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OSU Extension

College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences

December 21, 2022 - 9:00am --

Houseplants are a great addition to any home! A lot of people enjoy having plants in their homes but are always worried about how to take care of them. There are a lot of plants that are low maintenance, easy to take care of, then there are the more sensitive varieties. Indoor plants have been shown to have many benefits such as booting moods, improving productivity, concentration, and creativity, reducing stress and fatigue. They are even capable of cleaning the air by absorbing toxins, producing oxygen, and increasing humidity. In this article I will be sharing all my tips and tricks on how to successfully care for houseplants.

Avoid overwatering your plants. Some may think you need to be watering everyday but that is incorrect. You should only be watering your plants 1-2 times a week depending on the variety and how much sunlight it is getting. Some plants like the Dracaena trifasciata also known as the snake plant or mother-in-law tongue only need watered maybe once a month. They are very low maintenance and do not require much sunlight. Succulents like bright light and enjoy being dry so watering for them can happen less frequently (2-3 times a month). It always important to check the soil moisture before watering because if it is still damp it could wait a few more days before you water. Plants also like to dry completely out between waterings so that is something to keep in mind. Overwatering is one of the most common reasons why we lose our precious plants.

Often people forget how important it is to fertilize your indoor plants. Fertilizing your indoor plants helps keep them healthy and providing them extra nutrients that they need. Remember to always follow the fertilizer label directions. Too much fertilizer can kill the plant or shock it that the leaves fall off. There are many types of fertilizer that you can use on your plants: liquid, sticks, tablets and granular. Liquid fertilizer is diluted in water before applying it to the plants. Granular can be sprinkled around the top base of the plant or mixed in with the potting soil after repotting the plant.  This will allow the fertilizer to slowly releases at different rates. Sticks are poked into the soil and slowly release when the plant is watered.  

A few things to consider looking at when buying a good fertilizer. Look at the percent of macronutrients those are nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium which are what plants need to grow. Nitrogen helps foliage to grow, phosphorous makes blooms bigger and potassium helps create a strong root system. Micronutrients to look for include boron, magnesium, and manganese. Boron helps with plants to flower or grow fruit. Magnesium helps the leaves on the plant to stay green. Manganese helps the plants with photosynthesis, respiration, and nitrogen.

                Growing plants indoors is a lot of fun but can be challenging at times. When you know the signs of deficiencies it is better when you catch them early so you can get it treated and hopefully save your plant. Remember plants like to dry out between watering them, always check the soil before watering.  

Shelby Tedrow is an Agriculture & Natural Resources and 4-H Program Assistant with OSU Extension Wayne County. She can be reached at or 330-264-8722
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This article was previously published in The Daily Record