Here’s to Houseplants (part 2)

In addition to containers and potting mix needed for healthy houseplants, there are other variables that need to be taken into consideration. All plants need the basic elements of soil, water and light to grow in your home garden. Water and humidity I like to use rainwater or distilled water because it is free of minerals and other chemicals. But if you use tap water, just let it sit for a few days to let the chlorine dissipate. Chemical fertilizers can also add minerals and salts to the soil. Instead, I use an all-natural fertilizer for all of my plants, but you should check the recommendations for the specific variety you are growing. If your plants already have white or crusty deposits on the soil surface or on the pot from mineral buildup, give it a good drenching soak and let the excess water drain completely in a sink or tub. Overwatering can kill your houseplants as fast as anything. On watering day, I stick my finger into the dirt; if the soil is still moist, I don’t water. I also empty any standing water that collects in the saucers so that the plants don’t have “wet feet”. Houseplants also like humidity. And in the winter, it can be too dry indoors with the furnace running. Some plants I keep on a tray of pebbles that are kept moist to provide some humidity. But for some of the larger plants and hanging baskets, I mist with a spray bottle.