Indoor Houseplants

If you arrived to this page indoor houseplants after reading my book "Growing Houseplants for The Beginner Enthusiast," then you need not read any further. Just click on best indoor plants for your home to see color images of houseplants I discussed in the book.

However, if you arrived to my website while surfing the internet, please read on.

Because I have covered in detail indoor houseplants in my book, it would be redundant to repeat my book page by page in this article. Therefore, if you are only interested in a glimpse of indoor houseplants and what you should do to keep your plants healthy and vibrant, please continue reading this article. 


Sunlight

Direct Light

A window sill flooded with full sun for most of the day and a plant located within 2ft. (half a meter) of the facing window.



Indirect Bright Light (also called medium light)

Any place where the sun shines into the room for most of the day and where the plant is located approximately 3 to 5ft. (1 to 1.5 meters) from the window.



Indirect Low Light (partially shaded)

The plant receives two hours or less of sunlight and is located five feet (1.5 meters) or more away from a window.



Shady Location

For indoor houseplants that require lots of shade. The plant can be located six feet (2 meters) or more away from a window, and is usually located in a corner, hallway, or near a staircase.


Sunlight Changes

Unfortunately, sunlight is not consistent year in and year out. The amount and intensity of sunlight your plants receive is influenced by light duration, the angle of sun


through a window, time of year, what direction your windows are facing, and any light obstruction such as trees, buildings, blinds, curtains, etc.


During summer months, an eastern window receives the most light beginning at sunrise and continuing to noon. As an added bonus, because of the sharp angle of the sun, this side of your house is much cooler and there is less plant evaporation.

During winter months, a southern window exposure provides the best lighting condition for indoor houseplants. The sun is low in the sky during this time of the year and it will shine into your room for most of the day.

A west facing exposure is somewhat similar to a south facing window, but doesn't have as many hours of sunlight entering your home. Sunlight begins to reach this window in late afternoon and remains until dusk. A west facing window is more suitable for plants that don't require as much light as those from a southern window.

A north facing window receives the least light. Consider using this location for indoor houseplants that require indirect low light, mostly plants that prefer a shady exposure.













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Salt Contamination


When it comes to houseplant care, I cannot say it any clearer than this. Indoor houseplants do not like salt! And, it is probably something you would never think about when tending them. Your plants get soluble salt from fertilizer, but mostly from the water you use when you water your plants. Depending on where you live, some areas of the country have more soluble salt in drinking water than other areas of the country. Yes, even well water is contaminated due to salt leaching from the soil.

The first indication of a salt build-up in the plants soil is usually a white powdery film on the soil surface, or you might notice a white crust on the pot rim or around the pot drainage holes.

Over time, salt build-up can lead to root damage and quite possibly be absorbed into the plants stem causing stunted growth. Or, you may see leaves turning brown and crusty at the edge, and finally there will be a general wilting of the plant.

Indoor houseplant Insects

  • Although there are many insects that just love to make your indoor houseplants home, I will deal with the most common your plants may encounter. If you get a grip on these five culprits you're well on the way to ensure your plants have a happy home environment.

  • Aphid

    A soft bodied insect, aphids may come in different colors of white, green, yellow, or black. They reproduce quickly and can infest a plant in a few days. This little culprit can cause yellow and distorted leaves, and leave behind a honeydew substance secreted by the insect that is usually attached on new plant growth.

  • Spider Mite

    For such a little critter, they can sure do a lot of damage to indoor houseplants. This insect pest is smaller than a pinhead but they can wreak havoc to your plants. They feed by sucking juices from the underside of leaves causing them to turn yellow with a silver sheen and eventually the leaf will fall off. An indication of heavy spider mite infestation is webbing they leave behind and is likely the most detectible clue of their presence.

  • Mealybug

    Unlike spider mites, these critters are easy to see. They are small cotton like insects that inhabit the underside of plant leaves or stems, and like the aphid, they also secret a honeydew waste product. This sticky layer will also cause a fungus called sooty mold to develop on the plants leaf. Mealybugs like most insect pests are hard to control if they get out of hand.

