How to care for houseplants: 5 mistakes to avoid

Houseplants are an excellent decorative addition to your spaces. They add colour and life, improve air quality and are able to create an atmosphere of calm and tranquillity. Knowing how to care for houseplants has its benefits, as having plants in the home or office has been shown to help reduce stress and have a positive impact on people's mood.

You probably already know about these benefits and are dying to have a small garden in your home, but you have one big drawback: yourself. Let's face it: some people just don't seem to be meant to have plants, because every plant they touch ends up in plant heaven.

If this is your case, don't resign yourself to having plastic plants, which are not only ugly but also have bad feng-shui. People who are not good with plants do not know the basic care of indoor plants and make one (or more) of the big mistakes that lead to failure and the death of the poor plant. But don't worry: you can find out about them and correct them. let's get to work!

The 5 mistakes to avoid when caring for your houseplants

  1. Overwatering: plants love water, don't they? It's best to give them a little extra water, just in case you forget to water them at some point.
  2. Over-exposure to sunlight: Plants need sun and water to grow. So after watering they go in the sun. If they are cacti, they are desert plants and should get all the sunlight in the world.
  3. Not paying attention to the roots: if the leaves look good, then everything must be fine underground
  4. Not knowing your plant: all plants are the same. They need water, sun and little else to grow.
  5. Attitude: only people with a gift can have nice plants at home. I have no luck/hand for plants, so what's the difference? It's only a matter of time before it dies.

Correcting the mistakes

If you have been paying attention, you will have noticed that the 5 mistakes we make when caring for houseplants are related to the excesses and attitude you have towards plant maintenance.

When you don't know the specific needs of your plant, it is easy to neglect watering patterns and maintenance. Each plant species has its own characteristics, watering requirements, soil and sun exposure; assuming that all plants are the same or that you can magically guess how to care for them is an express route to failure.

From this perspective, it is essential to have an attitude of openness, curiosity and a desire to learn a little more every day about the type of plant you have, to take the time to observe how the plant reacts to certain environmental conditions. There are basic guidelines for plant care, but the conditions of the environment in which the plant is growing can change some of its requirements, so you should be aware of the changes and reactions of your plant, especially in the first few weeks. Remember that it is a living being of a different species and you must understand its needs, its language.

What you do need to do: basic houseplant care

  • Select the right plants. Study the lighting conditions of the space, as well as your personal requirements.
  • Think about yourself. If you are a person who travels a lot, is rarely at home or is very forgetful, prefer plants that are hardy and easy to care for, such as potos, mother-in-law's tongue or a cactus.
  • Study the type of plant before establishing a watering pattern and check the substrate. Most houseplants prefer a moist environment, so you can water when you notice that the potting soil is starting to look a little dry. In the case of succulents and cacti, it is best to wait until the substrate is completely dry before watering.
  • The drainage of the pots must be efficient and adequate. Check from time to time that it is not clogged. After watering, throw away any excess water that remains in the bottom tray, as leaving it there can rot the roots.
  • If there is heating or air conditioning, the environment should be rather dry. Add extra moisture to your plants with the help of a spray bottle. Check that this does not harm the leaves or flowers.
  • Avoid sudden changes in temperature and draughts. Avoid placing them too close to radiators or air conditioning.
  • Locate them in places where they receive adequate lighting. Potos, zamioculcas, crotons and tronco e Brasil, for example, are semi-shade or indirect sun plants, which makes them perfect for indoors. Avoid plants that require direct sun, unless you have an open space with these characteristics.
  • Pot changes and maintenance. If you see tight roots, protruding above or through drainage holes, you should change pots. It is also recommended to change them to a larger pot when you first buy them, as it is better to give them a little more space and a more suitable substrate.
  • It is necessary to fertilise the plant from time to time, as this allows the plant to have the nutrients it needs to continue to grow and develop. The fertiliser should be suitable for your type of plant.

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If you correct these mistakes we assure you that all your plants will be able to survive.

We also recommend you to visit the almost immortal plants section, to acquire the specimens that will be able to resist for as long as you need while you learn how to take care of your indoor plants.

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About the author
Ame Rodríguez

Dedicated to creating an army of cacti, succulents, poodles and cats to help me conquer the world. In the little free time I have left, I play, write and dance.

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