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No Green Thumb? Tips For Houseplants

A Decorative Display

Try Arranging Small Pots Of Houseplants In Groups For A Decorative Display

Source: Better Homes & Gardens House Plants Vintage Insert (unless otherwise noted)

Using Tap Water

Did you know using water straight from the tap is fine to use for most plants but there are benefits to letting it stand awhile before using?

Tap Water Is Fine...Just Let It Stand Awhile First

Watering With Tap Water Is Fine...Just Let It Stand Awhile First

If you let it sit for at least 24 hours before using, it will allow the chlorine and fluoride normally found in municipal water to dissipate first.

Many houseplants handle tap water just fine but some are more sensitive, one sign of a problem is if you find the leaf tips have turned brown (especially for long, thin leaved plants like a spider plant [5]), this can be a result of using tap water that hasn’t been allowed to sit first. If you water directly from the tap, the chlorine can cause harm to overall growth.

Another benefit to letting it sit for 24 hours: it will be close to room temperature when you use it. Water that is too warm or cold can shock the plant and affect its health so by letting it sit awhile first, the temperature will be just right.

If you have a water filter installed, you won’t need to worry about giving the water time to sit since it will be filtered right from the tap. You can also use bottled distilled water on sensitive plants to avoid problems.

Moving Them Outdoors

Most houseplants love to go outdoors for a vacation in the summer. When the weather has settled down and the nights stay warm is the time to put them out. Look them over first to see if any need to be repotted in larger pots. Don’t plant them right into the soil–they might grow so big you will ruin them trying to pot them again in the fall, or if you succeed, it will be too large for its place in the house. Such things as calla lilies, caladiums and tuberous begonias that grow from a bulb or tuber may be taken from the pot and planted in the ground, for they can always be dug and stored in the fall.

Ferns Enjoy The Outdoors

Fern Houseplant Enjoying The Outdoors

If any need pruning to give them a better shape, do that too before putting them outside. Look them over for insects, and spray if necessary. Lay the pots on sides and do a through job of spraying the underneath sides of the leaves.

Find each a good location that suits its needs. Those that stood away from the sun in the house should be put in shade outdoors–ferns, begonias, sansevierias, philodendrons, ivy, dieffenbachia, caladium, rubber plants, nephthytis, patience plant, peperomia, baby’s tears, spider plant [5], aspidistra, Christmas cactus [6] and orchid cactus, hoya, hydrangea [7], bromeliads, kalanchoe. Those that enjoyed considerable sun indoors should have it outdoors too–the geraniums [8], coleus, shrimp plant, cacti and succulents [9], poinsettia [10], crown of thorns.

Remember that outdoor light is many times brighter than indoor light. It is well to protect houseplants from this sudden increase of light, especially those that are put in the sun. Cheesecloth draped over them for a few days will accomplish the purpose. Protect from wind by putting them in the lee of a building, hedge or wall, or staking them securely.

Most gardeners like to “plunge” their potted plants–that is, they sink them pot and all in soil up to the rim. This method keeps the roots cooler and moister than if pots stayed on top of the ground. To prevent roots from growing through the drain hole and penetrating the soil, put a drainage layer of 2 to 3 inches of gravel or cinders under each pot. Turn the pot in its hole every few weeks, as a further reminder to the roots to stay where they belong. Don’t bury the rim of pot below ground level or roots will go out over the top.

Cover With Cheesecloth

Cover With Cheesecloth When First Introducing Them Outside

Planting In The Ground

Planting In The Ground

Water occasionally during dry spells, and keep a close watch for insect pests, just as you would if they were in the house.

Source: The Workbasket (June, 1954)