Updated: Jul 18, 2022
ONE: Know what plant you're buying and understand its needs. Use trusted sources for plant care. Not everything you read online is true.
TWO: Before you buy a new plant make sure you have the time to care for it. If it’s a high maintenance plant and you're not home much or you travel a lot, it may not be the right plant for you. There are plenty of low maintenance/easy care plants out there. Explore our low-light collection for examples.
THREE: Make sure you have the right lighting for the plant that you are buying. South-facing windows have the most light and so should be reserved for plants that require bright light and can handle direct light. On the other hand, north-facing windows have the least amount of light and so should be reserved for plants that require low to medium light. East-facing windows have bright morning light and lower light in the afternoon. Most plants can live in a room with east-facing windows. West-facing windows have bright, direct afternoon light.
Position your plant for its lighting needs
FOUR: When you bring your new plant home don’t be in a hurry to repot it. Plants only need to be repotted if you see more root than soil. Plants like it when their roots fill the pot. Also, flowering houseplants, like peace lilies and hoyas, won’t flower unless they are root bound. If it's not time yet to repot, just put the nursery pot within a pretty ceramic pot, but make sure it will drain water. Visit our repotting post for more info.
A root-bound snake plant
FIVE: When it’s time to repot your new plant, make sure you have the correct growing medium. No plant likes to swim in soil. If your potting soil stays wet too long, you will eventually get root rot. Using 50/50 perlite and potting soil is an easy, safe choice. Potting soil on its own is too heavy and holds water too long when a plant is indoors. Perlite increases drainage and helps the soil dry out quicker.
SIX: Don’t water too often. Most plants like to dry out between waterings. If your plant doesn’t dry out in 7-10 days you may run the risk of getting root rot or fungus gnats.
SEVEN: Plants need nutrients to grow & thrive. Miracle Gro water soluble all purpose plant food is a great choice. You can also add epsom salt (magnesium) and calcium tablets to your fertilizer. Here’s The Plant House’s top secret fertilizer recipe: In a one gallon milk jug, dissolve one small scoop of Miracle Grow fertilizer, two 600 mg over-the-counter calcium tablets, and two teaspoons of epsom salt in hot water for one hour. Use three parts water and one part of this mixture to your watering can when it’s time to water. Fertilize with this mixture three times a month.
The Plant House's inexpensive, top-secret fertilizer recipe
EIGHT: Stay on alert for bugs. Understanding which bugs are attracted to which plants is just as important as knowing plant needs. Thrips love monsteras and philodendrons. Mealy bugs love pothos and hoyas. Spider mites love alocasias, syngoniums and ficuses. Learn more about pest management in our Houseplant pests blog post.
NINE: Prevention is the key to keeping your plants from a pest breakout. Weekly/monthly showers and using horticultural oil will keep your plants clean. An occasional wipe down is good too.
TEN: Plants will grow towards the light. It’s good to give them weekly turns to keep the growth even.