  • White fly

    As the name says, these tiny insects look like white flies and flutter around any infested plant that you happen to brush against. Like other plant pests we discussed, they feed on the underside of leaves and yes, produce honeydew. Plant growth is stunted and leaves cup up, appear dry, or turn yellow and die.

  • Scale

    As unsightly as scale may appear, they are probably the least damaging insect pest to your indoor houseplants. This pest has a shell like covering for protection and is usually found on plant stems or the underside or top surface of leaves.


Plant Disease

Fortunately for your plants, there are only a few diseases we as plant owners need to look for. Yes, I know there are a few more diseases lurking about I will not mention, but from my own experience, they are a rarity for the average houseplant.


  • Gray Mold

    Gray mold is a fungal disease and no part of your plant is
    safe from its reach. In appearance, it looks like a fuzzy grey or white cotton spot and depending on your home environment conditions, it can spread quickly to all parts of your plant.

  • Leaf Spot

    Leaf spot is as the name implies a spot. It is clearly identifiable and can become quite large usually in an oblong shape. The color ranges from black, brown, or yellow, and when the damage is severe, several spots may join together as one frequently killing the leaf.

    Leaf spot becomes a problem on indoor plants that are subject to high room temperature, high humidity, and poor air circulation.

  • Powdery Mildew

    This plant disease sounds more deadly than it really is. Powdery mildew is a fungal disease that doesn't really kill plants but greatly weakens them. This encourages other diseases that could be life threatening to take hold and spread throughout your plant. 

  • Root Rot

    It is probably the most common houseplant care problem your plants may encounter, especially for beginner plant owners. Remember near the beginning of this book we mentioned beginner plant owners having a habit of over watering their plants and they couldn't figure out why their plants kept dying. That brings us to root rot and unfortunately in most cases the demise of the plant.

    Even though a plant is subject to root rot fungus, it's over watering that is the most significant killer of plants.



Tip Sheet
Indoor Houseplants

A Summary of Important Things to Remember


Here are a few tips but not all from the tip sheet section of my book.

You can get the complete list free near the bottom of this page.

  • Indoor houseplants requires a great deal of thought to lighting conditions, room temperature, humidity, the right amount of plant watering, proper nutrition, and fertile soil.

    Depending on the season of the year, the angle of the sun and the light intensity entering your home will change dramatically.

    Rainy days may produce twenty times less brightness than a sunny day requiring you to move your plants closer to the window.

    If the light coming in your window is reduced by buildings, trees, curtains, or blinds, install a grow lamp near your plants.(Read Chapter 2).

  • Direct Light

    A window-sill flooded with full sun for most of the day and a plant located within 2ft. (half a meter) of the facing window. (Read Chapter 2).

  • Indirect Bright Light (also called medium light)

    Any place where the sun shines into the room for most of the day and where the plant is located approximately 3 to 5ft. (1 to 1.5 meters) from the window. (Read Chapter 2).

  • Indirect Low Light (partially shaded)

    Plant receives two hours or less of sunlight and is located 5ft.(1.5 meters) or more away from a window.(Read Chapter 2).


I hope you enjoyed this rather brief article on indoor houseplants.

If you would like more information on what to do to keep your plants healthy, my book Indoor Houseplants will give you all the information beginner houseplant owners need to know to keep their  houseplants healthy and vibrant.

You will also find a section in the

book on poisonous plants for adults and children, as well as poisonous plants for cats and dogs.

If you would like a complete copy of the Indoor Houseplants Tip Sheet, fill in the form below, and I'll send you a free copy to your e-mail box.

As a bonus, I will send you an update each time I post an article on outdoor gardening or indoor plants.

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Thanks ever so much for taking the time to read this article.

To read more about houseplant identification and see houseplant pictures, this indoor plants link will take you there.



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