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7 mistakes you're making with your houseplants

The House Beautiful team
Photo credit: LightFieldStudios - Getty Images

From House Beautiful

Houseplants give us all a natural health boost by breathing life into our home. Whilst adding an air of natural zen, they also reduce stress by contributing to lower blood pressure, prevent allergies, stop headaches, help sleep and more. To keep your houseplants happy and healthy follow these expert tips.

1. BUYING BLIND

Houseplants that are labelled in store as 'Green Foliage Plant' have no chance of surviving. Attempting to grow a plant without a name or care instructions is like trying to bake a cake without a recipe. Know your plant, follow the instructions and there's hope for even the least green-fingered of us.

2. STUFFING THEM IN A CORNER AND HOPING FOR THE BEST

It's not just about knowing your plant, think about your home too. There are all sorts of different environments in your house, from a shady but steamy bathroom to a sunny windowsill. Each one will offer the perfect home – but only to the right plant.

3. PUTTING THEM NEAR A RADIATOR

There isn't a single houseplant that would be happy above a radiator. However much you water it the relentless heat will dry it out and cause wilting.

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4. FORGETTING TO DUST THEM

This is something that's easily overlooked, but houses are dusty places and there's no rain to wash away dirt and keep the leaves clear enough to do their stuff. So give your houseplants a spritz or a wipe every week or so to keep them perky.

5. WATERING THEM EVERY DAY

Routines are great, but most houseplants have different needs at different times of year and most will have a dormant period during the winter. The common problem where people go wrong is either under or overwatering. Overwatering, especially when the plant isn't growing, is one of the biggest causes of a plant's demise. As a general rule for common houseplants, compost should be kept moist but not wet, but specialist plants like orchids, succulents and cacti will need completely different conditions. It is always recommended to check plant labels.

6. PLACING THEM IN DIRECT SUNLIGHT

Ideally, houseplants should be kept out of direct light. If you find that your indoor greens are still wilting even with regular watering, try rotating them every few days to avoid damage. Too little light will also stunt growth and damage plant health, so before choosing do some research into the different varieties available and how suitable they are for each room.

7. TRYING TO KEEP CERTAIN TYPES ALIVE

There are some plants that are designed to offer temporary colour to your house and then be discarded. They're often called florists' plants and include things such as potted azaleas, cyclamens, chrysanthemums and gerberas. It is technically possible to keep them alive and get them to flower again but it's like trying to recapture lost youth… an ultimately fruitless task.

AND IF IT'S WILTING...

To quickly revive a wilting plant that has been undernourished – which is often the case when returning from long holidays – place into a bucket of water or utility sink so that it is completely submerged. Allow to rest in the water for 30 minutes and then drain for another 30 minutes. Overwatered plants are usually droopy, if that is the case you are best to check the roots, drain and re-pot.

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