beginners guide to growing healthy House plants

I am always surprised by the amount of people I talk to who say, “I can't grow house plants, they just die on me". It surprises me because I can grow them and I'm no expert. I have been fortunate to learn from Pete, whom when I first meet him, his house was full of beautiful green plants and lots of cane furniture. Along side learning from my own mistakes over the years, I now grow lots of healthy plants in the home and I love them. It appears the house plants are certainly making a big come back so if you are thinking about getting some plants but not sure, keep reading as I share what I have learnt about growing beautiful, healthy (most of the time) house plants.

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benefits of house plants

Ok, so to start with, I would just like to remind you of just some of the benefits of having house plants, to help with your motivation.

  • They look great, they are a great home decor elements that can bring great impact to the look of a space

  • They make you feel good, being surrounded by greenery does wonders to your mood and general sense of wellbeing

  • They are great listeners!! yes I like to talk to me plants, they don’t argue with you.

  • They help to purify the air. They recycle the air by converting the carbon dioxide we breathe out, into oxygen that we breathe in.

  • They are inexpensive and you can easily take cuttings and multiply the numbers of plants.

Now that I have sold you on how great house plants are let me, tell you easy it is to actually grow them.

Watering and Feeding

All the house plants I grow are very low maintenance and only really need water and a bit of a feed every now and then. The most important thing about watering and feeding is to be consistent, have a routine. I find this helps to maintain steady growth and constant level of moisture in the soil.

Most common house plants are good with weekly watering. Pete and I water them on a Saturday morning. During the hottest months of the summer, we do water the sunroom plants mid week. We feed them about once a month. During the hottest months of the summer, we do water the sunroom plants mid week. I have always used Baby Bio Original House Plant Food, it's a classic and available everywhere.

If you are not sure how often to water, track it in a diary/calendar noting any changes to leaves and soil, you should be able to establish a good routine from doing that. When buying your plants just check the care for instructions as this information should detailed.

Do not over water, this will rot the roots. If you notice water pooled on the saucer and leaves changing colour, it may be too much watering. Also, the potting mix will start to smell.

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Placement

Most indoor plants, that we have, thrive in partial sun or indirect light, some like the 'Peace Lily' are great in bathrooms and other lower light areas. Avoid draughty spots, and direct sunlight. Plants are pretty good at telling you that they are not happy, just watch for changes in leaf colour, die off of the new growth, and wilting. You may need to move some around different spots until you find the right one.

I have placed plants all over the house, on shelves, tables, even in the shower. They all settle well in their place and I can only recall moving two plants, one was not getting enough light and the other one was getting too much!!.

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Buy Small - Grow Big

I always buy my plants when they are babies. This is done because I like to raise the plant in the environment I want them grow uo in....and well it's a lot cheaper. Any garden centre should have a good selection of baby plants as they are grown from cuttings. I have found that Bunnings have a good selection of healthy house plants.

If you do this you must regularly upgrade into bigger pots as it helps with growth and they will not get root bound in the pot.

Use good quality potting mix, this does not have to be the most expensive. All garden centres will be happy to recommend and often have their own name brand. I just use the name brand at Mitre 10 and have had no issues with this.

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Turning the Pots

Ok so I am not sure if this is normal but I always turn my pots every time I water the plant. I find that you get even growth as they will always grow to the light. This is a good example. As an aside this plant produces beautiful yellow flowers, its a Calathea or Peacock plant and likes to have moist soil.

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Top plants list

To help you on your way, here are a list of plants that I have and are actually pretty easy to look after. These are also very popular plants so would be easily sourced from your local garden centre. In Auckland , there is a fabulous garden centre which has a great selection of very cool indoor plants, Church Street Garden Central

There are also a lot of handy guides on the best house plants to grow

  • Arrowhead vines

  • Bamboo palm

  • Birds nest fern

  • Calathea/ Arrowroot/Marantaceae

  • Fiddle leaf fig

  • Maidenhair fern

  • Orchids

  • Peace Lily

  • Rubber plant

  • Spider Plant

  • Swiss Cheese plant

  • Succulents

  • Yucca

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If you want to learn more about house plants check out my Pinterest board, Plants and Gardening where I have pinned lots more great content for you.

I cannot finish this blog without talking about Orchids.  To be honest, I adore them. I only started to like them when we moved to Auckland. I have a few around the house and they are just so beautiful. They are not hard to grow and they bloom forever. There are some key tips you do need to know with Orchids. Beth, my friend gave me this great website which will help you on your way.

As a tip, I buy my Orchids when the garden centres mark them down which is normally at end of flowering. If you are happy to repot and "prune" them it's a great way to buy a few at a time. You do need patience as it will take months for the new growth and flowers to arrive.

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So lets get you started

Having read this I hope that you no longer think it’s a mission to grow house plants…coz it’s not, just remember the key things that I covered off;

  • Benefits for your health and decor

  • Water regularly, (I do mine weekly)

  • Buy them small , cheaper and helps them get use to their environment

  • Rotate plants if you can to help even growth

  • Talk to them …I do!

I have listed the most common and popular house plants to grow and generally you should be fine with any of those plants, even Orchids.

I really hope that you enjoyed this blog and that it may inspire you to have a go at growing some house plants.

Enjoy planting my Tidies

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