Plant Care

Expert Tips for Growing Healthy & Thriving Plants

African Violet

Bright, indirect light; no direct sunlight.

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Air Plant

Bright, indirect light in warm, humid conditions.

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Bright, indirect or filtered light and moist soil.

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Bright, indirect light; no direct sunlight.

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Bright, indirect light in the morning and shade in the afternoon.

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Bird's Nest Fern

Medium to bright, indirect light, maintain consistently moist but not wet soil.

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Bright, indirect light with frequent misting.

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Dish Garden

Bright, indirect sunlight away from cold drafts or direct heat.

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Bright, indirect light, thoroughly soak when soil has dried out.

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Full, direct sunlight on a balcony or sunny windowsill.

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Oncidium Orchid

Bright light, particularly in the morning, with water every 2-10 days.

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Peace Lily

Bright, indirect light, water thoroughly when top half of soil is dry.

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Lighting and watering instructions differ depending upon the time of year.

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Bright, indirect light to medium light, water thoroughly and allow to dry.

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Snake Plant

Bright, indirect light, water thoroughly and allow soil to dry out in between.

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ZZ Plant

Bright, indirect sunlight, water once every two weeks.

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Two different varieties of house plants soak in the sun from a bright windowsill

Where to Put Your Houseplant for Optimum Growth

Light is essential to plants -- it causes the reaction of photosynthesis to occur, which provides the plant with sugar (energy) so it can grow. Think of light as food for your plants; when they receive adequate amounts of light, they will grow. If they don't, they won't. Some plants can survive in low-lighting conditions but will not likely flourish and grow like others that receive more light. This doesn't mean you should give your plants as much direct sunlight as possible. Except for succulents, which prefer direct sun, most plants thrive when they receive bright, indirect light for at least 4-6 hours a day.

A single potted plant in a warm, diffused beam of sunlight

What Is Bright, Indirect Light?

Bright, indirect light is veiled (or dappled) light. It is sunlight that is either filtered through outside trees/leaves or a sheer curtain. A plant in this type of light receives little to no direct sun. The best time of day to determine the type of light your plant is getting is when the sun is at its highest point in the sky. Keep in mind that the sun's position (and strength of its rays) changes throughout the day based on the time and season. Also, morning light is softer and more gentle than afternoon light. Be mindful of the changing light throughout the year and move your plants accordingly.

The vines of a happy house plant climb the walls around a set of framed pictures

Signs Your Plant Is Getting Too Much or Not Enough Light

Refer to the instruction card that comes with your plant for guidance on the type of lighting condition it needs. Find a place in your home with the proper lighting, and then observe its growth or lack thereof. Look for signs your plant gives you about its lighting condition. Dropped leaves, yellowing leaves, or long spindly stems indicate the plant is not receiving enough light. Leaves that have become brittle, dry, pale, or marked with brown spots, indicate your plant is getting too much sun and needs to be moved further away from its light source. If your plant appears green, lush, healthy, and growing, then it's in ideal lighting conditions. Note: A plant's growth slows or stops completely during the winter months. Growing will resume during the spring and summer.

Watering Your Plant

Besides light, your plant also requires water to keep it lush and thriving. Water keeps plants cool and provides them with structural support. As a plant's cells absorb water, they become plump and firm, which gives the plant a thick, sturdy shape. Water also shifts the minerals in the soil closer to the roots so they can be absorbed by them. When a plant doesn't receive enough water, its cells deflate, resulting in droopiness and wilted stems. In most cases, a good watering will make the plant bounce right back. It's important not to overwater the plant, though, which can lead to root rot. Make sure the plant's container has adequate drainage to prevent it from sitting in standing water.

Knowing When & How Much to Water Your Plant

Some plants, like ferns and peace lilies, prefer evenly-moist soil at all times. The majority of plants, though, do better when their topsoil dries down 2-3 inches below the surface before being watered. Succulents, plants with thick leaves, and cacti prefer the soil to dry out completely between waterings.

  1. Use your finger or a wooden stick to determine the moisture content of your plant's soil and water accordingly.
  2. A good rule of thumb to determine how much water to give your plant is to water the area around the plant, not directly over its crown, until water begins to drain from the drainage holes.
  3. When it has finished draining, toss out any left-over water remaining in the saucer underneath.

Signs of Overwatering in Houseplants

  • Soft, dropping leaves
  • Brown, yellow, or wilting leaves
  • Old and new leaves both dropping
  • Brown leaf tips
  • Mold on leaves, stems, or flowers
  • Wet, soggy soil
  • Gray or black slimy roots

Signs of Underwatering in Houseplants

  • Dry, hard, compacted soil
  • Soil pulled away from side of container
  • Yellow, brown, or discolored leaves
  • Dropping leaves
  • Brittle, dry leaves
  • Slower than usual growth

Bring some green into your home now!

Follow these guidelines and watch your plants thrive and become cherished living decor in your home. Their vibrant color, freshness, and vitality provide daily health and well-being benefits that will make you feel like you are living in a garden paradise.