumbcane Plant (Dieffenbachia amoena) 
Image
Poinsettia iS527467797L.jpg
Poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima)
Image
Peperomia Radiator Plant
Radiator Plant (Peperomia) – numerous forms available

  

Image
Rhoeo discolor (Moses-in-the-cradle)
Moses-In-The-Cradle (Rhoeo discolor)
Image
Sansevieria (snake plant)
Snake Plant (Sansevieria)

  


Hanging/climbing plants

 

Image
Cissus rhombifolia (Grape Ivory)
Grape Ivory (Cissus rhombifolia )
Image
Hedera spp (Ivory)
Ivory (Hedera spp)
Image
Ceropegia woodii (Chain Of Hearts)
Chain Of Hearts (Ceropegia wood)
Image
Philodendron cordatum
Philodendron cordatum

  

Image
Senecio Rowleyanus (String Of Pearls)
String Of Pearls (Senecio Rowleyanus )

  


Orchids

 

Image
Cattleyas Orchid iS1223530073L.jpg
Cattleyas
Image
Cymbidiums (Boat Orchids)
Boat Orchids (Cymbidiums) 
Image
Dendrobiums Orchid
Dendrobiums
Image
Phalaenopsis White Orchid
Phalaenopsis

  


Ferns

 

Image
Adiantums (Maidenhair Fern)
Maidenhair Fern (Adiantums) - numerous forms available
Image
Boston Fern Bostoniensis iS483503253L.jpg
Boston Fern (Nephrolepis exaltata variety: Bostoniensis)
Image
Hen and Chicken Fern
Hen & Chicken Fern (Asplenium bulbiferum)
Image
Rabbits Foot Fern
Rabbit Foot Fern (Davallia fijiensis)