Group of small household plants in pots.

Growing plants inside your home can help to purify the air, reduce stress, and decrease road noises. Houseplants are a great way for those with little space to continue honing their gardening skills. But, while houseplants are extremely beneficial both for the health of your indoor environment and the aesthetic appeal, they require vastly different skills than an outdoor garden plot.

1. Planning for Indoor Growth Conditions

Before selecting your houseplant, there are a variety of factors to consider, such as light conditions, humidity levels, and airflow – keeping in mind that you’re trying to mimic outdoor conditions as much as possible. For example, a plant located near a window likely has higher exposure to sunlight and potentially more airflow, especially with the window opened. For that reason, it is highly suggested to place your indoor plants near a window, though, some can succeed in a more interior location with less sunlight requirements.

Whether your home typically feels more muggy or staticky, choose a plant that will work for your climate. For higher humidity, look for ferns, and for drier conditions, succulents and cacti work best.

When it comes to airflow, try to maintain a happy medium. Too little airflow can make the air surrounding a plant stale and reduce its growth capabilities; but too much airflow can create a harsh condition to compete with. This is especially true when a plant is placed near a vent or in front of a fan – rapid and extreme temperature changes are hard on plants, so the best placement is near a window, but distanced from an air vent.

2. Preparing a Container

When preparing for your houseplant, you’ll need to make space for your plant of choice and determine the proper pot size. Many plants may need to be repotted with continued growth; make sure to choose the right container for the plant’s current size. Pots that are too large make the soil dry out at a slower pace, leading to root rot, whereas too-small pots dry out too fast and stunt growth. For plants that grow quickly – like Boston ferns or peace lilies – choose a container that is two to four inches larger in diameter than your plant. For those that are slower to grow – like cacti or jade plants – only need one to two inches extra in the diameter of the pot.

You’ll also have to think about water drainage – though having the right potting soil can help – your container should have a water drainage hole, and ideally a corresponding saucer to prevent the drainage from getting on your floor. If you don’t like this look, try the “double potting” technique by placing a plastic pot with the proper drainage into a slightly larger decorative container. And if you plan on a hanging basket, stick to a material that is lighter in weight.

3. Indoor Planting Tips

If you plan on starting a houseplant from a seed, try a fast-start potting mix to see results quicker. Otherwise, try a high-quality, suitable potting mix to help the seedling or young plant along. When transplanting a pre-potted plant, make sure you gently break up the root ball to ease the compactness of its original container. When planting, put your potting soil in the container first, leaving just enough room to place the root ball in the mix, just below the top of the container. Leave room to cover the roots with more soil and water thoroughly. You shouldn’t need to press the soil into itself as if you’re measuring brown sugar; a sprinkling of soil over the top of the root ball should do the trick. Upon planting, the first water should be exhaustive, meaning that much of it should drain out. Leave your plant outside or in a bathtub to safely drain the water before you move it to its very own corner of your home.

4. Ongoing Houseplant Care

While most houseplants require very little care, it’s important not to forget about them entirely. Water according to the plant’s accompanying directions and nourish it with easy-to-use fertilizer spikes.

Indoor plants need care, attention, and high-quality materials just as much as outdoor plants do. Set your houseplant up for success with a distinct watering schedule and the best plant food around – learn more about our organic fertilizers.