Basic Plant Care
Plants can be a great way to spice up your home or office and add a little bit of Mother Nature’s touch to your living and workspace! Along with providing cleaner air, studies have shown that adding a little greenery to your surroundings can help put you in a good mood. Market Blooms offers many plants which are well suited for home or office life! Most traditional houseplants are adapted to live under the tree canopy of the rainforest jungles. For this reason, most do not need direct sunlight, but do need bright, natural light to grow and thrive. Choosing the right plant for your environment can help to ensure your success.
The Big Two- Light and Water
Nearly all plants can survive with the proper levels of light and watering. In order to thrive they will require proper potting along with adequate nutrients and humidity. If you are having a problem with your plant, in nearly all cases, something is wrong with your light or watering situation.
First the light! Many people confuse bright light and sunlight, thinking that their houseplants need sunlight in order to survive. In fact, most houseplants prefer little to no direct sunlight. Obviously there are many plants like aloe, cacti, crotons, ficus and lots more that do like some sun. Most plants like bright areas, usually very close to windows, but just back from the direct rays of the sun. As you move away from a window, the light intensity falls off very quickly. Unless your windows are very large or flooded with sunlight, you'll want to keep your plants fairly close to them. Many people want to brighten up dark corners of their rooms with plants, and then think they have a "brown thumb" when their new plant quickly dies. If you must have a plant in a dark spot, choose carefully and be sure not to overwater. Plants growing under very low lighting conditions usually require less water.
Speaking of Water!- Proper watering is often the most difficult element of plant care. While everyone wants to know how often they should water their plants, we can't give you a simple answer to that question. Speaking very, very generally, plants should be allowed to just barely dry on the surface of the soil between waterings. If your plant is in a properly sized pot, with drainage and not in extreme light or temperature conditions, this should be about once every five to seven days. Remember, this is a very general rule and many plants will vary widely from this watering schedule. If you pay close attention to how your plant looks after watering, you will often be able to detect small signs that will help you know when it will need to be watered again. A properly watered plant should look full and well hydrated. It shouldn't have dry brown edges on its leaves and it shouldn't be limp or wilted looking. If you aren't sure, wait a day and see if the plant is looking more thirsty. Most plants with some exceptions, can handle underwatering better that overwatering.
Repotting and Nutrients- In order for plants to thrive and grow they need fresh nutrient rich soil around their roots and a pot that drains properly and has adequate room for the plant to grow. A properly potted plant that is growing well is likely to need to be repotted every one to two years. See our Repotting Care Sheet for more detailed advice and guidelines. Plants can live a long time with little to no added nutrients in their water or soil. But, if you want them to thrive, they will need food during their growth season. Most plants should be feed regularly from early spring through fall, then "rested" during the winter months. Whether you choose organic fertilizers and soil amendments or traditional chemical brands like Miracle Grow, Market Blooms has a wide selection for all of your plants.
We love this great step-by-step questionnaire diagnosing diseases and pests, as well as organic and chemical treatments and prevention options! Not just for houseplants, but for outdoor plants as well: http://www.bbc.co.uk/gardening/advice/pests_and_diseases/