17 Capital Rules of Indoor Plant Care

Reader Contribution by Boris Dadvisard

When you buy a new plant, you find her the perfect place in your décor and she looks stunning. But time flies and soon she has lost some of her original stamina, for mysterious reasons. Too much water? Too little light? All we want is for our plants to keep looking fresh in the long run, but that’s not always easy. That’s why I collected the best plant wisdom into this list. Regardless of your experience with plants, from beginner to advanced, keep these capital rules of indoor gardening in mind for the sake of your green babies. But don’t be too harsh on yourself, as we all kill plants.

Photo Credits: Hàn Vi Ph?m Th?

17 Capital Rules Of Indoor Plant Care

1. Know your plant’s water preferences. 

Indoor plants can be divided into two major groups according to their preferences in terms of moisture: the Dry Type (a.k.a. Desert type) prefers dry soil and the Moist Type (a.k.a. Tropical type) prefers moist soil. Easy so far.

2. Cacti and succulents are from the Dry Type, they prefer dry and well-drained soil. Leafy green indoor plants can be from either type, depending on the species, but most of them are from the Moist Type.

Leafy Green Indoor Plants (Moist Type)

3. Most tropical plants will flourish in indirect sunlight, and some can even live in a darker corner. Indirect sunlight is key because direct sunlight can be too harsh and scorch the leaves.

4. Moist Type: on average, water once per week (rule of thumb).

5. Holiday watering tricks: to increase moisture around your plant when you’re away, fill a pebble tray or bucket with water and place it near your plant before you go on holidays. You can also use the garden-twine technique or other self-watering tricks. Also, think of using self-watering pots, there are plenty and they saved my life (okay, my plant’s life) a few times!

Cacti, Succulents and Dry Plants (Dry Type)

6. Cacti and succulents require plenty of light, preferably direct sunlight. Perfect for a windowsill.

7. Stay on the under-watering side, for root rot caused by over-watering is the no #1 plant killer.

8. Cacti require a little water once per month, succulents twice per month (rule of thumb).

9. Cacti and succulents require a special potting mix with high drainage properties. Don’t mix with common houseplant soil.

All Indoor Plants

10. Water more (or more often) during the warm months of the year (summer in the northern hemisphere).

11. Neem oil or peppermint oil are natural insect repellents and can help keep your plant free of pests.

12. Always check the soil before watering, assessing the soil under the surface with your finger. If there are visible cracks in the soil or a gap between the soil and the pot, the soil is dry and the plant has absorbed all the water out.

13. Always drain out all the excess water after you water your plant. Don’t let the plant’s roots sit in still water, that’s the #1 plant killer.

14. Check the roots regularly, fertilize at the beginning of the growth season (spring in the northern hemisphere), and re-pot when roots are outgrowing the pot.

15. Prune unwanted growth and cut dead leaves to refocus the energy towards young leaves. Rotate the plant so that it’s not always the same side facing the light.

16. Top up with fresh soil, at least every year, because the plant eats it out in order to grow.

17. Clean dusty leaves with a cloth, it will help your plant restore natural breathing.

If you’re keeping those rules in mind, your plants should be thriving most of the time. Remember not to be too harsh on yourself, we all kill plants at times, and even the most experienced gardeners do. It’s just learning through experience.


Learn More About Houseplants

Want more tips for your plants and indoor jungle? Check out my blog dedicated to houseplant care or follow me on social media. Planti-fully yours!