Do You Make These Indoor Plant Care Mistakes?

Many indoor plants require very little attention to thrive, however sometimes a few small mistakes can cost you the life of a plant.  Each plant has its own specific care needs, but there are a few general rules that can be applied to most indoor plants. Avoid the following five mistakes and your plants will thrive in their indoor environment.

Pothos Office Plant

A Healthy Pothos Plant


Overwatering is one of the most common mistakes in indoor plant care. Most plants do not like to stay soggy. If the soil remains constantly wet, the roots will rot and the damage will be irreversible. A good soaking once a week is sufficient for many indoor plants. Make sure the potting soil allows the water to run through the container and drain out the bottom instead of forming a puddle at the top of the container.

Plants recover much easier from not getting enough water than getting too much. Err on the side of letting your plant get too dry. If the leaves become shriveled or wilted you will know you should add some more water.

Letting Dust Accumulate

Just like any other surface indoors, plant leaves collect dust. The dust can inhibit healthy photosynthesis for the plant. This will make the plant more susceptible to disease and pests. Dust is also unsightly and can cause problems for people who suffer from allergies. Depending on the plant, you can use a simple feather duster to remove dust, rinse it under a light stream of water, or use a dust removal and leaf shine product.

Make sure you check the plant regularly for any build up and remove dust promptly to keep your plants healthy.

Inappropriate Potting Medium

Be informed about the correct potting medium for your plant. Some plants require plenty of organic material and other plants require very porous, well draining mixes. You can mix your own potting medium, but make sure all of the components are sterile. Using plain garden dirt can introduce damaging fungus, disease or pests to your indoor plants.

Too Much Light

Many people assume that all plants love bright light. However, many indoor plants are native to tropical forest floors. They are adapted to thrive in dappled shade. These plants will scorch if placed in a window that is exposed to bright, direct sunlight all day.

On the other hand, many indoor spaces such as office cubicles have no exposure to natural light. If you want to maintain a healthy plant in these spaces, make sure it is a species that will thrive in very low light conditions.

Low Humidity

Many tropical plants make excellent indoor plants. They prefer low light conditions and a constant moderate temperature. Unfortunately, many tropical environments are very humid. These plants require much higher humidity to thrive than is typically found in climate controlled buildings.

To raise the humidity around the plant, place a tray filled with small pebbles and a few inches of water underneath the plant. Make sure the container is not sitting directly in the water. You do not want the potting medium to soak up the water. The water in the tray will evaporate and raise the humidity directly around the plant.

Working With Your Plants

These are a few common plant care mistakes that can be avoided.  There are always exceptions to the rules, so make sure you know each individual plant’s needs. Taking a few preventative measures such as choosing the right location and potting medium will help your indoor plants will thrive. How have you learned from your plant care mistakes?


Image: Joshua Kulpa


“Dust a Plant’s Ultimate Nemesis.”  Houseplant Care Guides. <>

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