There’s no denying it. Indoor gardening is one of the hottest trends right now.
With new cultivars seemingly emerging each day, there’s also never been a better time than now to grow your collection.
One of the hobby’s greatest selling points is the low-maintenance nature of popular varieties like mother-in-law’s tongue and aloe vera. But, in reality, caring for any plant requires perseverance and hard work.
So what if a few simple steps could replace this trial-and-error and help ensure your plants live up to their full potential? Keep reading to learn our top tips for keeping your indoor plants happy and healthy.
Tip #1: Buy a set of LED grow lights
Are your Pothos’ leaves yellow and droopy? Is your Jade growing long, spindly stems? Has it been months since your Anthurium’s last bloom?
These are just a few signs your houseplants are getting too little sunlight.
Most indoor gardeners struggle to provide enough natural light for their plants’ needs. Even rooms with large windows won’t deliver direct light more than a few feet past the glass.
And, of course, traditional light bulbs don’t deliver the same powerful energy as the sun’s natural rays.
To grow big and beautiful plants, you’ll need a mix of red and blue light. While incandescent and halogen light bulbs (like those you might find in a lamp or home light fixture) produce some red- and blue-light wavelengths, they aren’t powerful enough to support photosynthesis, germination, blooming, and other key plant processes.
Luckily, there is a quick, affordable, and hassle-free solution to this all-too-common problem.
Unlike other artificial light sources, LED grow lights mimic the sun’s natural red- and blue-light wavelengths. This means you can grow happy, healthy plants anywhere in your home or office — not just where you have bright windows.
Some LED grow lights, like the Saber DUO or Saber TRIO, are small and lightweight enough to clip onto an existing table, desk, or counter. Others, like the Gaze 10” by 10” system, provide enough beneficial light to support several houseplants at once.
Whichever LED lighting solution you choose, your plants are sure to enjoy the benefits of this artificial light source.
Tip #2: Maintain a watering schedule
Like us, plants need water to survive. (Yes, this also applies to cacti and succulents!) If too little sunlight isn’t the cause of sick or sad-looking foliage, your watering habits are another likely culprit.
Most houseplants should be watered only when the soil is dry to the touch. For some, this could be every day. For others, it could be only once or twice per month.
You see, despite what you might have heard, overwatering can be more harmful than underwatering. Watering too often can lead to root rot, wilting, and discoloration. Overwatering can also wash away oxygen molecules and key nutrients in your plants’ soil, leading to malnutrition.
Speaking of vitamins and minerals, don’t forget to fertilize your houseplants as needed. Over time, even the best potting soil will run out of the essential nutrients plants crave.
Before revamping your watering schedule, it’s also important to check the quality of your plants’ containers. If any of your pots or planters lack drainage holes, consider switching containers (or drilling holes in the existing pot) as soon as possible. This simple step can help prevent overwatering before it ever occurs.
Tip #3: Put a stop to nasty pests
Houseplants are an excellent way to add a touch of nature to your home, apartment, dorm, or office. Be careful, though, or you may bring in more than you bargained for!
Just like outdoor gardens, houseplants offer the perfect environment for insects and other pests to feed, reproduce, and wreak havoc. These pests are generally harmless to you and your home, but even the smallest infestation can irreparably damage your favorite plants.
Specific pests can vary with your geographical location and the time of year. Still, here are some of the most common pests to watch for in your indoor garden:
- Spider mites
If you suspect your houseplants are home to one or more of these creatures (or just want to prevent future infestations), here’s what to do:
Isolate infested planters
Insects can quickly spread from a single planter to your entire collection. If you notice signs of a pest infestation on one or more plants, isolate them immediately.
Unfortunately, many pests go through different life stages, some of which can be very hard to spot with the naked eye. Even after removing the affected plants, be sure to check up on your other containers for new signs of pest activity.
Use natural insecticides
Once plant-loving pests have made themselves at home, kicking them to the curb is no easy feat. Luckily, there are plenty of all-natural, safe ways to get rid of unwanted invaders living in your pots and planters.
Regular old dish soap is one of the most effective tools against common pests. Mixed with water, it can be used to treat foliage, blooms, and even wash away eggs and larvae living in your plants’ soil.
Other popular solutions include neem oil, garlic, beer, and countless other household goods. Keep in mind that some natural insecticides may work better against specific types of pests than others.
Keep windows closed and always inspect new plants
Without a doubt, preventing pests from getting into your home in the first place is the best way to fight infestations. Keeping windows and doors closed during warmer seasons can stop insects in their tracks.
When adding new plants to your collection, carefully check the foliage and soil for signs of insect damage or activity. Even healthy-looking plants can harbor unwanted guests.
Tip #4: Beware of fluctuating temps
We already know sunlight plays a major role in plant health. But have you ever thought about how temperature affects your indoor plants?
Just like outdoor plants are susceptible to frost and heat exposure, cold drafts, radiators, and air vents can all impact your houseplants’ health and appearance.
Radiators and hot air registers can cause nearby houseplants to overheat. Along with too-high temperatures, the dry air coming from these elements can suck moisture from your plants’ leaves and soil.
Temperature control is also a frequent problem for plants placed on windowsills. While windowsills offer natural light, the ambient temperature can fluctuate dangerously during the winter months — using LED lights can eliminate this problem by replicating natural sunlight anywhere in your home.
Grow the Best Houseplants of Your Life
Getting the most from your houseplants can often feel overwhelming, but by following a few simple steps you can help provide the ideal growing environment for even the most stubborn plant species.
Since sunlight is so crucial to proper plant growth and development, LED grow lights are one of the best investments you can make for your indoor garden. By installing a set of LED lights, you can help guarantee your plants are getting the right amount and type of light each day.
Of course, if you want to see optimum results, it’s important to maintain a regular watering schedule, protect your plants against harmful pests, and monitor surrounding air temperatures. But nothing can replace the power of natural sunlight (except a set of LED grow lights!).
Looking to improve plant health, increase bloom production, and make your indoor garden setup more versatile than ever? Be sure to check out our collection of Brite Labs LED grow lights for energy-efficient growing power that easily goes wherever you need it most.