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Having plants inside your home can offer numerous benefits. They help cleanse the air, make your home look more attractive and can boost your mood. Taking proper care of them can seem like a daunting challenge; while the exact nature of care will depend on the specific plant in your home, there are some general rules to guide you in promoting the optimal health of your plants. Here are some broad strokes to get you started.
Different plants have different needs when it comes to how much sunlight they require, and this will inform the best locations for your indoor plants. If you have plants that require direct sun, you should place them on window sills that get lots of light, within two feet of a south-facing window or southwest-facing window, or a sun room. ‘’Bright’’ locations include three to five feet from a window that faces the south or southwest, within four to five feet of a window that faces east or west, or any rooms that only get sun for a few hours a day. If you have plants that need low light or partially shaded locations, you can put them in a east-facing room that only gets a few hours of sunlight, three to five feet away from a south or southwest window or right in front of a north-facing window.Plants that need shade should be at least six feet away from south and southwest windows, in the hallway, near the staircase or in the corner of the room. You can also place them near windows that are shaded by trees.
If your home does not have ample lighting for your plants, you might consider getting artificial lights designed specifically for plants. The best LED grow lights will ultimately depend on the type of plants you have, since different plants have different needs.
Interestingly, most people kill their houseplants by overwatering them, rather than not giving them enough water. You may think that excess water will not do any harm, but it can do plenty—the roots can only absorb so much, and the excess water will take the place of oxygen, which plants needs just as much as humans do. The amount of water a plant needs depends on many factors, such as the type of plant, soil type, the native habitat, the amount of light it receives, and the temperature and humidity in your home. The growth cycle is also a factor—plants absorb more water during active growth compared to rest periods. Container size also has an effect. A moisture meter can help gauge whether you need to water plants. As a rule of thumb, stick your finger in the soil up to the first knuckle—if it feels moist, it is good, if it feels dry, it needs water. Water for your plants should be room temperature—68F/20C. If you use artificial lights, these may dry out plants faster than normal, which means the plants may need more frequent watering than normal.
When it comes to choosing fertilizer, read labels carefully—many are formulated specifically for different types of plants. Products will have some sort of combination of the three major nutrients—nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. Typically, houseplants need a fertilizer where all three are balanced at 10-10-10 (the percentages of the nutrient in the mixture.) Like water, too much fertilizer is usually the culprit is sickly plants rather than too little. Signs you need fertilizer include weak growth, pale leaves, weak stems, dropped leaves, no flowers or small flowers.
About the Author:Kelli Cooper is a freelance writer who blogs about all things gardening; she recommends visiting Lightingever.co.uk for more information on grow lights for indoor plants.
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