Deprived of the ability to tend to your plants outside during the winter? Turn your focus to inside the home and keep your house plants healthy and thriving by remembering these tips for indoor gardening.

Sunshine

The instruction tags that come with your house plants can be a little vague, so let’s set the record straight and clarify these directives.

“Direct sunlight” means to give your plant six hours or more of bright, direct sunshine each day. With “moderate light,” the amount of direct sunlight can be cut down to about 4 hours. “Indirect light” indicates that the plant should be kept away from direct sunlight, and requires only ambient light. Lastly, “low light” means the plant should avoid any direct light and requires only a little bit of ambient light.

Keep in mind that north-facing windows don’t receive much light, while southern windows tend to be sunny for most of the day.

Water

The amount of water your plants need varies from house to house, because heat and sunlight play a factor and are present in varying degrees in different homes. This is why the best way to determine how much water your plant needs is to touch the soil with your finger.

If the plant requires “steady water,” then you should water whenever the surface soil is dry to the touch. If the instructions say “water moderately,” only add water when the top inch or so of soil is dry to the touch. Important to note is that one of the most common causes of houseplant death is over-watering.

Potting

Selecting a pot of appropriate size and material is paramount for your indoor gardening efforts. A pot that is too big will have too much soil, which will hold too much water, potentially rotting your plant’s roots. As far as materials, terracotta is durable and time-tested and also contains resin and fiberglass which hold moisture longer. This can be particularly helpful if you tend to forget about watering your plant.

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