House plants – 4 golden rules to keep house plants healthy and happy

Royal Horticultural Society on 'hard to kill' houseplants

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House plants are a great way not only to beautify your home but purify the air around you as well. Greenery in the home has also been proven to boost people’s moods as well as brighten up indoor spaces. Indoor plants have become increasingly popular in recent years, particularly for city dwellers who find less time and space to tend to a back garden. Many house plants, such as Brazilian calatheas, are tropical plants, meaning caring can vary.

House plants essentially do the opposite of human actions – release oxygen and absorb carbon dioxide.

This not only freshens up the air but removes and eliminates harmful toxins.

Extensive research conducted by NASA has revealed house plants can remove up to 87 percent of air toxins in just 24 hours.

Studies have also shown that indoor plants improve concentration and productivity by up to 15 percent, reduce stress levels and boost your mood – making them ideal for your home office as well.


Lighting is an essential part of indoor houseplant care, and in order to provide the right amount for your plants, make sure to check the tag on the plant when you buy it.

Generally, houseplants need either high, medium or low light.

Beyond this, houseplants need either high, medium or low light, while some need bright or indirect light.

Bright or indirect light is light that comes from a door or window – the bright light will come from a south-facing window.


When growing and maintaining house plants, water is essential.

The general rule of thumb is that you should only water a houseplant if the top of the soil feels dry.

Watering this way is correct for the vast majority of indoor house plants.

However, a few varieties, including succulents and cacti, only need to be watered when the soil is completely dry and a few others may need to be kept constantly moist.

To check if the plant really does need watering, stick a finger in to about knuckle depth and assess the moisture of the soil.

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Houseplant fertiliser is essential for house plants, which can be fertilised one of two ways.

The first is through water, the other is through slow-release fertiliser.

Whichever you choose for growing house plants is completely your decision as both work equally well.

If you’d rather opt for a slow-release fertiliser, add it to the soil once every two to three months or so.


Since most houseplants are actually tropical plants, they cannot tolerate cold temperatures.

The care for tropical houseplants requires that the houseplants be kept in rooms that are between 18 to 21C.

These are the temperatures most houseplants prefer, but if needed, some plants can tolerate temperatures as low as 13C – but they won’t thrive this low for too long.

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