How to Create a Tropical Paradise Indoors

Here is the recipe to fully planting your indoor environment:

  • One 8” or 10” (container size) Plant per 100 square feet
  • One Small 4” or 6” (container size) plant in your personal breathing zone (6-8 cubic feet), for example, on your desk or night stand
  • 15-20 plants for 1500 sq. feet

To successfully grow house plants, there are three things to consider:

Light

Duration, quality and intensity all play a role in the affect is has on a plant. Plants that can sustain themselves in low-light will thrive where little to no natural light is available are ideal for offices and rooms with only north-facing windows. However, plants that need bright light generally require south or west window locations and still may need a supplemental light source such as a grow lamp to prevent them from dropping leaves and becoming spindly. Fluorescent lights and grow lights are good options when additional light is necessary. Turning your plants regularly to face the light source helps the plants maintain a uniform growth habit.

Temperature and Humidity

Although most houseplants are tropical, nearly all can happily survive in temperatures ranging between 60-75 degrees Fahrenheit. They do, however, prefer more humidity than we usually have in our homes throughout winter. If possible, set up a nearby humidifier or place them in groups on saucers or trays filled with pebbles and water. As the water evaporates, it provides higher humidity in the surrounding area. Misting plants with distilled water also helps. Keeping your thermostat at a lower temperature not only helps your heating bill, but also extend the bloom time on flowering plants.

Water

It’s important to learn the individual watering requirements of each plant. Over, under and inconsistent watering patterns are the greatest cause of house plant stress as they are more susceptible to suffer from disease and insect problems. Soil moisture tools are useful in monitoring the proper time to water; however, testing with your index finger works fine as well. Test the soil about 1-1/2 down. If the soil feels dry, it’s time to water. If it feels moist, then it’s best to wait. Choose planters and pots with drain holes and water until it runs out the bottom. After 20-30 minutes, if water remains in the saucer, dump it out as most plants do not like sitting in standing water. Tepid or slightly warm water is recommended. Distilled or filtered water is best as many plants (particularly Dracaena varieties) respond poorly to the chlorine and fluoride found in most. Unfiltered tap and soften water can leave a residue of salts and minerals on top of the soil and on the walls of the pots as it evaporates. Once you develop a pattern, try to be consistent. The plants will adapt to the pattern. Remember, it is better to water less than more.

 

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