Help, my houseplants hate me! No really, I’m not being melodramatic, IT’S TRUE!
It’s depressing too as I love them all.
Choosing the right houseplant can create structure add elegance and even improve the air quality in every room. They add life and can bring movement energising areas which are flat or empty. So who wouldn’t want to introduce them into their indoor living space. I actually would love them everywhere.
I carefully choose the plant I think will thrive and sit perfectly in the spot I have chosen (this can be very annoying as I can take an absolute age, which can be totally aggravating especially if you’re waiting for me), research its best environment, take the plunge, buy it and lovingly bring it home. Only to have it wilt, brown or lose its leaves one by one until there is nothing left.
Even at this stage when there is no hope I’ve occasionally refused to admit defeat and continued to tend to its needs, watering it, feeding it, making sure its out of the draft making sure it has enough/not too much sunlight etc….talking to it, yes, you heard me right, I’m one of those plant talkers Although, it may be that, that’s making them lose the will to live.
Perhaps I should rethink the talking thing… but then it would be like giving them the silent treatment. Maybe all the plants I buy are quiet loving plants and are screaming at me to just shut up. I really don’t know.
The strange thing is I have no problem with the garden.
I’m not saying I’m fantastic out there…that would be stretching it, but I usually have a pretty good success rate.
In fact this year I had fabulous White Geraniums in among the patio plants. They grew prolifically, they were massive constantly flowering and providing a sea of white petals.
Then I was told “bring them in over the winter and you be able to keep them until next year“.
Well, that was like the kiss of death. I wish I had photographed them before.
I expected them to lose some leaves and die down, but really, is this what they are supposed to look like now?
I’ve kept the roots wet but not over watered and had them on the sunniest window sill, but sadly they are not thriving and are sadder every day.
I’m not giving up though over the last 30 years I have found a few easy care Indoor houseplants that I have managed to do well with and here they are;
Easy Care Indoor House Plants
I’m actually having great success with these, hooray!
They like indirect but bright sunlight and temperatures between 13 and 27°C (55 and 80°F)
Water deeply about every 3 weeks (less in winter). Allowing the soil to dry between watering helps to prevent roots rotting
Only fertalise in the Spring and Summer and then no more than once a month.
I’ve also used the gel from inside the leaf as a facial tonic. Didn’t notice a massive difference but it felt great. I would not recommend this as I’m no expert and would advise researching which particular Aloe Vera plant you have bought…..There are hundreds of varieties…and they may not all be safe to use.
Unfortunately this is one of those I managed to kill….. not immediately but over a matter of months. I think I’ve found out why now though and I’m ready to give it another go. So although it shouldn’t really be in my list it’s here because I am pretty sure I can succeed with this one!
These beauties are sun lovers and need 8 hours of direct sunlight so find a sunny window sill where there is no shadow during the day. They also need air movement and that’s where I went wrong. Open the window for a couple of hours a day. I wish I’d found this out earlier! Water well but allow the soil to dry out in between.
To help growth pop it outside for a while in the spring and autumn. Apparently that’s it! It doesn’t sound so hard, I’ll let you know how I get on.
Mother in Laws tongue
I managed to keep one of these for many years in a classroom of all places so know that it’s super resilient. It quite likes being neglected rather than overfussed with and prefers indirect sun but can tolerate direct sunlight for short periods. Leave it there too long and the leaves will burn. It can also tolerate dim light but again leave it there and the leaves may turn yellow.
It is great in temperatures ranging from 50° to 100°F ( 10° to 38°C) if it gets too cold it will wilt.
If you are not sure underwater rather than over water. It only needs watering about once a month and always wait for the soil to be dry to the touch. Avoid getting water inside the leaf.
Bathrooms are great for this as they love humidity, but it does just fine in dry air too.
Something to be aware of is that this is toxic to dogs and cats, which is why mine stayed in the classroom.
These are super hardy and prefer being semi pot bound and should not be re-potted until you can see the roots and they are making it difficult to water.
Indirect sunlight is perfect and they prefer cooler rather than warmer temperatures, ideally 55-65°F (13-18°C)
Water well but avoid them becomming too soggy. If the tips of the leaves begin to go brown don’t panic it’s usually fluoride build up in the soil so if you can, use distilled or rain water, otherwise you can occasionally flush out the soil by giving them a thorough watering.
I have to admit I have not had the guts to get one of these yet but my sister (who is not particularly green fingered) kept one for years, gave it very little attention and it flourished, which is why it is also in my list. I have to be honest without it my list is pretty short.
These are also sensitive to fluoride in water and can suffer from browning leaves so using distilled water is beneficial.
They like humid conditions and so love being misted. Keep the soil moist but not over wet and if in doubt wait for the lily to tell you. Yes this fabulous plant droops a little when it’s thirsty, give it a drink and it pops straight back up again. Even if you find it totally flopped over the side of the pot give it a good water and it will revive amazingly quickly.
As they are a tropical plant they need temperatures above 16°C (60°F) and ideally upwards of 21°C (70°F) so if you have a warm house they are perfect for you.
Light shade is their preference and if they yellow the light is too strong.
The great thing about these …..apart from their obvious beauty……. is that they have recently been recognised in one of the top ten houseplants which purify the air.
On the downside these too are toxic to cats and dogs.
If you are looking for a monster this is your man! They can grow 10 feet or more and add real style to your decor. So if you want a low maintenance show stopper this is perfect .
As it’s climber it will need support as it grows so up and over a bookshelf is ideal.
It needs a balance between too much and too little light so find a place where there is indirect bright light. Too much and it scorches, too little and the characteristic slits in the leaves won’t form. Once you have found the perfect spot the rest is pretty easy.
Let the soil be dry for a few inches before watering but don’t let it dry out completely.
The large leaves take a lot of moisture from the air so it goes without saying it loves being regularly misted.
If the leaves start to yellow you are over watering it, if they brown you may need to mist more or reduce feeding it.
It will need re-potting every couple of years to avoid it becoming pot bound
The Madagascar Dragon Tree
And here’s my absolute favorite. It honestly can take almost anything. I have moved it around every corner of the house, totally forgotten to water it and given it NO ATTENTION for extended periods…and I mean months…. and this baby just keeps going.
It’s fine leaves and trunk are delicate and add structure to a room without being too solid and overpowering.
They can grow up to 6ft but are slow growing(and I mean really slow growing) and so don’t rapidly take over a space.
It likes to be misted but normal humidity is fine ( I’ve never misted mine and it’s thriving)
Keep the soil slightly moist but avoid over watering, less is more.
It likes temperatures of 18-24°C (65-75°F) but mine has definately endured lower and higher.
Indirect sunlight is perfect. Too much sun will scorch the leaves.
This one is also toxic to cats and dogs but I admit to having it with cats and they never paid the least bit of interest to it (in my defense I didn’t realise it was harmful at the time). It is totally your choice.
It’s a tragically short list! I’m averaging a one and a half success rate every ten years. It’s just not great is it? But I am persevering.
One last tip is to use terracotta pots for plants which need to dry out between watering or suffer from root rot. The pots are porous and allow both air and water through creating a better environment for the plant.
And talking of tips I would love to hear any you may have on where I’m going wrong and any other plants which you think I stand a chance of rearing. We are about to start fostering cats so pet friendly would be great.
So until next time HAPPY HOUSEPLANTING.