If you are new to live house plants, you may not have noticed the popularity of some of the tropical plants. Many thought for years that those tropical plants would not survive the dry hot atmosphere inside the house. Naturally some do better than others and you should look for thick leathery foliage, for placing in your home. Their ability to survive and to thrive is because the leaves are tough in texture and some are constructed so that minimum amount of moisture loss is slowed down. The Christmas Cactus is a typical example.
On the other hand plants like the maidenhair fern have thin leaves allowing for quick evaporation and do not fair well in dry hot rooms. However, you could hang a Maidenhead Fern in a bathroom where steam form the shower or bath would help it retain its moisture. If you added moisture to any other of your rooms, say with a humidifier, it may be detrimental to your furnishings or art work.
There are steps to take when decorating with house plants. Try to buy your plants after the need for heat is over. This will give the plant time to get use to the atmosphere with plenty of fresh air, and allow the foliage to harden while preparing the plant for the unfavorable conditions of heated rooms. It is always important to keep the leaves free of dust so as not to clog their pores.
Watering is always a delicate balance. Rule of thumb is that a plant in active growth will always need more water that those that are dormant. During the growing season, April to October, plants will use more water then in other times of the year. To be really safe buy an inexpensive water meter from your Nursery Garden Supply store. Generally, potted plants should be watered when moderately dry. Be sure to give a good soak right down to the drainage hole. A few sprinkles of water a few times a week will do nothing for the feeding roots that are situated at the bottom of the pot.
There is a tip for checking if the plant is dry at the bottom. Tap the plant half way down the pot with your knuckles, if a hallow sound is heard it needs water. If you heard a dull noise, it does not require water. Always water the plant with water that is at room temperature so as not to shock the roots. One sure sign that the plant is over watered is sickly yellow leaves. Stop watering immediately. Use a pointed stick to aerate the soil around the plant and do not water again until the soil is quite dry.
Inspect your plants daily since some pots retain water while others do not. If using unglazed pots do not place them directly on a table or you will get damage from water seepage.
You must feed the plants to keep them healthy and happy. Plants that are well rooted and thriving need more feeding. Be diligent from May to August. Use a fertilizer like Miracle Grow for easy nourishment.
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