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Houseplant care is the act of growing houseplants and ensuring they have the necessary conditions for survival and continuing growth. This includes providing soil with sufficient nutrients, correct lighting conditions, air circulation and adding the right amount of water.
Watering houseplants on a regular basis is necessary for the plant to remain healthy and thrive. They should not, however, be watered on a scheduled basis, because different plant species need different amounts of water and sunlight so it is important to know the specifics for the particular plants that are being grown.
Houseplants sometimes also need to be cleaned of dust and greasy films that collect on the leaves when they are indoors. Dusty, grimy leaves can inhibit growth.
Data for some common houseplants
The meaning of Low-Medium-High depends on the context. For example, in orchid literature 1,500 foot-candle is referred to as Low Light.
Most plants will survive illuminance 10 times lower than listed below but will not grow as well or bloom.
- Low (500–2,500 lux; 50–250 foot-candles)
- Medium (2,500–10,000 lux; 250–1,000 foot-candles)
- High (10,000–20,000 lux; 1,000–2,000 foot-candles)
- Very High (20,000–50,000 lux; 2,000–5,000 foot-candles)
Most plants grown as houseplants are selected because they are already adapted to growing at typical house temperatures, between 15° and 25°C. Exceptions do occur, and some plants require chilling periods at lower temperatures (down to 5° or 10°) in winter when less light is available.
Air circulation requirements
Since almost all of the air circulation (transpiration) happens in the roots as does almost all of the energy production, the roots must be able to breathe easily. Overwatering will drown a typical houseplant. The air is pulled through the soil by the breathing of the roots. Air must be able to flow through the soil.
The amount of water a particular houseplant needs is influenced by several factors. Not only is the individual plant size and species important, but also the growing conditions. Light, temperature, humidity, container type, container size, and soil type all influence the speed of growth and therefore the amount of water needed. Further, it is best to look up individual plant types for their watering needs.
Houseplants in a controlled production greenhouse are kept in an ideal conditions for rapid growth. Some plants and production flowers are even hybridized for fast growth characteristics. Nutritional needs of a plant in a production green house are greater than in a typical personal house plant environment where humidity, light, irrigation, and air circulation are not ideal. After being removed from the production greenhouse the plant slows evapotranspiration. Likewise after being brought into a typical household the watering and nutritional requirements decline, the plants growth rate declines and the nutritional needs decline. Plants use most of the carbon that they release from CO2 to create energy but some of the carbon feeds plant growth. Far less plant food comes from the soil.