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How to Care for Your House Plants

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There is a secret to caring for house plants


Once you learn this secret, you will rarely ever kill a house plant again. And, everyone will think that you have a green thumb!


This first thing that you have to know is that the majority of house plant problems come from over or under watering. And usually people over water their house plants. This leads to root rot - and eventually death.


If you learn how to water your house plants correctly, then you will be well on your way to becoming a house plant expert.


The secret is this: You have to let the soil dry out a little between waterings. The roots need alternating periods of water and air. This is what happens in nature. It rains, dries out, and then it rains again. So, when you water your house plants, you are simulating what occurs in nature. Be careful. If it dries out too much the plant will begin to wilt and it may not recover.


So, the first thing that you should ask yourself is "Does this house plant need water?". You can't just simply water your plants on a certain day of the week and hope for the best! Some plants will need more or less frequent watering than others depending on the soil and location in your home.


There are three ways to tell if a house plant needs water.

1. Feel the Weight of the Container

For smaller house plants you can tell if a plant needs water by the weight of the plant. After you water a house plant, lift up the container. You will feel how heavy it is. As the water starts to dry out, the container will get lighter and lighter. Once it is about half as heavy as it was when you first watered it, then it will be time to water it again.


Take note of how many days it took between the initial watering and the second one. This will give you a rough idea of many days the plant can go between waterings.


This method also works well for hanging baskets. You can just stand underneath the basket and push up on it to get a feel for the weight of it. If it is heavy, don't water it. If it is light, then it is time to water.

2. Feel the Soil in the Container

Poke your finger into the top inch of soil. Is it moist? If so, wait a couple of days and check it again. Once you can poke your finger into the soil and it feels dry, then it will be time to water again.

3. Water Your House Plants by Sight

This method takes some practice. But, if you can master this, then you can walk into any ones home and tell if their house plants need water just by looking at them. Then you can say to them, "That plant needs to be watered.". The first thing they will say is, "How the heck do you know that?"!


One way to do this is to look at the leaves of the plant. Are they beginning to wilt? The leaves of a recently watered plant will be firm and upright. A house plant that needs water will have droopy leaves. Also, some plant leaves will change color when they need water. The leaves will turn from bright green to a pale green. This pale green color signals that it is time to water.


You can also tell if a plant needs water by looking at the soil. A recently watered plant will have black soil. A dry plant will have brown soil and it will often times look "crusty". Usually, when the soil is brown, the plant needs water.


Here is a short two minute video with some other tips on caring for your house plants:




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