Keep houseplants looking their best

Your houseplants are depending on you for two of their basic needs – food and water – in order to stay healthy and maintain an attractive appearance.


A good rule of thumb is to keep the soil in your houseplants’ pots moist. You don’t want the soil to dry out completely, but remember that overwatering is the leading cause of houseplant failure. Water thoroughly with room–temperature water, pouring on enough so that some seeps into the saucer or tray below the pot. (Plants should be potted in containers with drainage holes in the bottom!) An hour or so later, discard the water left in the saucer.

Rather than automatically watering on a set schedule, check your houseplants for dryness once a week, looking for these signs that watering is needed:

  • Lack of growth
  • Droopiness
  • Leaf drop
  • Dryness in soil 1/2 inch below the surface

If you are away from home a lot or might forget to water your houseplants occasionally, consider potting them in a moisture-retaining medium. This mixture will help protect plants against the effects of under and over watering.


You should feed your houseplants regularly through the fall, then sparingly during the dormant winter months. It’s easy to provide the nutrients houseplants need by adding  liquid all purpose houseplant food to your watering can when you water your plants. It’s even easier to place  indoor plant food in the soil, providing two months of continuous feeding.

As you can see, there is not a lot of work required to keep your houseplants happy. The key is to simply provide the care they need on a regular basis.